Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

Flying Solo

Flying soloResolutions/Goals are also for those whose relationships are in trouble- if you are flying solo (or just feel like you are) here are some of my favorites for the New Year, courtesy of Michelle Weiner Davis.

 

1.Envision positive outcomes –There is no way that you can begin to accomplish positive change in your marriage if you don’t believe it is possible. Start by imagining what your life will be like when your marriage truly turns a corner. The more you can picture every detail, the easier it will be to eventually step into this picture at some later date.

2. Act as if you expect miracles to occur – Once you can imagine positive outcomes, reflect on how you will be behaving differently when they happen. Then start doing that right now!

3. Be kind, even if you think your spouse doesn’t deserve it – You may be angry, disappointed, or even devastated by your spouse’s choices and actions. However, rather than react to unsettling behavior, assume your spouse is lost and confused. Be patient, kind and steady and your efforts will pay off.

 4. Focus on small, positive changes – Don’t expect big changes overnight or you will be disappointed and it will make it hard to stay on track. Imagine the smallest change possible that would signal a shift in how things have been going. Then focus on that.

5. Promise yourself this will be a great year, no matter what – You cannot control what your spouse does, but you can control what you decide to do with yourself and your children, if you have them. Take a deep breath and envision how you are going to make this a good year regardless of your spouse’s choices.

6. If you get off track, get back on quickly without self-blame – What separates the winners from the losers is not whether or how many times you get off track, it’s how rapidly you get back on track. If you’ve veered from the plan, hop right back on track without self-recrimination.

 

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Starting Off Right

Starting off on the right footAs the New Year begins, sometimes we feel depressed after the hectic holidays.

The celebrations are over, weather is cold, business seems quiet, and you may be at a loss for how to get yourself going again. We can begin to mentally prepare for this coming year by taking time to assess our personal and professional challenges and accomplishments for the past year. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What have I accomplished this year? Be specific. Write it all down. Schedule some time to celebrate this!

2. What have I learned this year? What skills did you pick up? What emotional lessons?

3. What got in my way? This is where your work will be next year. Be honest if it was your own self that got in the way.

4. Who contributed to my successes? What can you do to recognize these members of your personal or professional team?

5. What mistakes did I make, and what did I learn from them? Writing these down is a good refresher for what not to do next year.

6. How was my work consistent with my values? What will you do with the inconsistencies?

7. Where did I not take responsibility? Sometimes this is easier to see with a little distance from the actual event.

8. How did my performance rate? Give yourself a letter grade or a 1-10 score.

9. What do I need to let go of? Doing so can help you move much more lightly into the new year.

10. What was missing for me this year?

How can you incorporate them into next year?
Doing these exercises can be a huge benefit to starting your year of on the right foot.

 

Coping with a Loved One’s Mental Illness

Witnessing the suffering of a loved one can be one of the most difficult situations we face. Among other things, we may feel powerless, frustrated and frightened. That’s true whether the suffering originates from a physical illness or injury, addiction or self-destructive activity.

When a loved one suffers a debilitating, persistent and chronic mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, those feelings can be compounded. Strange, unpredictable behaviors can be terrifying and confusing. Your loved one may suddenly rage at you with blame or be utterly dependent upon you for basic needs and emotional stability.

You may experience many confusing emotions yourself, including anger, grief, guilt, fear and sadness. As you struggle with each episode of illness and worry about the future, you may feel anxious and overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, since serious mental illness still carries a stigma, you may be keeping it a secret, resulting in increased isolation, frustration and difficulty because you may have no one to talk to about your feelings or no way to get information and support.

Read next weeks post to find out how To Help Yourself in coping with mental illness. . .

Self-Sabotage. . . Continued

Recognizing self-defeating thoughts and behavior is the first step to change. Many experts agree that to change the behavior, people must change their thinking. Therefore, the first step is to observe ourselves and our thoughts.

The next step is to take full responsibility for our thoughts and behavior-so that we control them and they stop controlling us. If we accept that we are doing this to ourselves, we can also understand that we have the power to change.

Self-observation is a powerful tool against the behaviors that defeat us. For example, Stan could take his son fishing and be careful to be positive and to stay silent when he feels a
criticism rising in his throat. To do this, he would first have to decide that a good relationship with his son was more important that being “right.”

Setting a goal is the next step. Without blame or shame, choose one behavior to change. For example, Patricia could decide not to be late anymore. To do this, she would have to decide that something was more important than being late-a job she loves, for example. One tactic might be to write a positive affirmation each night in a journal, or set her clock an hour early, or enlist a friend to call her for a week, reminding her to walk out the door. After a while, the rewards of being on time could become greater than the self-defeating cycle of being late.

It’s not easy to change patterns of self-sabotage, but with time and practice-and a good dose of self-love-it is possible to end a self-defeating cycle and live the life we truly want. (AFC 2012)

Saving Yourself From Self-Sabotage

When he was a boy, Stan vowed he’d never be a father like his own father-aloof, critical and emotionally unavailable. Yet, 30 years later, he catches himself treating his son harshly and constantly judging him for not measuring up.

Patricia loves her job and her boss. The only thorn is that her boss prizes punctuality and Patricia just can’t seem to be on time for anything, whether it’s a team meeting or that project that was due last week. What Stan and Patricia have in common is the all-too-common disease called self- sabotage. It eats away inside, creating a cycle of self-destruction with the result that we aren’t really living the

life we want for ourselves. Self-sabotage “hides inside us and toils against our best interest. If we don’t succeed in identifying and owning this sinister part, we can never be free,” says Stanley Rosner, author of The Self-Sabotage Cycle: Why We Repeat Behaviors That Create Hardships and Ruin Relationships.

Recognizing Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Numerous studies show that women are more prone to lower self-esteem and self-doubting thoughts. This leads to self-sabotaging behavior, according to author Nancy Good. In her book Slay Your Own Dragons: How Women Can Overcome Self-Sabotage in Love and Work, she lists several signs of self-defeating behavior that women (and men) can recognize:

  • Being overly passive, fearful, listless or indecisive, so that chances pass us by.
  • Having a chronically chaotic financial situation.
  • Being controlled by depression and anxiety.
  • Being controlled by compulsive behaviors to abuse alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, physical exercise, etc. Being compulsively late. Expressing anger inappropriately.
  • Being mistreated by partners and spouses. Being stuck in an unhappy relationship but doing nothing to change the situation. Having a series of unsatisfying relationships.

Read next week for steps towards change on overcoming self-sabotage. . .

(AFC 2012)

Veteran’s Day

This is one of those dates that comes only once in our lifetimes, and it happens to be Veteran’s Day this year. In honor of our Vets, AFC is giving out a special report to all Vets and active duty military that purchase a counseling package in November. The report focuses on long distance relationships, and includes tips and tools for family to remain close and connected during a deployment. If know of someone who could benefit from this, have them give us a call. If you are interested in volunteering to help a Vet, The Wounded Warrior Project is a great organization.

Most importantly, a BIG thank you to all of our military personnel for all of their work and dedication. 

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