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Archive for the ‘Behaviors’ Category

Learn to put limitations on your whining. Whining can be acceptable in some situations, but your friends and family don’t want to listen to it forever.
We’re told we’re a nation of whiners. True. But is it good to whine? Does whining have any value?

Yes, some of the time. Suppose you’re overwhelmed at work and then your boss asks you to attend a meeting for him. A little whining to a co-worker may be all you need to dissipate your irritation before you gear up for the meeting.

If you lose a job or find your mate has been having an affair, initially you’ll cry, squeal and yelp. It hurts! As the weeks go by, you’ll probably settle into a steady whine. Eventually you’ll move to an on-again, off-again whine.

Whining phrases include: “I can’t believe he did this to me.” “Why does this always happen to me?” “I can’t stand it.” “People are stupid.” “Doesn’t anyone give a darn?” “Nobody’s trustworthy.” “I could lie down and die and nobody would notice.” “Life’s crummy.” “I’m so tired of this whole thing.”

Note that most of these phrases place the whiner in a victim position. The whiner feels at that moment in time that he has little control over his life and what other people are doing.

If you have a mate or friend who’s a whiner, here are some tips. Start by listening. Listen for 5 minutes and make a few sympathetic comments such as, “That’s awful…I can see why you’re upset…It’s frustrating.”

After 10 minutes, you might make a suggestion as to what the person could do differently. Or ask if there is anything you can do. If you get nowhere, try switching to another topic. For example, to your friend you might say, “Well, how are your other children doing?” Or, “How do other people in your department cope?” To your mate you might suggest, “Let’s have a nice dinner in spite of….” Or, “Let’s have a nice evening. Why don’t we start by going for a walk.”

How much whining should you allow yourself? It depends on the situation. With a major problem such as a layoff or a cheating spouse, feel free to whine an hour a day. But do it in your head. If you’re whining aloud to a family member or friend, a half-hour goes a long way. If the problem is ongoing, for example, you have a difficult boss or difficult child, allow yourself a maximum of 10 minutes of whining. After 10 minutes, make yourself change the focus of the conversation. Ask the other person what’s going on in her life. What happened with her today?

Another suggestion: Get up and do something physical. Sweeping a floor, taking out the trash, or sorting mail will change your focus of attention.

Everyone who whines, and most of us do from time to time, should keep track. If your whining is on the increase, perhaps there is something you need to change in your life. Also, play a game with yourself. Decide that Wednesdays and Saturdays are no whine days.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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If someone tells you about a problem they are facing, think about your response before responding.
Your husband tells you he is disgusted with his job. The people he works with are idiots. You immediately respond, “Why don’t you tell the boss what you’re up against; how they don’t pull their weight?”

Now your husband has two problems. He still is disenchanted with his job. And he has to fend off your knee-jerk suggestion of talking to the boss.

——-

Your wife says, “What a great day. Let’s pack a picnic basket and take the girls to the park.”

Your knee-jerk response: “I don’t think so. That doesn’t sound good to me.”

Your wife says, “Oh, come on. It’ll be fun.”

You again say no.

To this second turn-down your wife shrugs and says okay.

About 20 minutes later, after some thought on your part, you go back to your wife and say, “Okay, let’s go to the park.”

——-

You leave a meeting hopping mad. You meet your friend and tell her you are furious at the way your co-worker Jim behaved at the meeting. He acted as though your committee had done nothing constructive. He cut you off when you were talking. He made one sarcastic response after another.

The friend you are spilling your guts to says, “Maybe he’s just had a bad day. Maybe he had a fight with one of his kids. Don’t be so hard on him.”

Why is your friend taking Jim’s side? You wonder. This woman is supposed to be your friend. In fact, she doesn’t even know Jim, so why would she be defending him?

——-

You decide to join a gym. You tell your mother you’re working out three mornings a week. Your mother says, “That’s ridiculous. You need your rest. You don’t need to be getting up at the crack of dawn three mornings a week to go to some silly gym.”

You feel deflated and annoyed. You told your mother because you wanted to share your new endeavor and you wanted her support.

——-

I have just presented four typical knee-jerk responses.

First I described the wife who jumps in and tries to solve her husband’s problem instead of simply listening to him complain. This is the problem-solving knee-jerk response.

In the next story, the husband immediately says no to his wife’s suggestion of going to the park. His is the “no” knee-jerk response.

In the third scenario, your friend defends Jim and starts making all kinds of excuses for him. This is the “let’s make it better” knee-jerk response.

In the fourth incident, Mom is unsupportive and critical of your early morning workouts. Hers is a “devil’s advocate” knee-jerk response.

Unfortunately, all these responses are inappropriate. The person who started each conversation wanted only to be listened to, to get some sympathy, and to get some approval.

Ask yourself, Which knee-jerk response do I usually have? Do I need to do anything differently?

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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People often do not want to change until they are in a crisis situation in their relationship. It might be better to work on your marriage on an ongoing basis rather than loose your spouse.

He came to my office because his wife has left him after 37 years of marriage. He wants her back. She does not have anyone else. She simply is fed up with him.

As we talked, I got him to help me make a list of behaviors that probably drove his wife away.

Worked too much. About 60 hours a week for years.

Unwilling to take vacations because of his working.

Drank too much in the early years of their marriage.

Got too angry when drinking. Never hit her but was verbally abusive.

Continues to get too angry when he doesn’t like what’s going on.

Gave her the silent treatment.

Gave her nice gifts, but they were things he liked. He never consulted her.

Did not take much responsibility with the children or housework because he was always working.

Never helped make social plans.

Failed to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry” and “I love you.”

Controlled the money. Insisted on saving most of the money instead of taking some for enjoyment.

Never acted like he appreciated her salary and how she contributed to the household.

Didn’t show much kindness or love.

Showed affection only in bed.

Was too demanding when it came to sex.

Watched too much television.

He’s now putting in fewer hours at work. He’s watching very little television. He’s doing housework and now understands how much there is to do. He’s willing to learn how to be emotionally supportive. He’s working to keep his anger in check. He’s sorry and in a great deal of pain. He hopes she will come back.

If he continues to say he’s sorry and clean up his behavior, perhaps she will come back. It’s unfortunate that sometimes people have to leave their mate to get their point across.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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If you are always defending your position instead of being open to someone else’s, you may keep yourself from learning new and different ideas.

I was at a meeting once listening to a fellow explain what direction a particular magazine should take, when another fellow piped up, “That’s ridiculous. I disagree completely.”  Within seconds, the various participants at the meeting took sides, and it became a win-lose situation.

So often when people hear something that is new or doesn’t fit with the way they have been thinking, they jump to a negative response such as, “What a stupid idea,” “That would never work,” “How could you think that,” “That’s nonsense,” “It makes no sense to me,” “That makes me mad,” and “I can’t believe you think that.”

As soon as someone makes one of these “close-out” comments, the other person puts up a wall. Now both people are locked into supporting their position, as opposed to considering another idea or blending both ideas for a better solution.

Close-out comments happen in families all the time. A wife says to her husband, “Let’s tear out those old lilac bushes this year and put in some burning bushes.” His response, “No, I don’t think so.” A teenager says, “I think I’m going to get a job.”  The mother says, “That’s stupid, you have enough to do already” A mother says to her grown son, “I didn’t tell you I was sick last week because I didn’t want to worry you.”  The son says, “That makes me mad.”

If you’re a person who goes for the close-out without thinking, commit the following to memory. When you hear something you immediately disagree with, say instead, “Let me think about it,” or “It’s a possibility that would work,” or “Well, that’s one way to look at it.”  These statements suggest that you’re open to the other person’s point of view and make for a more productive, win-win situation.

Other words that soften your opinion and make it easier for your listener to digest include “often,” “sometimes,” “perhaps,” “usually,” and “maybe.”

Most people do not intend to block communication, but many people inadvertently do. Use these suggestions and you’ll keep the lines of communication open.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Sometimes being a Procrastinator keeps you in charge of the situations, but it won’t be to your advantage..

George came to see me for therapy because he wanted to know why he’s a procrastinator.

I started by asking in what areas he procrastinates. He smiled and said, “In most areas.”

George procrastinates at work, he doesn’t turn in reports on time. He doesn’t fill out his expense reports. Once the company he was working for withheld his paycheck until he got all his cases up-to-date.

George procrastinates at home. He promises to do chores and then puts them off. He waits until the last minute to pay the bills.

I asked George if he had any idea why he procrastinates.

He said, “I always have. When I was in grade school, my mother had to push me to do my homework. In high school it was the same. I always waited until the last minute.”

I asked George if he saw how procrastinating might be serving him?

He thought one advantage was the rush he got when he was up against it and absolutely had to get something done.

“Any other advantages,” I wondered?

He couldn’t think of any.

I pointed out a few:

-When George procrastinates and someone else is waiting for him to do something, he has their attention. This attention may come in the form of nagging and nudging, but it’s attention.

-He has control since others often can’t complete their work until he does the task he’s putting off.

-He can play good guy/bad guy which adds to the drama of his life. When he doesn’t do something he knows he needs to do, he takes the bad guy role. When he performs the task, he becomes the good guy.

-He can get out of doing undesirable tasks.

-He fears failure. If he puts a task off, he doesn’t really have to test his ability to succeed.

I could go on listing the whys of procrastinating, I told George, but hunting for the whys can be another form of procrastinating.

Instead, I suggested we make a list of things George is currently putting off, look at them as problems to be tackled, and do some problem solving.

Concerning his incompleted reports, George decided to get to work a half-hour earlier each morning and do all necessary paperwork before he allows himself to have his second cup of coffee or return any telephone calls, two things he enjoys doing.

With regard to paying the bills at home, George decided to let his wife take over the job. She has wanted to pay the bills because then the bills would get paid on time, but George has always assumed he should be the one to pay them.

Concerning cleaning out the garage and removing the leaves from the gutters, George agreed to hire someone within the next week. He promised not to put off the hiring. In fact, he said, “It would be a pleasure to farm these chores out.”

Concerning starting an exercise program, George decided to bag the idea until next year, at which time he’ll reevaluate.

I suggested that instead of thinking of himself as a procrastinator, he look at the task he’s putting off as a problem that needs to be solved. He should then figure out two or three ways of tackling it.

P.S I’ve seen George one time since his initial visit and he’s no longer putting off what he needs to do.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Doing what we say we are going to do or taking responsibility for our actions is not alway easy but many times is needed. Saying I’m Sorry can also certianly clear the air and make for a sunnier future.

Who have you closed off in your life? Is there anyone you’ve taken advantage of recently or treated unfairly in the distant past? Have you promised to do someone a favor and then not followed through? Before making a New Year’s resolution, make amends with someone.

Molly confessed she needed to make amends with her mother. From the time she was little, Molly knew she was adopted. Four years ago she decided to track down her birth mother. She was so happy to find her birth mother, she started doing things with her and neglected the mother who raised her.

When her mother complained that she was ignoring her, Molly told her mom she was imagining things. “I even threw it in her face that she was jealous of my birth mother. Of course, this was true because I made it that way.”

Molly will make amends by going to her mother and apologizing. If her mother gives her a lecture, she’ll take it. She won’t fight. She’ll make a list of 100 special memories she’s had with her. She’ll treat her mother to a nice lunch and read the list. And she’ll be careful in the future not to push her mother aside.

Gene has been critical of his wife for working part-time instead of full-time. Recently Gene has realized how much his wife does in addition to her part-time job. Gene will make amends by apologizing, and in the future he’ll support his wife’s decision to work part-time.

Bob has been bulldozing family members for years. If anyone disagrees with him, he becomes enraged. Or he pouts and won’t talk. To make amends, he is to get his anger under control and to learn to be respectful when others see things differently.

Carol has owed her dentist $400 for over nine months. Although she can’t pay the entire bill, she’s decided to pay him $50 a month. “It’s time I grow up and pay what I owe,” she says.

“I have a bracelet of my sister’s,” Renee said. “She left it at my house last spring.” Her sister has asked for the bracelet several times, but Renee keeps putting her off because she likes wearing the bracelet. “I promise to return her bracelet and to buy her some earrings to go with it by the end of the month.”

Have you borrowed something — a book, money, a dish, clothing — and not returned it? Now’s a good time to give the item back to its true owner.

Have you made a promise to see a doctor, clean the carport, make a will, have a neighbor for dinner and not kept it? Set the date today for when you’ll get the job done.

Are you neglecting a duty that is yours, such as taking financial responsibility for a child or caring for an aging parent? Refusing to put your shoulder to the wheel or to pull your weight financially forces others to do your share.

Have you been mean because of a slight or injustice? Are you sure you want to take such a stance?

Each day we make our destiny. Do you really respect the destiny you’re choosing?

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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How many of you might write a letter similar to the one below?

Dear Bob,

I know you are mad at me because I have been refusing to have sex with you lately. And I also have not approached you for sex, even though you have hinted that I should do so. The problem is, I’m very annoyed with you at the moment. Maybe after reading this letter you will understand my feelings and change your behavior. Then maybe we can have sex again.

I guess the final straw came when I was working at the fish fry at church and cut my finger. When I called to tell you I thought I needed to go to the hospital, the first thing you asked was whether the church had workers’ compensation. You said if they didn’t, I shouldn’t go to the hospital because it would be too expensive. What I needed at that moment was for you to ask me about my finger.

When I found out that the church had insurance, I called you back to take me to the hospital. You said you couldn’t get away. You had too much work to do. So a friend took me to the emergency room.

When I got back, I called to let you know how I was doing. Your secretary said that you were out to lunch.

Bob, why would I want to have sex with you when you act as though I don’t count?

And now that I am on a roll with this letter, here are some other reasons that I justify turning you down.

You drive too fast and when I ask you to slow down, you drive even faster.

We never go out alone as a couple.

If you don’t get your way, you let everyone know by pouting and refusing to talk.

You are not affectionate outside the bedroom.

You tell me I’m spoiled because I work only part-time.

You put me down in front of other people.

You chew with your mouth open, you are overweight, and you drink too much.

You do not help me with the children or help around the house.

You call me names, even right after we have had sex.

You expect a big meal every night no matter how tired I am.

You refuse to go to the children’s school functions.

You do not pick up your clothes, bath towel, or dishes, or clean out the tub when you have finished using it.

You are friendly and outgoing, and nice to everyone but me and your children.

I have always liked sex. It’s a way for me to feel close to you. But lately I don’t feel very close. Please change your behaviors so we can get our sex life back on track.

Your Wife,
Jan

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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