The atmosphere at my house, growing up, can be accurately described as a total shitstorm. I was a sensitive kid and I lived for years with my father’s open dislike, criticism, and contempt for me.
Since leaving home at 18, I carried a deep mistrust for people. I was miserable. I spent 7 years in a residential drug program piecing fragments of my life together. After rehab, I was in weekly group therapy for eleven years. Much of my adult life has been focused on dealing with the pain and isolation in my life.
This morning, in a letter I wrote to my adult son, I talked about my marriage to Angeline and how I arrived in her life “running on empty.” My heart was pretty well boarded up. I didn’t believe I was capable of love.
Over time, in our conversations, during our thirty-year marriage, Angeline has continually highlighted the qualities and the good things she sees in me, her confidence in the good man that I am.
Recently Dixon and I went out for Brunch to our favorite seafood restaurant, because I love seafood. We have found restaurant portions are often so large, that we can share an entrée. We ordered a bowl of clam chowder and a salad topped with shrimp and crab, which we split.
Like me, Dixon also loves seafood, especially crab, since he grew up in the Northwest where it is plentiful.
As we each ate our half of the salad, he generously put one of his largest pieces of crab onto my plate. It was a sweet and loving gesture and it reminded me how the “little things” build trust.
Relationships are built, or broken, on the “little things.” We tend to remember the big issues and may point to them as the cause of relationship success or failure. But the truth is that it’s the accumulation of the “little things” which make all the difference.
You might wonder if Dixon is always so generous with me. The answer is no, but over time, I have...
Life has brought us so many surprises!
I never could have predicted any of this!
A little over a year ago we moved from San Diego, where we’d lived for 10 years.
San Diego was great!
It’s where we started building our coaching business.
While there we wrote a book that qualified as a best-seller on Amazon.
Every few weeks we held Meetups in our home.
We got to meet wonderful people face-to-face.
We got to coach clients and help them build happier relationships.
Speaking of relationships, we lived right across the street from one of our daughters and her two precious children.
We got to watch them grow up, take them to the beach, and treat them to Mr. Frostie ice cream cones.
Now, we are living in Utah, just 5 minutes from our other daughter, and near her two adult children.
It’s so great to connect with them, play board games, have family dinners, and watch football.
Due to the pandemic, we have continued building our business via Zoom.
We spent a lot of...
As a young teenager, I was excited to be old enough to attend dances.
But, as I prepared to go to my first dance, I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious.
When I told someone how nervous I felt, they responded by saying, “Just be yourself.”
But I didn’t have a clue who “myself” was or how to be it.
What I didn’t realize was that I had a certain image in my mind of how/who I thought I should be.
Unconsciously I was always trying to look and act like that image (the actress Sandra Dee).
Unconsciously I measured myself against that perfect Hollywood image, and against any other women who seemed close to that ideal.
This caused me to be self-critical and uncomfortable with myself because I certainly didn’t measure up to that false idea of how I assumed everyone expected me to be.
Most of this was unconscious!!!
I didn’t realize that the more I tried to be “perfect” the more I was disconnected with...
I’m seventy-five years old, still dealing with a demon or two from the past, but basically pretty well back on the rails these days.
There was a time in my past however, when things were seriously out of balance. I was angry, focused on my own needs, and determined to get what I wanted, whether or not it was at someone else’s expense, and most frequently it was at a woman’s expense.
Growing up at my house was a prolonged exercise in emotional abuse. It was a painful, long-term, mess. Leaving home, I was angry, I was emotionally isolated, and I trusted absolutely no-one.
The motivation to isolate myself emotionally was powered by the rage I carried. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware of the depth of my anger. (It was years later I realized my anger was actually a disguised expression of the grief I experienced over the love I wanted, but never got from my dad.)
It was a deeply unhappy period in my life.
Sex, human physical...
It happened years ago, but it still haunts me.
It was my first year of college and I had rented an apartment with 3 other girls, near the University.
Our apartment faced the center of a quadrangle, overlooking a pool.
Late one evening, I was sitting by the window, gazing across the pool at the other apartments.
A young, college-age woman exited one of the apartments and headed along the sidewalk toward the parking lot.
She was crying.
I thought, “Oh dear, maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend.”
About 20 minutes later several young men exited the same apartment.
I thought that was strange, and wondered if there had been some kind of party.
The next day, I asked one of my neighbors if he knew what had happened.
He said, although he wasn’t there, he had heard they had “pulled a train.”
I was young and naïve and had no idea what that term meant.
When I found out, I was horrified, and very sad for the young woman.
I wish I had known, because I...
The almost 2-year pandemic has affected people in many different ways, causing a great deal of stress. Beyond sickness and death, the most widespread effect appears to be financial. This could be due to loss of income or jobs, not to mention unexpected medical expenses.
In addition, for many people, including children, the wearing of masks is a constant reminder of the worrisome pandemic. With masks we are unable to see people’s faces, can’t read their expressions or respond to possible smiles. Also, social distancing has created a sense of disconnect from other people. It’s a form of loss, because as human beings, we all have a need for a feeling of connection to others.
With the combination of these different forms of loss, the “Pandemic Effect” has increased the stress level for many people.
This means our homes may have become pressure cookers of pent-up stress. Closeted inside our homes, we have little opportunity for relief via...
I was in 4th grade, walking down the sidewalk toward the school cafeteria, when one of the “popular” girls walked by and pushed me off the sidewalk.
That doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?
But it was a big deal!
And, since it was unconscious, I wasn’t even aware of it!
Yet, I continued to find evidence to support my belief that I wasn’t good enough.
As an adult, my unconscious decision that I didn't fit in, had a negative effect on my ability to build relationships with other women.