Q: My relationship with my husband seems to have stalled somewhere along the line.  I’d like to leave him but we have two wonderful children. What should I do?
A: Only as the very last resort do I recommend that you leave him. Here’s why:

  1. The children have a right to know that you did everything in your power, short of absolutely betraying yourself, to give them a father.
  2. You inevitably have dysfunctional and limiting patterns in matters of intimate and committed love and will take them all with you to your next relationship.
  3. If you will open up to your husband and speak your truths, no matter how painful and frightening, in a loving and vulnerable way, you are giving him and yourself a chance that many men (and women) in my experience use to learn their deepest, lessons of love.
Q: My teenage son will not listen to a word I say. He seems to relish doing almost the opposite of what I ask him. It’s getting worse all the time. I think he needs therapy. What do you think?
A: The first and most difficult place to begin to alter the state of any relationship is to invite you to take responsibility for its quality. This does not mean that you are bad and that your son is innocent and perfect. It means that the relationship could not have deteriorated to this point without your participation. Change your patterns of relating and the relationship can breathe fresh air. Also, if you are employing power and control tactics or holding on to blameful attitudes, this will invariably undermine intimacy and cooperation. Check all this out first. Then and only then send your kid to therapy.
Q: All my life I have been struggling with some form of addictive behavior. At one time in my life it was alcohol, at another drugs, and now, though I hate to admit it, I think I’m obsessed with work and money. Can addictions be something other than physical?
A: Yes. There are three primary forms that addiction patterns can take. One is substance abuse use and abuse, e.g. food and smoking. Another is the activity addictions e.g. work, power, shopping and gambling. A third is the so called “love addictions” including sex, romance and relationship addictions (the last is also known by the term co-dependence). All involve tremendous amounts of masked and buried pain.
Q: Why are my emotional reactions sometimes alarmingly out of proportion to the events or conversations that triggered them?
A: Many of us have never attended to or fulfilled our most fundamental emotional needs. Though on one level we are competent, rational and intelligent people, on the other we resemble an open wound or sore. If your unhealed pain is touched or irritated by someone such as your mate, son, daughter, parent or friend, they will be the innocent bystanders of the attack/defense reactions you employ to cover up that pain.

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