This is a great statement from Virginia Satir about the demands of love:
“One of the truly basic problems is that our society bases the marital relationship almost completely on love and then imposes demands on it that love can never solely fulfill.
- If you love me you won’t do anything without me
- if you love me you’ll do what I say
- If you’ve met you’ll give me what I want
- If you love me you’ll know what I want before I ask.
These kinds of practices soon make love into a kind of blackmail.”
The last bullet point above is one of the more common ailments I see with couples in my counseling office. It’s a bind that many couples are familiar with. If I tell you what I want, and you don’t provide it, I face rejection and pain. If I don’t tell you what I want, and you don’t provide it, the pain and rejection is diluted. If you do provide what I want without me asking … it’s like winning the lottery!
Don’t hide your needs, wants, and desires. There’s no way others can get to know you and how to love you if these things are secrets.
Too often marriages play a game with many of the cards hidden from one or both partners. It becomes impossible to win the game together, so we instead settle for a victory on our own. Unfortunately when the game goes this way, we ultimately lose and end up on our own.
Vol 1 Issue 2
- Book Review: The Productive Narcissist
The Productive Narcissist is a catchy title for a book that addresses a deeply complicated topic. Michael Maccoby, the author, is a long time therapist and consultant to executive leadership teams and companies. He brings a unique understanding to the challenges of Narcissism, and gives plenty of examples of these challenges from real world visionary leaders (Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc). He also adds more detailed examples of his professional work with leaders and companies.
His premise is that dynamic visionary leaders are Narcissistic in nature. The challenges that visionary leaders create either make them productive or unproductive in how they lead. Michael does a great job outlining the challenges that come inside organizations with a Narcissist at the helm. These challenges often create a perpetual chaos that is difficult to manage for others in their organization. Michael also talks about the different personality types that Narcissists attract to carry out the mission.
This is a helpful book to read if your interested in learning more about narcissism, or more importantly if you have a narcissistic person with whom you are in close relationship. That might be a relationship in the work setting (boss or co-worker), a marriage/partner, or with a family member. Throughout the book, he gives practical tips and strategies for how to engage a narcissist, specifically in the workplace. More important than the tips, I think this book challenges the reader to have compassion for the narcissist in their life. It was good for me to read this book and remember what Plato said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a fierce battle.”
(It is worth noting the significant difference in someone with narcissistic personality disorder [NPD] and someone who has narcissistic traits. As imperfect humans, we all have narcissistic tendencies: Me first, grandiosity in the heights of our amazingness or in depths of our badness, and other traits. These tendencies don’t mean someone has NPD, which is why I recommend caution in using labels to describing someone’s character.)
- Study Shows Pressure Girls Receive from Boys to Send Sexualized Images.
The NY Times ran an op-ed based on a recent study of 500 High School girls. The study found that only 8% wanted to send sexually implicit images to a boy. The rest (92%) of the girls did so out of being coerced, fear of conflict, or to acquiesce. Further research showed that boys are four times more likely than girls to ask for sexually explicit photos to be sent.
I walked away from reading this article remembering how important it is to talk with both our girls and our boys about the dangers of technology and sex. The Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” does a great (though difficult at times) job of illustrating the negative impact illicit images can have on a teen community. The bottom line: We need to talk with our boys about not requesting the images, and we need to talk with our girls about not sending them.
- Parents Model Appropriate Technology Use
Who needs a babysitter when you’ve got an iPhone? This article from NPR offers some practical tips on being a parent with technology. Before we start instructing our kids about their technology use, we need to look in the mirror.
How much we’re on our phones while we are with our kids might have a lot to do with why they are on their phones so much. Consider having family boundaries around technology use in the evenings between dinner and bedtime. Alternatives to technology use (which is almost never communal in nature) that can foster memories and relationships: Puzzles, board games, neighborhood walk/hike, or exercise. Kids imitate the parents’ actions, not necessarily what the parents tell the kids to do.
I’d read the book “Wonder” several years ago, which I’d highly recommend, but hadn’t watched the movie until last weekend. From start to finish, this is a fantastic movie that will stir up a lot of questions and conversations for both kids and adults alike. Wonder brings up themes of bullying, disabilities, identity, the family roles we play, loneliness, the pain of parenting, and the power of friendships.
There was one scene that was particularly moving to me. The mom, played by Julia Roberts, is talking to Auggie (her son with a significant facial deformity) about his wish to be normal looking. It’s a powerful scene, made even more powerful when she touches her finger to his chest/heart and says, “this is the map of where you’re going, and your face is the map of where you’ve been.” A beautiful reminder to pay less attention to what we look like and more attention to who we are and who we are becoming.
The Viewpoint is a weekly roundup of content I have come across throughout the week that is worth reposting. This content will often be an article or a book I’ve recently read, or something else that is of cultural significance. One of my good friends talks about the word “viewpoint” as nothing more than a view from a point. When we change our point of view (or sometimes the point of our view — which is a different issue altogether), we can see differently. Relationships grow when we are open to changing our view.