True for any relationship – marriage, dating, family, friends, kids...
True for any relationship – marriage, dating, family, friends, kids...
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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 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.