Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

A True Confession About Friends

May 20, 2009


Artist: Diego Rivera


As I get older, I’m becoming more and more of a loner.  That is to say, I prefer my own company to the company of others. Given the choice of a visit with a friend, or reading or writing or creating, I will always choose the latter.  I’m going to say what is true for me, even though it sounds awful. After about a half hour visit, I get bored. Yes. I get bored. Because my mind drifts away to my interior landscape from which my creativity springs, and I want to get back to it. To whatever medium I’m working in. I don’t want to listen very long to  somebody’s daily travails or about their their kids or daily lives.  I feel trapped,  a captive audience.  Phone calls are the same for me. Maybe even worse. Because they have to be returned if I want to have any friends at all.

So why do I want them, you may be asking yourself.  Well…because I love them! And I care about them. And when the chips are down, they’re there for me and I’m there for them.  I think maybe  its just that in this fifth decade of my life, my identity is morphing into an artist and I have no patience for daily minutiae.

Also, the more I think about it, a man would never even write this post or have these thoughts. Men don’t chat about their daily lives. Most of the ones I know are very much bottom line kinds of people. Phone calls serve a function, as in : where are we going and what time are we meeting? Men do things together. Women seem to talk about things more. …A cultural thing, I guess.

 How could Psychscribe admit to such mean thoughts? Because it is my truth. Does this sound really awful?

Relationships: True Intimacy

May 1, 2009

True intimacy is achieved when you feel safe enough to be emotionally naked with your partner.  You know your partner will not try to talk you out of your authentic feelings, will not say you’re “over-reacting”,  will not try to fix it, and will not ignore you. You know you will be supported and validated no matter what you’re feeling and sharing, verbally or otherwise.  You know you will receive empathy.This is love, pure and simple…

If I Had My Life to Live Over

February 7, 2009


This is a well known column by Erma Bombeck, a very popular writer who was syndicated back in the days before the internet and died in 1996.. (Yes children, there once was a world without it when people couldn’t live without their paper newspapers!) 

Anyway, I thought I’d post it for anyone in younger generations, or other countries, who missed it. Its quite wonderful, I think. Hope you will too. Its called “If I Had My Life to Live Over”.  She writes:

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love yous”..  more “I’m sorrys”…  but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it…live it…and never give it back.

by Erma Bombeck 

About Erma from Wikipedia: “Erma Louise Bombeck (February 211927 – April 221996), born Erma Fiste, was an Americanhumorist who achieved great popularity for hernewspaper column that described suburban home life humorously from the mid-1960s until the late ’90s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers.

From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of theU.S. and Canada.”

The Measure of Grief

February 5, 2009





Twenty-five years ago today my father died.  

Even in my dreamless sleep I knew it.


I stumble out of bed  

where is my husband?


I want to hug him    

hug him so tightly

but he is gone

gone to work  

to work his ass off.




I worry about his heart.


I want to hug my father  

(who worked his ass off).

I want to hug him  

hug him so tightly


but he is gone  


gone to rest    

to rest in peace.


I’d rather he were here, God forgive  me.

Yes.  I would rip him right out of paradise  if I could

to have him back here with the whole family

loving    living   YES , even suffering

but right alongside us where   think he belongs.


A quarter of a century.

One-fourth of a whole.

A quarter coin is so small really.  


A hole the size of a quarter 

is still in my heart  

big enough to kill me.


by Psychscribe ©2009

If I Were to Die Today (Part 2 – Relationship With Family)

December 18, 2008

Well, I’m still here…stroke symptoms morphed into a lupus flare…ok, I can deal with that, not so scary. Bed and tea and my laptop…small price to pay for some aches and pain!

Yesterday I focused on the spiritual aspects of death…and my not being prepared in that regard.  But today I want to talk about my loved ones. Most of all my husband and children.

I can only write from a selfish point of view on this, so here goes: I don’t want to miss watching my children’s lives further unfold. I have no grandchildren yet. I want to know them. I want them to remember me. Yes…I want to live on a few years longer by having a place in their minds…. I want to see what they look like! Since both my kids are pretty much clones of their father, maybe some recessive gene somewhere would reincarnate my physical characteristics… Narcissistic, certainly. But truthfully, don’t most of us long for a genetic  replica when we, or our kids, are pregnant?

Not so selfishly, I worry about them handling their grief. Oh I know, of course, that we all manage to do it.  But…loss is not a strong point for any of us in this family.  It takes us a long, long time….and I so wish I could spare them what God has decreed to be necessary…(There I go again. God certainly seems to be talking to me…however discreetly…)

My husband? Oh…this is a man who does not know who he is if he doesn’t have someone to give his whole heart and devotion to. He cannot stand to be alone. He would have to, HAVE to, find someone else to spend the remainder of his life with…to give that to… I’ve told him I would want that for him. But just between us….I don’t!!! I can’t STAND the thought of another woman having what was mine…his love, him….the thought of him holding and hugging someone else…I feel sick as I write this…but I also know he would NEED that….its not about ME anymore….but I’m just being truthful..we can all say what sounds like the right thing…but truthfully it makes me feel slightly ill….

Well, I comfort myself with the thought that if I were to die today, I would pass on to paradise, to the place where dreams are made…and later, my husband and kids would follow, and however they’ve gotten through their journey without me, none of it would matter in the WAY BIGGER scheme of things.

Well, I’m realizing that in both these posts I’ve pondered dying in terms of my relationship with others.  Not a word about my relationship with myself. Guess there will be a part 3 coming….

My Son is Engaged!

November 15, 2008


Photo copyright Jupiter Images 2008.

He officially proposed yesterday, after he took Mom and his sister ring shopping with him. I am so happy he has found a girl who really loves him, and better yet, laughs at all his jokes. (This is very important to a guy like my son) .

What a creative proposal he came up with. He pulled over to the side of the road – a rainy night – and told her he thought they had a flat tire. She totally disagreed with him that it felt like they had a flat.  He pretended to find one in the rear, and got her to come out and look at it, obviously acting all annoyed at the situation. When she got out of the car he was on his knee, in the rain and mud, with the ring box in his hand!

This is the first girl who he has seemed truly happy with, which of course makes his mom so happy (he’s 33 for goodness sake!). She’s shy, lovely, and this is not her original country. She was born in Ecuador, which is very cool. 

Well, that’s my announcement for the day 🙂 Other that when it rains it pours…my daughter just got married on Sept. 19th!

Therapist! Practice What You Preach!

June 23, 2008

What a weekend! Major issues with my sister that grew into a full blown cat fight in the middle of a restaurant, with both our husbands ducking for cover. I kid you not. She even flung a napkin or something that ended up at another table, much to the delight of those patrons…it had to do with all kinds of chick stuff the grist of which fuels the book and film industry not to mention Lifetime Channel… Anyway I write this as a fairly anonymous confession…we  therapists preach non-reactivity but even we lose it sometimes!!!!

Couples Clue Phone #4

March 11, 2008

Marriage or a committed relationship is not about “what am I going to get from my partner”. Rather, its about mutual stretching into “what can I do to fulfill my partner’s needs?” Its about mutual giving, not getting. The more you give, the more you get…. But I stress the word mutual. Otherwise its just a whole codependent thing going on, which ultimately brings happiness to no one.

This is the philosophy of Imago Therapy. If you haven’t read about it, you can google Imago Relationship Institute or buy “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. I highly recommend it as a Certified Imago Therapist.

Would You Stay if Your Partner Cheated?

January 25, 2008

Most people start off proclaiming: not me! No way! If my partner was willing to risk our relationship, that would tell me it didn’t mean very much. I could never feel the same.

Its a real hard hit to find out that life just is not black and white. Affairs are one of the most frequent crises that bring people to relationship therapy. The person who had the affair really doesn’t want the marriage or partnership to end, and neither does the person who was cheated on. They usually arrive feeling somewhat dazed, like they can’t believe they’re in my office despite their value systems. Despite their own behavior.

Would you stay? Have you stayed when you never thought you would?

Affairs: Have You Strayed?

January 25, 2008

Affairs are one of the most frequent reasons people come to couples counseling. I plan to begin a series of posts about affairs that may be of help to you and your partner. But first I’d like to hear from some people who have been through this. (The next post will ask questions of the spouse or partner who has been cheated on.)

Are you male or female? Have you ever had a one nigh stand? An actual affair? Why? Did you choose to remain with your partner? Why? Did you tell your partner? Why or why not?

Psychscribe post on different blog today

January 15, 2008

Today’s post, Learning to Love an Aging Mother, can be found at  Thanks for reading.

Do You Remember Your Love Story?

January 14, 2008

I’m sure you do. And if you think about  it now…how you met….when exactly you knew you were in love…it feels really good, doesn’t it? How often do you remind your partner of this lovely beginning? The details, the music, the time of year, that special secret place….? Way too many couples let all this fade into history. Not a good idea at all. Because with the fading of the memories comes the fading of the romance that brought you together. Romance is a major nutrient for any relationship. We need it to keep the relationship alive, well and healthy.  

I don’t care if you’ve been together for two years or forty years.   Take the time, periodically, to light a candle, sit on the couch together, play your old songs, and remind each other of your love story. Every little detail. You’ll be delighted to discover what you each remember.  And then the most magical thing will happen. For a while, a very nice while, you will turn back time and be those same two people who saw only the good in each other. And felt all that chemistry.  And then…..who knows what might happen on that couch

Would you be willing to tell us about your love story?

Sarcasm is NOT ok

January 10, 2008

This is a problem behavior for many couples who come to see me. Sometimes they readily identify that they’re communicating with sarcasm. Sometimes I identify it and call them out on it. They’ll say “Hey, that’s just the way I am.” Or, “My whole family talks this way, its just a joking thing, nothing serious.” Well no. Actually it is serious. Sarcasm is communication with a bite. And bites hurt.

Sarcasm is not a personlity trait. It is learned behavior. Sarcasm often brings laughter to a group, at the expense of one group member…whoever was unfortunate enough to be in the sarcastic person’s line of fire.  But, group dynamics being what they are,   the sarcastic person is often the life of the party. This of course only reinforces the behavior and that’s understandable. But its still not ok. Sarcasm is communication with a bite. And bites hurt.

For anyone who thinks I’m making a big deal out of nothing, that’s probably the sarcastic person thinking it. So let me ask you this: Has anyone ever been sarcastic to you?  Either on a routine basis or in a group? Try to remember how it felt to be at the other end of the sarcasm. Probably not very good. Probably awful.  So do you think your sarcasm helps or hurts your personal relationships and the people that you love?

Sarcasm is communication with a bite. And bites hurt.

Alpha Male: Working Definition

January 6, 2008

I’ve received quite a bit of interest in my posts on the alpha male. I’ve now realized, in talking with my daughter, her alpha male fiancee , and his artistic brother, that a working definition would be nice for any further discussion. To start with, we all agree that the alpha male is a “man’s man”.  Always a leader, confident, some might say arrogant. Not interested in the creative arts and doesn’t care if you think he should be. This is the guy you’d want with you if you were lost in the jungle because he would keep you safe and get you out of there.

I think its important to note that I see two types of alpha males. One is the type who is high on his own testosterone. He gets road rage, abuses women and children, and fights with guys in bars.  This is clearly the undesireable alpha. The other type is an evolved alpha. He is a leader in business, a commander in combat, the strength of his family, and a loving partner. He loves very feminine women, “girly girls” but also wants intelligence and independance in a woman because he wants an equal, not a subordinate. A true alpha is not threatened by strong women. He admires them.

I would love to get my readers more involved in this discussion.  What do you think?

P.S. Sometimes All You Can do is All You Can Do

January 5, 2008

The epiphany I just had upon re-reading the previous post is this: since children learn and internalize  everything from their  parents about life, values , relationships etc., it makes sense that I would not have placed any value on my little brother.  After all, if my hero dad thought so little of him, why would I think any differently? How very, very sad…

Sometimes All You Can Do is All You Can Do

January 4, 2008

I’m thinking here about the siblings issues we’ve talked about.  I asked about yours….let me tell you about mine. I have a brother who doesn’t speak to me or our sister. He simply wants nothing to do with us.  There was no big argument that set it off.  He just has issues…(I’m a therapist, how can I not  think this way?). His childhood basically sucked. Our father criticized him relentlessly,  and favored his girls. Lavished his girls. With love, affection, and material things.  I basked in my father’s attention, and had no time or interest in my brother, 6 years younger than I.  I have no happy memories of him at all and I’m sure its the same for him…he was just the pain in the butt little brother…

It never grew to more than that….Then  my father died when we were young adults and  my brother began to drift even further away…literally across the country…meanwhile I got older, and sick, and began to belatedly appreciate the importance of family. I tried reaching out to him so many times…verbally, letters, sending photos of his neice and nephew who he has no interest in….but it was too late. He told someone that he really just has nothing in common with me…At first I thought that was ridiculous ! Nothing in common? We had the same parents! We grew up together.

But then I thought about it some more and realized that wasn’t true at all. We did not grow up together. We never connected or bonded. We experienced our childhoods and our parents entirely differently.  Too late, I grieve for the relationshp I could have fostered with my little brother. I envy women with brothers now. I am so pleased that my son and daughter are so close.  I grieve for what never was with my brother, and also for what never will be. He just doesn’t want it.  So as much as I yearn for it as a woman, and believe in it as a therapist, the reality is we can’t always mend relationships. Or in this case, start one. Sometimes all you can do…is all you can do…

The Best Thing That Happened to Me This Year

January 2, 2008

Since I asked this of my readers in an earlier post, I thought I would tell you mine: not very original maybe, but really quite wonderful. The best thing that happened to me this year was the surprise party my daughter threw us for our 20th wedding anniversary. I mean, I was truly surprised, and so very touched, when I walked in and realized that all those people were there for us. I felt so loved…seeing all the smiling faces, and the joy of our own relationship reflected back to us in those smiling faces. Truth be told, I had not realized we were that important to so many people. Friends who traveled by air to be there. Friends who changed vacation plans to be there. Friends who smiled the whole night long. I will never, ever forget it as long as I live.

Do You Love an Alpha Male?

December 21, 2007

I posted a love note mine sent me…would you be willing to tell us what you love about yours?

Alpha Male Love Note

December 18, 2007

This is the email he left me this morning. This is the man I love.  I love what he did, how he said it, all of it. Bottom line is its nurturing and protective and we all need this in our relationships:

“Your car has a lot of ice on it.  I cleared the windows but do not put on the wipers until the car has warmed up.  You might want to go down and turn it on and leave it running for 15 min or so before you leave.   Watch for ice coming off when you are at speed.

Love you”

Single & Happy? Imago: YouTube

December 15, 2007

So view this, if you will, and tell me…what do you think?

Interracial Marriage – YouTube

December 14, 2007

I found some of these student interviews to be disappointing...but then again, what else was I expecting in today's world?  Anyone else have the same reaction?

Psychscribe Quote # 6

December 12, 2007

“Whatever life you lead you must put your soul into it, to make any sort of success of it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you. It becomes reality!”  From Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

What is Codependence?

December 12, 2007

Codependence is a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem solving learned and absorbed during childhood. It happens due to growing up in a family where there is a great deal of chronic emotional pain or trauma and unhealthy boundaries. Examples of these are families where there was: unskillful parenting, a critical or non-nurturing environment, domestic violence, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, substance abuse or addiction, or chronic mental or physical illness. Just like individual people, not all families can be so neatly categorized. Codependence can happen in any family where parents are trying their best, but learned unhealthy patterns of relating.  Therapy can heal you from the past and help you to create a healthy life and identity for yourself. 

In these families there are no appropriate boundaries for the child to experience or learn. Some grow up with no personal boundaries at all. They take in all the negativity of others’ fears, attacks, anger, and criticism. Everything gets in and overwhelms them resulting in no clear sense of identity. Others grow up with rigid boundaries, never allowing anything positive inside, like love, admiration, compliments, and nurturing.

To be emotionally healthy we need to develop  boundaries which keep out the negative but let in the positive. This results in a person with healthy self esteem.

Signs of Codependence

  • You have no idea what normal is
  • Your moods are directly dependent upon the moods of the people you’re close to
  • You attempt to control people’s moods because if they feel good, you’ll feel good.
  • You must always have the approval of others
  • You blame others for your feelings or behavior
  • You have a pattern of getting into abusive relationships/friendships
  • You minimize your unhealthy relationships/friendships
  • You defend or minimize your family of origin’s unhealthy patterns of behavior
  • You “stuff” your feelings
  • You rage at others
  • You feel ashamed to cry in front of anyone
  • You feel numb when it comes to expressing emotions
  • You feel uncomfortable when others express strong emotions
  • You make yourself feel better with addictive substances or behaviors
  • You have never learned to say “no” or “that’s not gonna work for me”
  • You feel bored and empty if there isn’t a crisis in your life, or someone to help
  • You fear being alone
  • You lie rather than speak your truth
  • You lie rather than speak your truth
  • You’re afraid of authority figures
  • You don’t have a clue how to have fun
  • You are very self critical
  • You feel guilty when you stand up for yourself instead of giving in
  • You are, or love, a workaholic
  • You are a reactor in life, rather than an actor  

Source: The Wellness Insititute

 Recommended Reading

  • Breaking Free from the Victim Trap: Reclaiming Your Personal Power by Diane Zimberoff
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

How Ear Plugs Saved My Marriage

December 10, 2007

I do NOT snore. Women don’t snore. It isn’t feminine. Its embarrassing to be told the whole house shakes like  its been hit by a mack truck when you sleep.

So I’ve insisted he is delusional, despite the fact that my husband’s morning smile  has morphed over time from a frown, to a snarl, to a downright nasty growl. The kind, protective war hero I’d married had been making me feel like it was every man for himself. He’d been threatening to sleep in the other room which neither of us wants since we are both cuddlers.  We’ve always said that if our marriage ever got to that sorry state of affairs we might as well split. I was kind of, sort of worried…not really…

But finally I noticed, over time, that his acting out behavior had stopped. His disposition was better in the morning. The smile was back.  Today I went into his night stand looking for something and came across  foam ear plugs.  He never said a word to further assault my dignity now that a solution had been found. And neither will I.

My hero is back.

Are you NOT on speaking terms with a sibling?

December 8, 2007

In so many families the kids polarize, right into adulthood. They cut each other off and let the childhood dynamics ruin the present and the future.  It affects everyone, because where once there was a sibling  (and aunt, uncle, cousins, etc.) now there is a ghost. 

What do the children learn from this? To solve problem relationships in the same way. Is that what we want for our kids?  The important thing to remember is the old adage: let bygones be bygones. Because once your parents are gone your sibling is the only person who lived, and survived,  your history with you.