September 30, 2010
Inside this Newsletter:
From Carolyn's Desk:
The leaves are changing, the kids are back in school,
the summer flowers are barely hanging in there, and most
of the hummingbirds have left for warmer climates.
I just got back from a high school reunion. You forget
how old you are until you see those old classmates (and
I do mean old)! Alan kept saying, “Who are these old
people??” Reunions make you look back and see how far
you’ve come. (See my article on “High School Reunions
and Approval Issues” below.)
Expressing anger is a topic that comes up regularly, and
recently I’ve had several clients who are especially
having difficulty with this. When you don’t deal with
your anger and frustrations with your mate (and others
of course), you build up resentments that eventually
destroy the relationship. See article below.
Since I only have office hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays
and Thursdays, it sometimes makes it difficult for my
clients. So, I am adding Monday afternoons and Friday
mornings to talk to clients, but only by phone.
Look for information soon on a new international
internet dating book I will be helping sponsor, titled
“Daters Anonymous Live!” It’s filled with great internet
stories (good and bad)! Related to this, see my article
below on “Traits for Attracting a Man Long-term.”
The magazine First for Women is still interviewing
couples I have helped with their marriages. If you are
one of my present or past clients and would like to be
interviewed about how I have helped you resolve a
certain issue in your relationship, please let me know.
First for Women does a two page spread with photos, etc.
To see one
of the First for Women stories from my past clients,
Reunions and Approval Issues
High School Reunions and Approval Issues
recently went to my high school reunion. It’s amazing that after all
these years I’m still interested in impressing my classmates. I had
my hair colored, got a pedicure, and bought a sexy flattering dress
to wear. It feels like we never get past the approval issues we feel
during high school. I was not popular in high school -- I wouldn’t
smoke or go to the wild parties (but I wasn’t a prude, I did drink).
But I think it makes it more important to go back if you weren’t one
of the popular kids. I was not a cheerleader, not the prom queen,
not on the honor role (except once). I was just average. So I guess
I still had something to prove.
At each reunion the cliques from high
school dissipate a little more and it no longer matters who was
popular and who wasn’t. The jocks talk to the nerds. There is still
some competition, but the measuring system has changed. Who still
looks young, who has money, who is most successful, who married
Classmates still gossip and say, “Time
has not been kind to her.” “How could he let himself go like that?”
“Why doesn’t she die that gray hair?” “Do you think she had a face
lift?” The competition is nothing compared to what it was like in
high school, however. Nobody cares like they did back then. Our teen
years are our most vulnerable years – the time when we were trying
to find ourselves, when we were trying to decide if we were “good
enough.” And many of the messages we got from our classmates told us
that we weren’t up to par. Many leave high school scarred.
Approval is so important to us when
we’re teenagers – especially when we’re transferring parental
approval to peer approval. But it’s not all bad. Competing for
approval can be motivating. The desire to show someone can lead us
to great things. When we think others think we’re “not good enough,”
it can either shut us down or make us decide to prove them wrong.
It was partially my old high school insecurities that were a driving
force for me to get my books published and appear on TV and radio.
In high school, I typed the school newspaper (instead of writing for
it) and prepared to be a secretary. One classmate at the reunion
(after finding out that I had written books) reminded me clearly of
who I was back then when she said, “I never remember you being that
It can be good to go back to a reunion and realize that none of it
really mattered. You may even be able to work through some of those
issues. At one reunion, my high school nemesis (she was prom queen
and cheerleader) told me that she wished she was me, and I told her
I had wanted to be her. Something felt magical when she said that
and it took away years of high school insecurities. The thing to
remember is that even the prom queens and jocks have insecurities
too. And for many, those years were the highlight of their entire
We always need a little approval in our lives. That’s why housewives
and househusbands (and others who have lost their jobs) often become
depressed. They’re getting no strokes from the outside world. And
anyone who says they don’t care what anyone thinks is either fooling
themselves (denial) or emotionally dead or numbing themselves with
Seeking the approval of others can be a
good thing if used properly. But it can also hinder us if we stay
too focused on it. Many of us naturally switch that need for
approval from family and high school peers to our mate, people at
work, or keeping up with the Joneses. We become more concerned about
what others think than staying true to who we really are.
There is a natural process that should
happen during adolescence where we begin to separate our identities
from those around us. We clarify how we are different from our
family and peers and become stronger in our own belief systems. Some
people never complete this process. When we complete the adolescent
phase of our lives (which we can do at any age), we finally grow up
and are focused less on what people think and more on what truly
makes us happy.
The process involves separating your identity from others and taking
risks that others might not approve of. If you care too much about
what your peers, coworkers, or mate think of you and it keeps you
stifled so that you don’t follow your dreams, you need to break free
psychologically and strengthen your own identity. Use your approval
issues to motivate you, but don’t let them hold you back. (For
more information on the Separation Process, order my book Loving Him
Without Losing You.)
Return to top >>>
Attracting a Man Long-Term
Traits for Attracting a Man
necessarily in this order)
the ability to make yourself happy
personal strength that doesn’t
not blaming him or others for your
flirtatiousness (with him, not
showing sexuality without looking
knowing what you wants
not having too much baggage
having your own friends and
being fair with money
listening to him and not judging or
admitting when your wrong
(Would love to hear from you if you
disagree or have traits to add, please email me your thoughts at
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of my clients who come in with relationship problems don’t know how
to express their anger, and that’s why they never get what they
want. In fact they get very uncomfortable when I tell them this.
They think that relationships should be magical – that if their mate
loved them they would be able to read their mind and know what they
want. They don’t realize that relationships involve resolving
conflicts, and that means that you have to express your negative
feelings to your mate and tell them what you want to have changed.
Though clients don’t know it, it’s why most of them are having
relationship difficulties. When they come to see me, they say, “I
just can’t get over him,” or “I’m not in love with her anymore.”
They don’t know that their inability to express their anger has
created the situation that they are now in.
My client Cynthia had been divorced for two years when she came in,
but still couldn’t get over her husband Sam, who had long left her
behind and taken a new wife. Cynthia had given too much in the
relationship providing the money, raising the kids, and taking care
of all the chores. Why would he leave her when she did so much? I
told her that he took her for granted because she made it too easy
for him. I couldn’t believe that she wasn’t angry. She said she was
Many people have trouble moving from the hurt stage to the angry
stage in their situations. It’s normal to feel hurt, but if you stay
in this stage, you play victim and never move on. It’s necessary to
process that hurt, which allows it to naturally turn into anger as
you start to feel pride and a need to protect yourself.
But Cynthia had been taught by her mom that anger was not okay.
That’s what got her into this mess. She never told her husband that
she was angry that the entire responsibility of the relationship was
on her. She needed to tell him that he needed to contribute more to
the family and that it is not okay that he put the burden on her. By
not expressing her anger, she enabled him to become more and more
selfish. She created a monster who felt entitled. He was able to use
her up and move on with no guilt, leaving her feeling victimized and
hurt, longing for the life she thought she had.
My client George, on the other hand, was the one who had been taken
advantage of in his relationship. His wife was controlling and
demanding and he just took it and did what she wanted and built a
little more resentment toward her very day. Several times he thought
about just leaving. He told me about all the angry things he wanted
to say to her, but he would seldom go back and say them. He told me
that one day he would probably just wake up and leave her, never to
be seen again. Actually that’s what he did with his first wife.
George doesn’t understand that by not expressing his anger, his wife
thinks she’s doing the right things. He, of course, is also enabling
her to feel more and more self-righteous. George thinks she should
know that her controlling ways are wrong. But she doesn’t have a
clue and will be shocked when he leaves.
What We Do Instead of Expressing Our
We learn to edit our feelings,
believing we “shouldn’t” feel that way.
We think that it won’t do any good
to tell someone how we feel because it won’t change anyway.
We fear hurting our mate, but end up
hurting them more in the end by not speaking up.
We use indirect anger by criticizing
and becoming sarcastic.
We whine to others about how we feel
instead of telling our mate.
We talk ourselves out of our
feelings telling ourselves we “shouldn’t” feel that way.
We fear being hurt, that if we speak
up, he/she will go away.
We think our mate should read our
We behave in passive/aggressive
ways, indirectly hurting our mate to get even.
Express Your Anger:
Admit that you are angry at someone
about something they did.
Allow yourself to feel the emotion
fully, then ask yourself if they or someone else has done this
to you before. Get in touch with all of the anger, both past and
Decide what you want to have happen.
Do you want to end it or is there something he/she could do to
fix the problem?
Visualize yourself handling the
problem with your mate.
Use the 4 Steps of Healthy
Communication to handle your anger:
Step 1: I feel ______when you_____.
Step 2: I want ________.
Step 3: Will you ________(be specific).
Step 4: If not, I will __________(give an ultimatum).
more information on communication skills, click here to order my
book The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make.)
Return to top >>>
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 more than15 years. She has been helping people like
you improve your life and relationships for more than 30 years.
Cosmo, US Weekly and other magazines quote her expert relationship
advice, and McCall’s named her one of the “Top 6 Passion Doctors” in
the country. 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 23
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