If a person has a brief affair in a relationship and the affair ends, should the betraying spouse keep the secret? After all, it seems that telling this secret would needlessly hurt the spouse who was betrayed and only serve to alleviate the guilt of the spouse who cheated. Right? I once met a man, I’ll call him Peter, who had a wife, 2 children, … Continue reading Secrets – Keep them or Reveal them?
Every kid eventually discovers this trick. We used to call it “reverse psychology.” Psychotherapists call it a “paradoxical intervention.” Mark Twain says it best in the story of Tom Sawyer and the fence that Aunt Polly made him whitewash on a beautiful summer day. We’re all familiar with how the clever Tom lit upon the idea of bamboozling his friends to not only paint the fence for him, but to pay for … Continue reading Whitewashing Tom Sawyer’s Fence
As we travel through life we learn techniques for dealing with other people. We learn those techniques from parents, friends, teachers, characters in books, movies, TV, and experience. Sometimes we make it up and try something new just to see what happens. When I was a young girl I watched a lot of old romantic movies. I saw that when a man was rude to a woman, she would … Continue reading Emotional Blackmail
A woman came to me for counseling to help her leave her marriage. “What I really want,” she said, “is to leave my 3 kids, my job, and my town, but I’ll start with my husband.” I asked her questions about the simplest areas of her life. Eating habits, exercise, use of medications, drugs, alcohol, and overall general health. She wanted to complain about her 3 overwhelming children and … Continue reading Sleep Deprivation Messes with Your Mind
A friend asked me how I knew when a piece of my writing was good. I told her that when I finish a first draft (or 2nd, 3rd, …) I always think it’s garbage. She looked shocked and asked, “Do you revise it a lot?” I nodded. “But how do you know when you’ve revised it enough and it’s finished?” Accomplished writers will tell you to let the work … Continue reading When to Move On – in Writing and Life