Don’t Change yourself; Change Partners

I have once too often heard that a person broke up with them and was told, “it isn’t you, it’s me”.  First it is a phrase that makes most cringe.  Thanks for taking the responsibility of the relationship not working out, but why not look at yourself and find out what causes you to go from relationship to relationship?  Secondly, when you decide that the relationship is over you change partners instead of yourself.

Relationships are not supposed to be a trampoline for you to bounce from one person to another.  Relationships are meant to be trusting, caring, and every growing.  Yes I understand that some relationships are meant to be a season and not forever, but that does not give anyone the excuse to keep their bad behaviour and just move it to someone else.

You must take responsibility for your actions.  Look deep inside yourself and ask yourself the tough questions.  What keeps going wrong?  What type of person do you typically fall for or choose?  What baggage do you continue to drag around with you from one to another?  Who are you looking for?  What are the negative thoughts you bring into each relationship?  Once you can answer all these questions and change them, you will actually be ready for a real grown up relationship.


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Dream Therapy

You may think your dreams are thick like vines, but they hold the key!

You may think your dreams are thick like vines, but they hold the key!

Our dreams hold the key to our fears, wants, needs, questions.  There are many types of dreams but they all have information to help you through.  The most important are the nightmares and recurring dreams. I won’t go into great detail here as I will be running an introductory to Dreams workshop in the next month.

Join the meeting:
On PC or Mac, use any browser with Flash. Nothing to download.
On a phone or tablet, launch the app and enter meeting code: 899-883-217

Cost is $55 + GST and is payable through either your on linebanking  e-transfer or PayPal. Once your payment has been received you will be able to enter the on-line-workshop. I look forward to collaborating with all of you.

My website ,

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Are values old fashioned?

Isn’t it interesting that people talk about “Old Fashioned Values”!  When did values become a fad, or the past?  I think I missed that memo.  Values are the beliefs that we have that help us define our role in our life and in the global world.  Values give us the road map to treating ourselves and others well.

Our values come from many different avenues.  We initially learn from our familial surroundings, then school, religious leaders, peers, sports personnel, social interactions, and media, then our children.

I remember when:

  • a date would park his car, come up to the door, ring the bell and meet the parents before we went out.  Now……keep the car idling and honk the horn.
  • you would hold the door open for someone or they would for you.  Now… to catch the door because they won’t hold it
  • you said thank you and you are welcome.  Now……sense of entitlement
  • you said please.  Now…….entitlement
  • when you respected others and kept trashy language out of conversations.  Now……swearing in restaurants, stores, offices, especially younger people
  • when grandchildren loved and respected their grandparents.  Now……not interested in the history of the family
  • families had meals together.  Now…..scattered lives
  • Sunday was the big family dinner day.  Now…..Sunday is a day to get the chores done because we are all too busy the rest of the week.
  • playing outside was safe and we learned how to negotiate/play with others.  Now…..isolation as children are attached to electronics
  • being rude to your parents meant time out in your room, or a swat on the butt (not abuse). Now…….encourage your child to use “their words” (they did that is why they are swearing at you)
  • children were taught chores and given small allowances to show that they had fulfilled their part of the bargain in learning life skills.  Now…….so many young people who cannot do laundry, clean a bathroom, cook
  • we called if we were going to be late or miss an appointment. Now……. no big deal if you leave people in the lurch because it is all about self now

I know that there are people out there who continue to understand and use values.  Values are NOT old fashioned.  If more people had a positive set of tenets that they lived by, the world would not be in such a chaotic state.  Wars are about one bully insisting on others following their rules and beliefs.

Without proper guidance it is all too easy for people to believe in the messages that media sends.  Be careful what games your children are playing, what music they are listening to, what movies they are watching, who they are associating with.  Too often the messages they are receiving is about violence and disrespect.  Teach your children about fantasy and reality and above all teach them about RESPECT, HONOUR, TRUTH, HUMILITY, LOVE, and FAITH!

Let’s get the world back to a loving and respectful environment.  Values are NOT old fashioned; they are not a FAD; they are not OUT OF STYLE.

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What is Love

The Urban Dictionary describes it as this: “The most spectacular,indescribable, deep euphoric feeling for someone”.  That is a pretty tall order!  I don’t believe there is one definition for love.  I think it means something different to different people. Media portrays love as this burning, passionate desire.  Unfortunately many people believe that if they are not having wild, passionate sex then they must not be in love.  Others believe that if you don’t spend every possible waking minute with the other person then they are not in love.  I think that love is about respect, treating someone in a good way, laughing together, being together yet apart (meaning you have separate activities as well as joint ones), being able to sit in a comfortable silence, honesty, faithfulness, tenderness.

I thought about how people are with their dogs.  If you treat your dog well they will be the most faithful companion.  It is the same for humans.  You have to stroke your partner, walk with them, cuddle them, teach and learn from them, protect them, be their friend, play with them.  If you do those things then it will come back to you the same.

It is okay to have a gentle, kind, slow type of relationship.  The swinging passion is just that; passion!  Eventually the libido slows down, but the tenderness, caring, friendship, and wanting your partner to be happy remains.  That, to me, is the essence of love.

There is a book that I recommend to clients who are trying to find their way back to intimacy, “Sex begins in the kitchen”.  Intimacy leaves when we forget to be tender and attentive to our partner.  Watching the news or TV of any kind while having your meal together is start down the slippery slope to losing intimacy.  Use the time at dinner to talk about your day, your dreams (not the bad things in your relationship), reach across the table and take your partners hand.  Use five (5) touches everyday.  A kiss, a pat, rub on the shoulders, hug, hold hands, etc.

I don’t have the answer to what love is, I understand lust very well.  As stated when lust leaves what is left.  Hopefully the tenderness, care, concern, intimacy, honesty, faithfulness, laughter and sometimes silence.  Robin Williams said, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not.  The worst thing in life is to end up with  people who make you feel all alone.”

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Women and Abuse

As a therapist I am often asked, why do I choose abusive men?  There a couple of answers to this.  The one answer that I think is missing in rational thinking is that YOU didn’t choose an abusive man; rather he chose you.  The other answer is if you are raised in an abusive environment and have not had outside validation of what is a healthy relationship, you too could end up with someone abusive because it is familiar.

Let’s start with the abuser choosing you.  What is an abuser looking for?  He/she is looking for someone they can control.  You are a nice person, kind, generous, treat people fairly, don’t judge others, when you meet someone respect and trust are a given.  That is exactly the type of person an abuser wants.  He will already have your trust and respect and believes that you will forgive his transgressions because you don’t judge and you are kind.  Does this mean you should change whom you are?  Absolutely not but rather learn to read the warning signs of an abuser.

There is a lot of information you can glean on the interest of an abuser.  I will share my knowledge of one.  The abuse normally starts out slowly and is insidious.  What starts out as compliments can quickly turn to demands.  He/she likes the way you wear your hair down and long (for example).  The next time he sees you, you have your hair pulled back into a hair band.  He reminds you how much he loved it when you wore it down and would you mind doing that as he really loves it and it would make him so happy.  You in your initial state of a relationship happily oblige because it sounds like a simple and reasonable request doesn’t it?  Next they may comment on your style of dressing.  Initially they liked the look of you in your sweater with a couple of buttons undone and your body fitting skirt.  Soon though, they don’t want others to be looking at you so the requests will start again,  maybe you need to do up a button or all the buttons and you look real nice in those boot cut jeans or slacks.  This is control ladies!!!!  You may stand your ground and tell him that you like your look and he will carefully explain to you why he wants to “look out for you” and “look after you”.  How wonderful that his man cares so much about you that you take his request to heart and change your dress style.  The Friends!!!!  In the beginning he joins you with your friends and begins to make subtle comments about them.  Maybe one is too loud and he reminds you that you are who your friends are so maybe you could see less of this friend or not invite her when he is around.  Soon that turns into never seeing her again.  When your friends start to comment on how you are no longer available to them, you stick up for your man and tell them that they are just jealous because you have such a wonderful attentive man in your life.  Now he knows you are hooked.

There will be many more changes that he has you make in your life as he insinuates himself more and more into it.  Soon you find yourself with no other outlet in life but work and him.  Some of his demands may be demeaning, such as “allowing” him to have sex with another or talking you into threesomes.  He “loves you” so much that you do these things for him even though you start to loathe yourself.  When you bring these issues up to him, he either sweet talks you into believing you are wrong, gives you the silent treatment ( and remember you have no friends left) until you give in, or physically harms you and you now feel you don’t have a choice.  You do have a choice!  Call one of those past friends and confide what is happening they will be there for you because they knew all along what was going on and tried to help before.  Call the Crisis support line in your area or call a counsellor, confide in family (who he has also managed to isolate you from), talk to you peers or boss at work.  There are many avenues available to you to help you get out of this unhealthy relationship and build your self back to your authentic self.

The second answer was coming from abusive home.  The familial behaviours have a big impact on the decisions we make in our lives.  If we know put downs, sarcasm, emotional trauma, verbal abuse and mental abuse then that is what we know.  So very often women finds themselves married to the likeness of their father, the abuser in this case.  Too often once you realize what you are in for you find your family is NOT a support zone.  Mom will tell you that that is your lot in life, you chose to love and honor this man and that is your duty no matter what.  Yes, even in today’s society that answer is still passed down from mom to daughter.  You father won’t see anything wrong with it because he acts the same way as your partner.  It is your duty to see to your husbands needs and if you don’t then a little “encouragement” is okay.

The same advice is advisable if you find yourself in this situation, call out for help to anyone you can.  Especially if you already have children.  You do NOT want them to become part of this cycle.

You are still a kind, generous, warm, trusting, respectful woman who did NOT choose to be abused.

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Grief and Loss

When a loss hits a family, people are at a loss as to what to do, what to say, how to help.  If you yourself have suffered a loss what did you most need from others?  Think about how you wanted people to respond and ask yourself if that would fit in the current scenario. If you have not suffered a loss, ask yourself the same question, what would you like from others.

Here is a list of thoughts that might be helpful:

  1. Sometimes less is more.  Don’t fill in the silences with chatter; allow the silence to happen.
  2. Do share touches with those who are grieving.  You can: pat an arm while passing by, give a hug when it appears needed, hold their hand, sit close by, cradle them in your arms, stroke their hair.  Always checking for the appropriateness of gender, age, and time.
  3. Make yourself busy – brew tea and coffee, make sandwiches, bake, tidy the place up (there will always be people dropping by)
  4. Let them know that you are there in their time and space, don’t force yourself on someone
  5. Offer to accompany them to appointments – coroner, funeral parlour, church, florist
  6. Ask if you can see the photo albums
  7. Talk about the person that has passed
  8. Offer to make phone calls
  9. Collect anecdotes
  10. Offer to do the grocery shopping
  11. Offer to prepare everyone’s clothes for the service – wash, iron, fold
  12. Let the grievor’s cry as it is a natural process
  13. Let them be angry as well
  14. Be there in the two weeks after the death when most others have left and gone back to their lives

The most important part is not to stop a person’s process.  Sometimes because we are uncomfortable we feel the need to use humour when someone is crying.  This actually stops their process and they will have to start again, plus they may feel that they cannot be real around you.

Validate their feelings don’t try to talk them out of their feelings.  This is how they are feeling in this given moment and those feelings may change rapidly throughout a day, week, month or year.

Please don’t tell a person that things will get better, or that it is time to move on.  Every person’s journey into grief is unique and personal.

Make sure that you are taking care of you.  It is like a pyramid:  the griever needs support and leans on you, You need support and lean on your family and friends and they do the same on down the line.  We all have our place and role in this process.

Watch for isolation once the busyness of the service is over and people have left.  It is a fine balance between hovering and “giving space”.  If you feel that the griever is slipping into depression, then suggest they see their family physician.

Do call your local hospice and ask for advice on how to handle things.

Above all, Take Care of your self, Be kind to yourself, and Stay Safe!


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It is at this time of year that I find people expressing feelings of depression.  The change in weather, light time, and rush towards Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations may affect how a person feels.

There is a difference between burnout and stress, and between depression and sadness.  For those of you in the business community you may find yourself in a pressure cooker situation.  For some that is trying to stay afloat, it is also to be competitive and because of the time of year.

How is burnout defined? Grassroots Leadership College facilitators say, “Burnout produces a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.”  Burnout is a loss of ideals and hope. Stress is a loss of fuel and energy.”  Depression is a clinical diagnosis over time with a certain set of criteria.  Sadness is usually episodic and can be triggered by external events.

How does one overcome this sense of burnout?

  • Take control of your attitude and behaviours
  • Set clear and realistic boundaries for yourself; learn to say “no”
  • Have realistic goals. Unrealistic goals lead to failure.
  • Express your feelings to your support team; don’t keep them inside
  • Find the passion again
  • Look for humor in the workplace.
  • Do something physical to reduce the effects of stress.
  • Reward yourself after all you are the most important person in your life, pray/meditate, listen to or make music, draw/doodle, read something other than work reports, do puzzles, daydream, think outside your box.
  • Focus on the positive. Change those negative thoughts into positive ones.

Stay safe, be kind to yourself and others.

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