It might be an eye opener if I focused on the ways people persecute each other in the course of a day. Here are some all too frequently used ways to persecute someone:

Blame someone else when you go off your diet.

Smoke in the home of someone who doesn’t smoke.

Be late for an early-morning breakfast date.

Don’t send an RSVP when the invitation clearly calls for it.

Let everyone else in the company know you’re going to fire someone before telling the person himself.

As you’re leaving a meeting on Friday, tell a subordinate in an ominous tone you need to talk with him Monday.

Allow a sales clerk to ring up your purchase first, even though you know someone else was ahead of you.

Always wait until the second notice before paying a bill.

Say you’ll mail a friend’s letter and then let it sit in your car for a week.

Refuse to let another driver pull into your lane.

Make your carpool sit for 10 minutes while you finish getting dressed.

Be a half-hour late for a dinner party and don’t call. And when you get there, don’t apologize.

Stay in bed until the last minute and then scream at the children to hurry up and get ready for school.

Don’t make your child-support payments on time.

Cancel a dental appointment five minutes before you are to be in the dentist’s office.

Make a lot of noise in the morning, even though everyone else is sleeping.

Don’t tip the waitress because the food doesn’t taste good.

Tell a job applicant you’ll call on Monday to tell him whether he got the job, and then don’t call.

Smoke a cigar at a meeting.

Lecture your child for an hour on his transgressions and bring up everything he has done wrong in the past.

Let your dog bark for hours outside in the middle of the night.

Simply hang up when the party on the other end says “Hello” and you realize you’ve called a wrong number.

Lend a book to a friend when you’ve already promised it to another friend.

Never pay back the petty change you borrow.

Throw your spouse’s coffee away without asking whether he or she is finished drinking it.

Use someone else’s idea but take all the credit.

Do you know any other ways that you may be persecuting someone?

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


I guess there are some things I’ll never understand.

For example, why would a landscaper come to your house, draw up elaborate plans, meet with you to go over the plans, and then never get back to you with a bid?

When you call him, he says, “Oh, I’m going to get that bid out this afternoon.” But it never arrives.

I’ve heard stories about furnace men, air conditioner people, painters, plumbers, carpenters, and wallpaper hangers coming to make a bid, and then never getting back to the person with their bid.

If they see that they don’t want the job, why not tell the customer, instead of putting the customer on hold?

Then there’s the plumber who says,

“I’ll be there Monday afternoon.” You take off work to meet him. And, by heck, he doesn’t show.

Monday night you can’t reach him. Tuesday morning you can’t reach him. Tuesday afternoon, when you finally talk, he doesn’t even say, “I’m sorry,” or, “I forgot,” or, “I got tied up.” He says, “I’ll be there Thursday.”

You cross your fingers. Of course you could call another plumber, but you might run into the same thing again.

There is also the person who says, “I’ll call you this afternoon with the information,” and then doesn’t call.

Even if he isn’t able to get the information, he could give you the courtesy of a call back. Or he could have his secretary telephone and explain that he wasn’t able to get the information.

We all have times when we don’t want to make a telephone call that we have promised to make. Our life is already too full. But if we could remember how it feels to hear someone say they are going to do something, and then not do it, we might be more responsible.

This week, do everything you say you are going to do. If you can’t possibly follow through, give the person a call back, or drop him a note.

Life isn’t always so dependable. But people could be.

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

A 24-year-old daughter had to move back home because of her financial problems several weeks ago. Both mother and daughter were concerned that the arrangement might not work, and they asked if I had any tips on how to keep their relationship happy.

I suggested that one of the best techniques I knew to side step an argument was to refrain from making critical comments. I further suggested that both the mother and daughter write down their complaints. Writing them would dissipate their own feelings without damaging the relationship.

Less than a week had gone by when mother and daughter decided to share their lists with each other. This was not part of my plan. However, as they read their lists, their laughter grew. It seemed that the mother had a preoccupation with bathing and water and the daughter was preoccupied with Mom’s appearance.

Here are some of the items the mother had on her list:

Don’t you brush your teeth first thing in the morning?

Are you going to wear that shirt again without washing it?

Would you please get your car fixed before your engine blows up?

Isn’t that the fourth shower you’ve taken today?

There’s a button missing on that blouse.

Do you have your glasses?

Wear a jacket. It’s cold out there.

Stop watching television and go do something constructive.

Your room is starting to look like a pig pen. Where is your pride?

Don’t forget to call your friend back.

The daughter listed these comments:

Those shoes look ridiculous.

Why are you wearing pantyhose with your shorts and sandals? If you could just see yourself.

Can’t you drive a little faster?

Get those curlers out of your hair!

That’s not the way to pronounce her name. It’s Oprah, not Oufrah.

Don’t you ever shave your legs?

Are you going to stand here and listen to my entire conversation?

Are you going to wear that? It has got to be a hundred years old.

Why don’t you just chill out, relax, calm down.

After going over each other’s lists, mother and daughter decided that they both needed to keep their criticisms to themselves if the relationship was to be a happy one.

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

Every once in a while I’ll read a headline on the cover of a woman’s magazine that states “Affair Makes Marriage Better.”

What I’ve seen through the years, however, is that an affair does not help a marriage. In fact, an affair always damages a marriage. It causes tremendous pain to the partner who has been cheated on. It frequently brings pain to the partner who is forced to break off the affair. And the issue of trusting one’s mate again almost never resolves itself completely.

So why the headline about an affair helping a marriage?

Partly it’s a gimmick to sell more magazines.

Partly there is some truth in the fact that when a woman has an affair, it changes the dynamics of a marriage. And it is this change in the dynamics that often creates a better relationship.

When a woman starts focusing on someone else outside her marriage, she is not so focused on meeting her husband’s emotional needs. She no longer hangs on everything he says, nor does she do special things for him. Chances are, she stops complaining about what she wants him to change. She is simply not focused on him.

On a subconscious level, her hus­band feels this pulling away. No longer does he receive the day-to-day attention, whether it be positive or negative, that he has become accustomed to.

When he starts to feel this lack of attention, he automatically starts looking toward his wife, who in the past has been the main source of his attention. And inadvertently he starts focusing on her. He may ask his wife about her day. He may fix her an iced tea. He does things he’s never done before.

Therefore, an equally valid headline might read “Break Your Leg and Your Marriage Will Improve.”

Why? Because if a woman breaks her leg, simply because she can’t get around and do a lot of caretaking, the dynamics in the marriage are going to change. The man is going to have to do more chores and focus more on his wife. The wife is going to have to do less and focus more on herself.

If you’re the woman who feels disgruntled in your marriage because you do not feel that your husband takes good enough care of you emotionally or physically, decide on your own to change the dynamics in the relationship. Don’t have an affair or break your leg, but do focus more on yourself and less on him.

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


The other day, an editor called me and said, “Doris, I feel crazy. I have so much to do, and I’m never going to get it all done.”

Clearly, this man wasn’t going crazy; but after listening to his schedule with all the deadlines that he had to meet, I could understand why he felt so anxious. It sounded as though he had about 200 hours of work and only about 130 hours left in which to complete the work.

After listening to him list in detail everything he had to do, I asked if he wanted any suggestions, or if I could do anything for him.

He said that just talking helped; and in the end he knew he would get it all done, or at least get done what was absolutely necessary.

So often I hear the same lament in therapy. The person feels that he has too much to do and that he doesn’t have enough time to do it all. His life is disorganized; and if something doesn’t give, he’s going to die of a heart attack.

Usually when someone starts feeling overwhelmed, and most everyone feels overwhelmed occasionally, all the person needs is a good listening ear. In the telling of his tasks, he gets to dissipate some of his anxious feelings. And sometimes in the telling he is able to figure out what absolutely needs to be done versus what he would like to get done.

So when your friend or mate or child tells you how overwhelmed he or she is feeling, give the person an ear. By re­viewing aloud what they have to do, people start to feel more organized because they are sorting through and listing their chores. They feel more in control as they see what they must finish versus what they can put on hold for another week or two.

Rarely do over-extended people need suggestions, but almost always they need someone who will listen.

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

Catherine who had a mastec­tomy several years ago and has been gaining weight ever since, has slowly been losing confidence in herself. Through most of her life, Catherine has liked herself. But since her cancer, her self-esteem has been shot. “I’m also poor now,” she says, “so I can’t go out and buy myself something so I can feel good about me.”

Mike, on the other hand, has never felt good about himself. As a child he was underweight and the littlest in the class. Although he’s average size now, he still doesn’t feel good about his looks. He also feels badly about his lack of a college education. “My parents didn’t go to college and they didn’t push us kids. No one in my family ever asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? What are your goals?”

Jim doesn’t respect himself because he repeatedly manipulates his expense account and takes advantage of his partner. He says, “I always have this gnawing feeling that I’m not a good person.”

Mary lost her self-esteem when her husband left her.

Sue lost hers when she had to get a job outside the home and found she had few saleable skills. She works as a teacher’s aide and hates every minute of it. “It’s humiliating having someone fresh out of college telling me what to do.”

All these people are seeking counseling because of their poor self-esteem.

What is this elusive concept of self-esteem? Most psychotherapists would agree that it’s a feeling a person has that he is valuable. He likes himself. He feels adequate.

Some people seem to have had high self-esteem most of their lives. As far back as they can remember they liked themselves. When others look back, all they can recall are only bad feelings about themselves.

For most of us, self-esteem goes up and down, depending on what’s happening in our life. Poor health, job loss, marital problems, inability to lose weight, and not being able to pay bills generally lowers self-esteem. A promotion, a happy marriage, a signed contract, a new hair-do, or a clean house may increase one’s self-esteem.

Most people can improve their self-esteem. The way to feeling better is to ask yourself, “What would make me feel more valuable?”

If you find that the answer is a college education, sign up now. Start with one class. If you believe the answer to your poor self-concept is to have a boyfriend, put yourself in more situations where you can meet someone. If your self-esteem has plummeted because of a job loss, set a goal of contacting fifteen possible employers per week. A person who is actively pursuing a goal automatically feels more self-esteem.

If you can’t get back something you’ve lost, such as health or a husband, come up with some substitutions in your life that will give you a feeling of self-worth. Become an expert on Matisse or Beethoven or mission furniture. Walk three miles a day. Visit your church once a week. When people set and pursue goals their self-esteem grows.

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

It’s sheer agony working for my boss,” a woman recently told me. “He’s unbelievable.”

She continued: “In conversation he always puts you on the defensive. He asks rude questions such as “How old are you anyway?” “Are you a natural blond?” “How much money does your boyfriend make?”

“When he wants to make a point, he puts his hands on your shoulders to let you know he’s serious.”

“He assigns you a project, but then checks up on you 25,000 times. He butts in, changes it. He won’t let you be responsible for it.”

“He comes up and picks lint off my suit. He straightens my collar or my scarf. I want to say ‘Buzz off, slime ball.'”

“He acts like I didn’t have a life before I started working for his company. He thinks he made me what I am.”

“He can’t sit down very long. In the middle of a brain-storming session someone will be talking and he keeps butting in and interrupting. After he says what he wants to say, he gets up and leaves. Or he leaves while someone else is talking. We think he’s gone to the John. He doesn’t come back. We say, ‘Where is Fred?'”

“When decisions are made after one of these brainstorming sessions, he’s mad if we don’t use all his ideas.”

“When he’s with a client, he promises them the world. And then he reneges.”

“He is unbelievably tight when he negotiates salary. He uses every tactic in the book to intimidate you and make you feel insecure. He tells you that earnings are down. Times are hard. He’s doing you a favor by keeping you on the payroll. No one else would want you anyway. He, on the other hand, lives in a million-dollar house and drives a Jag.”

“He talks of being friends and thinks nothing of asking you to stay late or to come in early or give up a weekend. He says, ‘Friends do that for each other.’ But he never says thank-you or rewards you with a bonus.”

‘He takes your ideas and somehow in a week or two they become his ideas.’

“He starts a conversation in the middle of what he’s thinking about and you are always trying to play catch-up and figure out what he’s talking about.”

“He makes lewd remarks about other women.

“He makes lewd remarks to your boyfriend about you.”

“He never asks any follow-up questions about your life. You could say, ‘I broke my knee last night’ and he wouldn’t ask you how you did it.”

“Almost everyone thinks he’s a jerk. Doesn’t he get it?”

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

%d bloggers like this: