Do You Really Have a Choice with Your Feelings?

If you say you got pisssed off, gripped by fear, sadness overcame you, lost hope, filled with gratitude, or overwhelmed by joy; the passive voice you use about your feelings reveals a misconception of how they work. Continue reading →

Grudge

Suppose you’re angry on Tuesday because someone stole from you on Monday. On Wednesday that person returned what he stole, compensated you for the inconvenience, apologized, and credibly promised never to do it again. If you’re still angry on Thursday, you are said to be holding a grudge. Plenty of people say grudges should beContinue reading “Grudge”

If You Can’t Find Help

Let’s face it, it is a whole lot easier to acquire a Problem than it is to get help in eradicating it. In many localities, there are drug dealers at every corner, but to get your loved one to a clinic, takes two buses. Intake coordinators will make him wait in a room with oldContinue reading “If You Can’t Find Help”

Get Help to Defeat the Problem

When a Problem takes over a relationship and hurts people, the people in the relationship disappear and the needs of the Problem consume everything. If you’re the person with the Problem, your job is to recover and get your self back. If you’re the other person, your job is to recognize the problematic portion ofContinue reading “Get Help to Defeat the Problem”

Don’t Play the Problem’s Game

There’s no question about it, starving the Problem is a brave thing to do, even if you’re careful to not starve the person. Your partner certainly won’t give you any credit for doing it. He, after all, has already been overcome by the Problem and is thinking like it does. When he’s suicidal, he’s goingContinue reading “Don’t Play the Problem’s Game”

Feed the Person, Starve the Problem 

One Halloween when I was a kid, I came home from trick-or-treating with a plastic pumpkin full of chocolate. My mouth had been watering ever since the second doorbell but my costume prohibited taking an early snack. As soon as I got home, the mask came off and I had my first piece of chocolate. TheContinue reading “Feed the Person, Starve the Problem “

Create Problem-Free Zones

If you’ve been hurt and the Problem has taken over your relationship, there’s plenty that you can do, other than succumb to the Problem yourself. Just because your boyfriend wants to get stinking drunk every time he goes out, doesn’t mean you have to clean him up when he comes home. If your girlfriend picksContinue reading “Create Problem-Free Zones”

Where Problems Come From

Chances are, neither you nor your loved one asked for a persistent problem. Illnesses happen beyond anyone’s control. Some diseases are inherited, like Huntington’s; others are transmitted, like Ebola. Mental illness and addiction are thought to involve a multi-factor genesis called the Diathesis-Stress Hypothesis. (Continue reading…)

Who Owns the Problem?

When a persistent problem like an illness or an addiction comes between a couple, no one wants it. It’s your Problem, one says to the other. No, the other says, you brought it here; the Problem belongs to you. The couple comes to marriage counseling and asks, who owns the Problem?  No one owns theContinue reading “Who Owns the Problem?”

How Problems Get Power

Persistent problems like an addiction or a chronic illness can take a couple into a dangerous territory where clarity turns gray and selfishness rules the day. This is a place where individuals disappear and are replaced by need; where loved ones are objectified, resented, and manipulated; where wedding vows, conceived to guide people to beContinue reading “How Problems Get Power”