4 Steps To Teaching Your Husband, Wife, And Family To Treat You Better

By Dr. Tony Fiore

Case #1- Elizabeth, a 40 year old homemaker was always feeling angry and “used” by her family, constantly saying that everybody took advantage of her. She felt that she worked like a slave but her family showed no appreciation or acknowledgement of her many efforts.

Case #2- Bill, a 34 year old husband complained that his critical wife was always angry at him.

He spent his life trying to cope with her outrages which often escalated him into defensive anger which didn’t happen anywhere but in this relationship.

Case#3- Betty, a 42 year separated mother struggled with her soon to be ex-husband’s contempt and disrespect every time she angrily called him to discuss details of their divorce.

These three cases bring up the question often asked by participants in our anger management classes: Is it possible to control how family members treat us? The short answer is “no” — but often we can teach them to treat us better!

Believe it or not, we are constantly teaching our family how to treat us— both by our responses to their behavior, and by the behavior we display to them which they react to. In our case examples:

– By automatically doing whatever her husband and children requested, Elizabeth was “teaching” them that there are almost no limits to what she would do for them.

– With his behavior, Bill was actually teaching his wife that the way to get attention from him (even if it was negative attention) was for her to create drama.

– Betty was so intimidated by her husband, that her defensive “attitude” was “teaching” him that to deal with her, he had to push back with the contempt and disrespect that he constantly showed her.

The dance of anger

Our interchange with family members is often like a carefully choreographed dance. They make a move. You make a move in response to their move. They then respond to what you said or did and …well, you get the idea!

How do you change the dance? Start by seeing yourself as a teacher—of how you would like your family to treat you.

Four ways to change what you teach others

1. Try a softer start-up. Marital research shows that the first few seconds of an interaction can predict the final outcome of the encounter. Try being softer, more polite, more respectful, less hostile, or more empathetic—and see how this change in your approach actually teaches others to respond better to you.

2. Take a time-out before dealing with the conflict or situation. Conflicting or arguing family members often work themselves up to a point at which problem solving is impossible.

The solution is to retreat and give yourself time to calm down and think things over. This takes at least 20 minutes, often much longer. Before taking your time out, it is important to tell the other person that you will commit to returning soon to deal with the conflict, after you are calmer—then be sure to do it!

3. Acknowledge that you see how they must be seeing the situation. Called “empathy,” this response on your part teaches others that you care about their feelings and viewpoints, and opinions.

Acknowledgement doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with their viewpoint —only that you see it. Sometimes, your family needs to know that you care about them and respect their opinions before they listen to what you say.

4. Set limits and boundaries for your family members. Limits and boundaries are basically rules regarding acceptable behaviors toward you as well as what you are willing or not willing to do.

If you feel others are taking advantage of you, ask yourself what you may be doing ( or not doing )to give the message it is “ok” for them to do whatever they are doing. Often you can change their behavior toward you by teaching them different rules of being with you. The easiest way to do this is simply to respond differently yourself. For instance, they make you the core of a nasty joke. Being a nice person, you pretend it doesn’t bother you (even though it does), so you laugh with everybody else. As an alternative, try not laughing with them, which is a way of teaching them that they have crossed a boundary with you.

Dr. Tony Fiore (www.angercoach.com) is a So. California licensed psychologist, and anger management trainer. His company, The Anger Coach, provides anger and stress management programs, training and products to individuals, couples, and the workplace. Sign up for his free monthly newsletter “Taming The Anger Bee” atwww.angercoach.com.

Successful Relationships Don’t Walk A Straight Line

By Ayize Ma’at

If you look at any successful relationships and really study it…you will be amazed at how sophisticated, complex, structured, clean, and ……DIRTY their relationship has been.  I intentionally highlighted dirty because folks have a general misunderstanding of what real love looks like.  Yes it’s pretty as hell….but that beautiful diamond you’re looking at initially had a whole bunch of dirt on it that had to be cleaned off.  The unfortunate thing about most people in relationships is that they’re unwilling to dig to find the diamond….and once found they are unwilling to deal with the DIRT!!!.

Come on yall….you can’t shine bright like a diamond if you are unwilling to get cut.

For INDIVIDUAL OR COUPLES THERAPY with Ayize and Aiyana Ma’at

CLICK HERE

Relationship Rule To Break–“We Need To Resolve ALL Our Conflicts”

By Norma Stevens

Couples often come to counseling with the expectation that they must resolve all of their issues in order to have a healthy, happy marriage. This is simply not true. In fact, marriage researcher, John Gottman and his associates, find that 69% of a couple’s marital conflicts CANNOT be resolved! That’s right! You won’t always agree and that’s okay! Gottman says these conflicts are based on differences of personality, lifestyle, or values. One person wants to raise the kids Protestant; the other wants them to be Jewish. One person prefers spending weekends working on the house; the other would rather spend weekends engaged in recreational activities outside the home.

 

By fighting over these issues repeatedly, couples are doing more harm to their marriage. But how can couples navigate through these issues while keeping their marriage intact? Gottman says “typical conflict-resolution advice won’t help.” Couples need to understand the underlying differences between them and learn to live with these differences with honor and respect. They need to develop empathy for the other person and their point of view.

You do this by crossing over the bridge into your partner’s world and listening, mirroring back what you’ve heard, and validating your partner’s reality. Explore your partner’s past and try to imagine how they might feel in the current circumstance using information you have learned about them from the dialogue. Oftentimes, the most important or meaningful interchanges are when partners truly feel heard and validated. Couples can learn to live with their differences with respect and empathy; and thus, build a loving, intimate marriage.

From Imago Center of Washington DC

Relationships 101: Ladies! Listen Up! Stop All That Drama!!!

By Aiyana Ma’at

Ask most men if they think that us women folk can be a little “drama-fied” and they will say Yup! If they make no comment it’s because they’re trying to avoid some……drama! What kind of drama am I talking about? I can see some of you women out there shaking your heads  and thinking “Aiyana is wrong!” “What is she talking about?!” You wanna know? I bet you do. Listen up!

Secrets Are Common Even In The Most Open Relationships

By Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D.

Not everyone feels completely comfortable engaging in self-disclosure, even to the people we hold most dear. Early in a relationship it seems particularly difficult to know just how much to reveal to the other person. However, you would think that by the time a couple gets really close to each other, they’d be unlikely to hold back in the sharing department.

Intrigued by the question of who keeps secrets, and why, University of Tennessee psychologist Beth Easterling teamed up with her colleagues from East Carolina University (2012) to find out specifically whether sexual orientation might influence the level of disclosure in close relationships. They reasoned that people in same-sex relationships spend more of their lives keeping their sexual orientations a secret to avoid the prejudice and discrimination they might face if they disclosed the truth to others. Therefore, they would carry this tendency to hide things even once they were in a relationship in which they felt comfortable with their partner.

There’s surprisingly little research on secret-keeping in relationships, so in addition to informing us about the role of sexual orientation in this phenomenon, Easterling et al.’s study sheds light on the issue in general.  In essence, the data from Easterling and her colleagues confirm the notion that secret-keeping becomes a basic way of relating to others among people who keep to themselves about their sexual orientation. A lifetime of living in the closet, as it were, makes a person naturally reticent to share openly to someone else, even a close relationship partner. However, also to emerge from this study were some, shall we say, revealing facts about who else keeps their partners in the dark.

Of course, there are secrets and then there are “secrets.” You might not admit to even your closest friend on the planet, much less your relationship partner, how much time you waste playing online games, scouring the sale racks of your local outlet stores, or reading pulp fiction. You might even hide the fact that you don’t cook your partner’s favorite brownie recipe from scratch but instead use a mix. These seem like innocent enough little lapses especially if you don’t allow them to interfere with your time together. Assuming that this is not the case, then such relatively minor foibles wouldn’t be considered “secrets.” According to Easterling and her colleagues, a secret is a secret in a relationship if it “directly affects or concerns the individual but is withheld from the partner” (p. 198).

An obviously example of such a relationship secret might be not telling your partner that you were once married or, worse, still are. Apart from this extreme, other examples of relationship secrets would concern your family (a siblingcommitted suicide) or your own past life (you were abused as a teenager). Secrets about finances would also qualify as relationship secrets if, for example, you have a huge unpaid debt or, conversely, a secret bank acount that you use to pay for things you don’t want your partner to know about.

The participants in the Easterling et al. study completed an online survey about themselves, their relationships, and their secrets. They ranged in age from 16 to 72 (with the average at 20 years old).  Three-quarters were female, about the same percent was heterosexual, and only one-third weren’t in a married or serious relationship.

In general, a large majority (60%) of the sample admitted to keeping at least one secret from their partners at some point in life, and one-quarter said they were keeping a secret right now. On a relationship secret scale ranging from 0 to 355 (based on number and frequency of secrets), the average score was 217.  Apparently, there are important secrets that people do keep from their partners, though not everyone does so to the same extent.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Accept It…We’re Wired Differently

By Cynthia James

There’s a scientific explanation for why you can’t figure out what he’s thinking.

Are men and women really that different? From my perspective, we are the same at the spiritual level; we all want to be loved, supported, seen and heard. We all want to be appreciated for our gifts and honored for our contributions.

The difference is in how we think and respond to situations and people often become frustrated when members of the opposite sex act differently than how they expect. Those I counsel in my practice make statements like “I wish he would listen to me like my girlfriends” or “I wish she would stop wanting me to talk so much.” The result of these expectations is frustration, blame and unhealthy relationships. And this isn’t just speculation; there is scientific evidence that men and women are indeed wired differently.

  • In a study from the National Academy of Sciences in 2013, researchers discovered physical differences between the brains of men and women. Men are generally better at spatial tasks involving muscle control while women are better at verbal tasks involving memory and intuition.
  • In 2001, researchers from Harvard found that certain parts of the brain are differently sized in males and females. Women’s brain processes were more complicated than those in men, but this allows for women to possibly think at a faster rate.
  • Louann Brizendine, founder and director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic, published The Female Brain, in which she notes that women are chatterboxes, speaking an average of 20,000 words per day, which is nearly three times the mere 7,000 words spoken by men.


CLICK HERE to Read more: 

Warning: New Study Finds That Nagging Your Man May Lead To His Pre Mature Death

By J.R. Bruns M.D.

A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health by Dr. Rikke Lund of the Section of Social Medicine and Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen, in a study of 100,000 subjects, found that men are three times more likely to die prematurely from complications brought on from the stress of living with a nagging spouse. Nagging is defined as “the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed.” Dr. Lund noted that. “It is interesting that we have identified that males who are exposed to worries and demands by their partners have higher mortality and are the ones we should focus on.”

Elizabeth Berstein writes in her Wall Street Journal article “Meet The Marriage Killer”, that “…women are more likely to nag, experts say, largely because they are conditioned to early signs of problems in a relationship. When women ask for something and don’t get a response, they are quicker to realize something is wrong.”

For many couples, nagging is a sign their relationship has hit the Disllusionment phase in the terminal stage of Mirage Man Syndrome known as Resigned Compliance. For men who have previously denied their legitimate needs, feelings and dreams to please their mate and achieve commitment, companionship and physical satisfaction, the strain of keeping up the charade that their lover’s tastes are their own begins to take its toll. Their seamless performance will begin to slip. Their mate will begin to see disturbing glimpses of another, more unpleasant man as the ecstasy of the Honeymoon stage begins to wane. For these “mirage men”, the annoyance of living with someone of few common interests, differing world views and clashing personality types will become acute. Physical intimacy will lose its pain-killing potency as the relational differences come creeping out from beyond the shadows into the harsh light of day.

Withholding information worked so well for these mirage men during the initial hot romance, but now it is the agent of destruction of the relationship. The wife or lover experiences a long slow slide into disllusionment as her once affectionate Prince Charming now seems so distant, oozing resentment in his actions and obsequious manner in complying with the most mundane requests to do household chores he used to jump to meet eagerly.These mirage men will snap into a trance of irritating and bizarre behavior when the wife interrupts them just to ask why a certain necessary responsibility wasn’t completed.

CLICK HERE to read more.

6 Steps To Stop FEAR From Destroying Your Relationship

By Danielle B. Grossman, MFT Why do we fight with our partners? I’m not referring to small arguments that resolve reasonably quickly with a compromise. I am talking about fights that blow like a hurricane into a peaceful day and leave us broken, exhausted, and confused as we wonder, what just happened? These consuming and crazy-making fights are generally fueled by unspoken and unnamed fears. Because most of us do not like feeling scared, we have spent years developing strategies to try to control our fear by squashing it or avoiding it. The problem is, fear does not like being forced out of town. It may ride away for a while, but it will come back, with its posse, armed and ready to force us to hear it and take it seriously. It is often in a marriage or committed intimate relationship that our fear comes riding back into town, ready to avenge us for casting it out. We have treated fear as the enemy, so it has gone into fighting mode. In fighting mode, fear is ruthless. In fighting mode, fear attacks by pulling us into a dark and catastrophic drama where we become so panicked and terrified that we can’t ignore the fear any longer. For example, perhaps a woman has a deep fear about being isolated and lonely. When this fear hits her periodically, she keeps it inside, trying to push it away. Eventually, the fear fights back, spinning a tragic story that features her husband as the ‘losing interest’ spouse who will eventually leave. Her mind, now controlled by fear, gathers bits and pieces of information that confirm and support this story. Now, perhaps the relationship does need some work. Perhaps her husband has been distracted and has not been attending to the relationship. Perhaps her husband’s energy is unavailable because he is being attacked by his own fears. As in any relationship, these thorny issues of ‘give and take’ must continually be addressed and worked out. Once fear has gone into attack mode, however, and the tragic story has been spun, there is no way to deal with these issues in a productive manner. Instead of a respectful and solution-focused conversation, the husband is now locked into the bad guy role. As a result, he may feel so trapped, frustrated and misunderstood that he is likely to lash out or run away from any discussion. This just confirms that he is the villain. To further intensify the drama, perhaps the woman is now the villain in the partner’s fear-driven storyline. He is now seeing the woman as the demanding and ‘never satisfied’ demon in the story that was created by his underlying fear of ‘not being good enough.’ Now stuck in the demon role, the woman feels so trapped, misunderstood, and frustrated that her own story reaches a fevered pitch of terror. The relationship hangs on the edge of a cliff, with imminent doom and total destruction.

Coping with Fear in Your Relationship

It doesn’t have to be this way. There is another way to deal with fear:

1. Name the underlying fear. Some examples are: Fear of falling apart, fear of rejection, fear of not being understood, fear of being judged, fear of being alone, fear of loss, fear of change, fear of aging, fear of being overwhelmed, fear of your needs being ignored, fear of boredom, fear of lack of control, fear of failure, and fear of helplessness.

2. Tell your partner that you have some fear arising inside of you, and share those fears. Own your fears instead of blaming your partner. For example, say ‘I am feeling afraid of a loss of control of our finances’ instead of ‘You always have to be the boss with our money.’

3. Listen to your partner’s fears. Do not try to minimize, negate or ‘fix’ the fears. Do not try to bully your partner’s fear into submission. Do not belittle, humiliate, shame, and threaten the fear. Do not make snide remarks such as ‘Oh, you are always afraid of something,’ or ‘Why can’t you just relax and be happy for once?’ By trying to run the fear out of town, this technique to try to avoid a difficult conversation will backfire and leave you with a bigger mess.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Why Do We Stay In Relationships We Should’ve Left A Long Time Ago?

By Rachel Dack, MS, LCPC, NCC

Unfortunately, it is all too common to stay in an unhealthy or toxic relationship. In fact, most people can relate to over-staying in a relationship with a partner who was not right for them, who displayed major red flags, or treated them poorly. Many admit to staying in a relationship even though their gut repeatedly told them to get out.

So, why do we stay in relationships that bring us pain and unhappiness or continue to engage with partners who are not good for us?

There are many reasons, although fear and insecurity are the biggest two. When contemplating whether to leave a relationship or not, fear often kicks in. Questions surface: Will I ever find love again? What if I end up alone forever? These questions ignite fear. Common fears include being alone, being single and not being able to find a partner who treats you well. These ideas create a spiral of negative and catastrophic thinking which makes it even more difficult to leave an unhealthy relationship.

You might have had early childhood experiences or family, peer and romantic relationships throughout your life that resulted in you feeling inadequate or undeserving. Insecurities, regardless of where or when they originated, can certainly keep you in the wrong relationship, especially if you do not ultimately believe that you deserve better.

As distressing as your toxic relationship is, you also know what to expect from it. This creates a sense of false security in something that is really detrimental to your health and makes you believe that it is scarier to leave. For example, being able to predict that your partner will yell at you and degrade you each night might feel less anxiety provoking than making a huge change to end the relationship and deal with the unknown. You might even grow to believe that things will get better and change so you continue to ignore your gut.

There are other key components that keep us with toxic partners. Many report that they stay in unsatisfying relationships due to finances, kids, not wanting to break up their family, or move.

Here are a few points to consider if you know you should leave, but find yourself staying:

1. Understand the signs of a toxic relationships and trust how you feel.

Are you constantly being put down, feel fearful of being your true self or feel drained after most interactions with your partner? Does your partner try to exert power over you, control you, manipulate you or change you? Answering yes to these questions are true signals that your relationship is detrimental to your well-being. Healthy relationships are filled with respect, compassion, love, and support.

2. Assess what is keeping you in the relationship.

Is it fear, finances, pity or not wanting to break up your family? Are you afraid to be alone or question if you will find the loving partner you deserve? What are the factors that keep you stuck?

CLICK HERE to read more.

Overcoming The Road Blocks To Effective Communication

By Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Communication is the life tool with which we may create and strengthen our relationships, and relationships are all about emotional safety and meaningful connections.

Communication is a tool like no other. Whether verbal or nonverbal, it is to your emotional and mental health, and relationships, what food and water are to your body. You may be wondering, if talking is such a “loving” activity why do you experience so much pain in your communications with one of the most important persons in your life, your partner?

Communication is not the problem; the real problem is allowing your subconscious minds to communicate in your defense, rather than communicating in conscious, deliberate ways that grow you personally because they energize life in your relationship. Just as we cannot not communicate, we cannot not relate. Therefore, it is not a question of whether or not communicate, rather a question of how you relate when you communicate.

How has to do with the emotional signals you are sending, distinct messages about how you feel about one another that either enhance or diminish the quality of your couple relationship. You may not be consciously aware of these signals, however, your subconscious mind is, and hypervigilantly so in situations where it thinks you perceive a threat or danger.

Alas, you are your partner are wired to seek fulfillment in the giving and receiving of your gifts of love. At the same time, you are also wired with a drive that propels you to seek to be known, recognized and valued as a unique individual. This is part of your quest for meaning and purpose in life.

Thus, the strivings for a deeper connection, on the one hand, and the strivings for being valued as unique being, on the other, create a natural tension in our relationships, seemingly pulling and pressing from opposite directions.
This tension, however, is critical to our well being. It is there, not to torment, rather to nudge us to learn what we need to know to find fulfillment, and realize all we can be as self-actualized beings. A healthy life is much like walking on a tightrope. The opposing pressures are actually invitations to learn how to live life in balance. Power struggles are inevitable in our relationship. They are the schools in which we learn both how to create and influence and make happen, as well as how to stand back, fully accept and let go. Both are essential capacities to cultivate, as we learn to manage our emotional states.

When we embrace painful emotions and fear as teachers, they help us learn how to protect our happiness, a task that is essential to us in order to realize the full richness of life. While this tension is uncomfortable and painful, it is not what produces the problems we face. In fact, suffering is a result of avoiding or not responding wisely to painful emotions we feel. Avoiding pain may be the primary culprit responsible for much of the suffering in couple and family relationships.

The real obstacles are certain meanings our brain has recorded and believes are true, in other words, a host of lies and illusions. What are the obstacles?

1. Fear of painful emotions and fear itself

One of our biggest obstacles is that your parents, like most all parents for many generations, did not know how to regard painful emotions, their own and their loved ones, as important teachers, opportunities to connect at deeper levels of meanings or action signals! Instead, you learned to go to one extreme or the other, either avoid, deny, reject painful emotions or fear—or wallow in them—in order to fulfill your needs to either connect or be recognized for your uniqueness. In either case, your sensory-self is hyper-vigilantly, to some degree, in charge. This means you are in survival mode, a state, where your “fight or flight” gets easily triggered, that you are not designed to be in for long periods of time. Your body burns enormous amounts of energy in survival mode. It is designed to do so to help you survive the occasional crisis. Afterwards, it needs time to repair! When the sensory-self is in charge, it is hyper-vigilantly guarding against enemy attacks in situations where, well, you are just at home with your loved ones!

CLICK HERE to read more.