Chances are, you know one. They do everything together; they share common ideals. They’re the couple that says that they rarely argue. When a disagreement comes up, they talk it out and they come to a compromise. And they live happily ever after. And you think, “If only I found my perfect match, I wouldn’t have marital problems.” While I’ll readily admit there are bad matches, good matches, better matches and best matches in marriage, many smooth-sailing marriages usually have one thing that makes them oh, so easy: a compliant spouse. A compliant spouse—husband or wife—is content to let the other spouse lead the way and make the decisions. He or she isn’t necessarily a doormat, but he usually wants to keep the peace more than have his way. Often times, he’ll suggest ideas but if his spouse shoots them down, he’ll just shrug his shoulders and go with the flow. There isn’t much true “compromise” going on: He just gives in. He takes direction well, and completes his honey-to list when asked. Leaving decisions to his mate allows him freedom to pursue other interests while relieving him of weightier responsibilities, too. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard women swoon over someone’s compliant spouse. And I guess I have to admit, I have done it, too. When your own husband has an irksome bull-headed streak, a complaint spouse sounds terrific. But do you really want a compliant spouse? Compliance is boring. It’s nice when a spouse brings his own ideas into the mix. It’s exciting to hear, “I have a better idea.” Now and then, a little giving in—for you—is good for the soul. It takes humility and love to be able to back down and let the other person get what he wants, even when it isn’t what you want at all. If you’re used to getting your way, be sure you aren’t turning into a total dictator or a spoiled brat—unless he likes it that way. These are the spouses that suddenly up and leave after long years of marriage, to everyone’s shock and surprise. They were quietly compliant but not happily so. If you have a compliant spouse, be sure to address his or her desires. Solicit his or her opinions and take them. If you keep dismissing his ideas, choices and opinions, for whatever reason however logical, he will stop offering them. Appreciate that your marital road is smoother than most, but give credit to the one who paves that way. From an article by Lori Phillips http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art5801.asp
Give me that man
that is not
and I will wear
him in my heart’s core.
Human nature is very complex. Men have learned to be strong, competitive and courageous in times of danger. History has shown that we are able to conquer our fears and reach our goals — as long as our will, conviction and desire are present. Mankind has overcome the hardships of war and natural disasters. Yet there is one natural fear that seems to overshadow most men: the fear of rejection. This instinctive emotion paralyzes and hinders us from doing the things we really want to do, including meeting women. Some men are so afraid of rejection that they would rather run through a minefield than walk up to a woman and ask her out on a date. The need to feel desirable and part of a group is inevitable, and some people will place themselves in extreme circumstances just to preserve that feeling of belonging. …there is a very simple way to overcome this crippling emotion: Develop a greater fear of regret. My father hit the nail on the head when he told me that I wouldn’t regret the times that I made a complete fool of myself, but rather the times that I didn’t try something out of fear. I learned that valuable lesson way back in my early 20s. I had a crazy crush on this sweet girl, but I was too concerned with rejection to ask her out. A few years later, I bumped into her at a friend’s party and found out that she also used to have a thing for me. I finally let her know that I’d had a crush on her, to which she replied, “Why didn’t you do or say anything?” Of course, it was too late because she had already gotten married. Most men fear rejection because it lowers their self-esteem. But there is really no reason to lose any confidence when women say “no” because they aren’t really rejecting you. How could they be rejecting you when they don’t even know what you’re all about? The important thing to remember is that no one in this world can appeal to everyone’s tastes. Each woman has her preferences, so if she rejects you, it just means that you don’t fit the description of what she desires. If you think that women who reject your drink offers or date requests are frightening, you don’t know what true rejection is about. Once a man sees what true rejection is, he realizes how childish it is to fear approaching unfamiliar women. True rejection occurs when a woman rejects a man with whom she has spent a considerable amount of time. It is the ultimate rejection because the man is dismissed due to his all-around identity. From an article by Curt Smith http://www.askmen.com/dating/curtsmith/19_dating_advice.html
As I look back on my life,
I realize that every time
I thought I was being rejected
from something good,
I was actually being
re-directed to something better.
Though almost three-quarters of Americans believe spanking a child is good for them, I’ve never been able to understand how we figured that hitting a child could teach a child not to hit others. Catherine Taylor at Tulane University and her colleagues reviewed data from a 20-city study that took place between 1998 and 2005. Data from almost 2500 children shows that 3-year-olds who are spanked twice a month are one and half times more likely to be aggressive at age five than children who are not spanked. What’s particularly interesting is that Taylor and her group were able to rule out the confounding effect of factors like the mother’s own history of maltreatment, intimate partner violence in the home, or the mother’s substance use, depression and stress. They even ruled out whether the parents considered aborting the child before birth. Though any one of these factors might create a home environment that makes a child more likely to be aggressive, none of these factors explained the difference between the children who were spanked and those who were not. On most issues I follow the lead of the parents with whom I work. I can be convinced of many things, from bedtimes to mealtimes. But tell me that spanking a child teaches them discipline and I have to shake my head. “Do your child a favor,” I say. “Teach them discipline through words and actions that are neither violent nor degrading.” Your child is much more likely to succeed… From an article by Michael Ungar, Ph.D. in Nurturing Resilience http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nurturing-resilience/201009/spanking-makes-kids-more-aggressive-the-research-is-clear
Spanking and verbal criticism
have become, to many parents,
more important tools
of child rearing than approval.
The ability to forgive oneself for mistakes, large and small, is critical to psychological well-being. Difficulties with self-forgiveness are linked with suicide attempts, eating disorders, and alcohol abuse, among other problems. But self-forgiveness has a dark side. Research suggests that while it can relieve unpleasant feelings like guilt and shame, it can also reduce empathy for others and motivation to make amends. In other words, self-forgiveness may at times serve as a crutch, producing a comforting sense of moral righteousness rather than a motivating sense of moral responsibility. Just as you probably wouldn’t forgive someone else until they make it up to you in some way, forgiving yourself may be most beneficial when you feel like you’ve actually earned it. So how do you know when you’ve adequately paid your dues? In some cases, it’s obvious what needs to be done (e.g., if you borrow your friend’s favorite sweater and lose it, you would probably want to find a way to replace it, at minimum), but in other cases the criteria for making amends may be less clear. Receiving forgiveness from others can help facilitate self-forgiveness, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide when you’ve done enough to right a wrong. Rather than simply going through the motions of atonement, it may be useful to consider what kinds of reparative behaviors will actually make a difference for others, or for your own personal growth. Even certain forms of self-punishment may be useful when motivated by a desire for self-improvement rather than anger at the self, though researchers recommend that such punishment be mild and time-limited, and never physically or psychologically harmful. For example, a teenager who engages in shoplifting and feels remorse might decide to refrain from shopping for three months and instead focus on her schoolwork. Problematically, research has found that self-forgiveness is negatively associated with empathy for victims. As self-forgiveness increases, empathy decreases. This disconnect is understandable: when you’re feeling compassion for the suffering of those you’ve hurt, it’s difficult to also have compassion for the person who caused that suffering. But self-forgiveness is not supposed to be easy, and without incorporating empathy it seems more like a form of avoidance. Importantly, self-forgiveness need not be all-or-nothing. It’s a slow process that may never (and some may argue should never) result in a full release of negative feelings or an exclusively rosy view of oneself. Rather than being a form of self-indulgence, healthy self-forgiveness might be better seen as an act of humility, an honest acknowledgment of our capacity for causing harm as well as our potential for doing good. From an article by Juliana Breines, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201207/the-dangers-self-forgiveness-and-how-avoid-them
To forgive is to set
a prisoner free
that the prisoner
Louis B. Smedes
It seems that we are re-discovering the undeniable fact that men and women are actually quite different. And we are beginning to develop a coherent and compassionate understanding of healthy, normal male emotion, behavior, and relationship dynamics. Man’s earliest ancestors lived in a harsh and hostile environment that placed a high premium on physical strength. The strong survived, and the weak lived exceedingly brief lives… Because he was the fighter and because he was the provider, it was inevitable that the male came to be responsible for woman’s welfare. This is the historical reality. Gender differentiation evolved out of actual physical, perhaps physiological, necessity. This biological foundation, along with recent findings from modern brain science, helps to explain why men do what they do, feel what they feel, and how they struggle with confusing, even conflicting contemporary role demands and expectations. Men have primarily been defined by their work roles (along with conquests and success in business, sports, wars, and other ventures), not by their role relationships within families or other social groupings. Historically, men were dominant over women, driven primarily by physiological factors, and the major forces of historical change were conducted by powerful male rulers and military leaders, a male-dominated church, and other powerful men. In the modern era, male stereotypes developed as a result of cultural ideals created in literature, movies, and television (cowboy, romantic hero, soldier, 1950’s family man, and even the angry, bigoted archetypes like Archie Bunker). Currently we are influenced by post-feminist stereotypes such as the bumbling, ineffective and inarticulate man, or just the insensitive “cave man” who “cannot communicate”. The role of men in the workforce, relationships and society has changed dramatically in recent history, as a result of revolutionary economic and social changes. Until very recently, there was no need or expectation for men to communicate in an intimate manner. There was no historical necessity for men to talk about their feelings, to be emotionally sensitive to others, or to “validate” women or children. From article by Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, PA http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-men.html
Feelings are not
supposed to be logical.
Dangerous is the man
who has rationalized
When men and women speak, the human brain processes the sounds of those voices differently, Britain’s Mirror and Agence France Presse report of a new study from the U.K.’s University of Sheffield. While most of us actually hear female voices more clearly, men’s brains hear women’s voices first as music. But it’s not music. It’s someone giving them a honey-do list. So the brain goes into overdrive trying to analyze what is being said. Bottom line: Men have to work harder deciphering what women are saying because they use the auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. Men’s brains are not designed to listen to women’s voices. It’s not the pitch of the woman’s voice, but rather the vibration and number of sound waves that cause the problem, notes Discovery News. But guys have no trouble at all hearing each other because men use a much simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain to decipher another man’s voice and recognize it as speech. “The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices. This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice,” lead researcher Michael Hunter told The Mirror. “When men hear a male voice they process it in the ‘mind’s eye.’ This is the part of the brain where people compare their experiences to themselves, so the man is comparing his own voice to the new voice.” Here’s a really bizarre side effect: These findings help explain why people who suffer hallucinations usually hear male voices. It’s just too hard for the brain to create a false feminine voice as accurately as it can create a false masculine voice. The research findings were published in the journal NeuroImage. http://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/men/package.jsp?name=fte/womenspeak/womenspeak
Most people do not listen
with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply.
Stephen R. Covey
You have mixed feelings about your worries. On one hand, your worries are bothering you—you can’t sleep, and you can’t get these pessimistic thoughts out of your head. But there is a way that these worries make sense to you. For example, you think:
Maybe I’ll find a solution.
I don’t want to overlook anything.
If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I’ll figure it out.
I don’t want to be surprised.
I want to be responsible.
You have a hard time giving up on your worries because, in a sense, your worries have been working for you.
It’s tough to be productive in your daily life when anxiety and worry are dominating your thoughts. If you’re like many chronic worriers, your anxious thoughts feel uncontrollable. You’ve tried lots of things, from distracting yourself, reasoning with your worries, and trying to think positive, but nothing seems to work. Telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work—at least not for long. You can distract yourself or suppress anxious thoughts for a moment, but you can’t banish them for good. In fact, trying to do so often makes them stronger and more persistent. You can test this out for yourself. Close your eyes and picture a pink elephant. Once you can see the pink elephant in your mind, stop thinking about it. Whatever you do, for the next five minutes, don’t think about pink elephants! “Thought stopping” backfires because it forces you to pay extra attention to the very thought you want to avoid. You always have to be watching for it, and this very emphasis makes it seem even more important. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to control your worry. You just need to try a different approach. This is where the strategy of postponing worrying comes in. Rather than trying to stop or get rid of an anxious thought, give yourself permission to have it, but put off thinking any more about it until later. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm
If I had my life to live over,
I would perhaps have more
actual troubles but I’d have
fewer imaginary ones.
As a parent, the most important message you can send your children about lying is that you always — always — want them to come clean with you. No matter how big a whopper they have told, remind them that you would always rather hear the truth, no matter how bad it is, than be deceived. Tell them there is really nothing more sacred in your relationship than your trust of each other. Of course, all this presupposes that we have discovered an untruth — some people are so expert at deception that it often takes a long time to find out that we have been lied to. How, then, can we best detect whether we are being misled? There is no foolproof way, but there are often clues you can see in behavior that should make you suspicious. Usually someone makes eye contact at least half the time they are talking to you. If you notice them avoiding eye contact or looking down during a specific part of a conversation, they may well be lying. A variation in pitch of voice or rate of speech can be a sign of lying. So can lots of umms and ahhs. Turning your body away, covering your face or mouth, a lot of fidgeting of hands or legs can indicate deception. Making statements that just don’t hold together should make you suspicious. If you lie all the time, even about unimportant things, you are likely to have a problem that will eventually – if it hasn’t already — cause you real relationship, financial or legal troubles. Figuring out what is driving you to lie in the first place will help heal this self-destructive behavior. This may mean going into treatment with a therapist to discover why you feel the need to deceive. Dr. Gail Saltz on The “Today Show” http://www.today.com/id/4072816/#.Um2mo3co6Uk
Every lie is two lies;
the lie we tell others
and the lie we tell
ourselves to justify it.
When you feel a surge of sexual jealousy, you’re responding to the possibility of being abandoned by your partner. But on a deeper level, jealousy is sounding a genetic alarm. Of course, your genes are the last thing on your mind as you watch your beloved flirt with an attractive stranger, but it is our genetic booty that jealousy’s urgent stab has evolved to defend. Our bodies and minds spring from thousands of generations of successful survival and mating ploys, all of which now operate in us. The most basic strategy is mate-guarding, on display during any cocktail party or Sunday stroll through the park: the innocent urge to put your arm around your partner in casual conversation; the not-so-innocent mention of a partner’s flaws, as if to say, “Trust me, this person is not the dazzling package she appears to be.” These are time-honored techniques to fend off potential rivals. Evolutionary psychologists and anthropologists believe that our ancestors rarely got a second chance to woo a mate. And the pool of potential dates on Cavematch.com was in the low two digits. It therefore behooved our ancestors to be hypervigilant about any real or imagined threats to their relationships. There are two ways jealousy manifests itself: as an appropriate concern and as a destructive disturbance. Jealousy is either a fine feather duster or a blunt mallet, depending on how we perceive our own value on the mate market. When jealousy simply alerts us, it is likely to result from a concern for the relationship. But when it is destructive, it is usually triggered by insecurity about our prospects. People with a poor sense of self (that is, those who are desperate to preserve their mating prospects) are more prone to the deep hurt and fury that precede angry outbursts. Today your odds of longevity and fecundity are much better, but if you feel that you’re worthless, then you might as well be living in the Pleistocene, so tenaciously will you try to retain your mate. The trouble is, it won’t work. Because the easily tripped alarm of excessive jealousy stimulates Neanderthink, the consequences of abandonment (the worst-case scenario) are exaggerated. Getting dumped requires an adjustment, and although that adjustment is rarely life or (genetic) death, as it might have been eons ago, we still fear the loss of our partner and crave constant reassurance. Paradoxically, however, a person who needs reassurance of devotion and fidelity will drive a partner away and into the arms of a rival. Othello instructed us: Harmful jealousy springs from a weak sense of self.. By accepting that perfect reassurance cannot really exist and that you do not absolutely need it, you can redirect your efforts to improving your relationship. The energy spent seeking an ironclad guarantee of fidelity could be better spent, say, being the fun-loving person with whom your partner would want to have an affair. From an on-line article by Nando Pelusi, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200607/jealousy-voice-possessiveness-past
Chains do not hold a marriage together.
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads
which sew people together through the years.
Obsessiveness is common in many ways – not being able to sleep at night because of hurting someone you love, for example, or developing a childhood fascination with dinosaurs that never leaves and you eventually become a paleontologist. Then there is an addiction to obsessiveness which stifles creativity. Obsessiveness is not only boring, it also lacks any faith in process. Process is always out of your control. You must be open to finding out what will happen instead of seeking a false sense of control. An example of this false sense of control would be to think: If I always know where you are, you can’t have an affair. Part of the control of obsessiveness is to nurse hurt feelings, exaggerate disappointment, and constantly blame the other for not coming to the rescue. Obsessiveness is very interesting because there are two sides to it: the positive side is creative passion that helps you know what really matters; the negative side is an addiction which makes you unable to prioritize anything. As a result, things have the same weight. Is s/he having an affair? Just how clean can my house be to prove I know what’s what? Are all those towels really folded correctly? Obsessiveness is a focus on what is NOT. Truly focus on the here and now in the moment and the obsession will change itself. Obsession is a substitute for action. Both polarities of obsessiveness are available. What is more mentally healthy, especially as we age, is sorting out what is important and what to let go of. Ultimately letting go is the final lesson of death. One of the many wonderful aspects about raising children is that elegant dance of knowing what’s important combined with the letting go work of adolescence and not knowing. The not knowing leaves room for respecting their choices as different from your own ideas of who they should be. Too many parents stifle and interrupt children’s abilities to make their own mistakes and their own choices. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
is like theft.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb