Posts Tagged ‘men and women’

Does Improvement Ever Work Against Us? Part 1 of 2.


Photo Credit — Joseph Sohm.

Written for In Care of Relationships by Terri Crosby

Today’s conversation about “improvement gone wrong” is a huge subject with high impact in relationships. 

Frankly, it could be considered a   s-p-r-a-w-l-i-n-g   subject.  Heck, it’s basically unwieldy.

But I’m going to give it a whirl. 

Some version of this topic comes up in practically every consulting session I do.  It also comes up in the daily news, in politics, in homes, churches and schools — everywhere, in all sorts of ways.  Therefore, I think talking about it here could be really helpful.  

So hang in there and do your best to keep an open mind — and tune in next week to take the Quiz in Part 2.  It will certainly make you think.  And I would love your feedback, so feel free to comment.

In this post, I am speaking — mostly — about women, because the majority of my clients are female.  But this subject is certainly not exclusive to females. 

However, in my experience, what I will highlight is more of a feminine tendency, and, of course men have a feminine aspect as well.  So I’m hanging this on “the feminine” aspect, but not on women, if that makes sense.  I’m attempting to simplify enough to make this a manageable and focused conversation.  Fair enough?

Why talk to women about improvement gone rogue?

There’s a good reason for that.

Because this type of improvement we are exploring is a woman’s arena.  It’s our skill, our passion.

There’s a really good thing women do. 

We beautify, improve, guide, garnish, shape up, nurture, cultivate, enhance and make better.

We do it all the time.  It’s our thing.  Women make the world a more beautiful place. 

In overly simplistic terms, we could say the feminine is inspired to beautify or make our environment aesthetically pleasing.  This creates ease and relaxation in us, and we like that a lot.  The masculine carries out the inspiration, puts muscle to it, and makes the idea physical.  

The feminine is receptive (receives inspiration) and the masculine builds it.  The masculine turns the vision into a building, a helpful gadget, water delivery system, and so on. 

Can women build?  Yep.  Can men be inspired?  Yep.  We all have both masculine and feminine in us.  Our personal balance of masculine and feminine helps make us the unique person we are. 

The Feminine Principle — Beautify.  Nurture.  Enhance.

Is the patio a little plain?  We add a potted plant or a flower.  Is the living room a little dull?  We brighten it up, freshen it up, add a pillow or a throw, or a whole new set of furniture.  Does the show need a little kick?  A little pizzazz?  We add choreography, special effects, or a humorous skit to make the audience happy.

We paint.  We add color.  We make life more visually pleasing.  We make our surroundings more beautiful, more pleasant.

We enhance.  It’s what we do.

But Can This Skill Get A Little Out Of Hand? 

Can the idea of improvement create problems?

Maybe.  Every good thing has an opposite.  So how could improvement possibly go wrong?


When we think we can improve someone else, or when we “know better” for them than they know for themselves…

…about their method of doing something.

…or who they are being.

…or what they should do.  What’s a legitimate profession?  Is school important?  How should you get your college degree?  What about a back up plan?  What’s “good enough?”

…how they should run their life, plan a wedding, raise children, or eat.

The downward spiral can happen when our own penchant for betterment gets all over someone else.  It happens when we think we know better — for someone else.  It might be that we offer advice when we’ve not been asked.  We inject our solution because we’re sure it will improve things.  Or we tell someone how to arrange his/her life or what to do.

We meddle.

We mean well.  We believe we’re giving advice that will help the other person.  We’re sure we have their best interests at heart.  But, when it comes right down to it, we meddle.

And then our meddling, well, you know… those we meddle with get upset, they walk away in a huff, vowing never to speak to us again.  They get mad.  They get irritated.  They don’t want to hear our good and well-meaning advice.   

And they shouldn’t have to.  Why?  Because the advice from you fits you better than them.  You know yourself better than anyone. 

“What-I-think-you-should-do” causes arguments, too, about little things like how to load the dishwasher.  And about big things like how to love, give attention or make happy.  It’s also where we might argue with our kids about what their priorities should be, what they should pay attention to or consider important, why they should stay in school, who to spend time with, or their eventual livelihood.

So how would you rate yourself in this area?  Want to find out?

Tune in next week to take the Meddling Quiz and then check out some solutions.


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Why Men Stop Helping — What YOU Said — Part 2 of 3

NY Hotel Man

In Part 1 of this series of 3, I asked a question:

Why would a woman — ever in a million years — point the finger at someone else, and put herself in a position where she essentially claims no power to make a change for the better?

No one answered that question.  (Interesting, huh?)

Readers did have plenty to say about why men stop helping.  I responded in the comments section below the blog.    Some readers wrote me personal emails as well.

Based on what all of you said, let’s explore the subject a little more.

Why Blame?

What’s the use of blaming?  Why do it? Humans are generally not so fond of emotional pain.  We do whatever it takes to get pain away from us. For example, we:
  • Ignore it.
  • Don’t feel it.
  • Don’t look it in the eye.  Don’t examine it.
So blame works perfectly (theoretically speaking) for off-loading pain.  If I point the finger at someone else, won’t I feel better?  That’s the idea. But experience shows us it doesn’t work.  Not really.

Am I Different From These Women…?

I asked myself this question. It’s a fair question. First I thought, “Oh, I’m really different.  Sure I’ve blamed, but not like that.” Then I thought, “But not like that… hmmm… it’s still blame.  Maybe I’m not so different.” Have I done or said what these women are doing or saying? If I had to answer either yes or no (no qualifiers) I would have to answer yes. I’ve blamed my past partners for all sorts of things.  I have thought (even declared and discussed with friends), how wrong he was.  I’ve had the attitude that men are “less than.” However, somewhere along the way, I learned to be a little classier about blame.
  • I can speak rather eloquently and you can hardly pink and white liliestell I’m blaming.  Even if you’re extra perceptive.
  • I can blame and smile at the same time.
  • I have been known to toss a couple dozen lilies into a conversation reeking of blame, hoping no one would notice the ugly stuff.
  • I’ve colored blame all pretty and perfect looking, and called it “helping.”
  • I’ve been known to dress blame in fancy black tie attire, and really — you’d never know it was blame, it looked so good.
Ahhh… but the heart always knows. ‘Cause even with the overlay of a cheery disposition, blame still feels rotten. I just didn’t know what to do about it at the time.  And neither did the women I quoted. (So no real difference between me and them there.) And, no matter how we dress it up, blame is still blame. (No difference there, either.)

The Verdict Is In

So am I any different than these slug-spitting women, all disgusted and disgruntled with their lazy men who don’t care?  Am I different from these women with 10 inch nails for hair who think men are parasites, or stupid or lazy? In some ways, not really.  Not essentially.  Not so much. But it depends on the measuring stick. I may speak differently.  I may spell differently or put a sentence together differently than these women.  And — we’ve all played the blame game. Yes, I have evolved since the days when I blatantly blamed. Yes, I am growing and changing and learning.  I’ve turned (way) more of my attention to appreciation and noticing what works. What a qualitative difference that has made!  I recommend it! But do I EVER blame now?  Yes.  And I notice that these days, my blame is more sophisticated.  It’s prettier and more likely to fly under the radar. It’s harder to detect. It’s sneakier. Trust me, I still have plenty of work to do. And I’m doing it daily.  I’m cleaning up my act.

How Can I Get More Help?

VOA51-CA334The women I quoted in a previous blog are not my clients, nor would my clients say what I read. But even a smart, resourceful, loving woman can have her version of the question “How do I get more help from my husband?” It’s a good question.  A great question even…

Why Do Men Stop Helping? 

Readers, I’m interested in what you think about any aspect of this subject.  I invite you to share what you’ve experienced or what you’ve witnessed. Coming up next week:  I talked to about 20 men I know personally about this question, and ask them to share from their perspective.   It’s good to hear from both sides of the equation. Please feel free to forward this blog to anyone who would enjoy joining this conversation.  Here’s the shortlink. Thanks in advance for posting your thoughts in Comments below.  Your words won’t appear instantly — to avoid spammers, I will approve your comment. Next Week: Why Men Stop Helping — From The Mouths of Men — Part 3 of 3. Continue Reading

Intimacy Is Everywhere

Hello Everyone,

Today, intimacy.

Love to you all,

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Friday Love: Bam! Gate Breaking, Anyone?

Good Friday, Everyone!

Today, I’m sharing a story about how I accidentally accomplished something on my bucket list. I ran through an exit gate while looking the other way. The hood of my car is scratched up, and one windshield wiper is a mess, but let’s have a good laugh about how we never expect what “getting what we want” includes!

Let me know if you relate…

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Enough with the Name-Calling

It seems to be a growing fad these days to call someone a narcissist, or declare they are toxic.
Political name-calling is similar—we assign politicians and voters to categories, and brush them off as if they are unintelligent, inferior, or even worthless.
By labeling others, we miss their humanity. We gloss over their struggle, their best effort at dealing with life. We dismiss them.
We do to them what we believe they are doing to others.
Look past a label, and in the soft light of day, there stands a person like you or like me, coping as best they can. At the end of the day, no friend, parent, or lover making conscious choices intends to be mean, or to ignore, or to embellish. There is always more to the story.
If we label others, then for sure we label ourselves. We trap ourselves into believing we are less than. Or not enough. Or we don’t give ourselves the time and forgiveness to work through our “stuff.” Maybe, if we stopped accusing others of narcissism, we could forgive ourselves for those moments when we were narrow-minded, inconsiderate, or afraid.
When it comes to labels, nobody wins.
So, my dear people, I suggest we peer a little deeper into ourselves to investigate a need to separate ourselves from others by tacking them with a label filled with disdain or scorn.
It is my wish that you view this video and take it to heart.
Much love,

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Terri Crosby

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