Children and Divorce
"A hundred years from now it will not matter what sort of house I lived in, what my bank account was, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of my child."
Separation and divorce are so disturbing to adults that some authorities say it is more stressful than the death of a partner. The anxiety and turmoil feel overwhelming. It is very difficult in this emotional state to be fully aware of the effect on your child.
Divorce and the emotions that go with it are a process. You will not feel this way forever. Most adults feel neutrality toward their former spouse within about 18 to 24 months. The worst is the beginning months, as emotions calm and decisions are made; the conflict loses power deflating gradually like a helium balloon.
A child cannot reach neutrality about their parents. Both their mother and father will be their parents forever. Children think of their parents as a package deal. They did not know them when they were separate people. Their very D.N.A. is made up of the combination of their parents. You will not want them to think that part of who they are is bad. Children experience divorce differently than adults. They have different issues and concerns. How they weather this life changing event is primarily up to their parents.
Children fare best in married families where parents love once another and the children.
Children do not do well in families that are high conflict, where parents are violent, argue or demean each other, especially in front of the children. Safety must always be a parent's first concern.
The magnitude of the adjustment is variable. All children will feel hurt and angry but you the parent can help them during and after the divorce. How a child perceives the respect and cooperation of the parents toward one another will influence every aspect of their life, emotional, physical, and academic. Their relationships will be influenced as well.
It is very difficult to be respectful and cooperative with the person you are divorcing. It may be the most difficult thing you have ever done, however the love of your child is the most powerful emotion on earth. Each child is very different and will manifest their grief in their own way.
Help for Children of Any Age
- Reassure your child that this separation is not his or her fault.
- Don't talk negatively or with anger about your spouse to your children on a regular basis. If you can't talk positively, limit what you say. It's okay to acknowledge your anger as long as your children understand they can and do have feelings that are different than yours.
- Try to avoid arguing bitterly in front of the kids so they won't feel that differences are resolved by yelling and fighting. Remember, too, that retreat and silence are just quieter forms of anger and are just as destructive.
- See if you can agree with your spouse about disciplinary matters, at least in the presence of your children.
- Make special efforts to maintain individual relationships with each child.
- Assure your child that it's okay to love the absent parent. A child who wants to be like Mom or Dad isn't being disloyal to you.
- Don't compare your child to your ex-spouse, even when similarities are poignantly striking and painful to observe.
- Don't blame your child's anxieties, fears, or problems at this difficult time on the absent parent-either to the child or the absent parent.
- Help your child not to feel shame about your divorce. If you feel shame and shut your children out, they too will be ashamed and worry about facing their friends and schoolmates. A divorce doesn't make you a failure.
- Don't make your child a messenger between you and your ex. Children will not enjoy being in the middle but they will probably not tell you that.
- Do let your children's teachers know about the change in your family's structure so they can help your child.
- Don't make too many changes in your child's life at once.
- Allocate family chores in such a way as not to overburden each child. Find ways to get household chores completed despite the absence of the one who always mowed the lawn, washed the car, and so on. Kids should not have to do all of Daddy's or Mommy's jobs around the house.
- Don't ask a child who she or he wants to live with or loves more...directly or indirectly.
- Encourage your child to resume normal activities.
- Acknowledge children's deep-seated wish for a reunited family without offering false hope or angry denials.
- Include your child in any appropriate discussions or planning particulars with a parent who will be making a long-distance move.
- Try to maintain as much emotional control as you can. If you repeatedly fall apart, your children may, too, or they may feel obligated to take over adult roles that are beyond them.
- Don't turn your child into your adult confidante.
Lanskey's Vicki. Divorce Book for Parents. Minnetonka: Book Peddlers, 1989. Print
Attorney Burnout Counseling
Attorney Burnout Counseling: Susan M. Jacob Ph.D.
Dr. Jacob has twenty years experience helping attorneys to get balance back in their lives.
- · Practicing law is one of the highest stress professions.
- · Chasing billable hours and clients who will pay their bills
- · Demanding firms
- · Unrealistic expectations of clients (who watch too much attorney themed television shows.)
- · Long hours in the office and firms and clients who expect attention nights and weekends.
- · Never enough help
- · Constant competition
- · Attorneys have one of the highest Divorce rates
- · Home and family neglected to meet work demands.
- · Attorneys are burning out, divorcing and many times developing drinking problems.
- · Leaving work at the office becomes impossible; you feel you must always take the call on your cell phone.
- · Skill that help you win professionally don’t translate to relationships
- · Health problems from stress
- · No time or energy for yourself
- · Never enough money to cover all the bills
- · Don’t know how to relax any more.
· A few drinks used to help but may have now become a problem
Dr. Jacob has a specialization in the treatment of Chemical Dependency
Dr. Jacob has a specialization in Marriage Counseling
Why Kristin Need Counseling: Adolescents and Divorce
Kristin, fifteen, has been yelling at both of her parents. “You’re ruining my life. You’re both idiots. I hate you both.”
They used to be close. Was this just adolescent rebellion?
Kristin’s parents are getting divorced and she couldn’t care less. Well, maybe she wishes she didn’t care.
Kristin is so confused and angry, she thinks that she will just go live with her friend. Her parents are both losing it. Kristin doesn’t know why her grades are going down. She is sick of people asking her. Why won’t everybody just leave her alone? It is her life and they should try to manage their own. What kind of example do they think they are, always fighting over the same things? They hate everything and so does she. They fight about two things mostly, her and money. She knows she cost them a lot of money. They always complain about everything she does.
Kristin knows that her parents can’t handle having her as a kid. She is embarrassing them. She knows they are upset that she does not play basketball anymore and is failing a class. Really basketball and tutors cost money and that was one of their complaints, on and on and on. She hears her parents accuse each other of “messing her up.” She knows she is a screw up, O.K.?
Kristin’s mom, when she is not crying, is getting stricter. Her Dad used to say, “listen to your mother." Now her Dad says, “Your mother is a crazy person, ignore her nonsense.” Her dad is freaking her out trying to be cool. Who is this guy? He wants to be friends with her friends and even gave everyone a beer. Kristin wanted to see how far he would go. She started smoking. He actually bought her a vapor cigarette. He doesn’t care what she does or what becomes of her. This is clear. Why should he after all her crap caused him to move out?
Mom found about the beer and the cigarette. Actually, Kristin told her. Mom wigged out and really let her Dad have it. At least she called him. Her Mom says she cares, but she doesn’t. She just cries and complains about money. Kristin is pretty sure her Mom hates her for not being a star daughter any more. She won’t let her see her friends; she is grounded forever for small things. Kristin thinks her Mom wants her to take her side, but how can she?
Who knows what Mom is mad about when she is always yelling. Mom doesn’t want her to have any fun at all. Mom used to actually be alright, she listened and so did Dad. This is before she ruined their life costing lots of money they didn’t have.
She can’t wait to talk to that Judge who decides everything. She will tell them how screwed up both of her parents are. She has watched Judge Judy plenty of times. That judge will tell them to get back together and act like grownups or she will just let Kristin go live with her friends. Kristin is making a list of everything that judge will need to know from her when she gets to talk.
Kristin snuck out the window with her boyfriend and her parents went wild calling everyone. They came to get her at his house together. They were crazy mad at her but acting like they used to before they were shouting about divorce. It was kind of cool.
Kristin did better in school for a few weeks but her parents were still blowing everything up. She dyed her hair purple and cut it herself just to see if they noticed she was still alive. Mom took her to a hairdresser and told her, “this is all your father's fault.” Dad didn’t notice at first but then said, “You look real hip, baby”.
Her Dad was creeping her out trying to act all young. It was kind of pathetic, but who wouldn’t party if their dad let them? She knows her dad wants her to take his side. She pretends that she does, but he doesn’t care what she does, period. Kristin realized that she had to do really radical things for her parents to call each other to try and fix her.
Sneaking out with these guys was creating a big drama, and when she showed up dirty on a drug test, they wigged out again and had to work together. Kristin now has to keep her game going so her parents would be together. Doing good stuff didn’t work, but if she was bad enough, it did. Kristin was scaring herself. The police took her home last night. That sure got her parents talking.
Kristin needs help.
Ella is seven and Nick is eleven. Their parents are fighting behind the doors most nights. Sometimes Daddy does not come home. They are not sure what is happening but it is not good.
Mom is spending a lot of time on the computer and on the cell phone. She has bills and papers all over her desk. She stayed home from work to find out something about Her. Mom is crying and doesn’t answer when either kid asks a question. She might just hug them and say “I am so sorry, I don’t know what went wrong.”
“Sorry for what Mama? What went wrong? What are you looking for?”
Mom tells them, “nothing.”
Ella and Nick both have heard Mom yelling and crying and insisting that Daddy show her his phone.
“What are you hiding? Why did you change your password? Just tell me! How could you do this to me and the kids? How could you? This is about Her, isn’t it? Don’t you care about your family anymore?”
Daddy keeps looking at the floor and saying, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Ella and Nick both know this is about them. Their parents are both mad and don’t have time to talk to them. What have they done to make Her more important? Ella is frightened and having nightmares. Her has become like the monster under the bed. Nick is practicing taking Her out with a Karate kick. His Dad forgot to take him to class but he assures Ella he knows a few good moves.
Soon, Daddy leaves without a word, to move in with Her.
Their Dad takes them to his place and Her turns out to be Lisa a lady who he works with. Daddy is smiling and too happy. Lisa has a pool and a dog and is very nice. She asks them what they want to eat, where they want to go and she buys them stuff. They hate her a lot.
Daddy leaves them with Lisa and she tells Ella, “Drink your milk like a good girl.”
Ella shakes her head and finally says “Cow milk makes me sick.”
“Oh it will be fine with a little chocolate in it.”
Ella drinks the milk. Nick does a karate kick and knocks the whole carton on the floor.
Lisa gets mad and calls their Dad. “He tells Nick to clean up the mess and listen to Lisa.
Ella throws up and Nick yells “You are not my Mother!”
Later both kids cry and ask Dad, “why did you give us away to Her? She doesn’t know anything about kids. She can’t be our Mom. We will hate her forever.”
Everyone needs counseling, forever is a long time.
Why Jason Needs Counseling
Jason was six now and would be seven as soon as he had a birthday.
Last year, Jason had a big birthday party with lots of presents and a bounce house. He got to invite all his friends. The parents came as well and had hot dogs and cake. The cake was a really big chocolate one with Star Wars action figures right in the frosting. Everyone laughed and his mom and dad held hands.
Jason didn’t know why his parents wouldn’t be friends anymore. They tried not to yell when they thought he could hear. They whispered in a voice that sounded like hissing. He could hear most of what they fought about. They hissed two words the loudest and the most often, his name and money. This is how Jason knew that he had done something so bad that his parents would not make up.
Jason’s mom cried every day. Jason’s dad was always mad and slammed things. One day, he was so mad he hit a wall and left a hole. Jason heard the word divorce mostly when his mom was on the phone crying. He didn’t know what the word meant. Jason was afraid if he asked his dad, he would get mad, and if he asked his mom she would cry. He wished he hadn’t caused them to use this word that he was pretty sure was a cuss word. Jason heard both of his parents say over and over, “We will see what the judge says about where Jason stays.” He had seen on TV that a judge’s job was to send bad guys to jail. He thought maybe he was going to jail because he cost so much money. He wished he had not asked for a Star Wars birthday cake, presents, and a bounce house. He knew for sure this cost a lot of money and now his parents didn’t have any.
One late night, Jason heard the front door slam hard, then his dad’s car started and drove away. He waited by the window to tell his dad he was sorry when he came home. His dad never came home. Mom kept crying saying “how could he do this to us?” Jason didn’t know if he was him or his dad. His mom asked this question at least a hundred times. Jason was scared because he knew he should have the answer, but didn’t even have a guess. Jason stayed awake at night hoping his dad came home so he could say he was sorry and his mom would stop crying. He couldn’t remember what the teacher asked him either because he was worried that his mom would ask him the question one hundred more times. He was thinking hard about how to answer. He began to worry that his mom would slam the door one night and drive away and not come back. He was so scared he wanted to sleep with his mom. He started wetting the bed. Jason hated this because it was wrong and he wanted to be good so his parents would hold hands again.
In time, Jason’s dad started coming to take him to dinner. “What is mother going to do about dinner and why can’t mom come? She likes pizza.”
“Well pal, you’ll understand women when you get older. They get everything.”
“Dad, then why can’t she get pizza if she gets everything?”
“It’s going to be just us guys Buddy.”
Jason hated his new names Pal or Buddy. He felt like he was going to throw up when his dad talked like that.
Jason started hearing mom talk on the phone about moving. He did not know where they would move. He asked his mom, “Can we move with dad to the place with the stairs and the big TV? Mom, it has a swimming pool.”
His mother cried and wanted to tell her he hated his dad’s place. He worried if he could keep his dog. Jason did not think you got to keep a dog in jail.
Sometimes Jason stayed at his dad’s place. His dad tried to be cool and take him all kinds of places that he usually only got to go to on his birthday, He worries because his dad said he didn’t have money. He worries because his dad might get lonely watching the giant TV without a couch.
Both parents asked him a whole lot of questions when he came back from being with one of them. He didn’t know how to answer because he didn’t want either parent to quit being his friend. He learned fast that if he said something like, “we had a very cool time”, the other parent would get their feelings hurt. He has messed up everything enough. He just shrugged now.
Jason’s teacher was upset because he didn’t listen but he did not even hear her. Jason thought everyday about what he did to cause all this and what he could do so both parents didn’t leave him in jail. Jason decided he did not want a seventh birthday party. For one thing seven year olds should not be babies and wet their bed. He didn’t want his parents to fight about money. He wanted them to hold hands.
Adolescent and Child Therapy
Your child will always need and love you no matter what. This is how children are made,
“Is this our life? Will things always be so bad?”
No, with help your relationships will get better. In high stress situations the problem dominates our thoughts and feelings. This problem does not have to be the focus of your life over the long run. High stress makes parent-child communication difficult. Messages are intense and unclear. Pain, frustration and anger are often all that is heard.
“Where in the world did they get that idea?”
I can help you develop better communication with your child. Developmentally, children have perspective based on their age. We adults forget that they have a different frame of reference than we do. This is normal for both parent and child. Children and adolescents have not yet developed the ability to see the world outside of themselves. There are not able to see the whole story. Parents think they have sent one message and later find out the child has received an entirely different message.
“Aren’t things bad enough without our kids acting out and making things worse?”
Developmentally, children and adolescents cannot conceptualize parent conflict without blaming themselves. If your child believes he or she has the power to cause the problem they will also believe it is their job to fix the problem. A common child solution is to act out and create an alternative conflict. This is often a successful strategy even if only temporary. Parents are often drawn together by their concern for their child. The problems they create are different for each age group. Kids would rather take the heat than have their parents be divided. This acting out comes naturally to them and is not thought out in the same way adults think about their behavior.
“I don’t want to damage my relationship with my child."
My goal is to help you and your child communicate in a way that both parent and child can be clearly heard and understood. I help families clear up misconceptions and find solutions. In high stress life events it is very difficult to communicate calmly and clearly. We all interpret emotion first and take distress personally. We can work together to make your relationship stronger.
“How can therapy help a young child?”
Children express themselves though play. Therapy is a safe place to get support from an adult who is not involved in the family. It is good for children to have an experienced adult who is on everybody’s side. Keep in mind that children often do not share feeling or concerns with their parents because they are protecting the parents.
“My adolescent thinks this is a waste of time.”
It is rare for an adolescent to want to go talk to some stranger. They have better things to do. They are often trying not to think about what is going on, Adolescents soon form a safe relationship with the therapist. They need someone not involved to talk to and help them understand and express themselves. Your adolescent might feel out of control. They can see all that is on your plate. They don’t want to worry you and see you’re overwhelmed.
Dr. Jacob has a background in Child Development. She has worked with high conflict families for twenty-eight years. She is a court approved therapist and is also an approved custody evaluator. Dr. Jacob has specializations in Chemical Dependency, Domestic Violence and trauma intervention.12 Suggestions to help cope with a Narcissist in your life.
1. Staying centered in reality is essential. The Narcissist is unable to be real so you must be.
2. Remember they are not the person you believed them to be in the beginning of your relationship.
3. The wonderful courting days will never return. This is not your fault and there is nothing you can do to change their pattern. All relationships change and evolve with time. Narcissistic relationships go from fabulous to terrible without exception. This is part of the disorder.
4. Resist the impulse to defend yourself or to respond instantly to their anger or accusations. Tell them that you hear that they are upset and that you will need time to think about how to respond.
5. Keep a calm and quiet voice. Observe that they are in a rage but you do not participate. Try not to take the content or accusations too seriously. The Narcissist feels empty inside and is desperate to find the reason outside their own self.
7. Their emptiness cannot be filled by you. All your effort will not be enough. It is important for you to remember this in spite of the fact that they are not able to understand that no one can fill their emptiness for them.
8. Avoid discussing or hoping to discuss how you feel or what you or others need. They do not have the capacity for empathy and cannot comprehend what you are referring to. The result is them becoming highly frustrated and returning to discussing what they feel, need, or want.
9. It might be useful to suggest to them how fabulous they will look to others if they do what you see as the right thing. Their identity is about how they look not how they are.
10. The most essential factor in coping with the Narcissist is to remain solid in your own beliefs, goals and values. Do not allow yourself to be swayed into making your life theirs. What they promise they cannot deliver.
11. Take time every day to clear your mind and to ground and center yourself. May people find that meditation, yoga, running, swimming or solitary walks are helpful.
12. Work to gain psychological insight to understand why you are in this relationship. Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D. Narcissistic Relationships: When love is not enough. 05/23/2013
Are you wondering if the one you love is a Narcissist?
Is your relationship very intense? The powerful absorbing intensity may feel like intimacy. If the relationship contains a high level of abandonment threats, passionate reconciliations, fear, sexualized affection it is not intimacy. Love should not cause you harm and is not dangerous. Terror is intense and all consuming but it is not love. Feeling that you love someone who is hurtful and who you feel obligated to creates self doubt. You may feel lonely and starving in your relationship but remain hopeful that if you give more do more or be more they will change.
The feelings of love can be so strong they continue to draw you in. Perhaps there are memories of a time in the beginning when things were good, far different from how you feel most of the time. They may tell you “no one will ever love you like I love you,”
In a relationship with a Narcissist nothing is ever enough. They are needy and want all of you but have no compassion for your needs wants or thoughts. Talking about your needs may cause them to get frustrated, resentful and angry. You may be very ill or extremely upset and they do not show support or provide care. They find your needs inconvenient.
Self-care and setting boundaries are often forgotten. Pleasing the loved one is a full time but impossible job. For the narcissist, loved ones serve the purpose of providing endless admiration or being a target of their contempt. Sometimes they serve as both. They cannot tolerate their partner having a life of their own. The Narcissistic person is attracted to an impressive partner who makes them look good but is jealous and angry that the partner may look better to others than they do.
You may feel you’re in a trance. They can be emotional vampires, sucking every feeling out of any room they are in. Remember you cannot fix them by giving up your own identity.
With narcissists you lose your voice, trying to speak the truth about how you feel costs you your dignity.
Loved ones often feel like children with them. Change is easier said than done. It may be extremely difficult but try to set limits, make a request, take action and name the emotion you are feeling.
“For me, Change is not an adventure, it’s a scary ordeal to be endured if necessary, but avoided if possible.” (Simon 2009”)
Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
Have 5 or more of the following:
Grandiose sense of self importance believes they are superior and expect to be treated as such
Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love, over value their accomplishments and under value the accomplishments of others
Believe that they are so special they can only be understood by high status, successful people. They should associate with these people
Requires excessive admiration
Has a sense of entitlement, unreasonable expectations.
Is interpersonally exploitive, takes advantage of others for their own purposes
Lack empathy: is unwilling to identify or recognize the needs o feelings of others
Is envious of others and believes others are envious of them
Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D. Jumping Though Hoops, and Still Not Enough? 04/08/2013
Are you in a relationship with someone that you feel is impossible to ever do enough for?
Do they seem to require constant praise even adulation? Are they consumed with looking perfect to others? To maintain a flawless image can be a full time job. Appearance is everything and your loved one is nearly destroyed by any slight. Negative feedback is intolerable for them.
Your relationship did not start out feeling so one sided. They seemed too good to be true in the beginning. They seemed deeply interested in you and desired your constant companionship. You are a giver and it felt wonderful feeling so needed. You believed you had met your soul mate, the one perfect person in the universe for you. It was impossible to not fall deeply in love. Commitment came fast and happily ever after was before you.
You may still feel a strong love pulling toward what you once had together. Flickers of that beloved person are still apparent. It is hard not to cling to the hope that the two of you will return to the feelings you shared at the beginning.
Your partner still needs you but complains that you don’t try, do enough or worse you don’t do anything for them. This is highly confusing because you are exhausted from jumping through every imaginable hoop to please them. Now they are often angry, critical and worst of all, cold. You feel so alone.
Discussing your concerns and feelings with them is impossible. They become angry, enraged, tell you are ungrateful or imagining things. They put tremendous weight on their own slightest contribution and none on yours. One way or another you will pay for any perceived criticism.
Talking about your needs or the needs of others frustrates them. It is as if you don’t understand their needs and wants and if you did you would be on board. They need constant control. You can begin to doubt your own judgment and have difficulty making decisions. You can become very upset and still they have no response, no compassion. Your emotional needs are not met yet you are not a faucet. It is not easy to turn love and hope off and on.
Are you tired and feel your own reality spinning, wondering if it is all just you not doing enough?
Does something need to change? Are you despairing over how your relationship came to this? Do you need help making sense of what has happened?
I can help you. Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D.
>Can Marriage Ruin a Perfectly good Relationship?
A dear wise old man once told me he truly loved all his five wives, but he kept ruining those perfectly good relationships by getting married. He certainly advised against it. The good news is that his fifth marriage lasted for the rest of his life. He finally got it right in his seventies.
What about marriages changes relationships? If we skip the big party we tend to attach to weddings, we can legally get married easier than we can adopt a pet from the pound or get a drivers license. The only reasonable answer is that expectations change. “They got married and lived happily ever after” is an American myth. The work truly begins with marriage. Do we have a commitment to live as one? Which one? Is this a contest to see who's way is the right one?
Does anyone not have a different definition of husband and wife from boyfriend and girlfriend? Couples forget to discuss their expectations. Most people have no idea of what the other half has in mind.
Do we have a commitment to live as one? Which one? Is this a contest to see who's way is the right one? What about sickness and in health? It is a big deal to take care of someone sick. Until
death do us part is a a very long time. Human being, by nature, want to pair off and be part of a couple. We really need to like the person we will wake up to every morning. We want the commitment and someone watching our back no matter what happens. How is this possible?
It is important each others definition. More importantly, knowing you partner. The qualities you desire will not just appear after a ceremony. If they do not have what it takes before, they are highly unlikely to develop these qualities later. We can learn the skills of communication and problem resolution. Success involves compromise. The new whole is bigger than its parts. Expanding is always hard work.
Love is not enough, but it sure helps. Marriage requires friendship, commitment, flexibility, responsibility, and a sense of humor. Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D.
"He won't tell me anything."
"She tells me everything."
Your wife or girlfriend may be mad at you for not telling her about your problems. She may tell you so many problems that you don't know what to do. Men and women have a different perception of how to solve a problem. The difference can cause many fights and an endless amount of hurt feelings.
Women tend to figure out how to solve a problem or how to feel better about a problem by talking about it. Women are often working out solutions and feeling relief while they are venting. She may not be interested in suggestions from the person she is sharing her problem with. She may become annoyed or insulted if a man suggests a solution. If she is seeking advice she will typically ask what you think. It would be highly unlikely that she is expecting you to fix her problem. If she needs your help, she will tell you. "Can you help me, my car is not working". If what she wants is unclear, ask her, "Can I help you in anyway." The most probable answer is "no I just wanted to tell you about this situation, thanks for listening". She is telling her husband or boyfriend her problem because she loves and trusts him to be interested. She assumes you would want to hear about her problems. She certainly wants to hear about his.
Men tend to try and resolve their problems privately. They may not feel better by telling their wife or girlfriend their problem. They may think that telling you will create another problem. Why would he worry you? He certainly does not want you to handle his problem. All he needs is for you to think he is some kind of loser who cant handle his own problems. If he shares his problem, it is usually a last resort and he will ask an expert. If his car brakes down he may take it to a good mechanic. It is unlikely it would occur to him to tell you his broke down as you are not a mechanic. Men are often not telling their wives or girlfriends what is going on because he does not love or trust them...he is not sharing because he does love them. He can't imagine his wife or girlfriend would want to hear about his problem.
Women are often deeply hurt that they are not someone their husband or boyfriend wants to "talk to". She may very well wonder if you are not talking to her, then who are you talking to? It is an emotionally foreign concept that you are not talking to anyone about your problems. You simply don't see the point of talking about a problem.
Men are often very confused of why their wife or girlfriend is telling him problems. He will assume that she sees hims as the expert and he may experience anxiety trying to figure out how he can actually be the expert. She tells him that she just got the worst haircut in her life. Is he expected to by her a hat? Is this hairdresser a guy? Is he supposed to hit him or something?
For men, the concept that just listening and reassuring her that she is always beautiful may seem worthless. How does that help her hair? For women, she wants to know how you feel about your haircut. I he thinks the barber is an idiot who screwed up his hair, why would he not not her so she could help him feel better? She wants to tell him he looks great to her.
Men are not likely to ever understand what good listening is. It does help him to memorize what he is supposed to say. "I am sorry that happened honey" Women in turn may not get why men don't tell them their problems so they can feel better. It does help for women to know what men are not sharing problems to protect them.
Who knows why men and women are designed differently. It does help to know that they are perceiving things differently. The goal is not to make the difference into a problem.
Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D.
We feel the strongest emotion about the people we love. The power of love includes the power to hurt one another. The last thing we want to do is hurt the one we love. Give your anger some thought. Start with giving the person you love the benefit of the doubt. They are not likely to be trying to hurt you or make you mad.
Try to understand your own anger before you share it. Respecting and understanding your own feelings require you to be calm. You will regret what you say or do in anger. No couple ever resolved a problem while they were pumped up with anger. Resist the urge to confront anyone when you are worked up. It is extremely important to avoid confronting someone who is very angry. Let your partner know you would like to talk to them. Pick a good time.
Where did your anger come from? Is your anger really over flow from something or someone else? It is O.K. if it is as long as you tell your partner. "I just had a bad day, so I am cranky." "This issue is a sore spot with me because my mother always did that when I was a kid."
Is your anger rational? Are you placing meaning on an action that could have another meaning? We all attach our own meaning to other's behavior. "I know he has no respect for me because he leaves his mess for me to clean up." She does think I do anything at work all day, she wants me to come right home and take the kids." When we think we know what others are thinking, we are really just guessing and always mistaken. All of us have bad habits that are not intended to upset others. The habits started before they knew you. Your partner did not develop the habit to annoy you. What if the behavior is not something they do to you, but something they just do.
Anger generally indicates that we want something to change. We need to be calm to figure out what exactly we would like to change. It is important to have a suggestion in mind. "I worry when you are late. I would really like it if you called me to let me know you are going to be late." "I need a few minutes to change gears from work to parent."
Remember the habits are hard to change even with the best intentions. Reward what you like. "Thanks for remembering to call." We all try harder when we get a little praise. When we assume good intensions, we are much more tolerant.
Pick only things that truly matter to you to work on. Change is difficult for everyone. Most of us have several things that we have been meaning to change about ourselves for years. If our loved one's bad habits are not intended to upset us, we may decide we are not really angry. Humor helps
Don't we all want someone who finds our habits endearing?
Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D.
How to disagree without fighting.
Every good couple will disagree about a wide variety of subjects. Follow a few rules and you have a good chance of being heard and your opinion respected.
Consider taking an attitude where you each have a right to your perspective, and that on some subjects, you will agreee to disagree.
Express yourself with "I statements" such as "I see it that way, I feel strongly about this, or I am upset about..."
Make sure you have heard each others perspective before you share yours. "Let me make sure I understand you feel strongly about...?" focus on understanding one another. Who knows, you may already agree more than you knew.
Stay with only one topic at a time. Limit your examples, saying too much can cause the other person to loose attention.
If you feel yourself getting angry, take a few minutes to calm down. "I am getting upset, I am going to get some water and calm down so we can continue calmly."
Avoid selling your perspective, focus on understanding your partners perspective, even if you disagree.
Once you are each clear on where your partner stand on the topic, agree to think about the others viewpoint and talk again tomorrow.
Tomorrow, with mutal understanding, you may find compromise. You may need to agree to disagree. Understanding how the person you love thinks and feels may be more important than the subject.
Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D.
The #1 problem and how to solve it.
The common problem that causes couples communication to turn to frustration and anger is usually a style of speaking that sounds as if one partner is a “Critical Parent” talking to a “Misbehaving Child”. When your partner hears you lecturing him or her, or adopting a critical tone of voice they take offense. The partner who is in the role of the child communication will be triggered to respond just as a defensive child might. The child response encourages more parent comments and the cycle goes on and on. Feelings are hurt and solutions rarely occur.
Many couples take turns communicating in the role of Parent. When it comes to housework one partner may believe the other needs to learn a thing or two. Money may be a different topic that the other partner lectures about. The topics that one or the other may decide they are the expert on have endless possibilities.
The difficulty is that a parent-child style of communication has no place in a couple’s relationship. Who wants to be married to their child or their parent? Lets hope very few. So how do you get through to your partner when you want them to know how you want things done?
Clearly couples can learn from one another. Two heads are better than one. First consider your attitude. Can you accept that your partner has a different way of doing things and may see no need to adopt your way? If you communicate with an attitude of adult to adult you have the added value of respect.
Consider simply sharing your view one adult to another.
“It really could save me a lot of time doing laundry if it was all in the hamper.”
“What do you think about setting up a budget so we don’t worry so much about bills?
Listen to yourself and see if you notice the role you take in communicating. You can learn to communicate as an adult regardless of how your partner sounds. Two adults are better than one. It takes practice to change a habit. Healthy communication has rewards in every area of your relationship. Posted By: Dr. Susan Jacob Ph. D. If you would like help, please call me, 949-851-5022