Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Overcoming the Effects of Verbal Abuse - Part I

What is Verbal Abuse?

What you say:  Verbal abuse is often defined as a pattern of verbal behavior characterized by harsh, demeaning, belittling and critical words or statements. Examples are, “You are worthless.”, “I wish you were never born.”, or “Can’t you ever do anything right?”

What you don’t say:  Verbal abuse is also defined as the absence of positive, encouraging and supportive words or statements, such as “you are special.”, “I knew you could do it.” or “I love you.”

The Effects of Verbal Abuse

In my practice I have had many adults tell me that the verbal abuse they suffered as a child did not impact them because they knew that their parents really loved them. Unfortunately, there can be damage to the child’s self-concept even if the parent doesn’t intend to do harm. Even the best parent can make hurtful comments when feeling overwhelmed or angry, and...

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Are you STILL angry?

Intimacy is the fuel that powers every couple’s emotional engine. It’s what makes your relationship special – those moments when you catch each other’s eye and laugh because you share an inside joke. It’s when you can ride in the car together in comfortable silence, or unashamedly sing a duet to “your song” playing on the radio. It’s getting excited to tell each other good news or needing to reach out to each other if there is bad news. It’s having someone who knows you inside and out and still loves and accepts you.

If this doesn’t sound like what you want in your marriage, and if you want a proven formula for killing intimacy in your relationship, here it is: Get angry at your spouse and never let it go. Rehearse this line, “I will never forgive…”

It is sad that many people experience a lack of intimacy in their marriages because of the negative emotions they harbor toward their spouse. I once...

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5 Keys to Being a Great Dad

What makes a great dad? I have found that great dads practice five key principles: love, discipline, nurturing, instruction and training, and provision and protection. Read the following five points, and you'll learn how to not only strengthen your role as dad, but you'll also understand what being a "great" dad is all about.

As a great dad, you will:

  1. Love your children.

Just as the foundation of a new home has to be poured before the building can be framed, a father's love for his family is the foundation that supports and sustains everything else he does. When your actions and decisions are motivated by love, your family is on solid ground.

  1. Discipline your children.

Discipline clearly defines the boundaries of behavior and often dictates where we can and cannot go. Remember, there's a big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is for the purpose of teaching your children good character and encouraging good choices. Punishment is often motivated by anger or...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 2 of 2)

In our previous blog we began talking about some ways to start out on the right foot if you re-marry and bring two families together. Those initial tips were: Make Your Marriage a Priority, Be Sensitive to Your Child’s Feelings, Develop Realistic Expectations and Be Supportive of Your Child’s Other Biological Parent. Those tips focus on ways to deal with the adjustment you and your children will go through with the life-changing step of blending them into a new family structure. Today we will share some ways to help your new family grow stronger and become closer.

Develop strong listening and communication skills

Effective communication and listening skills are vital to the success of any relationship. The true test of your skills comes when you are emotionally charged. It’s easy to say the right things when you feel happy, but throw in a little anger, a dash of jealousy and a pinch of disappointment and you have the ingredients for communication breakdown –...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 1 of 2)

One of my first introductions to a blended family was The Brady Bunch. Every Friday night, we tuned in to watch Mike Brady and his three sons and his new wife, Carol, and her three daughters skillfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls of their blended family -- and all in less than thirty-minutes.

Some say the Bradys didn’t have it as rough as most blended families, but, hey, what about the time the entire clan had to help Jan cope with the trauma of wearing glasses? Or when Greg was faced with the gut-wrenching decision of voting for someone other than his stepsister to be captain of the cheerleading squad? Boy, those were tough times! If not for the Solomon-like wisdom of Alice, the housekeeper, the Bradys could have easily ended up as just another divorce statistic.

If only step-parenting could be as easy as The Brady Bunch made it look! In reality, blending families together without mixing them up can be enormously difficult and challenging.

Studies show that half of...

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10 Things That Turn Women Off

Stressful times can really put a strain on relationships, and intimacy in marriage can be negatively affected when one or both partners are feeling the outside pressure. But even before Covid brought extra stress into our lives, mutually enjoyable intimacy was a delicate issue.

In counseling, men sometimes complain about their wives' lack of interest in physical affection and sexual intimacy, but further discussion often reveals that they often fail to understand how they might influence this indifference or lack of desire. It might come as a surprise, but a woman’s sexual desire has strong connections to some very non-sexy issues.

To get to the point: Guys, if you want more affection and intimacy in your marriage here are ten turn-offs you will want to avoid:

  1. Harsh words and a critical or dismissive tone of voice
  2. Impatience with the kids and the inability to balance discipline with fun and affection 
  3. Disinterest in meaningful conversation and pretending to listen 
  4. ...
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Why Your Personality Type is Awesome

One of the most challenging, interesting, and rewarding things about working with people is helping them discover the unique combination of personality traits that make them the way they are. There is something so powerful about an individual seeing themselves – sometimes for the first time – as necessary and valuable to their communities and employers BECAUSE of who they are, not IN SPITE of it. I have seen too many people going through life thinking they are somehow wrong or inadequate because they aren’t like someone else.

While the comprehensive view of any individual is much too large and complex to address here, today we are just looking at the four main personality types outlined in the DISC Personality System. Which one sounds most like you?

Being “D” and Getting it Done – The DISC Profile lists the primary traits of the High “D” as Dominant, Driven and Determined. These people tend to be natural leaders who grab hold of a task...

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Help Your Kids Quit Procrastinating

When I was growing up I would often hear my mother say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As a child, I hated that statement. It often meant missing a television program or playing with my friends in order to finish my chores or schoolwork.

As an adult, I can now appreciate the importance my mother placed on getting a job done. Unfortunately, many parents encourage their children to procrastinate by allowing them to postpone such things as homework, music lessons or chores. When a child develops the “I’ll do-it-later” syndrome it is very difficult to grow out of it as an adult.

According to a research study conducted by Rhodes College, Psychologists found that parents can program their children to become procrastinators by being late to activities, putting off the signing of permission slips or canceling appointments. The key to remember is this moms and dads, if you want your children to get things done on time you must begin by...

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Resolving a Bad Relationship at Work

The average full-time worker with two weeks of annual vacation spends up to 250 days or 2,000 hours each year on the job. Unfortunately, many employees spend this time interacting with co-workers they don't get along with, making their work situation almost intolerable.

If you have a problem with a co-worker and you're growing weary, don't despair. Although you can't guarantee cooperation from the other party, there are some practical things you can do in an effort to turn the relationship around. Review the tips below to see how you can confront bad work relationships.

  1. Take a good look at your own attitude and behavior first.

Before you complain or point a finger at your co-worker, take an honest look at how you might be contributing to the problem. Are you letting your feelings make you snappy, over-sensitive, jealous or uncooperative? Addressing your own negative attitude or behavior can often help decrease the distress brought on by the bad relationship and help...

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Is It Too Late to Mend a Broken Relationship?

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with friends and family to experience the joy of laughter, reminiscing, and renewing connections.  However, it’s also a time when many people face the painful reality of not being with someone they love because of a broken relationship. 

During the holidays, I often meet with clients who are grieving due to being estranged from a parent, sibling, or other close relative or friend. 

Recently I had a woman ask me if it was too late to try and mend a relationship with a brother she had a falling out with three years ago.  I have summarized my response to her below. 

As long as the person you had a falling out with is still alive and is mentally competent it is never too late to make an attempt to restore the relationship you once had with them. 

You can not control the type of response you will receive, or whether or not you will even get a response, but you can control what you attempt to communicate...

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