Who are you? Everyone is different from birth. Lots of things that happen to us can change our perception of ourself. People around us expect us to be like them and as a child, we often don’t know any better. We all have different kinds of potential and that potential helps define our purpose in life. We often are so busy responding to the demands put on us by the outside, we have little time or opportunity to discover who we really are inside. Often we are caught up in doing what we think we should be doing but not really what reflects our purpose in life and uses our unique talents and abilities. Sometimes this is reflected an adolescent rebellion or in a midlife crisis and others don’t discover this until they are facing retirement.
With what is going on in Europe now with boundary problems, it is getting more and more clear that having little or no boundaries makes them vulnerable to people who will take advantage of that.
You think you are a good person and that others are good people too. Not setting appropriate boundaries leaves you wide open to people who don’t think like you do. It also leaves you wide open when you should be setting boundaries like with children and people who work under your supervision. Are you the kind of parent or boss who often winds up picking up after their children and/or doing someone else’s work along with your own?
How long can you do this type of thing without feeling angry? “Read my lips” no more “nice” guy or girl. You also lose people’s respect too. I have grandchildren and I can tell who does and who does not set boundaries with the grandchildren by the children’s behavior. You are courting chaos when you don’t do this.
Righteous anger? Is that possible? Is it polite? When we continue to let people take advantage of us (and we know it) aren’t we lying? Isn’t this a “sin?” of omission? So this person or child takes advantage of us figuring we don’t really say what we mean.
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I just talked about fear and the biggest fear is of fear itself. If we don’t talk about things until one of us, either partner gets mad, then it is hard to overlook how bad it makes us feel and deal with the issues themselves.
I don’t know about you but my very sense of security can be threatened. It got this way in my first marriage and maybe if we had the fights that we did when we were divorcing all along, the marriage could have been better.
Not trusting your partner is very destructive in a relationship; especially not trusting them to make a fair compromise and to not penalize you for bringing something up that needs to be dealt with.
Progress in my life has often been scary and painful and I often did not work on solving problems because I didn’t want to face the pain involved. This is especially true in interpersonal situations. Do you think that the most progress is made when something is easy to do? Be honest with yourself….
Progress can not always be assured even when we face something painful and that is potentially painful too. Could we learn something? This is something that could realistically happen. Learning can be painful too especially when you have to give up all or part of a long-held belief system.
When confronted with new conflicting information about a belief that a person has long held, people can either reject the new information in some way or change it so it fits their paradigm. The other option is to change their belief system to fit the new information. This is what learning is all about.
Some people are not really looking for conflicting information as it makes them uncomfortable so they back away from confrontations. They think there always has to be a winner or a loser in a disagreement and they are programmed not to lose because it hurts too. Compromise is sometimes a new thing to some people because of this.
When people come to new understandings about things, they can both be winners. They understand each other better and can anticipate making better decisions without out so much potential “flack” from the other partner.
Freudian psychotherapists have raised the subject of transference in the relationship between a therapist and a client. Transference can go both ways. Something about the client makes them see the therapist in a certain way. Sometimes something about the therapist makes them see the client in a certain way.
Education in a profession such as psychotherapy can lead the practitioner to believe they must present themselves as experts in the field and as not vulnerable to the types of things that bring ordinary clients into therapy. This can lead to rationalization and denial on the therapists part.
Rationalization means that the therapst can create a good explanation as to why he or she is not vulnerable to the types of problems his or her patients have. Denial can also result from the taking of this position and it can cause therapy to not move forward for the client.
Personal growth is one way possibly to help stop this from happening. Does the development of one’s self-concept and concept of life stop with attaining one’s maturity whether at 18, 21, or 35? No, it does not. Our perspective on life constantly changes with new experiences.
Honestly does a psychotherapist think that they can understand exactly how they learned to be who they think they are and stop growing. Wouldn’t personal growth experiences for psychotherapists help with this?
Is there only one answer? Hasn’t science found this out. What things did scientists believe were true when your parents were children and what have you or your children learned in the present that scientists’ did not know or believe then?
Remember the old saying, “Do as I say!” not “Do as I do!”
Also the more defensive barbed wire a therapist puts between him or herself and what he or she is asking their patient to do, the more “phony” and indefensible they become as therapists.
New learning and new growth leads to enthusiasm to carry this over into the psychotherapist’s work. Insights developed this way can help a therapist be more responsive in therapy. I now hear and see more things than I used to see or hear in everyday interpersonal interaction.
For example I can still learn from a four year old that grandma is not always smiling and looking happy when she thinks she is especially when I am feeling that I am working at something and forgeting to enjoy doing it.
As you can see I am taking a sabatical this fall. I have no classes to teach this fall which means it will be a squeeze financially but I will have more time to devote to writing for this website, more time to babysit grandchildren (which is a mixed blessing), more time to meditate in several different ways, and more time to pursue my own personal growth.
While I was teaching this summer (and taking an art class myself), I was feeling stressed out and at times it made me physically ill. Do you think that as a psychologist I should have known better than that? Maybe. But I just know from past experiences that it is a sign that I should take heed of and do something about.
It took time and money out of my pocket in order to teach even though I have been enjoying it and growing a lot doing it. Yes, I was paid but as a part-time instructor and only for what classes I taught each semester. This summer I made an hour round trip trip to town four days a week for two months spending the whole day there two days a week.
I will take two road trips this fall to see the evangelist Joyce Meyer and attend the homecoming celebration of my undergraduate college in honor of my class’s 50th anniversary. I will be doing this on a shoestring; but I am not going to miss these chances to do something I want to do which only comes along once in a blue moon.
I have already gotten one surprise phone call offering me some financial help for one of my upcoming seminars after it was decided that I was not going to teach this fall. I also have recently found some books that answer questions I have been asking, but did not get the answers for that I have been gobbling up.
Yesterday, I caught up on some of my sleep and decided to do nothing that I didn’t have to do. I missed one of my regular salesmen while I slept in the afternoon and I did not check on most of the things that I am checking on today and I did not turn my computer on.
I am growing. I intend to explore new and old things that I have not gotten around to doing recently.
Criticism and put-downs can be a form of mental abuse and so can sarcasm and being told that you can’t take a joke. Constant volleys of such “verbal” abuse can wear a person down and definitely not help them back up. It is often used in arguments to denigrate the opinions and/or wishes of those being put down. The partner might find him or herself spending more time defending themselves than having a constructive arguement.
Nagging can result from such interactions. If a person is never allowed to win an argument by the means cited above, they may resort to nagging as a substitute for not being able to win in an argument. Nagging can be a symptom of a relationship where one person doesn’t do something that the other person wants and in an argument over this issue, the other person feels that they don’t have to a chance to win.
Such forms of interaction discussed above can result in a negative living situation with one or both persons involved feeling “less than” and unable to cope. Being constantly “put-down” does not generate a comfortable situation and it can become a constant war zone in which one person always wants to win and the other person doesn’t feel they have a chance.
Punishment is not a good way to encourage certain forms of behavior; positive reinforcement is. Also on many issues over which partners fight there is often no one “right” answer. Many such arguments are about personal preferences and not absolutes although some people like to think that they are. Mother nature and our environments are set up to encourage certain types of tastes and certain types of skills.
For example, if I have sensitive hearing, I may prefer certain types of music over other types. Does that make me right or wrong when I argue with a person with different sensitivites and experiences. For example, I do not like most “bluegrass music,” certain old time country music, and polkas (unless they are extremely “lively”). However that doesn’t mean that I don’t like music as a whole.
It often boils down to a whole issue of control. If I maintain that the things I like and like to do are the only “right” ones than I can be sure that I won’t have to do or experience anything different that I might not like. In one relationship I was in, I was not allowed to eat any onions cooked or raw at home or away from home for he could always tell if I did and he didn’t like them.
Nobody is happy if only one person is in control of the relationship. The winner might get tired of having to tell the loser everything they are supposed to do and the loser might get tired of never having “any choice”. This can be the motive for murder where one partner kills the other.
Think of all the people who have helped you. For a moment, don’t count the times that they didn’t. Be appreciative of what you did get even if you can’t rely on them now. It is unusual to look back and not find at least one person who has helped you. Even people who have did you great harm might have done something that benefited you once. It is also easier to notice the things that have gone wrong than to count your blessings.
So often we do not remember or note in any way things that people who treat you right have done and value more what someone who has neglected us has done. Be truly grateful. Why is a favor done by someone who usually rejects us mean more than one by someone who consistently supports you. “Ah, you say when this happens, “It doesn’t count.”
There was a mother who had a lot of children. Two of them took care of her and even at one point had her live with each of them. Who did she get excited about when they came to see her or when she had a chance to go see them, the ones who usually did nothing for her and usually weren’t around very much. Seems shallow, doesn’t it.
You may feel the same way about family. If they are not the ones doing something for you, then it doesn’t count. Yet hasn’t God sent other people into your life to help you at times maybe when your family wasn’t there. People aren’t all or always bad.
No one’s family life is perfect and I spent some time when I was younger talking about what my parents had done wrong in raising me and did not talk about the good things (Oh, yes, there were some). For example, my parents put me through undergraduate school at a private four year college. Also holidays and family get togethers were important to them.
I don’t want to underestimate anything that went wrong in your upbringing; but many times there are more than one thing to consider if you are looking at how you were raised. Yes, the bad things might have outweighed the good ones; but the good ones still existed.
Women, men? Does the need for security control your life? Are you afraid to fight with someone because it might end your relationship with them? Women, people who put you down, often the man in your life, often win a potential conflict with the first blow. If he or she is mad at me, it is all over. It is very convenient to make a complaint or even make an angry comment when asking about something you don’t like or understand.
Conflict seems to be more natural for men. They can almost fight one minute and be friends the next. It can get pretty brutal one day and the next they are back to being the best of buds. Many women are different making a denigrating comment to another woman can end a relationship forever. So how does a woman react when someone puts them down. If they are depending on the relationship for support and security, they go into emergency crisis mode and/or feel “knocked up beside the head” by someone they thought loved and appreciated them.
Women can take a lot of negative comments from a man in a relationship often things the man forgets about as it wasn’t that serious to him or the man didn’t even realize the woman took it seriously or so hard. Men are constantly jousting, jockeying for position, and they don’t even think that seeing things ( from this perspective) that it was taken seriously.