Category Archives: Relationships

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Ten Signs That You Had A Narcissistic Mother

I had a narcissistic mother and it was a complete disaster for my boyhood sense of self-confidence and the way I saw myself as I grew into a man. A narcissistic mother can leave deep emotional and psychological wounds that get triggered in our daily adult lives, undermining our self-confidence and making life extremely stressful. The impact is most pronounced in our relationships with women, leaving us feeling disempowered and emasculated around women until we get our narcissistic mother wound healed.

Narcissistic Mothers Are Emotionally Unavailable

Narcissists carry a lot of internalized shame and project their own unhealed emotional wounds onto everyone around them, especially their children. As a boy we were powerless to deal with our narcissistic mother and may still carry this sense of powerlessness along with her paranoid world view unconsciously into adulthood.

It's easy to recognize a narcissistic mother because they typically:… Continue reading…

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Do You Feel Guilty About Being Angry With Your Parents?

I grew up in a family where emotions weren't expressed cleanly; especially challenging emotions like anger. Everyone feels angry from time to time, but growing up I got the sense that there was something wrong with this basic human emotion because nobody talked about it. My parents never seemed to say directly that they felt angry; but it was obvious when they were and their anger came out in ways that I found very frightening and destructive.

It's OK To Be Angry With Your Parents

It's OK To Be Angry With Your Parents

Everyone around me seemed ashamed of their anger. Over time, I learned to feel ashamed of my anger too. I denied, suppressed and internalized it as though I was doing something righteous and noble. But the repressed rage built up inside me until eventually as an adult I developed overwhelming anxiety, panic attacks, depression and even a physical illness.

This forced me to wise up and realize that there was nothing noble about denying my anger. But with poor role models for expressing anger constructively in my family of origin and in society at large, who was I to turn to for help?

My answer came in the form of enlightened therapists who understood that anger is a perfectly normal emotion whose purpose is to motivate us when our needs aren't getting met.… Continue reading…

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Confidence, Cats In The Cradle & Your Relationship With Your Father

I've been learning to play the Harry Chapin song, Cats in the Cradle, which really reminds me a lot of my relationship with my father. Now, I had a pretty good dad. He was always there for me physically when I was a kid. He was a good provider and family man. He wasn't perfect, but he was okay.

But I found him a very difficult man to connect to emotionally, and the line in the song that really hits me is right at the end where the man says, "He's grown up just like me. My boy was just like me."

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Ask A Peer Colleague To Lunch

Today you're going to learn about how to expand your sphere of influence in your organization, in the place where you work and in your life generally, and also how to get connections with people you may not have connected with before and build your self-confidence and your level of influence all at the same time.

What I recommend doing is if you work in an organization with other people - and most of you probably do - then, chances are, there are people within that organization who are effectively your peers but you don't necessarily have a whole lot to do with on a day-to-day basis.

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Have Lunch With Your Mother

Here is yet another confidence building tip for you: Today you're going to learn about taking your mother out to lunch. Now, my relationship with my mother has been a source of some pain and anguish for me, and this is a way of getting past some of that stuff by actually trying to re-establish an adult-adult relationship with your mother, whereas when you were a kid you would've had a child-adult relationship with your mother and that may not have gone all that well for you if your mother was anything like mine.

So what you want to do now is start putting some of that childhood stuff behind you and begin to see your mother as just a regular adult person who you can have a normal adult relationship with.

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How To Tackle The Root Cause Of Domestic Violence

The problem of domestic violence has been in the news again, as it seems to be every few months or so. Out come all the stereotypes of battered women suffering at the hands of evil men, along with tasty sound-bite comments from mostly-female spokespeople working at the coal face in vastly underfunded community organisations.

Domestic violenceNot all violence is committed by men; women are sometimes violent too. And violence is not the only form of abuse happening behind closed doors in our society: emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse can be equally damaging. Nor is the simplistic innocent-victim/evil-perpetrator model always the full truth. But for the sake of simplicity, let's roll with the stereotype for a moment since it tends to cover the majority of domestic violence cases, and I primarily work with men anyway.

Despite the excellent work done on a shoestring by the various organisations working to prevent domestic violence, the problem of men's violence towards women and children continues to hang around like an offensive odour.

How can this be, when it's in the news so often?

I believe it's because we aren't tackling the root cause of the problem. When domestic violence is in the news, I very rarely hear commentators asking the obvious, basic, underlying question:

Why are men violent?… Continue reading…

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How To Handle A Boyfriend Or Husband With A Controlling Mother: Part 2

The solution to this whole issue is for the man to man up and start stand up to his mother and saying what's important to him whenever there's some kind of conflict so that he can learn to side with you in the relationship rather than with his controlling mother.

There's really nothing that you can do as a partner in terms of what his mother does, and the solution to the problem is not for the mother to change her behavior. You can't expect other people to change, and we have really no control over other people's behavior.

 … Continue reading…

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How To Handle A Boyfriend Or Husband With A Controlling Mother: Part 1

Most of my advice is aimed at men, but today I have a video for you ladies out there on the topic of how to deal with a man who has a controlling mother. I've written a previous article on how to deal with a controlling mother, and I'm getting an increasing number of comments left by women in response to this article which was originally aimed at men. And the women are talking about their frustrations in having dealt with partners who had controlling mothers.

So what I'd like to cover here today is what you should if your boyfriend, husband or partner has a controlling mother and this is having some kind of impact - and it's generally a negative impact - on your relationship with the guy.

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The Day I Finally Stood Up To My Critical Mother

My mother and father are still together after 50 years of marriage. They are good, church going people who are very community minded. They show love by acts of service and are often kind and generous to other people. But the way my critical mother treats my largely passive father is toxic, and I recently took the opportunity to stand up to their behaviour in order to reverse the negative effects it has had on my own life. Here's how it panned out:

Standing Up To A Critical Mother

Standing Up To A Critical Mother

Recently my parents and I all attended my maternal aunt's 90th birthday party, along with my maternal cousins, my two older sisters, and all their husbands/wives and families. We spent the weekend in a lovely guest house in the country and since it was a long drive for my aging parents, they asked me to give them a lift there and back. I am a little apprehensive because I know the way my parent's behaviour often triggers me, but I see it as an opportunity to connect with them and spend some additional quality time together.

The two-hour drive to the guest house is relatively uneventful, with occasional friendly chatter and lunch at my parents' favourite cafè on-route.… Continue reading…

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Do Women Really Want Men To Be Vulnerable?

I'm a big fan of Brené Brown's TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. I keep coming back to watch it again every few months, and it never fails to move me each time I do. It reminds me that authenticity, connection and vulnerability are the keys to freedom while guilt, fear, shame and disconnection are the bars of the jail cell in which I've lived so much of my life. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you watch it now.

And then watch this awesome follow-up titled Listening To Shame where Brené talks about the impact on her life of having the first talk go viral. After telling the conference of her research-induced breakdown (a.k.a. spiritual enlightenment), the video went viral with four million hits on the Internet. She went into a meltdown and didn't leave the house for three days because of a vulnerability hangover. That's the feeling that we get when we reveal something we're ashamed of in front of other people. It's the reason we avoid revealing our true selves to others: we know there's likely to be an unpleasant emotional reaction within us at the thought of other people knowing the parts of us and our story that we don't like.… Continue reading…

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