Tag Archives: Behavior

The Difference Between Helping and Enabling

Unconditional love is such an amazing non-reality. Why? Because “unconditional” love means you don’t make judgments, which are absolutely necessary.  We have to discern right from wrong, good from evil, and sacred from profane. And one of the judgments we all have to make at one time or another is the difference between helping and enabling.

Doing a nice thing for someone or helping out occasionally is one thing, but when a person is capable and their responsibilities are handled for them all the time, they are not held responsible. Enabling protects them from the consequences of their choices and actions. And the more you let them depend on you and take you for granted, the less motivated they are to change.

Now let’s talk about the enabler. There’s a payoff for everything in life or else we wouldn’t do it. The enabler enables because it gives them a false sense of superiority and makes them feel needed. They also feel control over the other person (through guilt) by helping them. However, they ironically still end up feeling resentful, frustrated, or unappreciated.

Real love for somebody is being able to step back and allow them to suffer enough to recognize their need to change. That’s the only way to help make them a whole human being again.

Here are some tips to help you stop being an enabler:

  • Don’t lie for anyone. Don’t be the wife who gets on the phone and says her husband is sick when he’s hungover.
  • Don’t make excuses for others when they don’t fulfill their obligations.
  • Don’t clean up after a substance abuser. They should see the damage they’ve done and the chaos they’ve caused.
  • Be accountable for your bills only. If you’re not responsible for it, don’t pay it.
  • Stand up for yourself. You don’t have to be mean, but you do have to put your foot down.
  • Don’t rescue. A person must suffer the consequences of their actions. Which means don’t pay for lawyers or post bail.
  • Stop trying to fix everybody. You’re not a magician and you’re not God. Work on yourself. Get the support of friends, family members and counselors. Join Al-Anon or some other 12-step program. Do whatever it takes to stop yourself from hurting somebody else with your notion of helping.

How to Tell a Prince from a Frog

Finding a guy to be your boyfriend is easy – just go to any bar. What’s more difficult is finding a man who deserves to be your prince.

EVERY woman wants a prince. That doesn’t mean you are dependent on a man or can’t do anything on your own. You can be extremely competent and self-sufficient and still want to be courted.

Here are 10 characteristics of a real prince:

  1. He puts you on a pedestal. He appreciates and respects you. He knows what he has to do to show his love, and he makes darn sure he doesn’t hurt you. If he accidentally hurts you, he doesn’t hesitate to admit his mistake and apologize sincerely. He isn’t verbally or physically ugly towards you.
  2. He is a man of his word. When he says he will do something, he does it. He is loyal and takes full responsibility for his words and actions.
  3. He loves you inside and out. We used to call it “warts and all”. He isn’t just hot for your body. He loves your strengths, nurtures your weaknesses, and thinks your imperfections are cute. He’s tolerant and compassionate.
  4. He is mature. He has a well-established job and a good income, and he makes plans for the future. He doesn’t spend his time playing video games. He’s not lazy and he’s not a workaholic – he is able to balance fun and relaxation with work and productivity.
  5. He is the leader in the relationship. He protects and provides.
  6. He is confident in himself. He’s not desperately trying to change or accommodate to satisfy anyone else’s ridiculous wants or desires.
  7. He is independent. He enjoys his own company, spends time with his own family and friends, and has his own hobbies and activities. He isn’t needy, clingy or jealous. You are the center of his universe, but there are other planets in his solar system.
  8. He is appreciative of you. He notices and praises the little things you do.
  9. He is honest. He admits his mistakes and does everything with good intentions. He communicates and critiques honestly, not cruelly.
  10. He is moral. He has a code of values that he lives by and you can count on.

No woman should tolerate anything less than a prince. And remember, a REAL prince also deserves a REAL princess. So if you do find a prince, don’t nag, whine, complain, or act self-centered or narcissistic.

You’re Better Than Some, Not as Good as Others

Striving for excellence is a worthy enterprise. But if you find yourself in distress because of real or perceived failures along the way, or you quit because you’re not perfect, then you have a problem.

I struggle with being a perfectionist. I work really hard to do everything well, and I get upset and distracted if I can’t. However, I don’t quit – I find another route.

For example, some of the jewelry I make is fine silver from precious metal clay. It’s not easy to work with and dries practically just by looking at it. I decided to take a three-day private lesson from an incredible metal clay artist, Lisa Barth. While training with Lisa, I made a number of nice things, but I had in my mind that anything I made had to look as good as what she made. After two and a half weeks of frustration, I ended up throwing away most of my work.

Why couldn’t I do it like she did? Was it because she had done it longer?

No, time was only partially the answer. The problem was that I am not artistic in the sense that Lisa is. For example, I could take painting lessons from Da Vinci all day, but I could never paint like him in 40 years of practice. There’s a certain quality you have to have.

I needed to accept the fact that I could NOT do Da Vinci (or Lisa Barth) – I could ONLY do Dr. Laura.

The minute I told myself that, I made a couple of things immediately! They weren’t complex, but they were nice. I freed myself up by recognizing that even though I didn’t have that talent, I did have a talent.

I don’t perceive it as any form of quitting or being negative about myself. I consider it being honest with myself. Things don’t make you feel bad about yourself; your ATTITUDE about those things makes you feel bad about yourself.

Here are some tips for the next time you’re struggling with the need to be perfect:

    • Realize you are limited – more limited in some areas and less limited in others. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just reality.

 

    • Accept that there are always going to be people better than you. Every day, say to yourself, “I’m better than some, not as good as others.”

 

    • Recognize that mistakes happen and they should happen. You cannot be on your game 24/7. People who are always down on themselves do not live as long.

 

    • Try not to get impatient with yourself when you are stressed out. When you are stressed, try to avoid activities that require an intense amount of concentration or focus. These types of activities can make the stress worse instead of better.

 

  • Have a sense of humor.

 

Why Women Have the Power in a Marriage

A recent study out of UC Berkeley found that wives matter more when it comes to resolving marital spats. I couldn’t help but laugh. Duh! It’s not exactly a new discovery that women hold most of the power in a relationship. Why? Consider this typical husband and wife exchange:

Wife: “I’m having a problem with someone at work.”
Husband: “Well, I think this is what you ought to do.”
Wife: “I don’t want you to solve it. I want you to listen to me. I want you to hear my feelings!”

Male and female brains are wired very differently. Men are problem solvers. Women, on the other hand, are more verbal and don’t like anybody to fix their problems. Instead, they want to talk about their pain and upset feelings.

This is why women have more influence over arguments in their marriages.  Because men think in terms of solutions rather than feelings, if a woman cuts the emotion and approaches her husband with a plan, things become a lot more manageable.

In addition, women have more power in a marriage because men are very dependent on feminine approval. It starts out with their mothers and later comes in the form of sex with their wives. By contrast, women get their approval from their mothers, sisters, and girlfriends.  Men are much more emotionally reliant on women than women on men. This is one of the reasons why after a death or divorce, men find somebody else much quicker.

So, for all you women who want to have more satisfaction in your marriages, stop talking for a moment and come up with one or two potential solutions to the problem. Suddenly, you and your husband will be talking instead of yelling. If you pull your emotional act together, things will go better.

Ways to Improve Your Mother- and Daughter-in-Law Relationship

If I had to pick the most popular subject people call my show about, it would be mother- and daughter-in-law relationships.  Here’s why:
Mother-in-law’s perspective

The mother-in-law has been the number one woman in her son’s life for the past two or three decades. She gave birth to him, raised him, loved him, kissed him, hugged him, nurtured him, and disciplined him. Then suddenly, a younger, less mature woman comes into the picture, takes over, and (typically) behaves as if there can only be one woman in his life.

In addition, the mother-in-law no longer has a clear idea of her role in her son’s life. For the daughter-in-law, it’s simple – she’s his wife. But for the mother-in-law, it’s not so cut and dry.  The daughter-in-law doesn’t understand this because with her mother, it’s almost as if nothing has changed. The daughter-in-law’s mother isn’t expected to do guy stuff with her son-in-law. All she has to do is be nice when he shows up, hand him a beer, turn on the game, and he’s good to go.

Daughter-in-law’s perspective

The daughter-in-law is the newcomer. She doesn’t like getting advice and opinions from a more experienced and mature woman because it tugs at her insecurities as a wife and mother. Insecurity leads to defensiveness, defensiveness leads to snottiness, and snottiness results in harsh words and hurt feelings.

The solution

The mother/daughter-in-law relationship requires an intense amount of compassion, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and gratitude on both sides, even when you want to strangle each other.

Mothers-in-law need to realize that it is not a competition. You also must give your son and his wife space. Don’t show up unannounced, and ask if certain things are OK beforehand.

Daughters-in-law need to make their mothers-in-law feel as at home as they make their own mothers feel. Just because a man gains a wife, doesn’t mean he has to lose a mom. Don’t treat your mother-in-law as a problem, and don’t feel annoyed or put down if she offers help or advice.  Giving advice isn’t mean or insulting. We all have something to learn, and besides, without your mother-in-law, you wouldn’t have your husband. Remember: The reason he’s so good to you has a lot to do with the woman who raised him.