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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hot Felon

A topic of discussion on Dr. Drew recently was “Hot Felon” where the panel was debating about the physical appearance of a man who had been arrested. I have recently launched a new book entitled, How to Depolarize Your Jerk Magnet, and this is the very thing I educate women on regarding men in orange jumpsuits. These bad boys light up the brain and create excitement, but it isn’t attraction women feel rather it's danger and intensity. Many women may say it’s okay to think a violent man is attractive physically, but in reality it's the emotional brain that's attracted to the thrill. My book highlights the rationale these jerk magnets use to justify loving them. If jerk magnets need the sensation of extreme ups and downs they might consider a roller coaster ride instead. This way when these women get tired of the ride they can get off. The price of admission is cheaper too. Any comments and insights are welcome!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Marriages: Know the Difference Between Good and Not Bad

Yesterday we discussed the differences between not easy and hard as they pertain to relationships and how perceptions alter our cognitive processing—ultimately contributing to how we relate to loved ones. Another similar distortion used with regularity is when we rationalize that our relationship isn’t bad—which by default—makes us automatically see what we have as good. But is that really true? Not bad and good are two mutually exclusive thoughts. If you’re asked how the steak was and you reply, “not bad,” do you get that wow sensation and refer to the flavor as good? Or does not bad mean mediocre or not great? Not bad means not awful and interchanging the not bad with good means you have settled for less. Don’t gage your relationship on the extreme absolutes but rather take the middle ground and see the relationship for what you truly feel. For example, when someone answers the how-are-you-doing salutation with, not bad are they genuinely convinced that they’re good? Not really, not bad means just what it implies: not bad, not good…just okay. Conversely, stating you’re in a good marriage because you’ve experienced a bad marriage is just as inaccurate. When new budding romances are devoid of certain previous characteristics, which were bad experiences, the knee-jerk reaction might be to compare them to old unhealthy relationships and see the new person as good for you. But the truth is, each relationship is an island that stands alone and must merit its own worth based on how it feels in and of itself. There are couples trapped in marriages that aren’t bad enough to leave yet not good enough to stay. They are in suspended animation. These are the marriages where people stay together and role model to their children what love is supposed to look like but then flee once the kids are on their own. New research finds that divorce isn’t what screws up kids…it’s unhealthy marriages that do. If you find yourself in this predicament determine if what you have with your partner is remotely close to what you want for your children to have in their marriages. The clock is ticking with each moment you spend time convincing yourself the relationship is good based on it not being bad.  More importantly, you demonstrate to your kids what love is supposed to feel like. Do you want your kids to have the same relationship that you have? Although each individual contributes to how the relationship looks there are times when nothing can be done to make the relationship right because the other party is unwilling. Decide if staying is worth it because sooner or later the choice between having a relationship, which is not bad will just not be good.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Relationships: Not Easy or Hard?

Couples often complain that relationships are a struggle. They interchangeably use words like hard or not easy to explain how difficult love can be. I take issue with these descriptive concepts being presented as one and the same as the subjectivity is counterproductive to having healthy interactions. When couples claim relationship aren’t easy by default that means love must be hard. Hard is an absolute extreme that generates pessimism and becomes a roadblock to intimacy. Reframing these two implications however can make relationships better as the differences between not easy and hard are distinct. Going to college for four years, for instance, isn’t easy but it doesn’t mean it’s hard if you have a dream. Writing a novel isn’t necessarily easy but it isn’t hard either if you love writing. Fully decorating a house isn’t always easy but again, it isn’t really hard when you want your house to feel like a home. Anything worth anything takes time, commitment and attitude. The difference between not easy and hard is that not easy seems doable and has a positive objective. Not easy takes a concerted effort BUT feels good around most turns—and is solution based. Hard, on the other hand, is usually not fun, creates doubt—and is problem oriented. Hard is spending more time fighting to be heard and regarded whereas not easy infers cooperation and consideration. It’s the difference between compromising oneself and compromise. The former is hard because you lose yourself but the latter although not so easy implies negotiation and teamwork, which is certainly worth the effort. Do you use the word hard to describe your relationship with your best friend or is the interaction with him or her simply not easy?

Carefully evaluate how you feel when you say your intimate relationships aren’t easy to ensure you’re not leaping to the erroneous conclusion that they’re hard because your thoughts become your feelings and your feelings become your actions and your actions dictate your outcomes. If your relationship isn’t easy find ways to improve it but if it’s hard you might want to cut your losses and consider someone who isn’t hard. You decide.

Tomorrow we will discuss the difference between good versus bad marriages.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Finding Mr. Right

Steve Harvey rebroadcast a story about three sister in their 50s looking for Mr. Right. I heard them say they made wrong mistakes…as opposed to right mistakes. Most mistakes start out wrong, but when lessons are learned and are never repeated, they can be valuable. These sisters claimed they wanted certain traits in their men. Most of the descriptive attributes lacked depth. Although some could legitimately be plausible, I think the definitions are grossly misrepresented. As I listened to what they desired I found synonyms that matched their objectives, which may explain why they’ve made so many wrong mistakes and why most of their dates came across as jerks. For instance, they asked for charismatic (a.k.a., sociopath), debonair (ornate), in charge (self-centered, bullies), classy (arrogant) and confident (overbearing) guys. When writing, “How to Depolarize Your Jerk Magnet” I found many women erroneously using these terms to describe what they wanted, but usually got the traits I noted instead. This blog shares how to reframe these desired character traits so that healthier relationships are possible. Being attracted to bad boys is not going to work out well and using character flaws as your foundation guarantees the relationship will crumble.  Below we will look at the propaganda society uses to paint the personality canvas, but you’ll have to decide what brush strokes you use.

Charismatic = compelling or captivating, which implies a magnetic draw toward something powerful. It’s a force greater than you to be reckoned with. It envelops you. Anything that zaps your power source and drains you is problematic. You lose your oomph. With a little cognitive reframing, charismatic can mean fascinating or alluring which allows you to maintain self without sacrifice. It’s when the two √©lans (his & yours) combine and generate greater energy. The power is complimentary—your energy matters and contributes to the spark. Decide whether you’ll be his captive audience (trapped with a sociopath) or hold the key to self-reliance?

Debonair = well groomed or polished, which shines with brilliance on the outside but often tarnishes over time. Glitter doesn’t always mean gold and when it dulls the lust in luster is lost. Taking a closer look at the ordinary could help you find extraordinary as healthy people gleam from the inside out. The false images are smoke and mirrors and it’s a guarantee he’ll blow smoke up your skirt. If you’re just looking for eye candy (ornate) know that debonair is like gum…it loses its flavor! There is nothing wrong with wanting someone courteous and cultured so long as he’s genuine. We can all learn a lot from acculturating but make sure he’s not plastic and disingenuous.

In charge = egotistical, apathetic where he’s unwilling to share and play well with others. In charge means there’s one leader and the rest are his flunky followers. Oh sure, if you don’t want to take responsibility for your life, in charge is the answer. But then who are you and what do you have to offer? Your opinions, your voice and your thoughts will be squashed like an irritating bug. By buying into this crooked thinking you are erased—wiped off the planet—eradicated. Then when this in-charge guy (self-centered bully) bails on you for being a nobody in his perfect eyes, he’ll rip a huge hole in your heart. He won’t look back or regret his choice, as he knows there are more flunkies than he can boss around. If you’re looking for someone to carry some of your load that is teamwork—a partnership. The support you gain can turn things around without actually turning your life over.

Classy = fashionable and exclusive which can be temporary and fade with the season. Dating classy (arrogant) guys can eliminate potential partners who have potential. Make sure you understand the definition of classy as some feign class by putting on airs and being pretentious. Classy in its true sense means tasteful and refined, a refreshing and redeeming quality so long as it’s authentic. Do you want to be with someone who thinks he’s better than other or compares himself to them? If he measures his worth by what he has rather than who he is that’s not class... it’s uncertainty. Fortunes come and go but truly classy people inherently possess grace and acceptance toward others.

Confident = self-possessed which can mean that he might be a know-it-all. Sometimes people see hard chargers as confident (overbearing) because they are fearless. They are unafraid of anything including running you over if you stand in their way. It is important to define what confidence really means to you as even bullies appear confident…but they aren’t. They just act tough to demonstrate prowess. A confident person brags on the inside not on the outside. So if your man boasts he’s not confident, he’s insecure. If he has to shout from the mountaintop his accomplishments his worth is based on keeping score, which means there has always got to be a loser.

Finally, what these women on Steve’s show admitted was that they had strong personalities (confrontational & adversarial) and that they needed men who can handle them (confrontational & adversarial). Talk about wrong mistakes! Wittingly wanting someone who can banter with them makes this a disaster waiting to happen. Reframing this cognitive distortion perhaps would mean they really wanted someone who can appreciate, respect and regard that they have something to say and offer to the world. If strong personalities are represented as adversarial then that’s what you get! You can’t fight with reality.

In closing, I want to say how much I admired these women for their candor and for representing all the other jerk magnets in the world who are looking for love in all the wrong places. Sadly, their responses are typical and, all too often accepted, by women. Their misguided interpretations of Mr. Right closely align with how other women explain their relationship dilemmas and why so many terrific, talented and beautiful women get stuck with Mr. Never Right, Mr. Please Make Him Right or Mr. Right Now. This information is equally important for men who find themselves engaging with women who are hurtful and cruel.