April 12, 2011

Inside this Newsletter:


Message from Carolyn:

Spring is here—I love the daffodils, tulips, and apple blossoms!!

The wild animals are also out. Last summer we had a bear at our mountain house, but now there’s a mountain lion cruising around outside. See picture below taken by my neighbor.

This newsletter is called “Winning.” I know Charlie Sheen is kind of old news now, but his idea of “winning” inspired my article “Winning in Relationships.” See below.

A recent Dateline show called “Breakthrough” caught my eye and made me realize that I need to share how I help clients with similar breakthroughs in their lives. See “Breakthroughs” below.

Listen to me on an internet radio show next Wed., April 13 at 10am on “The Love Quest.” To tune in, go to www.12radio.com and click on “listen now.” The show can also be found on www.itunes.com in the news/talk category, look for 12 Radio. The topic is “The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make.”

I was on their show last month on the topic ”10 Reasons You’re Not Married Yet.” Since I’m now doing internet radio, I now have Skype – in case any of you phone clients want to use it for our appointments.

As you may know, I was interviewed by Channel 9 News around Valentine’s Day on “Online Dating,” and here’s the link in case you missed it.

In this week’s Life & Style Magazine (on the stands now), I was quoted about Kourtney Kardashian’s relationship with Scott Disick in an article titled, “Why Kourtney Won’t Marry Scott.” I was asked whether Kourtney should trust Scott’s new short-term good behavior. Scott says, “if she accepts my proposal, I’ll finally realize all my positive moves are finally paying off.” He seems to be pinning his happiness and sobriety on Kourtney. My quote: “That’s not healthy and that Scott needs to make lifestyle changes for himself, which in turn will positively affect his family.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Below see my Q&A on handling a mother-in-law. A few weeks’ ago, I commented and gave similar advice in Life & Style Magazine on Chelsea Clinton’s strained 7-month relationship with her new husband. He left for the ski slopes only a few months into the marriage and the reason is supposedly because of Chelsea’s intimidating parents. Can you imagine having Bill and Hillary as your in-laws? I say, “Controlling in-laws are a huge cause of marriages falling apart. It’s very hard to stand up to you in-laws without alienating your mate. Chelsea is the one who needs to tell her parents to back off.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Just FYI: I’m revamping my website to make it more usable for finding relationship material that can help you. The new website should be up and ready in a few weeks.


Winning in Relationships

“Winning,” the term made popular by Charlie Sheen, is something we all want. But what does it mean to “win” in relationships? Of course it depends on what we want. To Charlie Sheen, winning in relationships obviously means having a woman available for sex whenever he wants one, whether he has to pay for it or not. On the other side, like a golddigger, winning in relationships is finding the richest man available and getting him to fall in love with her, whether or not she loves him back. But for most of us, these two extremes are not what we would call “winning in relationships.”

A real win for most of us would be to find someone we fall in love with who loves us back the same. We want someone who loves, adores, and respects us, and someone we feel the same way about. And then, real winning would be to keep that love alive forever. We would start out with our lover enjoying the primary years of our lives together, having fun, raising a family if we choose to, working hard in our careers, and then enjoying growing old together.

Why We Don’t Win in Relationships

  1. We settle down with someone too soon and give too much. Whether we have married too young or simply jump into relationships too quickly, rushing a relationship will usually doom it, especially when you give up your identity, trying to please that person.

  2. Couples blame each other for their unhappiness. My mother used to say, “I’d be happy if it wasn’t for your father.” Couples come into my office everyday blaming each other for their unhappiness. We decide in our heads how our mates want us to behave, and then blame them when it doesn’t work. Don’t assume what he or she wants. And your happiness is your own responsibility; no one else’s

  3. We suffocate each other. Couples think they’re supposed to do everything together, like the same things, , think the same way, stay in touch constantly. Thinking this way stifles you and your mate’s individuality. Spending too much time together creates boredom, resentment, and a desire to get away from your mate.

  4. We don’t speak up (in a healthy way) when we’re unhappy. No we can’t change our mate, but we can change the way he or she treats us. Women think they’re speaking up when they complain and bitch, but this is a far cry from telling your mate how you feel and what you want. Men often passively build a grudge and act passive/aggressive instead of saying what they’re feeling and what they want. It’s actually your job to try and change your mate’s bad behavior toward you before your resentment kills the love.

  5. We don’t make our mate feel loved. When is the last time you gave your mate a compliment out of the blue? Or told him or her that you respect something they’re doing? Made him or her feel truly valued? No mater how confident someone seems to be, we all have insecurities and need praise and affection and when he or she doesn’t get it from you, they will probably find somewhere else to get it.

How to Win in Relationships

  1. Develop your own identity before you get into a long-term relationship, and make sure that you keep it.

  2. If you’re not happy, don’t blame your mate. Instead, do whatever is necessary to make yourself happy.

  3. Give him his space and take yours. Each of you keeping your own interests and friends will keep the relationship more exciting.

  4. Speak up and ask for what you want and be willing to negotiate fair deals, making the relationship win/win.

  5. Make your mate feel loved, i.e., compliments, hugs and kisses, buying small things that make you think of him/her.

Winning in relationships is not that difficult if you stay focused on your own identity and happiness. You must also be willing to keep your heart in a loving place as you negotiate fair deals with your mate. Winning!!

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On Sunday night, March 27, I watched a fascinating psychological program on Dateline called “Breakthrough.” This program helps people with psychological problems have breakthroughs so they can move forward in their lives. They help addicts, as well as people who have suffered traumas, and people whose childhoods are holding them back from loving relationships. A young male was featured who didn’t know how to connect, love, or be loved. The program involves exercises in expressing anger, facing and ridding your self of guilt, pain, and humiliation from your past, self-esteem exercises, and writing letters to family members, as well as group camaraderie. This man and other members were able to change their lives in only a few weeks in this intense environment.

Although we know that addictions and traumas like sexual abuse can destroy or hinder our interpersonal relationships, we often don’t realize how much our somewhat normal childhood frustrations can keep us from having healthy relationships. It’s not about simply blaming our parents for what went wrong, but instead resolving the pain from those years. It’s only then that we can let go of it and not carry that pain and bad behavior into our love relationships. If our parents were never there for us (no matter what the reason), we may not trust that our mate will be there for us. If we had critical parents, we’re likely to choose a critical mate and keep the pattern going. With a controlling parent, we either become like that parent or live in fear playing victim to our mate like we did with that parent. We often live out the dysfunctions of our parents in some way when we don’t confront our childhood issues.

Many people think that we can just choose not to let our childhood issues affect us, but we can’t “think” our way out of them, they must be worked through. Change not only requires facing those issues, but also doing more than talking passively about them. It requires action—exercises like the ones I mentioned above. Once the breakthrough has happened, you no longer need the bad behaviors and defenses you play out in your present relationships. The “breakthrough” allows you to change and relate to others in a totally different way.

I offer the same therapeutic work shown in this program, but in private sessions that can be conducted over several months or handled in a more intense and fast way. I also step you through this program in my book Loving Him Without Losing You. It’s common for people to attach to their mate and give up their identity, which creates dependency. Then we transfer the dependency from our childhood to our mate, playing out those same old defense mechanisms that were necessary when we were children. The point to my book and this therapy program is that one must know themselves and resolve their childhood issues so that their identity will be strong enough to be in a relationship. I created the program when I had my own “breakthrough” years ago and worked through my childhood pain, and have been in a happy, healthy 23-year relationship with the man of my dreams since that time. Let me help you do the same.

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Mother-in-law Q&A

Q. Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?

A. It’s not about him needing to value your relationship more than the one with his mother. You need to make it clear that he needs to protect you from her. Tell him, “I feel upset when you don’t protect me from your mother. I want you to (& it’s your responsibility because it’s your mother) handle her, i.e. be the liason regarding our children, holidays, visits, etc. And I also want you to go back to her regarding our last fight and let her know that you back me up. Will you do that? If not, I will pull back and spend less time with your family.

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Client Letters

I wanted to let you know that my father finally caved after 1 ½ years of me setting and holding my boundaries. I never backed down and I made him look at what he said and did to me. We’ve wiped the slate clean and I feel so free on so many levels. Even my husband is starting to come around. I feel so relieved! I held on, and now I just need to shine some more brass balls in other areas of my life and I’ll be fine. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you as a counselor. You helped me so much!!

~ M.T.

I just wanted to let you know that your advice is working. I stopped chasing my controlling husband. I stopped pouting and acting like a victim. I’ve started speaking up, and rejecting him back. I wanted you to be the first to know that he sent me a dozen long stem roses! Is that nice or what? Is he coming around you think? Is the rejection working? I’m thinking it is. Also, he wants to know what it is I want to do this weekend for my birthday! WOW! Thanks for your help! I WILL keep this up!!

~ J.C.

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me in therapy. You’ve been exactly what I needed. I really appreciate it! I also think you’re a riot!

~ David in Denver

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How to Play the Dating Game


How to Play the Dating Game:  And When to Stop Playing the Game by Carolyn Bushong

How to Play the Dating Game

You may think you don’t want to have to “play the game” to find the man of your dreams, but in today’s world, you need to think again. The first few months of dating set the stage for how he will view you for the rest of the relationship. If you do it wrong, he will probably see you as someone he’s eager to get away from. If you play the game correctly, he will see you as a prize he worked hard to get (this is how men invest in a relationship).

Learn the 7 Secrets of the Dating Game, including how to reverse his rejection, how to weed out the bad ones, and how to modify his behavior to get what you want.

E-book (Instant Download) $19.95



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 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 years.

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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.

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