Archives for April, 2010
If you are human, you know about worry. Worry is the state of negative thinking we engage in when we are faced with a real or anticipated threat. It's the "thinking” component of the physical heart racing and sweaty palms that make up anxiety: “What if I get laid off?”, “Why did he say he was just too tired to make love?”, “How will I tell my wife I want the transfer?”, “ What if I miss my plane?” Whereas a certain degree of worry can cause us to problem solve, ask for help, change behavior patterns, even enhance our attention to partners, excessive worry burdens us personally and interpersonally. In his book, Worry , psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, suggests that as compared to “good worry” that leads to constructive action, “ toxic worry” can paralyze us.
Recently I was sitting with some mothers who were painfully discussing the death of a yet another local teen killed in an auto accident. They voiced their sorrow, their terror, and their feelings of helplessness. Then they raised the question so often asked... What do you say when a child dies? One of the best answers I have found is given by Charlie Walton in his book, When There are No Words: Finding Your Way to Cope with Loss and Grief. Written from the eyes of a father who, together with his wife, are awakened by police to learn that their two sons are dead, it carries a valuable message about unspeakable pain and the power of connection.
We hardly need to look at the research to verify that pets do good things for people physically and emotionally. What is interesting in my work with couples is that although couples may vehemently disagree on most topics, they usually both soften in manner and tone to agree that the dog, cat, bird or horse is great. In fact, if there is any criticism, it is the verbalized wish to receive the kind of love and attention the pet is getting. “I only wish she was as affectionate with me as with our dog!” “You should hear him speak to this animal – he never speaks to me that way.” What happens between people and their pets that accounts for this emotional outpouring of love?
Last week, we began discussing dreams. (If you missed those two blog posts, you can check them out here and here.) Now that we have considered the function of dreams, the feelings of the dreamer, symbols, shapeshifters, and the displacement of time and place in the “night theater” of dreams, it is time to ask the question: Should all dreams be Shared? Although we consider that all dreams, even nightmares, are opportunities for growth and development, not every dream must or should be shared. Like the best of other dynamics between partners -- the choice -- to share a dream, do a favor, be sexually intimate … is what makes the action authentic and consciously and unconsciously important to your partner.
Earlier this week, I wrote a post entitled "Should You Tell Your Partner Your Dreams?" Today, I continue that discussion by offering insight into how you can understand your own dreams -- an important step toward sharing them with your partner. You don’t have to be a trained expert to understand your dreams -- after all, you are the writer, director, actor, lighting expert and stage hand of your night theater.” Recognizing this and taking a look at the nature of dreams will give you a way making sense and utilizing your dreams. Once you can begin to understand your own dreams you can expand that understanding by sharing with your partner.