My husband works for hospice. I really don't know how he does it: sit with, guide, and help people and their families in the later stages of illness and impending death. How does he do this, especially now, with his sister being in the final stage of metastatic breast cancer? It is in her brain and at this point no more treatment is recommended. We now just sit and watch her decline and slip away from us day by day. I cannot tell you how excruciating this is.
I've been married for almost 31 years now and at this point sister-in-laws are no longer in-laws. They are sisters. My heart aches everyday. We all suffer: her husband, her daughter, her mother and father, her siblings and friends. The grieving is sometimes unbearable.
My only comfort has been her peaceful and deeply spiritual disposition during much of our interactions. I don't know how to describe it but it is oddly reassuring. It is as if I am getting a small glimpse of the rest she will experience once her time on earth is complete.
My brother-in-law, her husband, sent us all this very good article, which is attached, on family upheaval during terminal illness. It is really very good at outlining what families go through when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness. I recommend it to anyone wishing to understand this process. I left the highlights my brother-in-law noted.
Kinds of Workplace Conflicts
Let’s start by identifying where conflicts happen. Think about the kinds of conflicts that happen around your workplace.
• Disagreements over turf (who should do what)
• Disagreements over policy (how things should be done)
• Conflicts of personality and style
Common Ways of Dealing with Conflict
These are some of the ways we typically deal with conflict. Do you see yourself in any of them?
• Avoid the conflict.
• Deny the conflict; wait until it goes away.
• Change the subject.
• React emotionally; become aggressive, abusive, hysterical, or frightening.
• Find someone to blame.
• Make excuses.
• Delegate the situation to someone else.
All of these responses are nonproductive. Some of them are actually destructive. This is why learning to manage conflict is so important.
Effect on Work Relationships
The workplace is a system of relationships. Relationships have many different aspects; here are several examples:
Respect for boss
When conflicts are handled well, there’s a positive effect on work relationships. When they are not, these factors can deteriorate. Productivity and the free expression of ideas are also impacted.
Sometimes in relationships people get stuck in a pattern of distress where one person pursues for connection in a demanding style and the partner feels overwhelmed and criticized and perhaps shuts down or maybe gets defensive. Ever wonder what is going on for the more withdrawing partner? If we get below the surface, research shows that the more quiet partner is as distressed as the more vocal partner. They often say things like, "I feel like I can't get it right or I am numb or I don't want to make it worse between us." They often report feeling rejected, inadequate, fearful of failure, overwhelmed, numb, frozen, afraid, not wanted, judged or shamed. To find out more about what it is to have a more withdrawing style listen to this podcast called "The Couch."
Part of Emotionally Focused Therapy is helping partners talk to each in a new and refreshing way. As therapists, we work to help people move from reactivity to vulnerability and tenderness in their communication. Accessing the underlying feelings that fuel conflict brings about new meaning and understanding drawing partners closer together rather than apart. Watch Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen in action.
Deb and Nao discuss the importance of emotional connection in relationships, some of the roadblocks, and how Emotionally Focused Therapy can help couples navigate emotions successfully. Check out their Podcast.
I ran across this today. It resonated. Therefore, I am sharing it. A poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a better place, whether by healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.
How can couples enhance sexual intimacy? Barry and Emily McCarthy (sex therapists) and Sue Johnson (relationship and bonding expert) will tell you the core of sexual intimacy is feeling psychologically and emotionally connected and valued. Listen to this great podcast to find out how to deepen your love and sexual connection.
This is Fiachra Figs O'Sullivan, San Fransisco therapist, and his wife sharing about their cycle (or their fighting pattern) and how to repair it. It is humorous, honest and insightful. I really loved listening to them!
No one gets through life without being hurt by another person. We all have experienced the pain of a thoughtless remark, gossip, or lie. If you have experienced an unhappy marriage, the devastation of infidelity, or suffered physical or emotional abuse, you know what it feels like to be hurt. It is tempting to hold on to these feelings and build a wall of safety around yourself, but the best way to heal is to forgive the person who hurt you. I love this quote perhaps because it speaks to the process of forgiveness. “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” - Sam Keen, from To Love and Be Loved
What Is Forgiveness?
When you forgive another person, you no longer allow their behavior to cause you anger, pain, bitterness, or resentment. When you choose not to forgive, you make the choice to hold on to your feelings of resentment, anger, and pain.
Why Should I Forgive?
Think of forgiveness as a gift that you give to yourself. It is not something you do for the person who hurt you. It is a gift to yourself because it enables you to stop feeling painful feelings and pushing others away. Forgiveness frees you from anger and allows you to restore your ability to have close and satisfying relationships with others.
Anger is a poisonous emotion that comes from being hurt. When you are consumed with anger and bitterness, it hurts you at least as much as it hurts the person who has harmed you. It is as if you are filled with poison. If these feelings are not resolved, they can begin to eat you up inside. You have two choices: to stay connected to the person who hurt you by keeping these poisonous feelings alive, or to let the feelings go and forgive the person who harmed you. When you withhold forgiveness, think about who is actually being hurt. It is more than likely that the person who is filled with anger and anxiety is you, not the other person.
What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiving another does not mean you will never again feel the pain or remember the thing that hurt you. The hurtful experience will be in your memory forever. By forgiving, you are not pretending the hurtful behavior never happened. It did happen. The important thing is to learn from it while letting go of the painful feelings.
Forgiveness is not about right or wrong. It doesn’t mean that the person’s behavior was okay. You are not excusing their behavior or giving permission for the behavior to be repeated or continued.
When you forgive another, it does not mean you wish to continue your relationship with them. This is a separate decision. You can forgive a person and live your life apart from them.
Forgiveness can only take place because we have the ability to make choices. This ability is a gift that we can use it whenever we wish. We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive. No other person can force us to do either.
Psychotherapist and Relationship Specialist