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The official blog of familyWORKZ™

June 29, 2009

Crisis of Infidelity

Filed under: Couples — Tags: — admin @ 4:35 pm

Infidelity is that hurt that is unspoken brought on by the one person who communicates with you best when not speaking.

Within every marriage lies an agreement that is mutually cultivated and serves as the foundation from which the relationship begins, prospers and, when neglected or broken, fails. The roots of this agreement are cultivated under a wide assortment of conditions: active discussion, constructive negotiation, or passionate play. The voices exercised when developing this agreement can range wide: soft and caring, sober and calculated, or just simply reasonable. This agreement conveys the very essence of the couple and it is what bonds the twosome together uniquely. The agreement is trust – that basic understanding that frames the couple’s relational code of confidentiality. In this sense, trust is meant to convey something more than just the rules of the couple’s contextual and intimate interplay (i.e., rules of engagement). With greater complexity yet with graceful and efficient motive, trust begins in earnest at that moment when the couple defines themselves more as “we” than separate and distinguishable “I’s.”

With the prodigal status of trust being bracketed in the manner described above, it follows that the ultimate breach in a relationship is when this trust is dishonored. When trust is broken or violated, a crisis of infidelity is created. The infidelity is the breaking of the agreement that invisibly ties and holds the couple together. The foundation of such an agreement is based loosely on the assumption that both parties will faithfully attend to the other person’s needs while balancing their own needs with the needs of the marriage. When this balance is disturbed by a trend of unrefined selfishness, faith in reciprocity, in general thoughts of being care about, and in the hope of a better tomorrow is lost.

In this way, infidelity is much bigger than adultery. It is less about one person’s error in judgment, with or without intent, and much more about a relational insult at a very deep and intimately contextual level that leaves behind an attachment scar.

Making the Marital Bed

Filed under: Couples — Tags: — admin @ 4:12 pm

The Chinese saying “Same bed, different dreams” directly speaks to the two-sided, complex interplay that exists between intimate couples and represents the emotional fulcrum point that precariously balances relational dynamics. The teetering nature of relationships seems to be lurking at every bend. It’s as if the marital balance can tip at any time and when it does or even before it does, sexual functioning and various other expressions of intimacy have changed, and usually the change has occurred at an imperceptibly slow rate.

“I just woke up one day and realized that we had drifted far apart,” is an example of a typical spousal expression of relational distance.

It is likely this type of relational drifting can be forestalled if the couple is able to listen more attentively to their non-verbal messages that are being uniquely expressed and shared in the marital bed. Different intimacy messages can be gleaned from the answers to the following questions:

“As a couple, do you go to bed together?”

“Do you touch while sleeping?”

“What is your lovemaking expressing?”

“Who controls the sexual interaction?”

“Do you talk in bed?”

“Who makes the bed?”

“Who messes it up the most?”

It is proposed that teaching couples how to remake their marital bed increases the likelihood of improved interactional joining that may effectively halt relational wandering.

In summary, the problems of a distressed marriage easily, naturally and unavoidably spill over into the sexual relationship. Sex and bedroom behavior may be issues that people prefer to avoid, but they can’t avoid them forever, after all they go to sleep with them every night.

The Day I Stopped Chasing My Tail & Began Listening to It

Filed under: General psychology — Tags: — admin @ 2:49 pm

When did I become myself? Under the umbrella of radical behaviorism (the experimental analysis of behavior that purports that all behavior is determined and not free) it is accepted that the organism becomes a person as it acquires a repertoire of behavior that are under the contingencies of reinforcement (reward and punishment; both positive and negative). Consequently, if believed, it follows that I have yet to become myself. More accurately, evidently, I persist in the habit of becoming myself. Another way of looking at this prismatic reality is that this organism uniquely called “myself,” is forever grateful to the combination of its genetic endowment (fueled by contingencies of survival), the material environment (selected by contingencies of reinforcement), and the social & cultural environment. In this way, I become myself due to the various factors that are pushed my way or into which I bump.

Turning the prism slightly to shed a more colorful light on this subject, which for me continues to fade in and out without increasing clarity, results in my understanding that radical behaviorism is flat out NOT interested in embracing a causal explanation of publicly observable behavior. Instead, an explanation for what constitutes “myself” boils down to the functional relation, or the contingency, between behavior and its controlling variables.

At the risk of hanging myself too far out on the metaphorical ledge, as long as I remain stubborn with the notion that “I am becoming myself” (‘an initiating doer, actor, or causer of behavior’), the radical behaviorist would insist that I forever will be chasing my self-ingratiating tail. Alternatively, I noticed that by craning my head around in the direction of my tail, sometimes, not often, I hear a voice whispering…”selection by consequences.” Or, is it saying, “consequences by selection?” The voice is hushed and the interpretation is difficult.

I think this phenomenon is much like teaching an old dog a new trick “accidentally on purpose.”

Punctuate Your Relationship

Filed under: Couples — Tags: — admin @ 8:18 am

To strengthen your relationship, try the following exercise.

This exercise is designed to deliver the message that the LISTENING and LEARNING are the two most effective tools available at your fingertips to build or rebuild your relationship. Separately, each tool is influential, capable of moving your relationship in the direction of loving engagement. Combined, learning and listening are unbeatable. They open up your relationship to a new conversation, to new possibilities, to a new reality.

Listening and learning – think of their opposites. The reverse of listening involves the actions of ignoring the other person, being distracted by something else, or merely failing to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment. Either way, this style of interaction is corrosive and, if repeated enough times, contributes to relationship failure. Flipping the learning coin over reveals the relationally destructive activity of judgment. In a phrase, judgment is the equivalence of “having a closed mind.” To open one’s mind involves a willingness to learn, to discover, or otherwise be available to better understand the other person’s perspective.

In this exercise there are two roles to be played. First, the reporter; the person who has been selected to sniff out a story, collect juicy information, and write a compelling story. Second, the source; the person who possesses privileged and valuable information. Without the source, the reporter is unable to write the story. Without the reporter, the source’s story remains untold. The key is for the reporter and the source to work together by moving toward one another, allowing each other to be influenced by the other person, and stay focused on being honest, respectful, and courageous. The point of the exercise is for the reporter to learn something new about the source by enticing the source into full disclose about something that matters.


The REPORTER is provided with one extremely powerful tool to get to the bottom of the story – a question mark. That is, the only thing you can do is to ask questions. No judgment; no opinion; no feedback – just questioning. Be aware that this tool is tricky. At first, it seems rather harmless and inefficient. But with practice, the tool gets sharper, more useful, and let’s the reporter dig deep down and find the real story. One caution – because of the danger involved in using this tool incorrectly, there is one rule that must be obeyed: be kind. Remember, you may need to rely upon this source in the future for another story. Otherwise, anything goes. It’s usually helpful to relax and just be yourself, remaining completely true to who you are. Ponder your curiosities about the story, about your relationship with the source, and dig in.

Your Tool – a question mark that let’s you get the whole scoop.

Your Method of Inquiry – you are permitted to say anything as long as it is in the form of a question. [HINT: by asking questions that begin with “what” and “how” your tool becomes even more powerful]

Your Only Rule – be kind, be kind, be kind.


The SOURCE, the person who holds the story deep within, is obligated to disclose information that helps the reporter get to know the real story, the back story, in a way that has never been told. The only tool the source is allowed to use is a period, a powerful device specifically made to help the source get to the point and stay on point. Again, because of the danger involved with a novice using this tool, the source is given two rules, otherwise, anything goes. First, answer every question without increasing the distance between you and the reporter. Second, keep it short. Remember, the power of the period lies in its purpose – to complete a thought.

Your Tool – a period, to help you stay on point and get to the point.

Your Rules: 1) Answer every question without increasing the distance between you and your partner.

2) Keep it short – refrain from going on and on. Stated another way, STAY ON POINT AND GET                          TO YOUR POINT, SO THAT YOUR POINT IS MADE!

Words of Wisdom to Help You Get the Real Scoop:

A – Truth without compassion can destroy love.

B – When attitudes are hostile, facts are unconvincing.

C – We win respect when our words fit our feelings.

D – Reason and logic do not satisfy our emotional needs.

E – Without compassion and authenticity, techniques fail.

F – Our values should support faith in one’s own feelings and the courage to stand alone when necessary.

June 22, 2009

Popcorn Psychology

Filed under: Individual — Tags: — admin @ 2:50 am

What we know to be true about our self, our situation, and our future can be whittled down to a few basic kernels.

Kernel One: What we know to be true about anything and everything is configured based on the way we see a situation. In this way, our vital and most basic worldview is uniquely and profoundly shaped by perception.

Kernel Two: Perception is grounded in what we have learned. It is our learning history, therefore, that colors our ability to make sense of nonsense. Unfortunately, we do not always swiftly remember what we have learned. In fact, we have forgotten much more than we will ever remember. But we do hang onto what we forget – at least whispers and threads. The repository of our forgotten knowledge is our unconscious mind.

Kernel Three: Related to the above situation, it is the stuff in the back of our minds that becomes the source of our personal quirks. While our everyday mind is working swiftly and efficiently by accessing logical and emotional judgment, our view of reality becomes uniquely twisted by the forces of deception, delusion, and distortion. The mind is not interested in being crowned incomparable, but it is highly motivated to be seen as logical, steady, and blameless.

Kernel Four: Since our view of reality is prone to impression management (seeing the world based on templates of past impressions), learning and unlearning are equally tricky. If learning requires unlearning, and we don’t have readied access to what we have forgotten, how does new learning occur? After a certain point, do we ever learn anything new or merely experience a revised version of what has been forgotten?

What additional kernels come to your mind?

June 15, 2009

Time Juggling

Filed under: Couples,Families,Individual,parenting — admin @ 10:33 am

Without even noticing, one of our greatest challenges is how we juggle time.

Time is, at once, ever present and invisible. It simultaneously helps us to keep our lives organized while making us feel pressured and full of doubt. In this way, time is fickle and judgmental – it is something that can be either on our side or against us. Time can “run out,” exist in ample supply (“don’t worry, there’s plenty of time left”), or it can be something that we have too much of (“will this never end?”). Time can run fast or be idle – as in “standing still.” Time can disappear (“where did the time go?”). Time can mysterious (“does anybody have any idea what time it is?”). Time can be deceptive (“I had no idea it was getting so late”). Time can even be elusive (“where did the time go?).

In this sense, time is tricky.

To get a grasp on time, think of time as three balls. Next, give a unique name to each ball. Call the first ball the “past,” the second the “present,” and the third the “future.” Now, ask yourself, “are you good at juggling time?” Or, do you occasionally drop the ball? If so, which ball are you most likely to drop? What is the cost of dropping one or more balls? How would your life be different if you became better at juggling?

If there is a fourth ball (I think there is), what name would you give it? Hint: think Einstein.

Mind Dominoes

Filed under: Individual — admin @ 10:03 am

The pace of our everyday lives often goes at such a speed that we have difficulties keeping up with what is most important. Without notice, our priorities often shift so that we end up taking care of whatever is in front of us instead of putting energy into what we really need to do. In this way, it is as if our lives end up controlling us as opposed to us being in-control of our lives.

When things happen to us and around us, we begin to live less intentionally and less consciously. We end up living reactively, instead of constructively and purposefully. This phenomenon of events, moments, and activities happening to us one right after the other is what I call “mind dominoes.” In our mind, we allow the moment to take control and, unconsciously, let go of the reigns to our lives. As a result, we end up enjoying our lives less and becoming more critical (thought dumping) or grumpy (emotional gravity). 

If you are finding yourself having difficulty with enjoying the present moment think about the dominoes that are falling in your mind. Remember, once the first domino falls, the rest are sure to follow.

The key to reversing the domino process is to follow a simple formula – LEARN, LOOK, ASK & TRY. First, when the dominoes start falling, learn from the situation. What caused the first domino to fall? How many dominoes need to fall before you become aware of that your mind domino process is happening? Second, look all around you. What conditions, events, or stressors are connected to the domino effect? You will need to become more aware of these triggers, these are likely very important dominoes. Third, ask for help. Don’t think you can stop your dominoes alone. Other people in your life are there for a purpose. If nothing else, arrange for someone to help you stop your dominoes from falling when they begin cascading. Fourth, try something else. Dominoes can be used for things other than falling. We can build with dominoes. Dominoes can be counted. Dominoes can even be replaced or traded. Also, we can learn from our dominoes by not collecting more dominoes until we are ready. 

What is a “domino” in your life?

Do you play dominoes or do your dominoes play you?

If you could remove any one domino, what domino would you pick up and remove from the chain?

Are these dominoes real or do they only exist in our mind?

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