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Archive for the ‘couples’ Category

Danger… Your relationship may be in trouble if:

The two of you bicker all the time.

When couples bicker, they exchange lots of negative strokes. Over the years they remember these barbs and store them inside until they build a wall between themselves. This is called the Wall of Trivia. Once this wall is in place, couples stop feeling close and stop talking intimately.

You do not take time out to play just the two of you.

Many couples know the importance of play time with the children. They’re off to the pumpkin patch and the Zoo and soccer games. What they don’t do is take time for each other to go for a ride, to go out for breakfast.

You no longer have an active sex life.

It’s easy to get out of the habit of having sex. As one man said, “We have to pay our bills and have clean underwear. And there’s only so much time.” What sex does is renew the commitment – the two of you are a couple.

You are not sharing household chores.

Some individuals like to cook and clean. And some enjoy doing windows. But rare is the individual who wants to do it all, or who has time to do it all. Couples need to do an inventory of who does what and work toward sharing household chores.

You don’t agree on how to parent the children.

If you tell your son he may not have the car Friday night, and your mate comes along and tells him he can have it, your mate is sending the loud message that what you say isn’t important. You don’t count. He also sets up a good guy/bad guy relationship between you.

You do not have equal access to the finances.

Most often, one partner makes more money than the other. Unfortunately the one who brings in the bacon, or most of it, sometimes feels that he should be the one to spend more. This thinking causes a one-up one-down relationship, which translates into all kinds of bad behaviors.

You don’t respect or value your mate.

If you don’t value your mate, you’re not going to want to spend time with her or listen to her opinions and ideas. Once someone is of little value, that person becomes a throw-away.

One of you drinks too much.

When a mate drinks too much, he’s not intellectually or emotionally available, so he’s hardly a companion. Too much drinking also leads to the drinking spouse justifying rude and inappropriate behaviors.

One of you has a bad temper.

It’s OK to get angry. But if you’re always spouting off about what you don’t like, and always trying to control your mate with your angry feelings, aren’t you really saying that you matter more?

Neither of you can apologize.

Apologies say, “I stepped on your feelings and I won’t do that again.” If you can’t apologize, you’re pretending you’re perfect. It’s a drag living with someone who thinks she never makes a mistake.

You never have a disagreement.

No two people are alike. When two people agree on everything, someone is not being true to himself or herself. When two people see the world from slightly different perspectives, this brings energy and even disagreement sometimes. This is healthy.

You don’t have common goals for the future.

Where do you want to be in five years? In 10 years? Do you have a financial plan for the children’s education, your retirement? What are your goals as a couple? When couples are in trouble, they don’t think about the future.

One of you is unfaithful.

Affairs always hurt a marriage. Most marriages, however, can survive an affair, particularly if both mates do the repair work after it ends. But if one mate continues to be unfaithful it’s a marriage in name only.

You’re sarcastic and put each other down.

Every time you are sarcastic or critical, you drive a wedge in the marriage. If you’re sarcastic or critical five times a week, in 10 years you’ve chalked up 2,600 hits against your mate. Would you stay with a friend that hurt you 2,600 times?

The two of you don’t exchange compliments and thank yous.

It’s easy to forget to say, “Thanks for picking up my shirts from the cleaners,” “Thanks for taking care of that wedding gift,” “Thanks for putting in a new furnace filter.” Not recognizing what your mate does translates into taking advantage of your mate’s good will.

Most couples start out intending to stay married. If you hope to continue your married life, heed the warning signs.

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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A man I see in therapy explained.

I had an affair two years ago and my wife won’t get off of it. She constantly brings up the affair. She says I don’t understand how hurt she is. I say, “Hey I gave up the affair. I apologized. I’m here. Get over it.” What can I do to get her to stop thinking about the past?

Man, you don’t get it. It takes about 5 years to get over an affair, and then rarely does trust come back 100%. Each time your wife brings up the affair, something has triggered her bad feelings. And I bet there are plenty of times when your wife doesn’t bring up your affair even though she’s had thought of it and felt the hurt.

Instead of telling your wife to get over it, which is incredibly insensitive, apologize again and again for the hurt you have caused her. For example, “I’m so sorry I hurt you. I love you. I care about you. You’re the best. And again, I am really sorry.”

After several thousand sincere apologies, yes, several thousand, such as the one above, your wife will be more able to move on in her life without being reminded on a daily basis.

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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Someone in therapy recently asked,
“I’m dating a guy who doesn’t make much money. I have to admit that I like “things.” So should I break it off and look for someone with a higher salary?”

Let me ask you this girlfriend. Are you looking for a meal ticket? If you want and enjoy things as most of us do, no problem. Focus on how you’re going to make more money however, instead of how much money the guy makes. This new focus will allow you to evaluate this new man in more appropriate terms, such as:

Do you have the same interests?
Do the two of you laugh together?
Is he a good sex partner?
Does he demonstrate integrity?
Is he honest?
Does he show empathy?

 

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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The critical parent versus the rebellious child: overcoming marital games.

I see a couple in therapy who fight about orange juice. Here’s the way the scenario goes. He says, “Will you stop and get some orange juice for tomorrow morning?” She says, “Sure.”

That night as they are getting into bed, he says, “Did you get my orange juice?” She says, “I forgot. I got too busy. Besides, if it is so important, pick up your own juice.” His response, “I would if you hadn’t told me you were going to get it.”

She then turns the light out in the bedroom and the two of them lie there feeling frustrated and misunderstood. He thinks to himself, “After all I do for her, and I can’t even count on her for juice.” She thinks to herself, “Why can’t he get his own juice if it’s so important?” How often does this type of situation occur? About once or twice a month.

How can they get out of this game? He could decide that he will always be responsible for getting his own juice or she could decide to keep him supplied with juice.

Why won’t they stop playing? Because each of them gets a payoff from this game. Long ago they established a relationship in which he takes the role of the Critical Parent and she plays the role of the Rebellious Child. The juice is simply the excuse for him to act indignant.

In adolescence, this fellow made a decision that most people are incompetent. The juice script allows him to play out his original decision about people: she’s so incompetent she can’t even remember my orange juice.

She, on the other hand, made a decision that men are fools based on the fact that her father was usually drunk and acted foolish. To prove out her decision, she “forgets” the juice and watches her husband act like a fool over a little juice.

Another couple that I see played the same game around vacations, although in there situation she plays the Critical Parent and he plays the Rebellious Child.

Each year about January, he starts talking up a vacation. She responds to his enthusiasm by going to the internet, reading up on vacation spots, and making plans. Come May, he announces that they don’t have enough money for a vacation. She responds with indignation and outrage.

They both operate from the old script that men are supposed to financially take care of women. Neither question the availability of money until feelings are riding high about the upcoming vacation.

The other thing that supports this game is that as a young child this man lost his father. For years he walked around feeling gypped and inadequate. Not being able to provide a vacation for his family helps him re-experience these old familiar feelings.

Here are a few more examples of how one spouse plays Critical Parent and the other plays Rebellious Child:
• When he’s late she gives him lectures on discounting her feelings about being on time.
• She uses his car and leaves the gas tank empty. He writes her nasty notes on the bathroom mirror.
• He wants to keep a running balance in the check book and she doesn’t write down the amounts.
If you recognize yourself, well . . . you’re halfway to giving up your part of the game. The other half is changing your behavior.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” (a middle grade read) as well as, “The Parent Teacher Guide.” www.doriswildhelmering.com.

 

 

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A Passive Taker is a person who floats along in life with seemingly little purpose and few goals. He does not focus on what he wants, likes or dislikes. Nor does he focus on his mate’s wants, likes or dislikes. His lot in life is to accept what’s happening to him at the time.

Most people see the Passive Taker as a nice guy. He rarely gets angry. He can pretty much be counted on to go along with anything. He makes few decisions for himself.

For example, Passive Taker and his wife are at a restaurant. As they are ordering, the waiter asks Passive Taker what kind of salad dressing he would like. Passive Taker looks at his wife to choose his salad dressing. I use the pronoun he because most Passive Takers are men, although occasionally a woman will fall into this category.

As children, Passive Takers were taught to expect others to take care of them. They in turn were expected to do what they were told. With their wants and needs consistently being met, they didn’t learn to plan ahead or think about what they wanted, nor did they learn to focus on anyone else’s needs. Like the Caretaker, they are a product of their upbringing.

Passive Takers do not initiate or organize in their relationship. They complacently go along with the program, but they rarely take charge or plan it. They are willing to help out, but chores must be assigned. They do not compliment their mate, nor do they criticize.

I want to emphasize that a Passive Taker does not think in the same way that other people think. He does not come home and think, “I’m going to watch a football game tonight.” He simply comes home, switches on the television, sees that a football game is in progress, and settles in to watch it.

What his wife and children happen to be doing at the time does not cross his mind. He simply does not think about what other people are doing or how others are feeling.

Now let’s take the Passive Taker test. For every yes answer, give yourself one point. If you know you’re not a Passive Taker but you have a suspicion that the person you are living with is, take the test with him or her in mind.

You will help out if assigned a task, like setting the table or putting away the suitcases, but you rarely take the initiative and do these things yourself, or start a project on your own.

You are content doing almost anything, spend a good deal of your free time alone, live in your own world and do not have a need to interact with others.

You rarely ask your mate to do something for you. You make few demands.

You do not think in advance or plan ahead in your marriage. You do not shop more than a day or two ahead for birthdays, or call ahead for reservations, or think in terms of the future.

You are not attuned to the wants or feelings of your mate.

You rarely give compliments or pats on the back, nor do you “see” what your mate has done for you.

You are rarely critical of yourself or your mate.

You are viewed by the outside world as nice, easygoing and content.

You are often accused by your mate of being selfish and lazy and are told, “You just don’t care.”

You are non-competitive and prefer to let others take the lead.

If you have 8 or more yeses, you are definitely a Passive Taker. If you have 5, 6 or 7 yeses, you sometimes exhibit Passive Taker behaviors, but you do not operate from a Passive Taker frame of reference.

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The Corrector is a person whose main focus in life is to find the flaw and then point it out. Correctors think and know that there is a right way to fold socks, a right way to put dishes in the dishwasher, a right way to cut the grass, and a right way to catch a fish. And they are more than happy to tell you how to do it. Usually their advice is given with a lot of “shoulds” and “oughts”. They also have a habit of wagging their pointer finger as they give you this advice.

Most Correctors make between 20 and 30 critical comments a day. If you don’t believe me, and you suspect you’re a Corrector, count your critical comments. And if you’re living with someone else you suspect falls into this category, secretly count his or her negative comments.

If you tell Correctors you don’t like their advice, they defend themselves with, “I’m only trying to help you,” or “I’m only trying to make it easier for you”.

“How do people become Correctors?”
Usually one or both parents of Correctors were overly critical. Consequently, these children came to expect perfection not only of themselves but also of others.

Rarely are they satisfied with anyone’s performance. If they do 10 things right and one thing wrong, it’s what they do wrong that becomes the focus of their attention.

If you are a Corrector, you may have already recognized yourself. If you have any doubt, take the following test. Give yourself one point for every yes answer.

You are overly critical of yourself for things you did or didn’t do.

You are overly critical of your mate and quick to point out his or her flaws. Off the top of your head, you could easily name a number of tasks your mate does wrong.

You continually strive to be perfect and consider yourself a perfectionist.

You tend to define the world in terms of black and white, right and wrong, good and bad. Your thinking is often polarized. Once you have made a decision, you have trouble understanding or accepting the other person’s point of view.

You are selfish in giving compliments and often are accused of being sexually selfish.

You use anger, and various forms of anger such as put-downs, sarcasm, guilt or pouting, to intimidate and control your mate and to get your own way.

You enjoy telling your mate what to do, and you get a feeling of satisfaction when you explain how to do it.

You schedule “free-time” activities carefully to get the most out of your time and you rarely engage in spontaneous play.

You are well organized, efficient, and accomplish a good deal both at work and at home.

You think of yourself as someone who can be counted on, is loyal, and keeps his word.
If you have 8, 9 or 10 yeses, you are a Corrector. If you have 5, 6 or 7 yeses, you frequently nag and complain, but you do not operate from the Corrector frame of reference. However, you might consider knocking off those critical comments because criticism only invites others to pull away from you.

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Are you the passive agressive one in your relationship? Take the test below to find out!

The Passive Aggressive’s main focus in life is himself or herself. For convenience, I’ll use “he.” However, there are also many women who are Passive Aggressive. The Passive Aggressive does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. He’s often late, he procrastinates, he tells you he will do something and then he doesn’t. He could get the job done faster and better, but he doesn’t.

Often a person will ask me, “How can someone be passive and aggressive at the same time?” Here’s an example.

Suppose I tell you I’ll meet you at 11:00, and I don’t show up until 11:30 because I decided to watch the end of the ball game. In addition, I don’t even bother to call, nor do I apologize when I see you. My behavior is angry. It discounts you. I’m not jumping up and down having a temper tantrum, but my behavior is certainly aggressive toward you. However, I am expressing the aggression passively. That’s why it’s called passive aggressive behavior.

In addition to being passively aggressive, many Passive Aggressives have very nasty tempers. Remember: it’s standard operating procedure for Passive Aggressives to do as they please. So if you confront them about their behavior, they often turn the confrontation around, and confront you on your behavior. Except their confrontation is usually more angry. As a result, it is you who backs down. And once again, they get their way. What is confusing at first about this personality type is that Passive Aggressives are often very caring and sensitive people. In fact, many of them will go out of their way to do nice things for you. The catch is, they take care of you when it’s convenient for them, and in their own way.

For example, Passive Aggressive buys you a beautiful wool sweater for your birthday. You’re allergic to wool. Or Passive Aggressive knows that you hate cats. He brings one home for the kids. Perhaps the best description of a Passive Aggressive is that he does what he damn well pleases. Take the following test, check off each item that applies to you or your mate.

You do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and how you want to do it. You set your own standards of behavior as opposed to following the standards of others.

You resist expectations of others by dawdling and forgetting. You hate it when others set deadlines for you, and often you do not meet them.

You get angry when crossed. You have a nasty temper and frequently use it to try to make your point, intimidate, and get your own way.

You think others have no right to tell you what to do, and often when you are told what to do, you respond in a defensive and hostile manner.

You rarely find yourself in a position where you think you have made a mistake and you need to apologize.

You often do not do what you have promised, and your mate is always on you about what you haven’t done.

You are unsure of yourself, and internally you feel powerless, and dependent and lack self-confidence.

You defend your behavior with such excuses as “I forgot,” “It never occurred to me,” or “I’m sorry you think that of me.” You feel innocent when you offer these excuses, and when you apologize it is usually a maneuver to get your mate off your case. Your apologies do not contain a promise to change.

You don’t think about how your behavior affects others. You simply do not take others’ wants and feelings into account if you want to do something.

You see yourself as basically a nice person and can’t understand why others often feel irritated and angry with you.
If you have checked off 8 or more items, you are definitely a Passive Aggressive. If you have checked off 5, 6, or 7 items, you sometimes have passive aggressive behavior, but you are not a passive aggressive personality.

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