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Red Flag Theory
All Stressed Out
Red Flag Theory
A message came to me late in the day to call a past client who
wanted to start therapy again. We had spent several sessions
the previous year examining her life. In particular, we looked at
the choices she made regarding the men she invited into her life.
Our sessions had suddenly stopped when she declared she had
finally found "someone who really cares about me, my soul mate".
Her wanting to resume therapy probably meant it didn't work
out. She was likely back to beating herself up for choosing poorly.
She had probably resurrected the cycle that there was something
wrong with her because she kept choosing men, who used, abused
and disregarded her.
When we met, she was very depressed. She realized that yet
another relationship had failed and her self-esteem was at an
all-time low. "Why do I always choose the wrong guys?" was
her lament throughout our first session. "If I would only choose
better." I stopped her in mid-sentence and suggested to her
that it wasn't about her needing to choose better. After all, who
can do that well at the beginning of a relationship?
Instead, I affirmed that the problem was more about her
not acting on the "red flags" that the men presented. She chose
to ignore the signals or to make excuses when they treated her
poorly. She chose to keep them around, hoping they would
change for the better.
People in a new relationship present well. It is not possible in
the beginnings of a relationship to see the real person; anyone can
get snowed. So, should we stop looking for love in case they aren't
who we think they are? I think not!
I encourage people to think positively and give the new
relationship a fair chance. Forget about all those "what ifs", fears
and worries borne from the past-easy to say-and stay open to
the possibility that this relationship will work out. Do not focus
on how you might get taken advantage of again.
Love the person and expect love back. If you don't feel
that your feelings are reciprocated, talk to your partner. Lay it
out confidently. Keep giving feedback. Then, and only then, if
things don't change, end it! Do the best you can. Work at the
relationship. But do not become so emotionally tied-up in it that
you are willing to accept abuse. Remember the old adage, "You
can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."
No test exists for choosing the right person before you get
to know them. If you are the kind of person who feels it is your
duty to help others overcome themselves and their behaviours,
stop it! And stop giving yourself hell for not trying to save all
the defective relationships you enter. It is not your job to save
a relationship or make it work. In the future, be open to love.
But when the Red Flags present themselves, act on them! Don't
procrastinate! Jump all over those dubious behaviours with a
thousand questions. And if you don't hear the right explanations,
hit the eject button pronto.
If the "red flag" behaviours don't change-get out!
This concept was taken from Dan's first book, Finding Balance. For more information about this book and his yet to be released book, Communication & Relationships click this link www.drcounselling.com and check under Site Navigation.
When you confront the Red Flags in your relationship, your self-esteem is elevated.
It's impossible to see the Red Flags with rose-colored glasses on!
Why do people who are kind to their family and pets, become rude, arrogant and dangerous drivers? What happens when they get behind the wheel?
There are several contributing factors to this problem. One is the influx into a community of people whose driving rules differ those of the natives. Every city has its unspoken pace and rhythms, and visitors violate them at their own peril.
Second, increasingly crowded living conditions and clogged traffic cause physiological arousal- increased blood pressure and heart rate, signs of tension. People feel confined, unable to control their pace and movement and this prevents them from getting where they need to go, thus increasing their impatience.
Third, drivers rehearse a "mental script" in which they interpret the behaviour of other drivers as an intentional insult.
A fourth controlling factor is the in visibility of other drivers in one's own anonymity. The more distant we are from others, and the more anonymous they are to us, the less restrained, courteous, and empathetic we become.
There are four ways of handling anger-suppress it, talk about it, shout and yell, become physically violent.
All Stressed Out!
Apparently the best over-all stress reducer, if you only had one option, is
breathing.(That definitely makes sense to me!) You can use stress relief
breathing when you're in the middle of a stressful situation and in doing so
you can reverse your stress response and change your whole experience of
that stressful situation. You can also use breathing exercises at any time you
realize that you're stressed, and calm your body right then and there.
Exercise is a fantastic stress reducer and overall wellness enhancer. It
provides you with a physical outlet for frustration and stress. Exercise can
work as a distraction tool to get you out of environments that cause stress and
into environments more conducive to good health. As well exercise can help
metabolise stress hormones, so it helps you to burn off the left over cortisol
and other biochemicals from when you're stressed.
Most stress experts, including Hans Selye, report that "stress" is a
perception. We do anything and there is a stress value: good-bad, threat-challenge, distress-eustress. It seems that Optimists experience the same stressors that pessimists experience, but they tend to feel less stressed. Optimists tend to stay healthier-longer. They are less reactive to stress because they actually seeing things differently. Optimists see opportunities where pessimists see losses, so they remain hopeful and less stressed. Optimists believe they can make the changes to make their lives better. I guess the bottom line is work on your "half full rather than half empty" approach to life, and you will be less stressed.
If too much of a good thing can be stressful (chocolate cake, excessive
exercise), imagine what too much of a bad thing can do to one's stress (an
unhappy relationship, a poor job fit). Sometimes there is no repairing the
stress event/issue and we have to remove ourselves, cut our losses and stop
trying to make something work that is not workable.
Good communication ends with understanding-not with a winner.
What is your reaction when things don't go your way?
I meet a lot of angry people who think they never seem to get what they want.
Here are words attributed to the Buddha; something to take seriously, I believe:
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; however you are the one who gets burned!
May we learn to talk about, rather than act out any feelings of aggression; and thus be freed from their negative impact.
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Have a great week!