When Problems Take Over a Relationship

Image by Alexis O’Toole, Wikimedia

Stand with your feet comfortably together. Take one foot and stick it out in the direction you want to go until you throw yourself off balance. Then, at the last instant, when you’re about to fall on your face, bring the other foot forward to stop yourself from falling. Repeat this dangerous operation as long as it takes to get where you’re going.

When you think about walking this way, it’s a wonder anyone would try it. Why would you throw yourself off balance and risk injury when you could stand in one spot?

Because you want to…


The Reflective Eclectic

When Fiction Tells the Truth

Image by Pxfuel

I wasn’t even old enough for school when I sat in the back seat one night, returning home with my folks from Thanksgiving with my grandparents. The highway was illuminated by streetlights. As we drove by, shafts of light appeared to reach down to the car’s windshield and push us to the next lamppost, as bargemen pole a raft down a river. It seemed as though we were passing through a vast system that lovingly guided us and guaranteed our safety from the hazards of the road.

As young as I was, I knew there were no bargemen mounted on…


The Reflective Eclectic

Learning skills as therapy.

Image by Cary Engleberg, Wikimedia

If you’ve got serious problems, you can’t just go to a shrink’s office, unload them all, and walk away a new man. You’ll be disappointed. You might feel better for a minute, but if you go home and do the same things you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

Therapy involves learning to do things differently. The couple who’s coming in for marriage counseling needs to learn to listen and respond differently. The anxious person must learn to relax; the depressed one, how to keep going; and the addicted one, why and how to stop using their substance…


When Problems take Over a Relationship

Image from Imagens Portal SESCSP

If you get the opportunity to work with your loved one to vanquish the Problem, don’t mistake this opportunity for the Problem, itself. You could blow your chance because of the presence of your own Problem.

Let’s say your husband has not been able to keep it in his pants. He’s flirted with others, cheated on you, and generally made a mess of things. Now, you’re sitting in a restaurant, having a nice meal, he leans over to you, and says, “See that woman over there, I’m going to have a hard time keeping my eyes off her.”

Before you…


Image from Snappygoat

The kids were old enough to take on trips and be enjoyable. We packed the minivan full of beach gear and crept up the sunburned arm of Cape Cod, stopping whenever we had the least excuse to play mini golf, lick ice cream cones, or caper in the sand.

We oscillated between the bay side and the sea side of the Cape; domestic on one side and wild on the other; a corral of peace, plenty, and tranquility alternating with vast, stark terror.

On the bay side we caught crabs. We had only to lower a hotdog on a string…


The Field Guide to Feelings

Image from Needpix

There was one point in my life when I was infatuated by the idea of self-sufficiency. It was when I was the most un-self-sufficient. I was coming out of adolescence, had no degree, no marketable skills, no place other than my parents’ to live, and was totally without savings. I declared I would be self-sufficient. I was not so self-sufficient that I didn’t need to tell others about it.

I had come under the influence of the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s, as exemplified by Helen and Scott Nearing’s book, Living the Good Life. I poured through the Whole Earth…


The Reflective Eclectic

Image from Needpix

Here’s something that’ll surprise you. Other people know you better than you know yourself.

It surprised you, didn’t it? That just goes to show that people can predict how you’ll feel.

Upon that counterintuitive claim rests David Schnarch’s book, Brain Talk: How Mind Mapping Brain Science Can Change Your Life & Everyone in It. Shaky ground, if you ask me. We all have our blind spots; but, there’s no way anyone, even your best bud, knows you like you do.

Schnarch went through considerable pains to say that introspection, observing your own thoughts and behaviors, is rife with errors. …


When Problems Take Over a Relationship

Image by Martin Vorel, Libreshot

How does a persistent problem get started and what keeps it going? Why does it seem to be immune to your attempts to defeat it? Let me explain how it gets so hard and how problems manipulate you into feeding them.

In another article, I recommended that you starve the Problem and feed the person. Starving a Problem is a brave thing to do, even if you’re careful to not starve the person. Your partner certainly won’t give you any credit for doing it. He, after all, has already been overcome by the Problem and is thinking like it does…


The Reflective Eclectic

And Whether Walking in the Woods Would Do You Some Good

“Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) in Bialowieza Forest -Forest Therapy Centre walk according to European Forest Therapy Institute standards” by Katarzyna Sim, Wikimedia

Any time is a good time for a good dose of Shinrin-yoku; but, I think early summer, after being cooped up because of a pandemic is best. Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese term for forest bathing, or forest therapy. That’s getting therapy by walking in the forest, not therapy for forests. People have been walking in the woods forever; but, I am told, since the 1980s, it’s become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. …


The ego is a good tool if you understand its uses and limitations.

Image by Tajuana Delamora, Pixy

It all starts with you being a child. You have it really good. People take care of you, they feed you, clothe you, give you hugs, and put your awful drawings on the refrigerator with unrestrained praise. But nature cannot allow you to remain a child forever. It needs to stir the pot. It wants you to get out, take chances, spread your seed, and do stuff. How does nature get you to leave childhood? It casts a spell on you, makes you an adolescent and a little bit crazy. It takes you for a ride on the ego balloon.

Keith R Wilson

Mental Health Counselor and Writer www.keithwilsoncounseling.com

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