Inside this Newsletter:
Message from Carolyn:
80 degrees one day and 35 the next – that’s Colorado for you! At
least we’re getting the moisture we need for our lawns and flowers.
WooHoo! We finally got Osama Bin Laden!!
Alan and I have been going back and forth to Tucson, AZ looking at
retirement property. Alan will be retiring in January 2013 and I
will be semi-retiring at that time. Of course, I plan to always do
phone counseling even if I’m in Tucson in the winters. For those of
you who know you still need to get some counseling work in before
then, I’ve decided to work more with you to help you afford to come
in. (See Fee Changes below.)
May is Mental Health Month – a month to focus on your happiness and
well-being. Are you happy with yourself, your relationships, your
life? If not, it’s spring and time to do something about it. (See
article below on “Change Your Life.”)
As I said in the last newsletter, I’m working on revamping my
website so that it will be easier to maneuver and find helpful
information. If you are single, all of the dating advice will be
together, including specific articles for women and also men. If
you’re in a relationship or married, solutions to your problems will
be easier to find. There will also be a Mental Health Page with
basic articles on Self-esteem, Giving Too Much, Getting Rid of
Guilt, Setting Boundaries, as well as Therapy Expectations. In fact
can access those articles now even though the website changes
have not been finalized yet.
Listen to me on internet radio at
on the third Wednesday of each month (next show is June 15) at 10am
as I discuss relationship issues for an hour. You can call in or ask
questions through the internet during the show.
I am very aware that therapy can be quite expensive, and not
something you want to cut corners on. When it comes to finding a
qualified person to trust with your emotions, you want the best. I
know that many of you may put your own emotional health at the
bottom of your needs list; but just remember, you have to deal with
your emotions to be able to get your life back on track. I want to
help you do this.
The economy has changed and as a therapist who has practiced for
over 30 years, I am trying to adapt. This is why I am NOW
temporarily offering some lowered rates over the next few
months for those of you who are struggling financially*,
i.e., those of you who have been laid off, or had salaries cut, or
are having trouble making your mortgage, or suffered a major crisis
in life. I will also work with clients in offering a special deal
if you book regular weekly appointments**. I want to try and
work with everyone in helping you afford the therapy you want or
Also, remember that even though I am out-of-network with insurance
companies, they will often still pay a portion of my fees. And for
those of you who have special health accounts at work, you can often
recover therapy expenses through those plans as well.
Some clients book half hours instead of hours to keep the therapy
cheaper. Others book every other week or only once per month. They
read my books and do homework in between.
If you (or your friends or family) want to get in for therapy with
me, call me and we will hopefully work something out that will fit
your needs and your budget. 303-333-1888
* For lowered fees, verification of your financial situation will be
** For special deals,
contract will be required.
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Accept Me As
I Am (Becoming Self-Reliant)
Being accepted for who we really are is probably the most important
personal goal in our lives. Most of our lives we are told that we
need to be like everyone else, which means different than who we
are. It’s insinuated that we aren’t good enough the way we are. We
need to change. We need to be smarter, thinner, more attractive,
more motivated, more organized – more lovable in some way.
We are dependent on the feedback of others as an evaluation of our
self-worth. But this causes confusion because we are different from
our evaluators, so we don’t know if they are right about us or not.
And of course, they aren’t. But it’s difficult for us to separate
our identities from others since those who judge us enjoy having the
From the day we are born, we depend on the approval of others to
decide whether we’re worthy or not. From day one, we allow someone
else, an authority of sorts (our parents), to run our lives.
Breaking dependency on approval requires giving up these authorities
at some age and accepting control of our own lives.
But society teaches us not to do this. We’re taught to “be good,” be
obedient; and the more obedient we are, the more we are rewarded. Of
course, the more obedient we become, the more difficult it is for us
to separate our own identities from others and become self-reliant.
As we try to, they will tell us we’re wrong.
Though self-reliance is praised and looked up to in our society, the
society itself rewards dependence. That’s why more people end up
feigning self-reliance than ever find it.
Our families promote our dependency in that they want to continue to
tell us how to run our lives even when we are old enough to decide
for ourselves. They fight us when we try to develop our own
identities so that we can grow up and move on.
To establish our own identity and actually become self-reliant, we
must go against the grain and do the opposite of what we’ve been
taught. Instead of being obedient, we must defy authority. Instead
of accepting that someone else knows what’s right for us, we must
trust ourselves. Instead of either muddling in our emotions or
ignoring them, we must feel them, learn from them, and take action
because of them.
You must not let anyone tell you what is right for you—not a wife,
husband, boss, book or religious group. This will require you to
stand up to others who try to push your own ideas and values onto
you –and not be concerned about their approval.
The people who will try to wield their authority the most will be
your family—the ones that claim to love you the most. They are the
ones you’ve been most dependent on and wanted the approval of the
most. Though it may seem impossible to believe, your parents will be
the people who will hold you back the most. Thought they will say
they want you to be successful, independent, and self-reliant, they
will do everything in their power to keep you from this—unknowingly
of course. But nonetheless, they are the enemy on your path to
How do they do it? Through guilt and perfection. All parents
pressure their children to be perfect (instead of human) and to feel
guilty when they can’t be. This leaves us with the feeling that
we’re not good enough which affects our self-esteem for life. It’s
difficult to become self-reliant when you are being told indirectly
to doubt yourself.
Most of us are not self-reliant because we’ve never been able to
break our parental chains. And it’s not until we are able to do that
that we will be in control of our own lives. It’s not until we are
able to say, “All your criticisms about me were wrong. And
criticizing me was not ‘for my own good,’ it was to help you keep me
under your control. I know I’m not perfect, but neither are you, and
I don’t want you to ever criticize me about anything again!”
always wanted your love and never really felt it. As a child, I
always felt you thought I wasn’t good enough because…….. As an
adult, I still feel that you treat me as though you think I’m not
capable of running my own life and/or like nothing really ever hurts
me. This is who I really am and how I really feel and what I really
believe. I now want you to accept me as I am, though different from
you. And if you can’t, I’ll have to stay away from you.”
This may sound harsh, but until you’re able to say this to your
family and mean it, you won’t become self-reliant, you won’t have
your own identity, you will remain dependent on someone else’s
approval, and it will affect every area of your life. It will keep
you from the emotional intimacy you desire since you learn how to
relate from your family. You can’t have a relationship with a mate
any healthier than the relationship you have with your parents.
Cleaning up your family relationships will make you strong enough to
be yourself and have an intimate, healthy relationship. Only then
will you expect others to accept you as you are – though different
You’ll find more information on this topic in my book,
Loving Him Without Losing You.
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For Women Only:
6 Signs He’s
Too Good to Be True
is old enough to know better. She’s 47, has lived in Denver 7 years,
is divorced with 4 kids, and has dated several men since her
divorce. When she met Joe, 59, who lives in Boulder, on Match.com,
there was an instant connection. They began talking every day, and
seeing each other several times a week. He soon used the “L” word.
After 6 months, he begged her to move to Boulder so they could see
each other more often. Two weeks ago and 8 months into the
relationship, she moved her and her 4 children at his request.
Ever since then, Joe still calls and acts friendly, but he has
pulled away emotionally and sexually, and doesn’t want to see her.
He now acts like he wants to be friends, not lovers. In crisis, she
called me and we had a therapy session. I helped her plan a talk
with him, trying to find out what was going on. I told her if she
couldn’t get the information out of him, that she needs to pull back
and withdraw from him to get him to talk.
Lisa, like many other women, ran into a man who was “too good to be
true.” I shared the 6 signs below with her. She said he does
certainly fit the profile. He rushed the relationship (and she went
along), he certainly did seem perfect and knew how to treat a lady,
and that his nephew tried to warn her indirectly. But the key sign
for her was #4: his avoidance of any anger or conflict.
6 Signs He’s Too Good to Be True:
He sweeps you off your feet.
He jumps in fast, tells you how special you are. He can’t live
without you. But watch out, within a few months, he will have
burnt out and be gone.
He seems perfect. He has a
good job, he’s your age, he’s single with no kids, and you see
no flaws. But watch out, he’s human, he just has a good
presentation, so don’t buy it.
He’s got the dating game down.
He knows when to call, when to text, where to take you, how to
act. He’s smooth. He’s played this game many times before and is
probably a womanizer.
He never gets angry. Men who
never express anger are into fantasy relationships and avoid
conflict at all costs. He will bolt the minute you have a
His friends try to warn you.
You think they’re jealous, but they know you’re falling for his
game and don’t want to see you crash like the others. They know
he’ll jump out of this relationship as fast as he jumped in.
He’s inconsistent in his
behavior. One day he’s into you, the next he’s no where to
be found. He’s in love with love and maybe it’s you today and
someone else tomorrow. He’s a commitmentphobe. Don’t trust him.
What to Do:
Take it slow. If you don’t let him
rush you, he can’t play his game.
Look for his flaws and take him off
Don’t trust him until and unless
you’ve had a disagreement and see how he behaves.
When he pulls away, pull away
For Lisa specifically, who is already involved with a “Mr. Was too
good to be true, but isn’t anymore,” I told her, “Stop taking his
calls and stop acting like his friend.” Until he tells you what is
going on, i.e. that he’s upset about some things or has met someone
else, etc., pull away from him. Let him wonder if you’re still
interested. Once he contacts you, meet him in person and let him
know that you are upset about his behavior and that you want to know
what is going on and that you will not pretend that everything is
okay. If you go forward, make him promise that in the future he’ll
let you know when he’s upset, instead of pulling away.
For Men Only:
Men in a No-Win
the years, you men who have come into my office have had a constant
theme, “No matter what I do, I feel I can’t win with her.”
The woman in your life says she wants you to be more open and
emotional, but when you are she accuses you of being weak. She says
she doesn’t want a man to take care of her, but she is insulted if
you don’t pay for dinner.
If you like her and tell her that, she pulls away because you’re
being too emotional and pressuring her. When you act strong and
knowledgeable, she says you’re cold and self-righteous.
Since you don’t know what women want, you often tiptoe around them,
telling them what you think they want to hear. Trust me, this only
makes things worse.
Here’s what to do instead:
Don’t protect her from your
feelings. When you hide your negative feels (& positive
ones), you are being dishonest and not giving her the real
intimacy she wants. Sure she may get upset at the time, but it’s
the right thing to do in the long run. If she accuses you of
being controlling or weak, tell her, “You want me to share my
feelings, so you don’t get to tell me what you think they should
Don’t take care of her. Don’t
put her needs before your own, and don’t feel guilty about that.
When she gets upset, say, “I thought you were an independent
woman who could take care of herself. If there’s something you
want from me, we can discuss it and make some sort of deal.”
Be real – don’t play the role of
“good father” or “good husband.” Playing these roles keeps
women confused and contributes to their flip flopping on what
they say they want from you.
Don’ let women control you
through guilt. Trust your own feelings, beliefs, ideas and
values. Don’t let her intimidate you with hers.
Open up to women. I know this
is scary, so do it slowly or it will scare her away. But when
you stayed closed about your own fears and weaknesses, it makes
you appear self-righteous. This pretentiousness is not only
unfair to the woman in your life, but it keeps the pressure on
you to perform beyond your capabilities.
Deal with your mother. Your
mother is probably where it all started, and she holds the key
to your developing healthy relationships instead of
relationships built on fear. If you can get past the fear of
being “real” (no editing) with your mother, you’ll probably be
able to handle all women in your life in a better way.
Test Your Woman’s Facades.
Stop believing that because a woman looks independent that she
is. Realize that women are never as independent as they pretend
to be. That’s why you get conflicting messages: “Don’t treat me
like I’m weak, but do take care of me.” Confront her and tell
her she can’t have it both ways.
Communicate and Confront.
Take a time out if you need it to get in touch with how you’re
really feeling. Then let her know how you feel, what you want,
ask her if she’ll do it, then tell her what will happen if she
doesn’t. Then follow through.
Men today feel like they “can’t win” because they’ve had no
practice. Don’t give up when it doesn’t go perfectly the first time
you try these things. Go back and reevaluate, but stand your ground.
Attack this issue like you would a ski slope – with respect for what
you’re up against, but eagerness to experience it.
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Secrets of Couples that Stay in Love Forever
"having fun together" a priority. Work and children and
every day life are all important issues, but "fun" is the glue
that bonds two lovers.
Talk about the good times.
Create good memories now, and then reminisce. Never forget why
you choose to be with this person.
Don't keep secrets. Secrets
erode the love and the trust. You can have private thoughts, but
that's different than secrets from your mate. Here's a rule:
don't share any information about him/her with others that you
haven't shared with him/her first.
Think of your mate as your best
friend. Then behave in this relationship like you do with
Give each other a break.
People aren't perfect so allow for human error. Don't assume
that your mate is trying to hurt you when he or she makes a
Celebrate your differences.
Don't fight to be right. Differences create sparks between you
(some of the sparks cause arguments, but others cause passion).
Realize that men and women think differently, have different
values, and behave in different ways. Show that you appreciate
his or her quirks, i.e. "That's so cute, you're such a man!" Or,
"I know you like things perfect, so it's okay that you're
running late honey."
Make deals that work for both of
you. When you're upset, state how you feel and what you
want. Then compromise, finding joint solutions to those issues
so they don't occur again.
Keep your own friends and
hobbies. It keeps you interesting and less likely to be
jealous of your mate's time and friends.
Make yourself happy first.
It's a myth that it's a mate's job to make the other one happy,
and it doesn't work. Instead, focus on your own happiness,
making a deal that each of you will let the other know if and
when there is a problem.
Focus on how much you are alike.
Regularly make statements like, "It's amazing that we both like
that, and that our mothers were both .., and that you feel that
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Cheating Friend: Facebook
the past year, I've learned that three of my friends are having
affairs. They've all got incredibly great husbands, who will give
anything to these women, in my opinion. Here I am single and wishing
I had a husband like theirs. Every one of these women seem to feel
sorry for themselves, saying they're hurting.
One girlfriend in particular is now involving her husband, the man
she's fooling around with, and the guy's live in girlfriend in
weekend skiing adventures. She also seems to have lost all
compassion for other people as everything is about her. A few weeks
ago, when she told me she was upset that her affair's girlfriend
doesn't seem to like her, I literally gagged and got off the phone.
What does she expect?
My other girlfriend dominates our "book club" with conversations
about her affair. The women couldn't take it any more, especially
since many of the women in it are divorced because their husbands
These women are so inconsiderate, and it’s so emotionally draining
carrying this load around. This goes against everything I believe
in. Why do these women do this? Especially when they have great
husbands? Should I stop being friends with them? Any insight?
Women (& men) cheat for a variety of reasons. Often they’re from
families whose parents cheated, so it doesn’t seem out of the
ordinary for them. Some just like the thrill of it all. Some people
got married too young and stay for the money or because of the
children when they shouldn’t, so they cheat. Cheaters are also often
people who are afraid of real intimacy, so they fill their lives
with “fake” intimacy by having multiple partners. Your friend sounds
like she has issues with her husband that she hasn’t addressed, and
she now uses that as an excuse to cheat. This is very common.
If you continue to be friends with these women, you need to set some
boundaries with them, i.e. “I don’t want to judge you, but you know
I don’t agree with what you are doing. I believe that when people
are unhappy in a relationship, they should divorce instead of cheat.
So, I don’t really want to hear about your cheating. We can still be
friends, but please don’t share this part of your life with me.” At
the point, either she will back off from telling you about it OR
back off from you since you aren’t being supportive (really
Post your question on my Facebook page here.
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How to Change
Is it time to
make some changes in your life? Maybe your relationships, your
career, new friends? Here’s a simple formula to step you through
out what areas(s) of your life you need to change and start a
blank page for each, i.e. work, money, weight, relationships
with a mate, relationships with family, health, stop smoking or
drinking so much, getting new friends, etc.
area and make a list of your goals, what you’d like to change.
steps, like gathering information about a class or finding out
what it costs to start up a certain kind of business.
activities and hobbies that can help you change and maybe even
add new excitement to your life, i.e. pursuing new friendships,
following up with art classes, learning to cook (for healthier
and dieting), traveling, moving, redecorating, starting a new
business, planning your garden, etc.
If you feel
stuck in any ways, maybe it’s time to finally decide to go to
counseling and get help, even if it’s just for a few sessions to
How to Play the Dating
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
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.
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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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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360 So. Monroe St.
Denver, CO 80209
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