Victims in Denial

One type you’ll see on the side of the road to reconciliation are the Deniers. You’ll see them, but they won’t see you. They’re blind, deaf, and insensible to touch. They only know what they want to know, what’s convenient to them, what fits in the worldview they feel they must have. If the evidence threatens their ideas, they discard the evidence. They are the deniers, who, although they are hurt by the ones they love, will never admit it. Continue reading →

Wreckage on the Road to Reconciliation

You’re wounded and angry. Someone close to you, who should love you, hurt you instead. This person might be a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend, a partner, or a spouse. Whoever it is; where you once had trust, you now have fear. You were attracted; now, you are apprehensive. You had love, but now you have loathing. You don’t know what to do. Should you stay, or should you go? Put up with it, or give it right back to him? Retaliate or bury your feelings? If neither choice seems good, it’s because neither choice is good. You wish there was another way. Some way that affirmed your experience as a victim but didn’t leave you weak and vulnerable. A way that facilitated change and showed mercy, without opening you up to more disappointment. Some way to be firm, but not rigid.

Luckily, there’s a way. The road out of here can be a long, long road, often not well marked, the choices are confusing, but there’s a way. The ultimate destination is complete, authentic Reconciliation. Not everyone makes it all the way to Reconciliation. Your counterpart will not be ready for reconciliation exactly when you are. She may never be ready at all. In fact, if you have been hurt enough, you might not even want to go to a place called Reconciliation. Seeing the person who hurt you and interacting with him, may already be a few steps too far. Well, relax, you don’t have to reconcile if you don’t want to; but, I think you’ll agree that you can use some Personal Peace.

Total, genuine reconciliation with the other person requires a collaborative effort that some people cannot do; cannot or will not. Both parties must take responsibility for their share of the solution. If you have a counterpart who won’t do his share, you will not make it all the way to Reconciliation. Luckily, you can make it far down the road without their help. You can make it all the way to Personal Peace, which is a kind of reconciliation with yourself. Personal Peace is a pretty nice place.

However, spend any time with people who have been victimized and you’ll see a lot who are stuck. They are nowhere near any kind of Personal Peace. They are the wrecks that have gone off the road and camped out rather than repairing and moving on. Continue reading →

What Are Feelings For?

Feelings are like the idiot lights on your car. They’re crude messages about your state of being. When the oil light goes on in your car, you know to check the oil. When you feel angry, you know there is a perceived injustice somewhere. You don’t ignore the idiot light on your car, do you? Then don’t ignore your feelings. Check them out to see what’s causing them, and thank your feelings for alerting you to potential danger. Continue reading →

Listen to Your Lookout

If you’re in a close relationship, you have a resource others don’t have. You have a lookout.

When the wheels start to come off, everyone is prone to develop their own kind of problem and make their own kind of mistakes. Some get depressed or anxious or angry or just withdraw into themselves. Others use substances, or gamble, or have sex with everyone, or can’t stop shopping; others get controlling. Some have a combination of several kinds of problems and mistakes. Everyone’s got their thing. Your own type of problem and mistake is yours because it’s the very thing that sneaks up in your blind spots. When it fools anyone into thinking it’s a good thing, it fools you first. Continue reading →

A Guide to Pain and Suffering

Your feelings tell you about the state of your body. If you’re putting on a roof, carrying shingles up a ladder, swinging a hammer until your hand falls off, sweating it out at a hundred and ten degrees, your body will have a lot to say. You may not want to listen to it. You’ve got to cover the roof before the rainstorm comes; but, your body is trying to tell you something. It would be in your interest to listen sometimes.

The feeling of pain is the way the body speaks to you when it wants to say, cut it out, you’re exceeding limitations. When you swing a hammer until your hand is ready to fall off, tendonitis is developing. That’s why the old guy on your job, who used to swing a hammer all day, can’t anymore. He ruined his hands swinging that hammer, so now all he can do is talk to customers, write up estimates, and yell at you that you’re doing it wrong. He’d like to be on the roof and show you how to do it, but he didn’t listen to his body when it told him to stop. Continue reading →

Dissatisfaction and Craving

Sharpening your point until you miss it

There are two ways of wanting something; you can be broad, or you can be precise. It’s possible to be too broad or too precise.

There are many other words in the vast family of wanting: annoyance, anxiety, boredom, complaint, discomfort, dismay, displeasure, disquiet, distaste, exasperation, frustration, discouraged, disgruntled, distressed, and malcontent. I call the broad variety dissatisfied, and the precise kind, craving. Continue reading →

Don’t Play the Problem’s Game

When Problems Take Over a Relationship

How does a persistent problem get started and what keeps it going? Why does it seem to be immune to your attempts to defeat it? Let me explain how it gets so hard and how problems manipulate you into feeding them. Continue reading →