Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

How To Get Out of a Relationship Triangle

posted by Linda Mintle

 

Reader Question: I am in the middle of a big argument with my mom and sister. The issue is between me and my mom but my sister sides with mom and the two of them gang up on me. I am always the outsider. We haven’t talked for 6 months and now my mom wants to bury the hatchet and talk to me again. Nothing ever gets resolved or talked about and I am tired of this. I’m sure something else will come up and she and my sister will gang up on me again. How do I change this?  No one ever says they are sorry but me. 

The question is about a mother, daughter, sister problem, but the principle of getting out of the middle applies to all relationships.

A. You are in something called a relationship triangle. Triangles involve 3 people. When two people have difficulty communicating or dealing with conflict with each other, a third person is brought in to deflect the difficulty. Your sister is that person for your mom. Instead of dealing directly with you, she gets your sister to side with her and justify her position. This is an unhealthy triangle because the two people who need to address the conflict, don’t.

In terms of forgiveness, Christ told us to forgive 70 times 70–in another words, to keep on forgiving. So choose to forgive your mom and sister. But in the future, you need to respond differently. Make sure that you ONLY communicate with the person involved in a conflict. When your mom pulls in your sister, refuse to deal with her and say, “This is between you and me. I’d like to solve this. When you are ready to talk to me and not my sister about this, I am ready.”

You break up triangles by  dealing directly with the person involved in the conflict. This often create tension because people don’t like changing familiar patterns even when those patterns are dysfunctional.

Finally, you can’t control what other people do. If your mom and sister gang up on you, you confront it and they stop talking to you, that’s their choice.

But leave the door open for their re-entry. Repeat your position to only deal with the person involved, not the third party.

VOTE TODAY

posted by Linda Mintle

 GET OUT THERE AND VOTE TODAY!

It’s important! No excuses! Just do it!

3 Needed Tips for Dealing With Family Stress

posted by Linda Mintle

Reader Question: 

When mom and dad are so stressed from kids and work, what kind of strain does that put on marriages? And what about temptation?

Stress either pushes you closer together as a couple or moves you father apart. It also taps your resources and can wear you down if you don’t have the right kind of support.

Couples who support each during a crisis and remain intimate with God, do best. When stress hits, too many couples allow the stress to pull them apart versus band together. Unhealthy couples take out their stress on each other versus come together to get through a difficult time.

Looking outside the marriage for emotional support and distancing yourself from God, both put you in a position for an affair, addictions and other negative coping methods. It’s tempting to medicate or escape your problems with another person, food, alcohol, pornography, etc. rather than deal with stress.

So anytime stress hits hard, consider your resources.

1) People of faith always have God as a resource. He is the number one resource to prevent stress from taking a toll. Scriptures tell us to cry out to God, to cast our cares on Him and He will relieve the burden and bring peace. We can’t always prevent stress from happening and we don’t always have good outcomes to every problem, but God promises His presence and that He will walk us through a stressful time.

2) Turn towards your spouse when stress gets high and use each other to buffer stress, not create more stress. Couples who can do this weather storms much better than those who take out their frustrations on each other and turn away from the emotional support they could build in their relationship. This is how temptation begins to take hold–you feel someone else is a better listener, understands your issues and gives you attention. You allow negative thoughts about your partner–He is preoccupied, she doesn’t care, someone else is a better listener, etc.

3) Practice ways to calm each other down. For example, pray together, problem-solve, enlist the support of others when needed, take a few deep breaths, encourage each other, escape through a good book or funny movie to relieve a little pressure, etc.

 

 

For practical tips to break free from stress, click on Dr. Linda’s book, Breaking Free from Stress

Why The Abortion Debate Will Never Be Resolved

posted by Linda Mintle

“People who are pro life are pro rape.” “People who are pro choice want to kill babies.”

I’m sickened by both political parties making outrages attacks and statements about people grappling with the abortion debate. Pro-life Republicans accused of hating women and pro-choice Democrats portrayed as baby killers. This is shameful. Inflammatory rhetoric does little to open a dialogue for meaningful conversation. Abortion is a moral issue and related to a person’s values. Yes, there is a legal aspect to abortion in terms of the role of government, but that conversation seems to be lost amongst all the mudslinging on both sides.

How do we ever have an honest debate when a Catholic is vilified for following her religious beliefs or an abortion doctor’s life is threatened because he is doing a legal procedure?

Most people feel passionate about their abortion beliefs. What you believe about abortion is deeply embedded in your morals and values. But we don’t make headway on the debate of this issue but trying to bully people into taking our position. And we Christians have an even higher calling, to love those who see the world differently and don’t hold a biblical world view.

I was so impressed by the Abbey Johnson story, UNPLANNED, not because she decided to become pro life, but because her decision to move from pro choice to pro life was motivated by her experience, her beliefs and people loving on her, praying for her and being in relationship with her. Love won the day.

People who support abortion and want the government to pay for it are not evil. Nor are the people who believe abortion is a moral or religious grievance and don’t want their tax dollars paying for it. The debate will never be solved by vilifying each other in political ads.

This political season, we have reached a new low in civil discourse. The lies, attacks, lack of decency are enough to make me say, “November 6, come quickly.” Let’s get the vote over with and stop the madness. Of course, the election won’t stop all the madness because there is now permission to attack people without knowing the facts and presenting things that aren’t true with no accountability. Emotions rule with no restraint.

The conversation about abortion can only begin with love and  following the directives of Christ to love your neighbor as yourself, pray for your enemies and do good to those who despitefully use you. Christians take your positions but do so in love.

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