Posts Tagged ‘problems’

The Most Important Warning Sign That Your Relationship Is In Trouble

red mystery flowerWritten by Terri Crosby for In Care of Relationships

It turns out that whether or not a couple will stay together and be happy is jaw-droppingly predictable. Researcher, John Gottman dedicates his life to studying couples.   In a 1990 study, he set up a love laboratory to learn how partners either create a culture of love and intimacy, or squash it. Gottman designed a lab on the University of Washington campus to look like a beautiful bed and breakfast retreat. He invited 130 newlywed couples to spend the day at this retreat and watched couples do what they do on vacation: eat, chat, hang out, cook, clean, and listen to music.

Making A Bid For Connection

Throughout the day, partners made requests or “bids” for connection.   For instance, a wife might ask a question, make a comment, or start a conversation, hoping her husband will join in and show signs of interest and  support. Now her husband has a choice.   He can  “turn toward” the bid or “turn away.”  If he turns toward her, he engages, and shows interest and support.  When he comments back, smiles, or asks a question, he encourages intimacy and connection. If he turns away, he keeps doing what he’s doing (watching TV, reading, checking his smartphone or iPad).  He makes little or no eye contact, and responds minimally or brushes her off.  He ignores, downplays, opposes, refuses or mumbles “uh huh.”  He might even say or imply, “Stop interrupting me, can’t you see I’m watching the game?”

Take A Look At These Impressive Follow Up Stats

Here’s what John Gottman found. key to success Couples from his study who had broken up six years later had “turn-towards” responses 33 percent of the time.  Only 3 out of 10 bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-towards” moments 87 percent of the time, or 9 out of 10 times. Quite a difference! Gottman’s findings, by the way, apply whether a person is straight or gay, rich or poor, or has children or no children. Gottman says successful couples are consistently looking to build a culture of respect and connection.  He says these couples are on the look out for what to appreciate and say thank you for.  On the other hand, couples who don’t stay together (or are chronically unhappy) are looking for their partners’ mistakes. Contempt, according to Gottman, is the number one thing that tears couples apart.  And get this — when partners are focused on criticizing, they miss a whopping 50% of the positive things their spouse is doing, and see negativity when it’s not even there. (Been there.  Done that.) Kindness on the other hand, is good glue, and bonds a couple together.  It’s good to think of kindness as a muscle you can develop.  That way, the longer you live together, the more kindness you create in your relationship. And kindness tends to create more kindness, which is a very good thing in relationships!

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For more information about In Care of Relationships, click here.

About Terri Crosby — I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Eric, my partner of 15 years, two cats and a dog, and as many flowers and vegetables as I can plant.  I love really good food, good friends, and great relationships!

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Ladies, Meet Your Inner CAVEWOMAN

it’s CAVEWOMAN

She’s with you 24-7  — because she’s IN your DNA.  And do you know what? Mostly, our inner CAVEWOMAN complains, worries, and micromanages.  She is careful — about small things and big things and everything in between. And here’s the bottomline deal — she’s very focused.  On surviving. It’s her job to keep you alive.  So…. she monitors, keeps her eye on, checks. The good news?  You can tell when she’s monitoring! Do you know how to tell? (Pause here and see if you know the answer to that…) Go ahead.  Look away from the page and take a guess. The answer:  when you feel tension. Yes, when you’re uptight.  Even the slightest little teensy weensy bit. Keep in mind that tension occurs in many forms.  Some forms are  fairly subtle, some are obvious.   For instance, there is tension when you react to something, feel offended, defend yourself, feel an urgency to correct someone or something, talk to someone, tell someone some news, tell the full story, do something for someone because they asked you and you “should” do it. Ladies, meet your inner CAVEWOMAN. It’s important that you get to know her.tension Why? If you don’t know who she is and what kind of trouble she can get going in a second and a half, you’ll think she’s YOU, the real you. And that’s not helpful. At all. And you’ll think she’s telling you the truth.  (She’s not.) And you’ll think you have to listen to her.  (You don’t.) She will mess up a relationship with a man faster than you can say lickety split.   She’ll talk to you and give you unsolicited advice when you’re around your son, your father, your brother, your husband, your boyfriend, or the guy down the street even if he’s trying to help you.  She will tell you what to say and do, and it’s (usually, almost always) not helpful (at all!). She’s not you.  She’s CAVEWOMAN. She’s the ding-dong bell of instinct. The ring-a-ling girl of survival. She’s got some favorite methods of saving you from the tiger, which is her job.  Check these out.
  • She complains.  The purpose?  Simple.  To make things right — so nobody will die.
  • She questions, corrects, fixes, adjusts.  She even questions competent people who know what they are doing.  She wants to make sure that things will turn out right.  By doing it her way.  Yep, so nobody will die.
  • She worries.  About things going wrong.  If things go wrong, people might die, especially the nice people who could save her from the dangers of the jungle, and then she would die, too.  OMG.
  • She thinks too much.  About who is on her side.  Who is right and who is wrong.  Because if she is on the wrong side of things, she might not get saved.  From all the tigers roaming on the wrong side of the fence.
  • She obsesses.  About ridiculous details, mostly involving fake urgency.  She makes you think that unimportant things are important.   She doesn’t know when enough is enough, the day is done, and you it’s time to chill out and relax.  She tells you you should do this and that and the other thing (just one more thing, and one more thing, etc.) at 11 pm when you could be heading for your soft pillow.  She does not know how to leave the dishes until the next day, and she thinks that sending that final email will save the world.caveman  And everyone will live.
  • She has habits.  Sure-fire methods.  Tried and true ideas.  Like how to load the dishwasher.  How to prepare food.  How to cut a vegetable.  How to prepare for a trip.  How to raise children.  She’s doing things the way she’s doing things for one reason.  To save the tribe.  Her babies.  Her hunter.  And herself of course.
  • She wants desperately to please others.  Why?  So she can stay in the cave where it’s safe from danger.  If she’s surrounded by people, she’s protected.  And if she is nice enough, those other cave people will help her in times of trouble.  They will look out for her and save her life.
  • She is with you when you are by yourself walking in a (well lit, even…) parking lot at night.  She looks in your car, around your car before you get in it.  You can feel her on high alert when you’re walking on a dimly lit street in New York City.  Hang onto your purse.  Look behind you.  Notice the people walking near you.  Read the faces.  Notice the intent. Does that guy look scary?  Cross the street and get away from him.
  • She convinces you that being alone is bad.  It’s dangerous.  It’s not good.  You have no help.  Surely, you’ll die if you’re on your own.  So your feeling of loneliness drives you toward being with other people, which is safer.
  • She is desperate to appear to be low-maintenance.  “Oh, I can do it myself, thank you.”  If she is less trouble (and more helpful) surely she is more valuable, right?  She has to be nice to her sisters and friends, too, so her these women don’t rat on her and throw her out of the cave (to starve, of course.)  So don’t disagree with the Sisterhood!  You don’t want to go there!  You’ll die!
  • Are you getting the picture?  Whew!
  • She shows up sure as tootin’ around men.  Men are bigger and stronger and they could kill her if they wanted to, so CAVEWOMAN thinks it’s important to be extra careful and take that big guy down a notch or two if he’s getting a little too whatever… too loud, pushy, powerful, successful, handsome, funny, or arrogant.   She doesn’t want him to be too good, too  appealing to other women, because he might leave.  And then she would die.  So she makes fun of him, just enough to keep him humble.  Ignores him, just enough to keep him less powerful.  Doesn’t appreciate him fully.  Withholds sex.  Criticizes him in front of his friends.  Cuts him down.   She takes him off his game, so she can feel safe (he won’t get too full of himself and kill her or leave her.  (But this is a longer story… and the short story is that taking his power away backfires.  We should talk about that another time.)
The Good News is that CAVEWOMAN is NOT you — not the real you.  But if you want to enjoy being the real YOU —  it’s a good idea to learn to see CAVEWOMAN.  Learn to feel her and know when she is running the show. Awareness is a key to any change.too much tension And here’s the thing.  Welcome her.  With open arms.  There is no better way to create positive change or positive momentum than welcoming whatever is in front of you, even if it’s CAVEWOMAN.  Might as well, because if you resist her, or push against her or deny that she’s there, she will stick to you like Velcro.  And run your life. The secret to being more aware is to start small.  At first, don’t try to fix anything. Start by noticing  when CAVEWOMAN ‘s active in you.  Just notice her. Remember the biggest hint for recognizing her presence:  any time you feel tension in your body, she is with you and (in that moment) running the show. Really important:  If CAVEWOMAN is there, and you don’t see her, you will make decisions — say things and do things — simply to relieve your tension.   That’s not necessarily a good thing, if it means casualties (which is what CAVEWOMAN is known for, especially male casualties.)  And then you can’t figure out why he has distanced himself, doesn’t talk to you or confide in you as much anymore, why he spends a lot of time away from home, why he doesn’t consult you, why he doesn’t tell you the whole story, and why he strays. Feeling pressure?  That’s CAVEWOMAN. She is telling you that there is an emergency and you should protect yourself from disaster.   In your younger years, she will tell you to date a man who is not a match to you, just because it’s time to have a baby.  She will tell you to pretend to be unavailable or play hard to get, just to keep him dis-empowered and a little off balance.  She will find the best enemy she can find, and tell you to marry him.  She will have you say things that are not true, be someone you’re not, or pretend to enjoy things that you don’t, just to be with a man who is a potential baby-maker for you and your survival instincts. Seriously.  This is what it boils down to.  Survival.  We are not designed to get along and fall in love and understand each other.   Being in love and getting along takes a little work and awareness. However, we are designed perfectly — to survive.  Survival trumps everything.  She’s only worried about food and shelter and a warm fire. CAVEWOMAN is all about saving your life, even if it doesn’t need saving.  She didn’t get the memo that you have plenty of groceries and a nice place to live.  She is unaware that you have meaningful employment and a steady income and you’re loved by many friends. cavewoman modernShe has no clue that you’ve “made it” in the world.  She doesn’t know about the “Awesome Business Woman of the Year” award.  She isn’t aware that you own a thriving business, have happy and productive employees, a pension, a second vacation home, excellent investments and a very happy savings account, thank you very much. She doesn’t have access to that information.   She is certain that you need to be saved from lions and tigers and they are everywhere. So…. Notice her.  Welcome her.  Take her by the hand.  Have a little heart to heart talk.  Celebrate that you see her.  She’s there to help you in the way she knows how. Soon, just by noticing her, things will start to shift.  First, you’ll notice her, and nothing much will change except the fact that you notice your DNA is talking. Then after a while, you’ll notice her and feel her influence, and you won’t need to succumb to it.  You’ll get it.  You’ll say to yourself, “Oh, that’s just my CAVEWOMAN.”  You’ll calm down.  You’ll smile, because in that moment, you have cut the puppet strings. Yes, you can evolve your hormones.  You and CAVEWOMAN can be friends, and she will yield to you.  You can be in charge of both of you. I would LOVE to hear your CAVEWOMAN discoveries!  When does she show up for you?  What do you notice? Knowing about CAVEWOMAN is a totally liberating thing — so important in relationships (especially our relationship with ourselves.)  Your input would be very helpful — I’d like to write more about this and do public talks about this subject. Thank you in advance for any comments, examples, or questions you might have!

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Comments and thoughts welcome — scroll down to the comment boxes.  I will approve your comment and you’ll see it posted a little later.  The approval process is an interim step which helps to avoid spam. In Care of Relationships with Terri Crosby– Tools For Creating Positive Momentum.  http://incareofrelationships.com.  Terri is a relationship mentor.  She helps create life-affirming, ever-evolving, happier relationships with those you love. If you are ready to take your relationship to the next level, you can sign up to be on the mailing list HERE.  To subscribe to her blog, hit the subscribe button on this page and add your email address. Continue Reading

The Tender Truth About Women Who Act Tough

car of flowers You know a tough woman. right? She’s not all warm and fuzzy. She’s the opposite. The tough woman looks like she has everything under control, doesn’t she? Heck, maybe she’s perfect. A tough woman appears aloof and unapproachable — and she’s so darn talented!  Her standards of excellence are higher than a kite, and people look up to her.  She’s loaded with ability and has more gigabytes of brain power than three or five or eleven other people combined. Wherever she goes, there is an queenly trail  of “Don’t speak to me darlin’ unless I speak to you.”  Her unspoken message is very clear. Like I said, she’s unapproachable.Lavendar Phlox 4 Maybe you’ve even tried to reach out to her, and your attempt is thwarted, awkward, or just awful.  It left a bad taste in your mouth or an ouchy feeling in your heart. You vow never to do that again.  It’s just not worth it. So you leave her alone. That’s easier, right? Yes, for a while. And then the eyes of your heart go wandering again and you feel a tug.  You begin to really observe this woman.  You get curious.

WHO IS THIS TOUGH WOMAN?

Who is she?  Is she happy?  Having a good time?  Is she feeling alone in a sea of people?  Is she really that confident?   Does she have real honest-to-goodness friends? And you wonder what this woman is like when the cows come home, when the day is over, when the sun sets, when she puts her head on her pillow. You wonder who she is in her heart of hearts.  Well, how do you even start a successful conversation with a woman like that?  I mean what do you talk about with that sort of unapproachable person? Her.  You talk about her.  Of course. So you get brave and come up with a compliment.  You thank her for something, you offer kudos about her last performance, her last public appearance, her last brilliant idea, her last extraordinary whatever. She seems to receive the compliment and is gracious, like a queen is gracious, and then it’s over oh so quickly. You think, “Now what in the heck do I say?”RedPinkOnGreen She says nothing, of course.  She is waiting.  It’s awkward, and clearly that’s the end of the conversation, so you make it short and sweet and walk away. You can’t just TALK to her, for heaven’s sake, you can’t ask about her family or a recent vacation.  That’s all too personal. The whole thing is so unsatisfying.

THE TRUTH ABOUT TOUGH WOMEN

For the longest time I thought these women were actually tough.  I thought they were thick skinned. They are not. In the last 5 years or so, I have had the privilege of knowing some of these tough women as friends, or have done private consulting work with women that would scare most folks.   In sessions, it is my job to walk past the outer protection, the thorny exterior — to see that these women are not who they appear to be. Women who act tough are not tough at all. (Neither are men, by the way, but we’ll get to that subject another time.) Women who are described (or accused) of being tough, cold, aloof or “really together” are that way for a reason.

WHY SO MUCH PROTECTION?

Why would someone need so much protection?  So much armor?  Why would she need a  personality shield to keep people away? Well, let me begin with a disclaimer — not all tough women are as I am describing here.  I give you that.  But I have many hours of experience working with women who seem supremely confident, but who are seeking assistance in the area of intimate relationships. These “tough” women are actually ultra-vulnerable.Sunflower and Black eyed Susan Rather than allow anyone near their soft underbelly, they construct barricades to protect their sensitivity. They build crisp, clear fortresses around their emotional accessibility to say KEEP OUT. These women prefer email to talking on the phone.  They might be a lawyer, entertainer, doctor or public speaker with a built-in position of authority or recognized expertise.   When she can turn someone into a coward, or intimidate them, she feels safe. What a good plan, yes? Tough women often have a plethora of rules — how life should be, what’s acceptable, and what qualifies as “a job done right.”  They are often opinionated about leaders, men, and how to run the world. In a way, it’s odd that tough women often dread conflict and confrontation. But they do.  It’s too personal and hurts too much.   Your tough friend might be known for throwing grenades from a distance when her feelings are deeply hurt,  because she abhors hashing out a problem face-to-face.  It’s very scary. It’s also totally possible that your tough friend might be known for handling conflict really skillfully.  At least on the surface. When confronted about something personal, or asked to examine herself in a deep way,  she will often make fun of an inquiry, avoid it (not participate fully, sit on the sidelines) or bolt from the room, especially if other people are present.  If she knows it’s coming, she might choose not to show up at all.

WHAT DO I KNOW FOR SURE?

There is one thing I know for sure about tough women. They have hearts as big as the Universe. B-I-G.    H-U-G-E.    M-A-G-N-I-F-C-E-N-T.   H-E-A-R-T-S. And — they have wounds.  So they protect themselves with a fail safe firewall. Or ten or twenty. Here’s the deal. Tough and aloof is actually an indication of extra tender. Under that iron-clad exterior is a little girl with a crushed dream.  A little girl who came here to planet Earth knowing who she is, but somewhere along the way, she got talked out of it.  She is often too much to handle, too loud, too determined, too out of control, too bright, too creative, too something-or-other for her parents or the family in which she was born.

A TOUGH WOMAN ALL GROWN UP

So now she is the walking wounded and pretending nothing happened.  And mind you, she’s good at pretending, because she’s good at surviving. She is brilliant, but harnessed. She’s got her high beams on low. She is a free spirit in a cage.3 Zinnias against pavement She is a social being, a child of the Entire Wide Open Universe, playing a small game, exerting far too much effort and receiving far too little in return. She spends too much time alone in her room reading. She’s a diamond in the rough. And she’s aging.  She’s either going to grab the tiger by the tail and go for it, or she’s going to die unhappy, and she knows it. She’s a bright star of a person who is hurting, that’s all.  She’s sad or crushed while pretending not to be. But for the terribly tender, it is easier and safer to put on the sassy hat of competency than to bare one’s soul to someone (or a world) who can’t see her. She puts on a happy face and keeps the game of life going.  This survival technique keeps the lights on, even though nobody’s really home.

WHAT TO DO WITH A TOUGH WOMAN

My advice? Ignore the thorny exterior.  It’s not there for you, it’s for her.  Ignore the steely whatevers.  Smile at her.  Be warm.  Pay no attention to the mask.  Walk right on by. Love her no matter what she does or how she appears or what she says. Stand in your love and reach out to her.   You might invite her to do something with you.  If she says no, invite her a few more times. Be soft about it.  When all else fails, talk with your eyes.  There is no woman on Earth who can’t see another woman communicating love through the eyes. Love her.  That’s all. The bonus?   It’s good practice for you. It’s good practice to ignore the unimportant and pay attention to what’s important, which in this case is love. It’s a lesson in focus to walk around the barricades with grace and ease.  You don’t have to lift them out of the way or try to destroy them.  Just walk around them. And who knows — the two of you, yes the two of you — you might both decide to throw off the harnesses, unlock the cage doors, and shine! And if the truth be told, we all have a little bit of the tough woman on the outside, tender girl on the inside, so the thing to do is wake up in the middle of being either one.  If we wake up, we are aware.  And when we are aware, we can make changes if we so desire. And that is a very powerful thing. Spring Boquet Pink Lavendar 1

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Comments and thoughts welcome — scroll down to the comment boxes.  I will approve your comment and you’ll see it posted a little later.  The approval process is an interim step which helps to avoid spam. In Care of Relationships with Terri Crosby– Tools For Creating Positive Momentum.  http://incareofrelationships.com.  Terri is a relationship mentor.  She helps create life-affirming, ever-evolving, happier relationships with those you love. If you are ready to take your relationship to the next level, you can sign up to be on the mailing list HERE.  To subscribe to her blog, hit the subscribe button on this page and add your email address.     Continue Reading

Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.

We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.

But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.

As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.

Terri Crosby. http://www.incareofrelationships.com/.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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Terri Crosby

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