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Archive for the ‘Behaviors’ Category

Most people think they’re nice guys, but many are not.

A friend said he had volunteered to direct traffic for a religious function, and he was appalled at the behavior of the people driving into the parking lot.

“Mind you,” he said, “I was just a pawn doing what I was told to do by the people in charge of the traffic committee. My job was to hold up a sign that told people that the lot was full and they had to park farther away and take a shuttle bus.”

“One driver stopped and said, ‘I’m only going to be here for a few minutes.’ This was his excuse to be able to park in the nearer lot.

“Another said, ‘I have a fourth-grader.’ A lot of people had their children. Somehow having a fourth-grader was supposed to get the woman in the closer lot.

“One particularly nasty guy said, ‘Isn’t there room for just one small car?’ He was driving a sports car. I felt like saying, ‘Maybe for the car, but not your big mouth.’

“And I couldn’t believe the people who wanted to park in the handicapped spaces and volunteer spaces. It was amazing how obnoxious some of them were.

“When 7 or 8 cars would leave the closer lot, I was told to go ahead and let people park in the lot. I was really in hot water then. If someone who had parked in the far lot saw that people were being admitted into the closer lot, they walked up to me and demanded to know why they had to park in the far lot, like I had individually picked them out to persecute them. I kept thinking, ‘Who do these people think they are?'”

* * *

I recall a similar experience from my own parking attendant days when my daughter was in grade school. I was overseeing the high-schoolers who were directing the parking. A number of parents were determined to park in the fire lanes and bulldoze their way into a certain lot. I continually was telling the parents that these students were following instructions. It was a nightmare.

Several weeks ago I had this same experience in the doctor’s office. I had taken an aging relative for a second medical opinion. When the doctor walked in, he started telling the relative what she had and how she should treat it. Then he patted her on the knee and told her of course she didn’t have cancer.

She kept trying to interrupt to tell him why she had come, and he kept talking over her. He did not want to hear her symptoms, and he was not going to listen. I finally stepped in and asked if he had seen the woman’s medical record or had talked with her doctor. He said no one had sent him anything. Then I explained why we were there and why we wanted a second opinion. He somewhat backed down after I pushed him to listen to her symptoms, but his arrogance was noted throughout the entire visit. Despite his reputation, he ruined it by not being responsive to his patient.

If asked the question, “Who do you think you are?” what would your answer be? If it’s, “I’m a nice person,” I suggest you act that way in all circumstances.

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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Ways to Control Jealous Feelings.

Jenny told me she was at her friend’s house looking through old pictures when she came across an old photo of her husband and another woman. “Instantly I felt jealous,” she said. “I thought, ‘Who is that, an old girlfriend? And why does she have her arms around my husband?'” On closer look she realized the picture was actually one of her and her husband five years earlier.

As we talked, Jenny confessed that she has always struggled with jealousy. When she walks into a room, she is most conscious of how the other women look and how she herself compares. If she decides that someone is more attractive or has on a better looking outfit, her joy disappears. “I can be ever so happy, but then I see someone who I think looks better than me, and instantly I feel envious,” she confessed.

Unfortunately many people silently struggle with feelings of jealousy. “Telling someone you’re angry or unhappy is one thing,” said Bill, a fellow I’m seeing in therapy, “but telling them you’re jealous of their position or their wife — this is not something you’re going to find too many people willing to admit to.”

Why does jealousy consume some, whereas others seem to revel in the success of their friends? This less-than-admirable feeling of jealousy may actually be the result of what went on between siblings years earlier.

Once you reach the ripe old age of a year and a half, you’re already aware of what’s happening in your family. You know who gets the lion’s share of positive attention. You’re aware of whom your folks favor. If it isn’t you, you’re likely to feel hostile. Instead of directing those negative feelings toward your parents, however, you direct them to your sibling. Why? Because you want your parents to recognize and love you and being angry at them would be self-defeating.

Another factor is the way you were disciplined as a child. If you were disciplined more harshly than your brother and sister, you may have hostile and jealous feelings toward the siblings who were handled more gently.

Comparing of children also leads to jealousy. If Tommy is held up as the smartest, and Daniel is told he’s the best athlete, each is likely to become jealous of the other if an attribute they value is ascribed to their sibling.

With regard to Jenny, the woman who was jealous of herself, we traced her jealousy to what happened in her family. Her mother tried to make everything equal between her and her younger sister. Equal time, equal presents, equal number of chores, equal number of kisses and hugs. Following their mother’s lead, the girls got into comparing. Once this way of thinking was established, this woman expanded it to comparing herself to everyone.

The way I worked with her was to have her make a list of people she admired. She was to include her sister, three co-workers, three friends, and three famous people. The next step was for her to write down the ways she was better and the ways she was not as good as all ten of these people. With the celebrities, she had to read up on their lives.

What she learned was that every person is in some way better and in some way not as good as every other person. To dwell on the better and less was a waste of time, however, and often leads to bad feelings.

I told her also, “When you start to think competitively, say to yourself, ‘Don’t go that way, because if you do you’re defeating yourself.'”

Happily, she was able to act on this advice. She is no longer consumed with comparing herself to others, and as a result, she rarely feels jealous.

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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When people don’t do what they say they will do, and manifest many passive aggressive behaviors, when do you stop being patient and take action.

Our new wood floor in our living room is popping up along the baseboard. We’re not sure what’s causing the problem. In fact, no one seems to be sure. About eight months ago I called a company to come and give us an estimate to fix the floor.

When the appointment time came, no one arrived. About a half hour later I got a call and the gentleman explained that one of his grandchildren had taken sick, so he couldn’t make the appointment. I said fine, and we set another time.

The next appointment, the fellow was about a half hour late. He looked at the floor, said he could fix it, gave me a bid right there and then, and said he would drop off color samples on Thursday as the floor was also going to be restained. Before he left he asked if he could take some of the wood pieces that had popped up in order to determine why they were buckling.

I hesitated, but then agreed when the fellow reassured me he would be dropping everything off on Thursday — three days from now.

That was eight months ago. The guy never came with the samples and never returned my wood flooring. After numerous telephone calls where he promised to drop the wood off, I finally asked to speak with the president of the company. Imagine my surprise to find that the man I was dealing with was the owner of the company.

About four months into my struggle to get my wood back, the man’s assistant admitted that he had lost the pieces somewhere in his van. I said, “Okay, just make me some new pieces.”

Then one day, one of the saleswomen for the company arrived at our door and wanted another two pieces to determine the right color. She took the two pieces with a promise that all the wood would be back that very week. Thanksgiving passed. Christmas passed. Twelve weeks later I was still making what I considered polite calls requesting my wood planking.

Two weeks ago I woke up on the wrong side. I got out of bed, poured myself coffee, and called the company. I told the person on the other end of the line (poor lady) that I did not have a beef with her, but I wanted my flooring pronto, now, immediately, today. And if I did not get it, I was going to report their bloody company to the better business bureau. In the meantime, I was going to notify every developer and builder in the area making known the hassle I was having with this particular floor company.

At ten twenty that morning I got a call telling me I could pick up my samples.

I’ve lived long enough to know that mistakes happen and not everything goes as planned. To get all bent out of shape over every issue is a waste of energy. But sometimes you have to draw the line and move to the position that enough is enough.

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 do something for someone else make sure it’s for the right reasons.

I spoke to a woman in therapy who is annoyed with her mother. She says her mother volunteers to do things for her church group, such as prepare a meal or drive someone to the doctor’s. Then her mother complains about everything she does for others and that they don’t appreciate it.

I asked the woman why she thought her mother complained about being a good samaritan.

“Because she wants a pat on the back for everything she does,” she said. But, she added, “I don’t want to give her a pat on the back. Instead I’d like to slap her for her complaining.”

I told the woman I thought a slap was a bit drastic, to which she agreed.

It is a curious thing, however, that people volunteer to take care of others or jump in and take responsibility and then become irritated because they have so much to do. Or they feel mistreated because they don’t get the recognition they think they deserve.

This phenomenon is especially prevalent at Christmastime. A woman shops like mad for her family and all her relatives. Although shopping is work, she mostly enjoys the hustle and bustle of the mall. Each time she picks out a present, she gives herself a pat on the back: “What a good gift-giver am I.”

Sometimes she shows off her purchases to relatives and friends. But if the people she has shopped for are not as grateful as she thinks they should be, she’s miffed.

Now she moves into a victim mode and gets to fret and criticize and think, “After all I do for them.” In some ways she is double-dipping. She gets to enjoy herself while shopping and give herself strokes for being a good person. Then she allows herself to complain about how she’s being taken for granted. If she fusses loud enough, perhaps a few more nods of recognition will come her way.

If this scenario sounds familiar, decide that your reward is the pleasure you derive from shopping, giving and focusing on others. Decide, too, that you won’t grumble if people aren’t as appreciative as your efforts deserve. Remember the enjoyment you receive when in the act of doing for others. Don’t attach a string!

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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When parents stand their ground, children may not be happy.
“This week I developed a backbone,” a mother told me.

She decided to get tough when she looked at her daughter’s pay stub and discovered that she had earned less than $60 during an entire semester of college. Why? Because her daughter chose to work only a few hours a week. “And she only takes four courses,” said the mother in disbelief.

“Her father and I are working hard to pay bills and scrape by and give her spending money”

After seeing how little her daughter was working, the mother vowed that she no longer would give her money to go out with friends for lunch, or go to the movies, or pay her cell phone bill. “My daughter has money in the bank,” said the mother, “so she can spend her own money. And if she runs out, she can work more.”

Here are two more stories of mothers who found their backbone. “Last week school was canceled because of snow. My house was full of boys ranging in age from nine to fifteen,” said Julie. “I made snacks, dried their wet clothes in my dryer, repeatedly cleaned up the wet floor, and kept some sense of order. One little boy stayed for dinner and then watched a movie with us.”

The next day when this mother announced she was going shopping with her friend for a few hours, she took all kinds of grief from her 10-year old son. Where was she going, he wanted to know. “Why can’t I go too? What am I supposed to do all day? When will you be home?” he whined. The kicker came when he asked, “Well, will you at least take me to the mall tonight?”

When these tactics didn’t get him the results he wanted, he confronted his mother about her spending. He said, “You told me I couldn’t buy anything for a month, but you’re going to.”

The mother said nothing.

Another mother had a similar experience. “The first day it snowed, a friend of my daughter’s came over,” said the mother. “They baked cookies. Then four other teenagers came by the house, and they all went sledding. When the six of them came back, my husband and I were watching a mystery on television. The kids wanted to watch a football game, so my husband and I gave up our mystery and the kids watched the game in the family room. We went upstairs to read because we don’t have cable upstairs and the mystery was on cable.” The daughter’s friend also spent the night.

The following day, this mother announced that she would be taking her car. She had to work that morning and was going shopping with her friend in the afternoon. The daughter had a fit. “What about me?” the daughter wanted to know. “I need the car. We were planning on going to lunch and shopping.”

“I’ll drop you off at the mall,” the mother suggested. The daughter declined.

“Can’t you take your friend’s car?” the daughter begged. “She can drive her car.”

The mother said no. She wanted to drive her own car because it had four-wheel drive. The mother found her backbone.

One thing to keep uppermost in mind when parenting: Do not expect your children to be happy when you put yourself first or take care of yourself instead of them. Don’t expect your children to be happy when you say no. Don’t expect your children to say, “I’ve had enough fun, Mom; now it’s your turn”.

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 when we asked others for help or their opinion we must be open to suggestions.

I wrote a letter the other day outlining a business plan. I gave it to my husband for proofing, something I do when I want his input or I think I’ve written an exceptional letter and I want his “Atagirl.”

After reading the letter, my husband said, “I don’t think this is up to your usual standards.”

I asked, “What’s wrong with it?”

He said he wasn’t sure, but it didn’t work for him.

I said, “I need more information. What doesn’t work?”

He said he wasn’t sure.

I then took the letter and reread it. Since I couldn’t see what he could, I asked if he would go over it line by line. He countered with, “How about if I look at it again and make margin notes.” I said, “Fine.”

A half hour later I looked at his notes and told him he didn’t understand the situation. He shrugged and said okay. I took the letter and went back to my computer and again revised. As I was writing, I could see my letter improving based on his suggestions. When I finished, I proudly handed the letter back to my husband. He read it for the third time and said, “It’s still not right.”

When I asked what was not right, he said he couldn’t exactly say.

Unfortunately, I then told him I was the writer in the family and I had seen some goofy letters he sent out. With that I picked up my letter and went back to the computer.

After an hour of revisions, I contritely went back to my husband with letter in hand. I told him I was sorry for what I’d said and asked if he would please read the letter again because I did value his input. And further, no matter what he said, I would be good.

Being a very patient and kind-hearted fellow, he once again read my letter and proclaimed that it was fine.

One day a woman telephoned all in a stew. She had received a bad performance review after working at her company for 25 years. She was afraid this review was the beginning of the end. She had written a letter in response to her review and wanted to know if I would look at the letter. I said, “Sure, what’s your time frame?”

She said she thought she should respond by tomorrow. I said, “Fine, email it to me.” She said her email was down. She asked if she could just read the letter over the telephone.

As she got into the letter, it was obvious that it needed a good deal of work. I gave her a number of suggestions. I could hear that she was becoming annoyed with my suggestions, since each suggestion meant more work for her. I said I had to leave but I would call her later and we could work on it again. She said she would try again to email the letter.

I asked that she make the changes we had discussed. She agreed. Four hours later when I looked at the email, I found the changes had not been made. She had not worked on the letter. I could see that the letter was becoming my responsibility.

This all leads me to the following:

When you ask for feedback on a project, be appreciative. Understand that the feedback you get may be negative. Understand that it may mean more work for you. And keep in mind that the ultimate responsibility for the project is still yours. Don’t try to get the other person to do your work simply because he or she has noted some problems.

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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Deciding if you are setting yourself up for disaster.
Victim of circumstance or victim by design?

Mike lost his second-biggest account three months ago. Several weeks later, his 17-year-old son was involved in a serious car accident which resulted in two surgeries, a three-week stay in the hospital, and ongoing physical therapy. One morning on his way to the hospital, Mike’s car died in the middle of the highway. Adding stress to stress, the part the dealer ordered got lost in the mail. That same week a skunk made her home under his house and the pest people couldn’t seem to do much about it despite repeated tries. A few days later, Mike received a letter informing him that his septic tank is located on his neighbor’s property.

On listening to what befell Mike, one of his religious friends proposed that he was being tested. Another friend said, “What’s new? Everyone has chaos, and on a regular basis.” Someone else theorized that people often cause their own crises because they are bored or need an energy boost. Or they may make a crisis to avoid dealing with a more significant issue.

I’m not so sure about being tested. I tend to think catastrophes are random. It’s true, however, that we all seem to have one problem after another. And sometimes we subconsciously make ourselves into victims.

Take, for example, the guy who knows his roof has been leaking for a few years but does nothing until the water starts pouring in one rainy night. Or how about the woman who knows she has a tooth problem but does nothing until one day she finds herself in excruciating pain?

Mike certainly had nothing to do with his son’s accident. I can’t imagine how he might have invited the skunk problem. And the title search when he bought his house didn’t cover the septic tank. I do wonder what kind of warning Mike had that his car was about to give out, but the part being lost in the mail was out of his control.

Moving from Mike to yourself, what troubles, misfortunes, or disasters have befallen you recently? Name three or four.

Did you have any idea they were coming?

Are any of them partly of your own doing?

To avoid becoming a victim, run through the following list of actions. These forecast trouble. Check off any that you are guilty of.

-Driving too fast

-Not having savings to supply extra cash for emergencies

-Trying to provide too much for your children by buying them a car you really can’t afford, loaning them money when you yourself are strapped or signing up for too big a wedding

-Overspending on recreation, clothes, jewelry, home improvements

-Starting a house project when your life is already on fast-forward

-Not paying your quarterly taxes

-Stopping your blood pressure medicine because you feel fine and you don’t like taking it

-Not looking for another job when you know your present one is ending

-Ignoring your child’s poor school performance and his lack of respect for curfew

-Entertaining the idea of having an affair or actually having one

-Trying to wing a presentation or failing to study for a test

If you find yourself heading for trouble, change lanes, put on the brake, take a different route. Not all disasters can be avoided. But don’t be a victim by design.

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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