Sort of, dunno, nothin’ ! - communicating with men

I remember a few years ago watching a hilarious video on YouTube. It was a song by an Australian comedian , Peter Denahy, written as a parody of conversations with teenagers. Here’s the clip;

Hands up you women who have had similar conversations with your husbands? There’s just something about us men and the failure to communicate properly. There’s been hundreds of books written about it, it’s been studied, talked about, joked about and there’s even been films made about it!

Thankfully, there has been progress made in this area and many men are learning the importance of communication and how to share their emotions, though we have a long way to go. For what it’s worth, I’d like to add my two cents to the topic. Firstly, why do men have such a hard time communicating what’s on their heart? There’s the need to keep up a macho appearance, a fear of exhibiting signs of weakness. So how does a woman deal with that? It comes down to a fine balance between showing respect for your man and at the same time , tactfully drawing out what he’s feeling. You have to realize that any hint of a condescending or critical attitude or anything that challenges his masculinity will only cause him to withdraw further into his shell.

One tip that you can actually apply to any conversation is to use open ended questions. Rather than asking questions that can be answered with a yes, no, maybe, or another similar one word answer, phrase the question in such a way that the other person is compelled to give a more comprehensive answer. For example, instead of asking “how was your day today?” ,  why not try “tell me how your day went”. It wouldn’t hurt either to precede the question with a “Hi honey!”, a hug,kiss and direct eye contact.

Try to leave business discussions until an appropriate time. The best thing is to mention you have something to talk about, give a brief summary of what is is, and ask when would be a suitable time to discuss it. Personally, when I’m stressing about something and my wife starts asking me questions about another issue, I tend to have a short fuse. And the thing is, us guys won’t often mention that we have something else on our mind, we just get uptight. If you see your man like that, gently probe, asking ” is now a good time to ask about this?” , “I’m all ears if there’s something you’d like to tell me”. Unless it’s some deep , dark secret ( which it usually won’t be ), he’ll probably let you know what’s on his mind. I often am just waiting for my better half to ask, but won’t initiate the conversation myself.

Guys need a lot of patience and understanding. There’s an old proverb that says “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out”.  It may take time, but if you consistently work at building an atmosphere of trust and acceptance, you will succeed. There is gold to be mined if you keep chipping away, but you have to know when it’s time to stop, if you dig too deep, you may find resistance.

Ladies, you already have what it takes within you to communicate well. Nurture that gift and use your tools wisely and you’ll get past the “yep, nup and nothins'” to find out what’s really ticking inside your man.

Happy mining!

 To receive the free report; “How to Cope with your Husband’s Midlife Crisis”, click here

Midlife marriage lemonade -dealing with life's challenges

lemons

 

What do you do when life doesn’t go the way you want? There are many  sayings and quotations that we all have become familiar with, such as” fake it till you make it” “your attitude determines your altitude” “every cloud has a silver lining” and ” if life hands you a lemon, turn it into lemonade”. Most of us have at least an intellectual understanding of the need to look at the positive aspect of unpleasant situations, but when in the middle of them, it becomes clear that many people don’t actually have a  real understanding or acceptance of that concept.

There are many examples of life circumstances where things don’t turn out the way we expected, but let’s take a look at mid-life marriages since it’s a topic often discussed in my blogs posts. If you have a partner who experiences a mid life crisis, it can turn your life upside down. You go from what you thought was a stable marriage to being married to someone who seems to have undergone a personality transformation.  You may find yourself in a number of scenarios ranging from your partner becoming moody and difficult to get along with to  saying he doesn’t love you anymore,  and moving in with another woman.

It’s a very frustrating to be in unpleasant situation that you seemingly have no control over. Your happiness seems to be dependent on the other person changing. Some people even try to do that through arguing, pleading or even threatening. None of these tactics will have a lasting effect and often serve no other purpose than to drive a man in mid life crisis even further away.

So, what to do in these circumstances? Wait it out or give up on the marriage? There is no clear cut answer as every situation is different and every person must make their own decision on what to do. The most important thing is to follow your intuition, listen to what your heart is telling you to do. There is no right or wrong, you have to decide what is right for you and then have faith that you have made the correct decision and get on with your life.

All things happen for a reason. We are all on a journey and everything we go through is to teach us a lesson. If your marriage is on the rocks, and you believe it’s beyond salvaging, then you must move on and decide what the next phase of your life will look like and start making plans for it. If you are willing to wait out your husband’s midlife crisis, and have hope the marriage can be saved, even then you need to look at what your needs are, what ways can you develop as a person during this time, get busy doing something!

If you are on a boat floating down a river, which is easier? flowing with the current or struggling to row upstream? So often people fight the direction life is taking them, when if they just yielded and went along with the flow, things would be so much easier. If you are in situation at the moment that you didn’t expect and don’t like, whether or not you think it is of your own making, take time to contemplate what good can come from it and what your future holds. What has happened to you is the reality, the event, how it affects you is something you decide, you are the one that creates your life in that sense.

What are you going to make with your lemon? Lemonade? lemon tea? lemon tarts? lemon cheesecake? The choice is up to you!

 To receive the free report; “How to Cope with your Husband’s Midlife Crisis”, click here

Who am I? - how to overcome a poor self image

cat vs lionMost people suffer an identity crisis at some time in their life, though some unfortunate ones suffer it all their lives! As humans there are identifiable stages we go through from birth till death. We are first babies, then toddlers, young children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged and then seniors. Some of these stages have more significant effect on us than others.  Adolescence and midlife are often tumultuous life transitions because of the substantial changes both physically and emotionally. Other significant events are serious illness, relationship breakdowns and career changes.

The way we experience these transitions is often affected by the beliefs  we have about ourselves, often adopted at an early age. People with healthy self esteem are able to ride through challenges relatively unscathed as they see these are external events they go through but do not base their identity on them. For example, someone who enters midlife but has high self esteem would most likely embrace the changes he or she is going through, draw on their strengths, re-examine their values and plan for the second half of their life. Someone with low self esteem would be more prone to having a mid-life crisis.

Self esteem also plays an important role in relationships. People with low opinions of themselves often have a hard time. They are more susceptible to being hurt as they will take comments and feedback very personally. Unfortunately when relationships fail for these people, it only serves to reinforce their feelings of unworthiness. That’s why we often see people in abusive relationships continue the cycle. They attract abusive partners to them through their belief, albeit unconsciously, that they not worthy of anything better.

So how do we go about establishing a positive self identity? The first step is to separate events from our interpretation of them. Events are actually neutral, neither good or bad, it’s the way we view them that affects our personality. To give a simple example, if you make a mistake in your work, something everyone is prone to at sometime or another, you can look at it two ways. You can feel condemned about it and use it as evidence that you are no good. Or you can view it objectively and say to yourself, even verbally if appropriate to do so, ” Everyone makes mistakes, I usually do this job without any issues. My mistakes do not determine who I am”.

The fact is, we create who we are through our perceptions. You may have had parents or teachers or peers that put you down and made you feel incapable of succeeding or achieving things for yourself. That is something that has a profound effect on children as they are so easily influenced. Many people carry those beliefs formed at an early age around with them into adulthood. Then as they have other experiences, these events are interpreted through the filter of their beliefs to reinforce who they think they are. An unsuccessful job interview will make the person of low self esteem more convinced he is no good. A failed relationship will put a further dent in their self image.

Everybody experiences feeling inferior to some degree, in more serious cases it becomes quite debilitating. What is necessary to overcome these self limiting beliefs is to have a reboot of yourself. Start challenging the way you look at yourself and use new filters to look at everyday events. Be more alert about the thoughts that pass through your mind, vigilantly guard against negative ones and toss them out. You may find this is hard at first, but if you can sustain it for 30 days, you’ll be well on the way to forming a new habit and genuinely changing the person you are just through having a more positive attitude towards yourself.

Who are you? You are a person of infinite value, it’s time to act like it!

What’s next? - being the decision maker in your life

fork in the road

I believe there are two kinds of people in this world, those that let circumstances and people dictate their future, and the ones that map out their own destiny.  We often hear statements, maybe even from our own lips, such as “I had no choice”,”he said I don’t have a chance”,”I’ve always been like this”. Self defeating statements that shift the accountability from ourselves onto others or circumstances supposedly beyond our control.  It’s an easy escape route that absolves us from taking responsibility for the circumstances we found ourselves in.

Let’s look at how that applies to relationships. You may have a partner that consistently denigrates you to the point that you question your self worth.  The things they say put you on a big guilt trip so you end up feeling condemned and responsible for their misery which is what they want as they are looking to offload responsibility for the way they are feeling onto you, their partner and the one easiest and closest to lash out at.

The way to react in these circumstances is not to retaliate with an equally harmful statement or react emotionally. Rather, acknowledge their pain, sympathize, but do not accept responsibility. Say something neutral like “Thanks for sharing that, I’m sorry that you feel that way “. Of course, if some of what they say genuinely resonates with you and is correct, and you feel it is the appropriate thing to do, then by all means apologize. But just be careful not to quickly fall into a guilt trap. It’s always better to take time to contemplate what has been shared and mull it over. Di-sect it and objectively evaluate it. Visualize yourself as a third party observer , strive for clarity of mind to see the truth. Even get the opinion of a third party to see what they think if you have somebody you trust to share it with.

We can’t always control what people say and do to us. If  a husband or wife asks for a divorce, or say they don’t love us any more, it can hit like a bomb shell. It’s understandable that there will be a period of time when we experience a mixture of extreme emotions such as grief, anger, sometimes denial.  But there has to come a time when we lift ourselves off the ground and get on with life. Some people use the negative experiences they go through as an excuse to perpetuate their roles as victims. Sure, life can really throw us some curve balls, but we have the power to determine how they will affect us. It’s only our thoughts that determine whether we rise or fall, at the end of the day, the choice is up to us.

You can be a victor or a loser, no one can make you either, you choose what you want to be. So wherever life has got you now, take a minute to think where you want to be. Visualize where you want to go, don’t worry right now about the details of how you’re going to get there.  For the moment, just fill your mind with the picture of what you want, your ideal situation. Once you are determined you are going to get there, without fail, the Universe will set in motion all the things you need to for your journey. The tools, the people, the situations are all already there waiting for you, you just need to ask.

There are two types of people in this world, which one are you?

The dripping tap What changes are you putting off?

dripping tapThe tap in our main bathroom has been dripping for weeks! Every time I’ve been in there, I’ve said to myself, “I’ve got to change those washers!” Well, I finally got round to it this weekend, only to find it wasn’t that simple. The tap had to be re-seated as it had a score mark, which meant several hours of grinding. As it was , I couldn’t get it smooth again and it may require a plumber to fix. So something that should have taken a few minutes to fix, ended up becoming more complex because I didn’t get on to it right away as I should have.

That is very similar to many situations we face everyday. There are things we put off for whatever reason and in the end, the problem only worsens until we are forced to deal with it and find a solution, which often is more expensive and time consuming than it would have been if we had taken care of it earlier! And I’m not just talking about home maintenance issues either!

How many serious health problems could be avoided by being pro-active? I lost a close friend last year to bowel cancer. Though in his mid-50’s, he had not been having regular health checks. He had been passing blood a year before his death but hadn’t been quick to seek medical advice.

How many divorces could have been avoided   by couples dealing with issues before they got out of hand? They let things escalate to the point of no return and became casualties of the ever increasing divorce rate.

How many people could have successful, fulfilling careers if they had been brave enough to follow their intuition and had the confidence to step out and do something different? Many people put up with less than satisfactory conditions in their life. They feel they’re not good enough or not worthy enough to have something better. They may feel that the obstacles before them are insurmountable or they don’t have what it takes to improve their lot in life so they settle for second best.

That doesn’t have to be the case. Each one of us has unlimited capacity to create the future of our choice. Our own perceptions of what we are capable of are the only things that limit us. What things will you do today to take you a step in the direction of where your heart is leading you. Make a mental picture of what you want to achieve and fix it in your mind. Visualize that as your reality and then start to make plans of how you are going to achieve that vision.

Your journey to a brighter future starts by saying yes to what your heart is telling you to do. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step!

 

 

 

Are you in for the long haul? -Enduring a husband's midlife crisis

marathon startOne question I often get from women whose husbands are going through a midlife crisis is, ” How long will this go on?” The answer is anywhere from a few months to several years. But anyone in this situation should take consolation in the fact that it does eventually pass, it is not a permanent condition! Even a marathon has a finishing line!

The Midlife transition, believe it or not,  is a normal phase of life. Just like there is infancy, childhood, adolescence and old age, midlife is something we all go through. Though it affects everybody in a different way, for most people it is a profound time of change on many levels, physically, spiritually and emotionally. For some reason, it seems to effect men the most in a negative sense. It may be because men find it hard to communicate their feelings, even with other men. They carry the burden  of these doubts and questions within themselves, trying to come up with their own solutions. Most are unable to cope with these battles by themselves and so the condition often turns into a crisis with men exhibiting the many behaviours we associate with a midlife crisis.

There are often warning signs that a crisis is on the horizon, though many women do not notice until it is full blown. They are caught unaware because they’re not expecting it to happen. The early warning signs of a midlife crisis such as the husband becoming withdrawn or sullen are often attributed to other reasons. In a ideal world, all women would be aware of what to look out for and take preventative measures to stop their husband’s midlife crisis from happening.

Having said that, a man in midlife crisis is not unreachable and beyond help. One attitude that can help is believing that this situation is not permanent, that can give you the courage to keep going. Then according to where he is at, it’s important to develop a strategy to help him through his crisis and to help you maintain your sanity! It’s not an easy road to travel when your husband is self indulgent, has outbursts of anger and blames you for his problems. But many women who choose to stay in for the long haul often do get to see good results from their patience.

When a midlife crisis occurs, the couple have often been together a considerable amount of time. A wife is the one who knows her husband the best . For better or for worse, they have stuck by him. Your loyalty and willingness to stay with your husband in this crisis may be just the thing that pulls him through!

Time to get your running shoes on!

The perks of working on yourself! - moving beyond codependency

codependencyThere’s no doubt about it, I have always loved my wife and found her intelligent and attractive. Recently though, she’s changed. She has always been a stay at home mum, taking care of the the household and homeschooling all of our six children. At the end of last year, she decided it was time to do things differently, she  put our two youngest into school,  began on some serious personal development, exercising regularly and recently started her own business. And man is she hot!  I am now even more attracted to her then I was before! There’s just something about a woman when she is strong, independent, and self confident.

So why I am I telling you this? Maybe you are stuck in a relationship that is sending you into emotional turmoil. Maybe your partner is displaying narcissistic tendencies and it’s possible you are emotionally codependent on him. If you feel you’re being manipulated emotionally, it may be  time to detach and become a little more independent. Of course, to pursue your own personal development purely with the motive of hoping to win your partner back is probably not going to work. You are not being authentic and the change will not be genuine.

The idea is to develop inner strength and confidence so that you can become detached from the situation enough to maintain emotional stability in your life. A word of caution though, don’t become so independent that you lose the connection with your spouse! If you are committed to saving your marriage and maintaining a line of communication with them, becoming too detached can cause them to feel isolated resulting in them withdrawing even further.

There is no guarantee of how your spouse will react to a new you, a lot depends on their emotional condition. Some may feel threatened and resent it, others may see it as a good thing and feel a yearning to better get to know this new person they are married to!

At the end of the day, the goal is inter-dependency; both partners in a marriage helping and needing each other. But even if you don’t get the response from your other half that you are looking for, you will still come out the winner. You never lose by working on improving yourself!