July 23, 2009

Inside this Newsletter:

I love July!  I’m doing the usual – singing, hanging out with Alan at the mountain house, enjoying my garden, and driving my convertible sports car!  But the one thing I am doing less of is – shopping! Alan’s playing a lot of golf of course!

The weather has been wild, and yes one of the many hail storms did shred all my beautiful flowers.  It looked like lettuce under each plant! I hope they all come back soon!

The skin study I was a part of in Dr. Buford’s office is now over.  It was with IS Clinical products and lasted 3 months.  They took pictures of us (without makeup) before and after.  To me both pictures looked gross, but the pix showed that my fine lines and  wrinkles improved significantly.  I’m my worst critic (as most of us are), so I can’t really see the difference.

It seems like we’ve had a lot of famous deaths in the last month, Farrah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, and of course Michael Jackson.  It inspired me to write my article below “Fame Doesn’t Do It!”

In gathering the material for my new website, I ran across lots of articles I’ve written but aren’t  in the computer, that people have requested, so I’m starting to scan them and one of them is in this month’s newsletter.  “In Good Company” is an article that was published in New Woman Magazine  that tells you how to spend time alone in a healthy, growing way.  If followed, it will help give you strength and high self-esteem.

In the next few months, I may be writing a Q & A for a local women’s magazine.  I’ll let you know more as it materializes


Fame Doesn't Do It !

It doesn’t matter who we are or how famous we become, we all have issues in our lives.  In fact, often the more famous we are, the more isolated and unloved we feel. And certainly, the more famous and/or rich we are, the less we get confronted when our thinking starts to get off track.

That’s of course what happened to Michael Jackson.  He seemed very sad and alone at the end, and his staff seemed to enable his drug problem instead of “helping” him get better.  Whether or not his prescription drug problem caused his death or not, we all know he was a very unhappy man.  And here is a man who could have afforded the best therapy in the world, but probably never sat down in a therapist’s office and discussed his problems.  Sure he had psychiatrists who gave him medication, but that only masks the problem.

And that’s what Michael did day after day -- mask his problems, with drugs and even actual masks.  Seldom did anyone ever hear about what was going on inside of him.  In one of his old interviews that was aired recently, you could see how nervous he got when the interviewer brought up the fact that his dad was abusive to him.  He admitted it, but getting him to talk more about it was like pulling teeth.  It was a classic sign of denial.

When pushed to talk more about it, he said his father made fun of how he looked and continually told him he had a fat nose.  We don’t have to wonder why Michael had such self-esteem issues that he had surgery after surgery on his nose until it was so thin there was nothing left.  And his guilt was an issue too.  He said that his dad used him as an example to his brothers of how they should act, i.e. “be good” like Michael.   He said they got beat by their dad more than he did.  What pressure and guilt that creates in a young child.

Most of us are pressured to “be good” as we grow up, though we’re not necessarily beat with a belt (like Michael and his brothers were) if we aren’t good.  Being human and having a normal range of feelings (from funny to sad to angry) and expressing those feelings and making mistakes as we do that is often seen as “bad.”  Constricting your feelings at an early age sets you up to never be able to create an emotionally intimate relationship.  Look at Michael -- everything was told in fairytales and images.  Sure, the rigid training, fear of his father, need for approval, and creating of visual images for us is what made him a great performer and icon.  And in that sense, it’s great!  But, I think we all feel bad for him because he gave us so much, yet he got very little from his life.  Fame doesn’t do it!  Just as success in our careers don’t do it.  All of his success and fame on the stage should have given him the approval he so desperately sought, but he never felt the love. I’m sure Michael would have traded his fame to just feel truly loved.  Not by his fans.  That’s not the kind of love Michael needed.  And we may think we want to be loved for our successes, but once received, fame is not as satisfying as we think it will be.

I had a little fame a few years ago when I wrote my 3 books and was on Oprah and met other stars as I did the talk show circuit, and it was great fun!  But more satisfying is the closeness and loved feelings I get from being in my relationship with Alan – a true one-on-one intimate relationship.  But, it takes emotions, both positive and negative, to be close and in love with someone and have them know you well enough to love you back.  Still, today, most of us never get this.  And some of us get it, and then let it go because we don’t know how to be intimate in a relationship.  I did this for many years myself.  Michael Jackson did this his entire life.  How incredibly sad.

Yet, most of us do the same thing because it’s all we know.  It’s what we’re taught as a child: “be good,” instead of “be real.”  As a child we don’t know what to believe, so we usually believe our authorities, i.e. parents, teachers, etc. – even when they’re wrong!  When Michael was a child and his father made fun of the way he looked and taught him that being his human self was not good enough, Michael believed him!  After all, it was his dad!  When we’re little and vulnerable, we don’t know anything else to believe.  So, Michael sought approval by changing his looks and seeking more and more success because he thought he wasn’t good enough the way he was.  When really, he was the cutest little boy in the world!  But all the love by fans could not take away that pain in his soul that maybe he was not “good enough” to be truly loved.  Michael was isolated from all normalcy and his emotional growth was stunted to about the age when he became a star.  Then, as an adult when he could make other choices, he stayed on the same track his father set him on without questioning the validity of it.  He stayed in denial and wouldn’t confront his issues from his childhood.  When this happens, there is no choice but to look for relief from somewhere -- drugs, alcohol, food, etc.  They say he knew he was going to die young.  That’s probably because he knew he was never going to deal with his issues, and his life was getting more and more isolated and unhappy and out of control, and he needed to medicate himself more and more to function at all.  There’s never a happy ending at the end of this road.

We all crave true love and acceptance from another human being.  Many people never find it or feel it, but we always crave it.  If Michael had dealt with his issues from his childhood, he might not have become “the greatest entertainer of all time.”  But was it worth the trade-off?  I doubt it.

With therapy, Michael could have understood that his dad was wrong about a lot of things – about Michael’s looks, about how to handle feelings, about discipline, about how to be a father, and on and on.  Intellectually I believe Michael knew that, as we often do, but that doesn’t keep us from playing out our legacy.  Simply insulating ourselves from the people who hurt us in the past isn’t enough, because we usually end up insulating ourselves from intimacy as well.  We must confront issues with the person who created those problems in us to undo the deep brainwashing, and help us feel safe again.  Once we do this, we take people who’ve hurt us off the pedestal and can see through them and see their weaknesses.  We then truly realize that their judgments of us are less about us and more about them.

Michael’s dad obviously has severe control and anger issues. We all see it.  Whatever he did to Michael was never because Michael was “bad” in anyway, but because of something in his own messed up psyche.  Maybe he was jealous that he himself never had that great musical career, maybe it was because his dad was abusive to him, maybe his marriage was bad and he took it out on the kids.  Who knows?  But whatever the reason that Michael’s dad treated him and his brothers so rigidly and abusively, we can be pretty sure that it wasn’t because they deserved it!  In Michael’s songs you can hear his searching for answers and for his own identity.  And he went to his grave without finding either one.  His death can be a great message to others: Do what it takes to be happy and don’t avoid the issues in your own life! 

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Should I be Friends with the EX ?

Would you have any past articles on the do's and don'ts of being friends after a relationship ends?  I say no, but your advice is so valuable! I am glad to see all is well with you and Alan!! G, Denver.

Yes, I wrote this article below a year and a half ago after I was interviewed by US Magazine about why Angelina Jolie stays friends with all her exes.   


Why do people keep exes in their lives, and should they?

The Why:

  1. APPROVAL ISSUES.  The person who was rejected in the relationship has a secret longing to win their ex back, believing that they can prove they are lovable enough and make up for the things they did wrong by being a really good friend.  Whereas, the person who ended the relationship often wants to stay friends because they need to believe their ex still “likes” them even though they were the one that ended the relationship.

  2. TROUBLE LETTING GO.  People who want to stay in touch with their exes often just have trouble letting go in general because they have unfinished family issues like abandonment.

  3. STILL WANT BENEFITS.  Often people don’t want to give up “using” their ex like they have in the past, whether it’s sexual, financial, caretaking or otherwise.

  4. COMFORT ZONE.  People often don’t want to give up the comfort of their ex because it feels like family and/or they don’t want to have to face the dating world.

  5. FANTASY IS BETTER THAN THE REALITY.  It’s easy to forget how awful it was, and easier to remember the good times, so we want to keep these people in our lives, hoping to once again relive the good times.


  1. It will hold you back from future relationships—whether you were the one who ended it or not—because you still put time and energy in “this” relationship, and it’s meeting some of your present needs.

  2. If you were rejected, staying friends with him or her keeps you psychologically stuck.  Instead, you need to process your anger and approval issues in a goodbye letter and be done.

  3. It will almost always cause problems with your present mate.

  4. If you still want to be friends after you’ve done all the processing, it needs to be after BOTH of you have moved on.

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How to Revitalize with Alone Time

Below is a scanned article from New Woman Magazine (that was requested by readers) that tells you how to revitalize and get healthy by spending time alone.  It is also an excerpt from my book Loving Him Without Losing You.


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Tuesday Nite Counseling Group


  • It's cheaper, only $60 per session for two hours. 

  • You find out what others think about your situation. 

  • You get feedback on how you may be coming across to others 

  • You get to help others understand their own issues while you learn more about relationships in general. 

  • You gain a feeling of camaraderie, i.e. that you're not alone in your situation. 

  • It gets you out of the house and in a social environment discussing something that is important to you. 

Info on Group Sessions:
Group meets from 6pm to 8pm every other Tuesday, each month.  Each group has up to 8 members (both men and women, singles and marrieds) and each meeting costs $60. Initial sign up for the group does require you to sign a contract for 6 sessions, and once you've signed up you must try to keep your calendar clear for each month's meeting. Call me for more information at 303-333-1888.

Carolyn Bushong's office, located at 360 Monroe Street, Suite 290, Cherry Creek, 80209.
Ph: (303) 333-1888, Fax: (303) 333-1889, and website: http://www.carolynsays.com

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About Carolyn

Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C, is an expert on relationships and a licensed therapist. She is known for being one of the top relationship therapists in the country and the author of 3 relationship books. She has appeared on Oprah, the View, and many other TV shows, and she has been giving relationship advice on Denver radio for 10 years. She has been helping people like you improve your life and relationships for more than 25 years. Cosmo, US Weekly and other magazines quote her expert relationship advice, and she writes articles for on-line article banks. Carolyn Bushong always has fresh, up-to-date, hot information on topics that will inspire you and change your life and improve your relationships. She has clients all over the country, some who come into her office and others who receive Carolyn's expert advice through phone counseling. Carolyn Bushong is an excellent psychotherapist, but she also lives what she teaches, as she is in a happy, healthy relationship with Alan, her mate of 22 years.

Email me your Topics & Ideas for the newsletter at Carolyn@carolynsays.com

How to get Carolyn Bushong's Relationship Advice:
Individual Counseling:
l hour or ˝hr sessions in office or phone, Health Insurance covers a portion.
Couples Counseling:
1 ˝ hr. sessions, Health Ins. covers a portion.
Group Counseling: Tuesday night group meets 5:30 - 7:30 pm, 8 members, less expensive.
Purchase Carolyn Bushong's books: for sale in her office,
on her website or B&N.com.
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Phone Counseling is a great way to do therapy, especially for the really busy person who's constantly on the go, or the person who is shy or hesitant to talk about their problem, or when the weather is bad and you don't want to drive to a therapist's office. It just makes sense in this day and age to be able to call and discuss a problem and get advice on a situation with having to leave work and drive to my office.

Email Advice: Visit Carolyn's website for more information.


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