Monthly Archives: April 2018

In Relationships: Is Femininity Good And Masculinity Bad

If one was to hear about an abusive relationship, there is a strong chance that this would involve someone who uses force to cause harm. This could mean that they use their body to do this and/or they might only use words.

Either way, this is going to mean that the other person is going to suffer, and their life is then not going to be very fulfilling. And while this could be something they experience from time to time, it could be a way of life.

Another Occurrence

Alternatively, one could hear about someone who has been attacked, and this is going to be another instance where force has been used. The other person might have been going about their life and for no apparent reason, they were harmed.
In this case, they are not going to be in an abusive relationship, but they will have a similar experience. And even though this could be a one-off, it doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked.

In The Spotlight

However, if one doesn’t hear about something like this, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be exposed to this kind behaviour. If they were to watch the news, for instance, they could hear about people being harmed in another country.

Therefore, this won’t relate to one person being attacked, it could relate hundreds or even thousands of people having this experience. Not only this, it could be something they experience on a regular basis.

The Norm

In fact, if one was to pay attention to the mainstream media, they would see that this is something is taking place all the time. They might not be able to see it with their own eyes, but this doesn’t mean it is not happening.

There are likely to be certain places in the world where this has taken place for a number of years. And, if one if one spends time learning about the past, they would see that this is nothing new.

One Outlook

It could be said that this is just how the world is and nothing will ever change. It is then going to be important for one to make sure that they don’t get caught up in what is taking place.

Now, this is not to say that they should turn a blind eye to it; what it comes down to is that they can only do so much. The main thing is that they don’t harm anyone or anything, and this will stop them from adding to what is taking place, and they will be an example to others.

The Problem

At the same time, one could believe that this is something that is caused by men, and this can mean that they will believe that there is at last two ways of dealing with this problem. One way will be to get rid of men, and the other will be for men to no longer behave in this way.

Or, if they don’t believe that men are the problem, they could say that the masculine aspect is what needs to be removed from both men and women. As to how this can be done, they might not be too sure.

Two Sides

If one believes that men are the problem, it is likely to show that they believe that they are the only ones who have the masculine aspect within them. Based on this, women are going to be the only ones who have the feminine aspect.

On the other hand, if one believes that men are not the problem, it is likely to show that they believe that both men and women both have each aspect within them. Still, what they are both going to agree upon is that the masculine aspect needs to go.

Black and White

Masculinity is then going to be seen as good and femininity is going to be seen as bad; that will be all there is to it. Thus, if people only had the feminine aspect within them, the world would be heaven on earth.

But while this outlook can seem accurate, it would be the same as saying that a knife is bad. Clearly, whether it is bad or not will all depend on how it is used; ultimately, the knife is neutral.

Far More Complex

When it comes to the masculine aspect, it could be said that there is far more to it than this, and this is because there are traits that can be seen as positive and traits that can seen as negative. For example, having discipline, taking action and being assertive are all masculine traits, and these can be seen as being positive.

So, if the masculine aspect was removed, it could be said that very little would take place. If anything, the masculine aspect needs to be understand and kept under control; it could said that when people have the right guidance when they grow up, this is something that will take place naturally.

The Same Level

When people go on antibiotics, the bad bacteria within them can end up being removed, and this is a good thing. The downside to this is that the good bacteria can also end up being destroyed in the process.

In the same way, removing the masculine aspect would stop a lot of problems from taking place, but others would appear in their place. And, through focusing on the problems that the masculine aspect causes, it can stop one from seeing that the feminine aspect is not perfect either.


If someone hasn’t embraced their masculine aspect, they can lack self-control, find it hard to stand their ground and be dependent on others, amongst other things. They are then not going to be the ones who are physically harming others, but they can end up being the ones who are being harmed by others.

What this shows is how vital it is for one to embrace both sides of their nature and through doing this; it will allow them to function at their best. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist.

In Relationship Should Someone Look Into What Is Taking Place Within Them If They Attract People Who Are Unavailable

While one could be in a fulfilling relationship with someone, there is also the chance that this is not the case. This could come down to the fact that they don’t want to be in one, and this might be a sign that they have just broken up with someone.

If this is the case, they might want to take the time to get over the person they were with. Perhaps this was a relationship that lasted a long time, and this could then mean that they are not ready to get back out there.

The Sensible Approach

The alternative might be for one to jump straight into another relationship, and this might stop them from having to face how they feel. As a result of this, this could be seen as being the easiest option.

But while this may allow them to keep their feelings at bay, it could set them up to suffer in another way. Out of their desire to avoid how they feel, they could end up with someone who is not right for them.

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

In the short-term, they might feel better, but as time passes, they will have to deal with another problem. Now, this could mean that they are with someone who is abusive, or they might not be compatible.

On the other hand, if one stayed single and worked through their pain, they would soon be back on their feet, so to speak. Yet through being with someone like this, they will have to put an end to the relationship they are in before they can do this.

Another Outcome

At the same time, there is always the chance that one could meet someone who is right for them. And, through being with someone like this, it could make it easier for them to work through what is taking place within them.

This is because the other person is going to provide support, and this will stop them from having to work on this by themselves. What this shows is that this is not something that is black and white.

Another Reason

If this is not the reason why one is single, it could also come down to the kind of people they continue to attract into their life. This area of their life could be something that fills them with frustration, and it could be as if they have no control over what happens.

And, as this is an area of their life that they won’t be able to simply ignore, it is going to be normal for them to be this way. What one could find is that they attract people who treat them badly.


One is then going to have the need to be with someone, but when they try to fulfil this need they are going to end up being harmed. If this had only happened once, it might be possible for them move on shortly after.

As this has happened on more than one occasion, this is not going to be something that they can do. It could be seen as just how their life is, and they could believe that there is nothing they can do about it.

Reaching Out

When one experiences life in this way, it can show that they don’t value themselves, and this is then why they attract (or are attracted to) people like this. Once their self-image changes, it might allow them to finally attract someone who will value them.

What this can then show is that when one changes their inner world, their outer world will follow suit. This doesn’t mean that one will have to do this by themselves though, as there is plenty of support available.

A Different Problem

However, one could be in a position where it is not that they attract people who treat them badly; it is that they attract people who are not available. Therefore, one is not going to be used to feeling violated, but they might be used to feeling frustrated.

Even so, this is not to say that these people will come across in this way when they meet them. Instead, they could create the impression that they are ready to settle down, and each time, one could believe that they have finally met the right person.

Same Old Story

Time will then pass and one will gradually begin to see that this person is no different to the people they have been with before. Or, even if they meet someone and they come across as different, one might still have their doubts.

Through having these kinds of experiences, one could believe that there is nothing they can do to change their circumstances. And that the only way their life will change is if they attract someone who is available.

Stepping Back

If one was just an observer of their reality and they had no effect on what took place, there is going to be nothing that they can do. Fortunately, one is not just an observer of their reality; they are co-creators.

Thus, if one has the tendency to attract people who are not available, it will be vital for them to look into what is taking place within them. At a deeper level, this could show that one doesn’t feel comfortable with intimacy.

On the surface, this is what they say they want, but until this is what feels comfortable at a deeper level, it is not going to take place. The reason they feel this way can be the result of what took place during their early years.


At this time, one may have had a caregiver who didn’t respect their boundaries, and this would then have caused them to feel overwhelmed and engulfed. Getting close to someone would have come to be seen as something that will cause them to lose themselves.

If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, they may need to work with a therapist. This will give them the opportunity to look into what took place and to deal with what is taking place within them.

The Best Way to Apologize And Show Your Truly Sorry

Young woman lost her love

Being human, it is unavoidable to hurt or offend people sometimes. Yet it’s not always easy to recognize this and offer a genuine apology to repair the damage.

It is unsettling to perceive that we’ve violated someone’s sensibilities. We need robust inner resources to prevent ourselves from slipping into a paralyzing shame-freeze that that leads to an avoidance of responsibility for our actions. It takes courage to downsize our ego and accept our human limitations with humility and grace.

The shame we carry prevents us from having a friendly relationship with our shortcomings. We think we need to be perfect to be accepted and respected. When our self-image clashes with how we really are, we scramble to defend ourselves. We blame others or make excuses rather than say with dignified humility, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

There’s nothing shameful to admit when we’ve made an all-too-human mistake. As John Bradshaw reminds us, making a mistake is different than being a mistake. Not acknowledging shortcomings is a sign of weakness, not strength.

Repairing Trust

Let’s say we get stuck at work and return home late. And we neglected to call, even though we’ve promised many times that we’d do so. Our upset partner asks angrily, “Where were you? Why didn’t you call?” Annoyed by our partner’s accusatory tone, we reply, “I’m sorry you’re upset, but you’re late sometimes too.” Our defensive comeback indicates that we’re not hearing our partner’s feelings. We attack rather than listen.

Or we might say, “I’m sorry. I wanted to call you but my phone battery died.” When people are hurting, even a good reason sounds like a lame excuse. They need to be met in their emotional place rather than be responded to from a rational place; they want their feelings heard.

Defensiveness escalates conflicts. When we say with a pompous tone, “Yes, I did that, but you do it too,” we’re really saying, “I have the right to hurt you because you hurt me.” Such an attitude doesn’t create a climate for healing; it perpetuates a cycle of distance, hurt, and mistrust.

An Iffy Apology

An apology containing the words “if” or “but” is not a real apology. Saying “I’m sorry if I hurt you” signals that we’re not accepting that we did caused the hurt. If someone tells us they feel hurt, it’s best to let that in rather than offer an explanation designed to quickly settle the matter.

Conflicts tend to de-escalate when the injured person’s feelings are heard and respected. Maybe later we can explain what happened — when emotions have cooled. Communication works better when we slow down, take a breath, and hear the other person’s feelings.

“I’m sorry you feel that way” often contains the unspoken thought: “But you shouldn’t feel that way” or “what’s wrong with you!?” We’re not allowing ourselves to be affected by the hurt we’ve triggered. We’re not taking responsibility for our behavior—or for our part of the problem.

We can make the case that it’s not our fault. After all, our phone died. But such a comeback can trigger an endless loop of counter-attacks: “Why didn’t you charge the phone properly? You’re so neglectful!” A genuine apology means we feel sorry for our behavior (not sorry you feel that way!) and for how our behavior created hurt.

It’s ok to feel a tinge of healthy shame or guilt for not living up to our own standards. We all do this. We can learn and grow from recognizing when we’re off the mark.

A Sincere Apology

Contrast the above “iffy” apology with a more sincere one, where our sorry flows from the sorrow we feel about our actions — and for the hurt we caused by not acting in a sensitive, attuned, caring way.

A more engaging response might look something like this: We look into our partner’s eyes and say with a sincere tone: “I really hear that I hurt you and I feel sad about that. We might add, “Is there anything more you want me to hear?” Or we might offer, “I blew it by not keeping my phone charged. I’ll do my best to pay more attention to that.”

Our partner might be more inclined to soften if he or she hears such a heartfelt apology. And if our partner is not receptive, at least we can know we did our best to offer a sincere apology.

The Strength to Have Humility

We all miss the boat sometimes. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for hurting someone or acting unwisely. As our self-worth grows, we can take responsibility for our actions without being burdened by the toxic shame created by self-blame.

Healing happens as we find the courage to offer a genuine apology, while learning through experience to be more mindful and responsive so that we’re less likely to repeat it.

A sincere apology requires strength and humility. It requires that we rest comfortably (or perhaps a little awkwardly) in a place of vulnerability. Most important, it requires that we recognize and heal the deep-seated shame that can trigger an angry, reactive response.

When it threatens our self-worth to notice the shame that gets triggered inside us, may we tap into the “fight” part of the “fight, flight, freeze” response. We resort to angry protests to protect ourselves from a painful sense of shame. This prevents us fro listening openly to another’s feelings.

Apologies cannot be forced. The demand, “You owe me an apology” is not a good setup to garner a genuine apology. And be aware that people may feel hurt based more on their history than anything you’ve done wrong. There may be times when you really didn’t do anything wrong.

Still, listening to a person’s feelings in a respectful and sensitive manner is a good starting place for repairing ruptured trust and sorting things out.

If someone is upset with you, take a deep breath to help you self-regulate, stay connected with your body (rather than dissociate). Then listen to the person’s feeling–noticing how you feel as you let in what they’re saying. Taking responsibility for even a small part of the matter — and offering a genuine apology — may go a long way toward repairing trust and renewing connection.

You Need To Know The Truth About Lie

A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

A single lie discovered is enough to create doubt in every truth expressed.

If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.

We all know how difficult it is to trust someone again, who has lied to you before. Trust is an important part of every relationship; and when we lie, even if we think others will never find out, we will create a barrier of hurt in our relationship. Unfortunately, when the other person finds out about our lie, and it usually is the case, it’s nearly impossible to trust again. And the damage that is done to our relationship may be irreparable.
Once we have told one lie, we may need a second lie to protect the first one, a third to protect the other two and so on. After a while our lies become so extreme that even we may have trouble keeping track of them, especially if we say a different set of lies for each person we encounter. Although most of us know this, but we still do it anyway.
Lies may appear to help us in the short term, but they harm us and others over the long haul. No matter how we might be adept at deception but we cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Fear of exposure leads us even more to self-protection, which becomes a vicious cycle. Just as our first cell duplicates itself to protect it from enemies, our ego covers up by producing more lies. When the truth is our only solution, many of us are unable to make that transition.
Lying may seem simple and harmless at first, but just like any addiction, you’ll soon find yourself trapped and entangled more than you could have ever imagined.
Most people who lie daily have little or no awareness of how they can harm others, and they will likely keep doing it regardless. Their egos believe that their needs are more important than other’s needs, despite the fact that they are the same.
Honesty and dishonesty are learned in the home. And like everything else, children learn to lie from the people around them. Children get a lot of messages from their parents saying that lying is always bad, but at the same time they see their parents telling ‘white’ lies to make life easier.

A parent should lead by example and never lie. And when they are caught in a lie, they have to express remorse and regret for making a conscious decision to tell a lie. Clear, understandable consequences for lying should be discussed with the child early on.
Parents are the most important role models for their children. When a child or adolescent lies, parents should take some time to have a serious talk and discuss the difference between make believe and reality, and lying and telling the truth. They should open an honest line of communication to find out exactly why the child chose to tell a lie, and to discuss alternatives to lying.
Young children often make up stories and tell tall tales. This is a normal activity because they enjoy hearing stories and making up stories for fun. These young children may blur the distinction between reality and fantasy. This is probably more a result of an active imagination than an attempt to deliberately lie about something.
But an older child or adolescent may tell a lie to be self-serving, such as denying responsibility or to try and get out of a chore or task. This is when parents should respond to isolated instances of lying by talking with the youngster about the importance of truthfulness, honesty and trust.
There are some people who consider a lie to be acceptable in certain situations such as not telling a boyfriend or girlfriend the real reasons for breaking up because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. But this is deceiving other people because they think it serves their purposes in some way.
The big problem with lying is that it often drives one to continue his/her deceptions, and the result is that trust is shattered, reputations are damaged, and suspicion rules the day.
People lie because of countless reasons. They lie to make themselves look better. They lie to take the credit, to conceal their poor performances and mistakes, to divert the blame, to protect their reputations, and to deceive and manipulate others.
Regardless of the intention, the final results are the same. “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Dishonesty and lies come in different ways and forms. There may be some people who tell lie by mistake without knowing the fact and they really believe in whatever they say. But there may be others who say lies showing no guilt or shame, knowing full well that they are deceiving others. Yet there may be others who say white lies, wishing to protect themselves or other people from the truth. Although some of these folks may have good intention, but it is all lying just the same.
As a general principle, people are always looking to see who they can trust and who they can’t. And if we refuse to lie at any circumstances, then we will be able to create lasting relationships of trust. This rule applies to all of our relationships whether it’s family, friends, or at work.
To be honest means that we do what we say we are going to do. It means that we believe in ourselves and in everything we perform. It means that we value ourselves enough not to ever live a lie. As the saying goes, “It’s simple. Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you.”
When we operate with complete integrity, what we say will be taken at face value, our intentions will be assumed honourable, and our handshake will be as good as a contract. Most importantly, we can take great pride in the standards that we have set for ourselves and sleep well at night knowing that our conscience is clear. As for others . . . just when they think they’re fooling the world, they’ll realize that they’re only fooling themselves. A promise is a promise after all!

This Time to Replace the Heart as the Symbol of Love

I was downtown with my girls a few years ago checking out the arts-n-crafts tables at Union Square when I came across a heart necklace shaped like a heart. Like a real heart. Like if you didn’t know what a real heart looked like, you might have thought the necklace was a charm of a chicken breast with antennae sticking out.

I asked the saleswoman about it and she made some comment like “real love isn’t pretty.” That’s why she molded an anatomically correct organ rather than a heart-shaped heart.

My girls were appalled. I was sold. Not so much because I’ve got a dismal view on love—I’ll be celebrating my 27th anniversary next month—but because I appreciated the medical accuracy.

I got thinking about my accurate-heart necklace with Valentine’s Day around the corner. And that got me wondering why—of all of our body parts—we connect love to the heart. It’s really just a pump.

Turns out, in ancient times the liver was the organ of desire.

Maybe the liver-love-thing didn’t catch on because getting someone a box of liver-treats on Valentine’s Day sounds like something you’d get your dog.

I think it’s time for a new Valentine’s Day body part. Rather than an organ responsible for bile (liver) or one for blood circulation (heart), we should pick one that has to do with hormones. Those are the chemicals that control lust, hunger, desire, growth, and probably cognition—all the things that in one way or another go into a solid romance.  Among the hormone-spewing glands, the top contender is the hypothalamus. It’s the master gland tucked deep in the brain that releases hormones that controls all the other ones. It’s the conductor of your finely-tuned orchestra of hormones. And it’s shaped sort of like a diamond. How apropos for Valentine’s gifts.

So if you really want to express a deep biological desire for your Valentine, you certainly don’t want to tell someone you love them with all your liver (that’s so 2nd century A.D) nor that you love them with all your heart (so 20th century.) Tell them you lust for them with all of the power of your hormone-spewing hypothalamus.

This is it Relationship Killers: Anger and Resentment

Anger hurts. It’s a reaction to not getting what we want or need. Anger escalates to rage when we feel assaulted or threatened. It could be physical, emotional, or abstract, such as an attack on our reputation. When we react disproportionately to our present circumstance, it’s because we’re really reacting to something in our past event – often from childhood.

Codependents have problems with anger. They have a lot of it for good reason, and they don’t know how to express it effectively. They’re frequently in relationships with people who contribute less that they do, who break promises and commitments, violate their boundaries, or disappointment or betray them. They may feel trapped, burdened with relationships woes, responsibility for children, or with financial troubles. Many don’t see a way out yet still love their partner or feel too guilty to leave.

Codependency Causes Anger and Resentment

Codependent symptoms of denial, dependency, lack of boundaries, and dysfunctional communication produce anger. Denial prevents us from accepting reality and recognizing our feelings and needs. Dependency on others spawns attempts to control them to feel better, rather than to initiate effective action. But when other people don’t do what we want, we feel angry, victimized, unappreciated or uncared for, and powerless – unable to be agents of change for ourselves. Dependency also leads to fear of a confrontation. We prefer to not “rock the boat” and jeopardize the relationship. With poor boundaries and communication skills, we don’t express our needs and feeling, or do so ineffectively. Hence, we’re unable to protect ourselves or get what we want and need. In sum, we become angry and resentful, because we:

Expect other people to make us happy, and they don’t.
Agree to things we don’t want to.
Have undisclosed expectations of other people.
Fear confrontation.
Deny or devalue our needs and thus don’t get them met.
Try to control people and things, over which we have no authority.
Ask for things in non-assertive, counterproductive ways; i.e., hinting, blaming, nagging, accusing.
Don’t set boundaries to stop abuse or behavior we don’t want.
Deny reality, and therefore,
Trust and rely on people proven to be untrustworthy and unreliable.
Want people to meet our needs who have shown that they won’t or can’t.
Despite the facts and repeated disappointments, maintain hope and try to change others.
Stay in relationships although we continue to be disappointed or abused.
Mismanaging Anger

When we can’t manage anger, it can overwhelm us. How we react is influenced by our innate temperament and early family environment. Thus, different people react differently. Codependents don’t know how to handle their anger. Some explode, criticize, blame, or say hurtful things they later regret. Others hold it in and say nothing in. They please or withdraw to avoid conflict, but stockpile resentments. Yet anger always finds a way.Codependency can lead to being passive-aggressive, where anger comes out indirectly with sarcasm, grumpiness, irritability, silence, or throughbehavior, such as cold looks, slamming doors, forgetting, withholding, being late, even cheating.

If we’re in denial of our anger, we don’t allow ourselves to feel it or even mentally acknowledge it. We may not realize we’re angry for days, weeks, years after an event. All of these difficulties with anger are due to poor role models growing up. Learning to manage anger should be taught in childhood, but our parents lacked skills to handle their own anger maturely, and therefore were unable to pass them on. If one or both parents are aggressive or passive, we would copy one or the other parent. If we’re taught not to raise our voice, told not to feel angry, or were scolded for expressing it, we learned to suppress it. Some of us fear we’ll turn into the aggressive parent we grew up with. Many people believe it’s not Christian, nice, or spiritual to be angry and they feel guilty when they are.

The truth is that anger is a normal, healthy reaction when our needs aren’t met, our boundaries are violated, or our trust is broken. Anger has to move. It’s a powerful energy that requires expression and sometimes action to correct a wrong. It needn’t be loud or hurtful. Most codependents are afraid their anger will hurt or even destroy someone they love. Not necessarily so. Correctly handled, it can improve a relationship.

Anger and Depression

Sometimes anger hurts us most of all. Mark Twain wrote, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Anger can contribute to ill health and chronic illness. Stressful emotions wear down the body’s immune and nervous systems and its ability to repair and replenish itself. Stress-related symptoms include heart disease (high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke, digestive and sleep disorders, headaches, muscle tension and pain, obesity, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, TMJ, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Unexpressed anger breeds resentment or gets turned against ourselves. It’s been said that depression is anger turned inward. Examples are guilt and shame, forms of self-hatred that when excessive, lead to depression.

Expressing Anger Effectively

Managing our anger is essential to success in work and relationships. The first step is acknowledging it and recognizing how it manifests in our body. Identify the physical signs of anger, usually muscular tension, including clenching, and heat. Slow your breath and bring it into your belly to calm you. Take time out to cool-off.

Repeating gripes or arguments in our mind is a sign of resentment or “re-sent” anger. Admitting we’re angry, followed by acceptance, prepares us for a constructive response. Anger may signal deeper feelings or hidden pain, unmet needs, or that action is required. Sometimes, resentment is fueled by unresolved guilt. To overcome guilt and self-blame, see Freedom from Guilt and Blame – Finding Self-Forgiveness.

Understanding our reaction to anger includes discovering our beliefs and attitudes about it and what have influenced their formation. Next, we should examine and identify what triggers our anger. If we frequently over-react and view others’ actions as hurtful, it’s a sign of shaky self-worth. When we raise our self-esteem and heal internalized shame, we won’t over-react, but are able to respond to anger in a productive and assertivemanner. To learn assertiveness skills, read the examples in How to Speak Your Mind: Become Assertive and Set Limits, and write out scripts and practice the role plays in How to Be Assertive.

In the heat of anger, we may overlook our contribution to the event or that we owe an apology. Acknowledging our part can help us learn and improve our relationships.

Finally, forgiveness doesn’t mean we condone or accept bad behavior. It means that we’ve let go of our anger and resentment. Praying for the other person can help us find forgiveness. Read “The Challenge ofForgiveness.”

Working with a counselor is an effective way to learn to manage anger and communicate it effectively.