September 2,  2012

Inside this Newsletter:

Message from Carolyn:

Happy Labor Day! I’m sitting outside in Tucson at our vacation/retirement home and the thermometer says it’s 119 degrees. It doesn’t feel quite that bad, but gardening right now is out of the question. A dip in the pool sounds better. I hate that Labor Day officially marks the end of summer. Of course there’s still at least 2 more months of summer down here.

On the right is a better picture of our new grandson, David Wayne, at two months. He’s so cute!

I’m still appearing on the Everyday Show on Fox 31 TV about once a month on a variety of relationship topics. In fact, my next appearance will be Monday, Sept. 10 on the topic: “Early Signs You Should Get Out and Run!” The July 27 topic was “Little Lies that Tear Your Relationship Apart.” {Click here to see it.} The last topic in August was “Finding Your Own Time and Space in a Relationship.” {Click here to see it.} This topic was obviously a topic I was very interested in since Alan moved in with me full-time in our mountain house in June. We used to have the city home and the mountain home and spend 2-3 nights apart in our respective homes where we had our alone time (this was part of our secret to a healthy 25-year relationship). But finding alone time in a 24/7 living together relationship can be very difficult. And I believe it’s hard to keep your own identity and strength without it. If you missed the article in the last newsletter, click here to read it on my website. I had to take my own advice. Although I’m a night person, I’m finding alone time in the mornings since he goes to work early. He also often plays golf late and has drinks with his buddies afterwards, which gives me more alone time. He gets his alone time in the afternoons when I’m working and on my Wednesday girls’ night out. This was all a big adjustment at first, but we’ve now worked it out.

Another issue for me is that Alan moved into my house, so I found myself wanting to tell him how he should do everything, which was quite controlling of me. I, of all people, know what this can do to a relationship. So again, I had to take my own advice. We made deals about housework and money, etc. And when I would catch myself acting controlling (or he would catch me), I quickly apologized and rephrased it. I’m not totally there yet, but I’m getting a lot better.

This Tucson house is officially “his” house, but we shopped for it together, so he’s not being controlling like I was. We’ll be coming down here more often this winter as Alan nears retirement. Again, I’m doing more and more phone counseling, even with my Denver clients. They say they save time and energy by not having to drive to and from my office, especially when they get stuck in a late meeting at work.

Hope you’re all having a great Labor Day Weekend!


What’s Up with Facebook Displays of Affection?

People either seem to love Facebook or they don’t. I have a Facebook page and a fan/corporate page, in case any of you want to “friend” me.:) However, I seldom spend any time on Facebook since I am in face-to-face meetings with people most of the day. One of the producers of the Everyday Show on Fox 31 TV asked me why people put up “displays of affection” on their Facebook page. Then he taped my answers and added the segment to a May 24 show. I was never able to get a copy of that show, but my answers are below in the article What’s up with Facebook Displays of Affection?:


Why would people do this?


  • some people don’t see the point in privacy, like the Kardashians. They’re so self-involved that they think everyone is interested in their lives.

  • being in love can make you do goofy things

  • since Facebook is much like a popularity contest, showing or discussing affection from someone is like winning the game, just like having thousands of friends

  • really insecure people often try to make a relationship look better than it really is, like Demi Moore & Ashton were always on Twitter before their relationship ended

  • sometimes people want to show off to an ex that they’ve found someone else, like JLo is doing in the media now with her boytoy


Is it a good or bad thing to do?


  • It’s not good, and other people are usually put off by other people’s displays of affection. We don’t want to see people kissing, etc. Even when we see it in real life, we want to say, “Get a room!” People put a lot on Facebook that we don’t want to see or need to know. What can people say back? “Like,” or “Happy for you.” It feels to us like it’s basically just bragging.

  • It is good however, to talk about and show pictures of you and your lover (just not intimate ones) This sets boundaries for others who think they may have a chance with you.


Are there bad things that can come from this?


Certainly bad things can come of it, especially if the relationship isn’t stable. It can be embarrassing if his or her picture is showing affection with some other guy the next week.

A lot of hurtful things can happen with Facebook. People find out that the person they’re in a relationship with has changed their status from “in a relationship” to “looking for men/women.” A client of mine had intimate pictures of he and his live-in girlfriend on his page and her page. Then she cheated and immediately put up pictures of her and her new lover. It was very embarrassing for him, and it didn’t exactly put her in a good light either.

{If you have any comments or questions about this topic post them to my Facebook page where I have added this question to my Time Line. If you have questions or comments on any other topic, just email them to me at}

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Testimonials - Cosmo Editor thanks Carolyn for her marriage

Dear Carolyn,

Over the years when I called you for dating and relationship advice for Cosmo, I listened to the advice myself and learned a lot. I thank you because you indirectly helped this single woman get married – and to the managing editor nonetheless!

~ Diane Baroni, former Senior Articles Editor, Cosmopolitan Magazine, New York

Facebook Post:

Thanks for your phone call about the books Carolyn; you totally took me by surprise and I am looking forward to reading your books. I’ve seen you on Oprah with the couple that were in a controlling love-hate relationship; that was me (metaphorically). I am excited about reading how to handle that facet of my life and break the habit. I have had four marriages with the same results. I now speak up for myself which I never did before but I am still being taken advantage of, I really care about the gentlemen I am presently dating (3yrs) but we just can't get it to the next level of trust and partnership. So thanks again for your concerns, I admire you knowledge and can't wait for your books.

~ C C

Dear Carolyn,

I read your article on guilt. I am 39, from South Alabama, and identify with every guilt ridden person in the world. Its a theory, but I believe guilt triggers some chronic depression and can lead to suicide; especially in women. I have a masters’ degree in criminal justice, and learning about myself pushes me to research others behavior. Guilt however led me to you. The number one failure in my life has been the lack of recognition for guilt within myself. I even feel guilty for not seeing it before now. Guilt has created destructive relationships, three failed marriages, and I’ve allowed mental and physical abuse. At this point, I have left the relationship for another home. But he was who said, “Go..leave...get the hell away from me.” Now he is unemployed, and nearly homeless. Guess who he came to? Out of guilt here I am again. Now I’m in a worse situation. I am a college instructor, teach students what to look for in the profile of a potential abuser, yet no one is immune. I’ll probably schedule a phone appointment with you soon, as I know I need it! Thanks for your article.

~ SM, Alabama {See article below.}

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How to Get Rid of Guilt

Guilt is a very destructive emotion. Maybe it is helpful for a client of mine to feel enough guilt about hurting her married lover's wife to stop dating a married man and get out of the relationship, but the majority of guilt comes from feeling stupid or not perfect enough. My female clients tell me they feel guilty for just about everything:

  • guilty for being female

  • guilty for being smart

  • guilty for being overweight

  • guilty for not being organized

  • guilty for not being a morning person

  • guilty for taking time for themselves

  • guilty for ending a relationship with someone who loved them

  • guilty for not talking to their parents constantly

  • guilty for not being a perfect parent

  • guilty for not sacrificing enough with time, money, etc.

  • guilty for sleeping in late

  • guilty for eating chocolate or dessert before dinner

  • guilty for buying things for themselves

  • guilty for enjoying life

  • guilty for not saving enough money

  • guilty for being who you are

Criticisms Cause Guilt

Too many of us fall into this trap. It's difficult to get rid of guilt when we've been criticized all our lives (and we all have), and when those criticisms still spin around in our heads like a tape that won't stop playing. Often when we start to feel good about ourselves, someone will say or do something that pushes one of our buttons and reminds us that we're not perfect. These "buttons" are made up of all those criticisms on the tape that was created when we were children. People push our insecurity buttons by saying something like, "I can't believe you did that!" Then we think, "My mother used to say that about me, it must be true." Because we're so afraid we're "bad," we work extra hard trying to please this person, letting him or her manipulate us because of our insecurities. Our pervasive guilt about who we are allows this to happen because of our feeling that we "should" be better than we are. Until we can accept our humanness, especially our shortcomings, we can never allow others to get close to us.
People love to tell other people what they should and shouldn't do.

The term "selfish" is used by others to manipulate and control us and make us feel guilty. Anytime we're not choosing to do what is best for someone else, that person will accuse us of being selfish to try and convince us to do what he or she wants. The best counter to this manipulative accusation is to feel good about being selfish and say, "At times I AM selfish and I'm glad that I go after what I want instead of trying to do what everybody else wants me to do." It throws them off if you're proud of your selfishness.

Appropriate guilt can be good but is only good for about 15 minutes: while you think through an issue and think about what lesson you need to learn and how you will handle it differently in the future. Most guilt is not appropriate guilt, but instead self-blame. Self-blame for not being perfect and not always doing the perfectly right thing. For the most part, guilt is just a destructive emotion that is all about suffering and feeling bad. We all make mistakes. There isn't a person alive that hasn't hurt someone, whether intentionally or not. We all make mistakes and our mistakes affect others. Feeling guilty forever for those mistakes does not help them or us. If you need to right a wrong to let go of the guilt, do it.

How to Stop Feeling Guilty:

  1. If you actually did something wrong (according to your own belief system, right the wrong and then let it go. When you feel guilty, you can clean up your mistake by saying: "I feel terrible about what I've done to you. I really didn't mean to hurt you. I am sorry I hurt you. The reason I did what I did is ___________What can I do to make it up to you and earn your trust again?" If the other person won't cooperate, ask them what you need to do, and if they won't accept anything, let it go.

  2. Realize that no one is perfect and ask others about their issues and listen to their answers and imperfections.

  3. If you made a mistake, learn your lesson and move on. If there really is no lesson to be learned, realize that and talk yourself out of the guilt by reminding yourself to forget the "shoulds" because you would probably do it the same way if you had it to do over again.

  4. Ask yourself where the guilt is coming from. Then ask yourself if that is a person you want to be like (because you are following their values). Then ask yourself if that person is perfect? Of course the answer is no, so make a list of all of their imperfections. Then decide he or she does not have a right to judge you and let it go. If this person insists on making you feel guilty, use some of the points on the list to remind that person that he is a hypocrite.

  5. Don't "should" on yourself. If the guilt is coming from you, then you have unrealistic expectations of yourself. But most unrealistic expectations come from our parents and other authorities who remind us that we are imperfect. Don't take on their bad view of you or their belief system about the world. Evaluate yourself by your own standards, and stop using the word "should."

  6. Don't get sucked in when someone tries to guilt-trip you. "I know I'm not that important to you." "Should you have another drink?" "Isn't that too expensive for you?" "Don't you think you should go home now?" Don't answer the question or you are becoming sucked in. Instead, state a firm boundary like, "Mother, like I said, I can't talk now, but I'll call you when I get home from work." Or, "I'll decide: when to go home, whether to have another drink, what is and isn't too expensive." Then don't keep talking or they know they got you.

  7. Don't make guilt-ridden negative statements to yourself, i.e. "How could I be so stupid?!" "If only I would have been smart enough to." "I sure screwed that one up!" "I can't believe I did that!" Instead, say positive statements to yourself. "That may have been a mistake, but I learned my lesson." "It's surprising that I misinterpreted that because I'm usually right on target." If needed, quietly remind yourself of all of your other good traits and how great you are in other areas.

We have to demand that others accept us as we are.
We can't let anyone lay his or her value judgments on us. We can't let others play God with us. And in return, we can't play God with them. Stop asking yourself, what will people think? Those "shoulds" keep you from enjoying your life. Those "shoulds" cause resentment, create guilt, and put responsibility where it doesn't belong. What have the "shoulds" done to you?

When we were small children, we trusted our thoughts and feelings.
We knew when we felt angry or sad, and we expressed these feelings naturally without thinking about whether we should or shouldn't. Then we were told by our parents and others in society, "You shouldn't feel that way," "What do you mean you don't love your mother?" "Don't you talk to your brother like that!" We learned to trust our parents' moral dictates — you should respect authority, you should obey your husband, you should always be polite to others—more than our own.

Stop living your life the way others' want you to.
Stop feeling guilty because you're not perfect, when neither are they. Live your life according to your own values and beliefs and no one else's.

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Reduced Rate Deals for the Summer

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Must be completed within 6 weeks (1 1/2 months) of the date of the contract.

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* These agreements do not apply to ˝ hour sessions.

Let me know if you are interested in one of these deals. 303-333-1888.

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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 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 24 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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