Change Your Attitude
"A baby is born with a need to be loved--and never outgrows it"
Frank Howard Clark
Is your relationship dull and boring? Is it supposed to be ‘dull and boring’, because you’ve been together for so long? Do you have nothing of any consequence to say to each other? If you respect each other and enjoy each others company, there’s always something to say. Verbal communication and understanding the others moods and temperament, is the key to a good relationship. This takes work, but it’s worth it.
That’s the topic of the February newsletter: “Brightening a Dull Relationship.”
Minimize the Negative
Instead of focusing on the bad stuff, take a more positive approach. Nothing and no one is totally bad. Look at the big picture. Find humor in the situation. Look at the good. Negatively will only make a bad situation worse.
We teach our children to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Be sure you give the same courtesy to your partner. In our busy worlds, we can easily forget to acknowledge the small stuff. Little gestures of kindness go a long way.
No matter how long you’ve been together, you can still have fun. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should do an ‘activity’ like tennis or golf. I’m talking about being playful – doing the type of things you did when you first met – joke with each other, have fun and don’t take things so seriously. Playfulness is all part of
a healthy relationship
Don’t be competitive which each other. When you’re a couple, and one of you is successful, so are both of you. Encourage each other. Encouragement will keep you together. Envy tears you apart.
Reach back into your memory bank and find the qualities that you liked about your partner in the first place. These qualities are often the ones that are lacking in ourselves. Ex. Your partner may be more patient and understanding. Remember these qualities with admiration, and if they’re not here today, find out what changed.
Pay attention to your partner. Take a serious look at them -- I’m not talking about looking at their bodies, or the superficial stuff. Notice their gestures, their smile, their personality – these little things are not so little. The more positive attention we pay to our partners, the more appreciation and respect we can have.
Stevie Wonder said it best “ I just called to say I love you”. Listen to those lyrics. -- no special occasion like Valentines Day, is necessary – and you don’t have to be a ‘hopeless romantic’ either -- a call, an e-mail, a text, a post-it note. You never need a reason to say those little words.
Remember that when you’re in a relationship you’re a member of a team. If one of you is stressed or overloaded with work for whatever reason, the other person can always do something to help lighten the load. Sometimes, you can pitch in and make supper, or do laundry, at other times, simply listening is all that it takes to let someone know that you’re there for them.
I’m not talking about sex here, (although intimacy and sex often go together). Hold a hand, a touch, a warm smile or quick hug – these gestures provide the feeling of closeness and intimacy. The message that’s sent is ‘you’re special’.
Intimacy is so important, many seek it by having an
When there are problems in a relationship, we can always see what he or she should have done to make things better. It’s easy to see the other person’s responsibility. Shift
your way of thinking.
Ask yourself what you could have done differently. When you change the way you’ve been acting, others change as well. This advice is not for
Take care of your emotional needs so you can keep a positive outlook on life. You can’t brighten your relationship if you have a negative outlook on life.
1) Minimize negativity
2) Show gratitude
4) Have fun
5) Be supportive
5) Show admiration
6) Be emotionally present
7) Say It
8) Share responsibility
10) Look within yourself
Q & A
My Mother has been an alcoholic as long as I can remember. She drinks day and night -- sleeps during the day, wakes up during the night drinks more and takes anti-depressants. Today she fell and bruised her face.
I initially wanted to do an intervention, as I feel if she continues down this route she is going to kill herself. She hates her life and says she has nothing to live for. When I try to speak to her, she insists that she’s fine and that I should mind my own business and stop dictating.
I changed my approach and tried to be more supportive saying, “I love you and maybe you should see someone to talk through how you feel,” but she won’t go. I called her doctor but he said that unless she admits she has a problem, he can’t refer her to anyone or anywhere.
My dad chooses to appease her. I moved out two years ago. I haven’t said this out loud, as I don’t want to believe it, but I am terrified I am going to get a phone call saying that she is dead.
My mother has very little self-esteem and doesn’t love herself enough to get better. I don’t know how to help her. It is a heartbreaking situation. I don’t expect a direct answer but if you could just point me in a general direction I would be grateful for your help.
Legally, no one can force adults into treatment, unless they are a threat to themselves or others. Your mother is a threat to herself, however, unfortunately a serious 'crisis' has to happen, before anything can be done. Naturally, every family wants to avoid this at all costs. Be ‘nice’ but firm, but don’t
Your mother seems to rule the family with her dysfunction and everyone’s giving in to it. How does she get the alcohol into the house? Who pays for it? Family members must stand up to her and make things difficult for her.
Family members should join AL-Anon, get some counseling or a few sessions of /coaching to get the right information on how to deal with her. It will keep the family united so you can get through this. Also, her doctor should be informed that she's combining prescription medication with alcohol. He can stop prescribing.
When your mom has no alternative, you have the power to give her an ultimatum. ex. get help or you leave, get help or dad leaves etc. -- but once it’s said, it can’t be retracted. Unless someone is mandated into treatment, only this type of pressure can get her the help she needs.
Alcoholics are manipulators and will pressure the weakest family member to get what they want, so everyone must stay united.
This letter reflects the sentiment of many inquiries. I’d like to thank the writer for generously allowing me to publish it. I hope the response will help many of you.
Next Month: Toxic people – Don’t let them ruin your day!!
Q & A
What is your impression of how substance abuse can be viewed as a coping mechanism and of an underlying family issue. I have several alcoholics in my family. They all deny they have a "problem".
Answer: Hi LiAnne,
The common view of substance abuse is that there's no single reason for it.
Substance abuse has three components:
Biological -- there may be a genetic predisposition (alcoholic parent, grandparent etc)
Psychological—ex. you believe that 'drinking is fun' etc.
Social – ex. if your friends and/or family members use substances, you become one of the crowd.
There is also no one reason that alcoholics will drink. They'll drink to take the edge off or cope. They'll drink to celebrate. They'll drink when they're angry, sad etc. Anything can be a trigger. They are escaping life temporarily, but their issues don't go away.
Alcoholics don't want to admit that drink controls them. They tell themselves, they can stop 'anytime'. They have a love/hate relationship with the drink, and blame everyone and everything for the reason they drink. They may also surround themselves with other drinkers, telling themselves that compared to their friends 'they are not that bad'. This is denial, which keeps the addiction.
A partner, family members, the police, their doctor etc., must give them an ultimatum -- they have no choice to stop drinking.
Children of alcoholics also have
traits that you should be aware of
If you have a question or a suggestion
Here's how to contact me
Next month: How To Perk Up Your Relationship
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