Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Is Your Teen Involved in An Abusive Dating Relationship? Know the Signs!

posted by Linda Mintle

2 abused teenWould you be surprised to learn that more than a third of teens say they have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused while dating?  This was the finding of a new survey presented this past July at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in Hawaii. The largest group who reported some type of abuse was teens between the ages of 13 and 16! Teens, ages 17-19, were a close second. While this data has yet to be scrutinized by review, it speaks to a serious problem facing many young people.

And this may not surprise you, those teen abusers were often middle school bullies!

One thought as to why this link between bullying and dating violence exists is because both behaviors involve establishing dominance. Perhaps bullies carry into their dating relationships this propensity to dominate through the use of violence and abusive behavior. If so, then bullying and dating violence are part of an escalating pattern that needs to be addressed early on in a teen’s development.

The website loveisrespect.org publishes these warning signs to help teens determine if their dating relationships are abusive, problematic or healthy. Share these with your teens so they can be more aware of signs that point to trouble:

–Does the person check your email or cell phone without your permission?

–Does the person constantly put you down?

–Is he/she extremely jealous or insecure?

–Does he/she have an explosive temper?

–Does he/she isolate you from friends and family?

–Does he/she make false accusations?

–Does he/she physically hurt you in any way?

–Does he/she tell you what to do?

–Does he/she repeatedly pressure you to have sex?

If you see these signs in your dating relationship, these are warning signs of possible abuse and violence.

Dr. Linda, I Was Nice, But It Didn’t Seem to Matter

posted by Linda Mintle

unsure coupleCouples come in to therapy with this complaint. “I did nice things for my spouse, but it doesn’t seem to matter. She doesn’t even notice. I don’t get it.”

Honestly, they usually don’t get it. They fail to see that all the negativity of the relationship sort of cancels out the good when it happens. I know that doesn’t sound fair, but an on-going negative relationship depletes the positives over time.

For example, in an overall positive relationship, if a husband comes home and forgets to bring the bread for dinner, the wife would probably think,
“Oh, he must have had a lot on his mind and just forgot. No worries. We can do without bread.”

But if that same relationship is already very negative and the same thing happened, the wife would think, “See, he only thinks of himself. I can’t depend on him.”

In fact, research tells us that 50% of positive gestures go unrecognized in couples characterized by negativity. The reason–there is too much negativity in the bank. Even neutral actions are seen as negative.

So what can you do?

Go back to the basics. Work on the marital friendship, show admiration and respect for your partner, and most of all, be there when he or she tries to connect with you. The challenge is to deposit  positives into that emotional bank account. Over time, you can turn it around. But you have to be intentional. Keep down the criticism, defensiveness and disrespect towards one another. Don’t turn away when frustrated. Stay in the interaction, calm yourself and talk. Point out the positives about each other. Remember why you got together in the first place and try to recapture some of that good feeling!

 

Where Were You on 911?

posted by Linda Mintle

Today is always a sobering day. It’s one of those days that will forever be in our memories.

There have been other moments like 911 in my life:

The Shooting of President Kennedy. I was very young, in a grade school classroom, but I vividly remember hearing the news over a loud speaker and people crying. We were dismissed to go home. It was an age when we didn’t lock our car or house doors, we knew our neighbors and violence wasn’t seen on TV. The shock of a shooting was not a daily thing, especially when it involved our President.

Then there was high school. The day they announced draft numbers in our state. We were sitting in the band room and listening to the assignment of draft numbers to birth  dates. I remember watching the faces of the older guys in my high school. Some looked frightened, praying their number would be high. My middle brother was #323. Such a relief. My older brother was drafted.

Then came a day in June. It was summer break and a beautiful day in my small town in Michigan. But it became a day no family ever wants to experience. When I came home from being out and about, an army officer was sitting in our kitchen. My brother had been killed.

Years later, I was working on an inpatient psychiatric unit. We had just finished rounds. I was at the nurses station when the images of the Challenger blowing up in the air with those astronauts on board stunned us all.

911 was one of those days.

Surreal in many ways as I was at the Jeep dealership getting my car serviced that a.m. The TV was on in the waiting area but I wasn’t paying much attention.  I was glancing through magazines until I heard an announcer talk about the first plane hitting the first tower. At first, I assumed it was an accident. I called my husband and told him to turn on the news in his office. And then, the second plane, people running, ash falling, and I thought of friends and family in NYC and wondered who was safe. It only got worse and those pictures of fear were all over the television.

Where were you on this day that we remember?

Take a moment.

Trauma has a way of staying with us. Our strongest memories are usually associated with strong emotional events that produce fear, love or rage. It’s like we take mental snapshots during those highly emotional times and those snapshots stay with us. So today, as you review those snapshots in your memory, remember to pray for the families who lost loved ones, for the first responders and all those affected by the ash and smoke. It was a day of tremendous suffering with moments of incredible bravery and survival.

Where were you on 911?

Let’s never forget!

A Quick Anger Guide for Relationships

posted by Linda Mintle

BFS_Anger_LGJohn and Mary are at it again. Arguing escalates to anger and John has a hard time calming down. As they sit in my therapy office, they ask what needs to happen. Basically, here is a summary:

1) John needs to admit that his anger is out of control. While anger is a normal emotion and not a sin, anger expression can be sinful. When you curse, yell, scream and disrespect your partner, this is a problem.

2) John insists that he has to get out his anger by yelling to feel better. This is absolutely going to hurt the relationship. John needs to deal with his anger, but not by yelling. Getting anger out aggressively only leads to more aggression.

3) John needs to get at the root of his anger. John is being triggered by issues from his past. He will be asked to keep an anger log to see what triggers his explosions. Below the surface, John is feeling hurt and vulnerable, a position that makes him uncomfortable. Anger makes him feel powerful. He didn’t feel powerful as a child. But John is an adult and not a victim of his past. He can react differently. His wife is not his critical father!

4) John practices ways to calm down and commits to using them. We rehearse several strategies–deep breathing, time-out, counting to 10, distraction, etc.

5) John studies the biblical passages on anger–be slow to vent, deal with anger when it comes up, no name calling, get to the source, etc.

5) Knowing his triggers, working through issues of his past, and armed with new ways to calm himself, John is able to stay calm in the next argument.

6) The couple discusses what went right. John identified the anger trigger, employed the calming strategy, stuck to the guidelines, and waiting to talk more until he was calm.

John had to unlearn an immediate response to anger. The reason he was successful was because he was committed to seeing how his anger negatively impacted his wife and was willing to work on issues from his past that were affecting his present. With no good role models as to how to deal with his anger, John developed his own strategy for calming down and gave his wife a cue to remind him. With practice, John’s anger response is no longer a problem.

 

For more help with anger, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness by Dr. Linda Mintle–over 101,000 copies sold.

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