Category Archives: Relationships

A Life Altering Experience – Part 1

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A Life Altering Experience

When my husband, Ron, had his first stroke in 2009, he had just turned 58. How is that possible?

It happened before my eyes. It was Saturday, September 26th around noon. Isn’t it remarkable how we remember small details of a life altering experience?

Ron was standing in front of me; we were chatting about his pinched nerve. Just a week before, Ron became dizzy at work, and his employer insisted that Ron go to the emergency room. A co-worker took him to the closest hospital, and an ER doctor suspected that Ron had a pinched nerve that was causing his dizziness. The doctor referred Ron to a chiropractor.

He had just arrived home from treatment with the chiropractor when it hit.

While standing in front of me, in an instant, the left side of his face from his forehead to his jaw drooped down, and his words became a little slurred. He could walk and move both arms. He had no tingling anywhere or dizziness. Was it a stroke? He’s only 58. Was I overreacting? Did he fit the criteria or warnings of a stroke? I had that debate in my head for about 30 seconds and then took charge.

I told him to get in the car; that I was taking him to the emergency room. Like most men, he argued, but he couldn’t see what I was seeing. Hospital personnel approached my car as it came to a roaring stop in front of the ER entrance. I shouted to him that my husband was a “stroke alert.”

A stroke alert upgrades the time frame and service for medical attention, like upgrading to Firsthospital3 Class from Coach. A page overhead was heard throughout the hospital: Stroke Alert, Emergency Room. The page was repeated two more times. Unwillingly, I began to take this all in. Ron was seen immediately by a slew of doctors and nurses. He started having some paralysis on the left side of his body. Alas, the tingling symptom arrived at the party. And he had a headache now. Ron had IVs inserted, and wires slapped on, and beeping in under five minutes. The doctors asked me a lot of questions. They were glad I got him there when I did. I started trembling, realizing, praying. Everyone had solemn facial expressions and serious voices. They believe Ron was suffering a stroke.

The color drained from my face and fear flooded my body. I looked for a chair and sat down, frozen. Ron went for a priority MRI. I waited. Alone for the first time since this nightmare started, I called our son and totally lost it. He couldn’t understand what I was saying. You know how garbled your words are when you’re hysterical and try to talk? That was me. I finally got out some English—”dad,” “stroke.” Our son was on the next plane home. He also had the good sense to call family, but I didn’t know that until they appeared in the ER. I had some support now. And we all waited. Waited to hear how badly the brain was compromised. My mind drifted.

DSC00239We were living comfortably, at the time, in our empty nest. Ron played softball in a league during the summer and coached basketball during the winter. He was very active and fit. We were both working with great jobs that allowed us to have security in our retirement. Ever since childhood, a dream of mine was to live in the country on horse property. We started looking at small farms nearby.

Our son was happy. He had moved to New York City to pursue his second Masters Degree, plus his girlfriend (now wife) lived there. It was a win-win for him.

Life was good.

Then the MRI results were back. The neurosurgeon approached me. He said Ron was being moved to ICU. They found a blood clot in his brain. The plan was to go in and try to remove it. Surgery was scheduled for the next day, first thing. I swear I can hear this conversation like it was yesterday.

Ron handled the surgery fine but because of the location of the clot, it could not be removed hospital4without making matters worse, like killing Ron. It would have to remain in his brain. The hope was the brain would construct pathways around the blockage. So after a week in ICU, two weeks in rehab, and three months of outpatient psychical therapy twice a week, Ron could walk again and use his left arm. His speech improved. But cognitively, the damage was permanent. Ron would not be able to work again.

The medical bills were staggering. And I mean staggering. Ron sold his 79 Roadrunner, his motorcycle, and his Mercedes. And we still owed over $100,000.

But we were just at the beginning of our crisis. A life altering experience for us wasn’t over.

Tune in tomorrow for A Life Altering Experience – Part 2.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

When You’re Left Out

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WHEN YOU’RE LEFT OUT – Dr. Sandy Nelson

As adults when you’re left out and rejected by a friend, it triggers childhood memories most of us can recall. Those cliques in class that excluded others in the playground games, or the secret chats by the lockers, or the in-crowd table in the cafeteria. Cliques that seemed to have fun seeing others isolated and alone.

Judith Sills, PhD, says in Oprah.com …being left out is not an inherently grown-up phenomenon. It is 1000213_10151708767561439_258385478_na grade-school agony that recurs throughout life. Being left out is an emotional drama that unfolds in three acts: discovery, distress, and, if you can get there, detachment. These psychological rhythms prevail whether you are reeling from the whispers of a group of girls at recess or excluded from a bridge game in your assisted-living home. Being left out is the dark side of friendship…

Female cliques—and the power they wield to trample feelings—are not just an unpleasant memory from junior high and high school. These groups that are aloof to outsiders thrive in the grown-up world too. It makes feeling welcomed as a newcomer difficult. When you’re left out, you know it. You feel it. It’s perplexing to be ignored or dismissed after a group has invited newcomers.

11046458_999199456780643_2534625398824416841_nDebbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul writes: Cliques tend to be more about power and control and less about the open door of friendship.

Clearly, there are good reasons to better understand the effects of being excluded when you’re left out. Humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships, says C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. This need is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history and has all sorts of consequences for modern psychological processes.

Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. The social rejection of when you’re left out increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011). Physically, too, rejection takes a toll. People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections, he says.

As mature adults, shouldn’t we be more embracing of people who have initiated their interest in our clubs, groups, or even our coffee house gatherings? Isn’t this the gift of affirmation and inclusion we all seek?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

How to Ruin a Love Relationship

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HOW TO RUIN A LOVE RELATIONSHIP – Dr. Sandy Nelson

We all seek love relationships with predetermined expectations in our heads of IMG_3311how it’s going to be. And at first, it’s wonderful, all good, and all that. After that initial honeymoon phase, that’s when reality arrives and conflicts begin and we must decide if the relationship is worth the shattering of our expectations. It’s within those shattered pieces that real love can be put together.

But here’s some situations, rightly so, that will probably not give us a chance to discover real love and instead, will find us at the curb with the rubbish.

 

1. Break Promises

Promises made to someone we love can be thought of as swearing our intentions under oath to keep the promise at the risk of penalty of death. IMG_3179Promises are a big deal in love relationships. Do not make them lightly. Promises are not in the same category as a maybe, or if time warrants. No. To promise is to put our word on the line–that means our honor, our integrity, and our character. It’s a big deal which is why failing to keep a promise places the relationship in jeopardy.

 

2. Don’t talk

With this one, we might think we’re safe. After all, everyone talks. Talking about how the train was late, it rained, it didn’t rain, work was fine, traffic sucked and listenother surface topics could be consider talking if it is to a co-worker on the subway platform. In a love relationship it would be called a lack of communication. With someone we love, talking involves the sharing of our feelings and thoughts not just talking about the days events. When we want to listen to what our partner says, when we can acknowledge their point of view through validation, and we can open our heart to actually feel their experience, or thoughts or feelings, THAT is an expression of the love through talking. How likely is that going to happen? This may explain why it won’t.

 

3. Don’t help

If in the 21st century, we hold the 20th century bias belief that it’s the woman’s place to cook, clean, shop, do the laundry, and run the errands while the man sits in front of the television with a beer watching Magnum P.I. reruns, then we have some serious problems. Why do men do this?

 

4. Fight dirty

Is there really a need for name-calling, hurtful remarks, or screamning during arguments? Can’t we talk about upset feelings without hurting someone we IMG_3169supposedly love? Can’t the focus be on a solution rather than the failures, shortcomings, and faults of the person we love? Fighting while angry does nothing but hurt and wound, and maybe that’s the goal. If it is, we’ll find ourselves alone at the net. No one should tolerate or accept that abuse. Girl, here’s some help. And God forbid, if we strike the person we claim to love, we better be looking for treatment and therapy for that monster within us.

 

5. Be the boss

IMG_3253Ha! There’s no boss in a love relationship. There’s no head. There are two people, with two opinions which makes two people in charge. Each person is held in mutual regard. There’s no one superior and no one inferior. This is where compromise comes in–a balance of give and take. If we think we’re gonna be running the show in this relationship, then we have no respect and zero love for the other person.

 

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Traits of Toxic People

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TRAITS OF TOXIC PEOPLE – Dr Sandy Nelson

What is this mysterious crowd of individuals called toxic people? And why are they toxic? The personalities of toxic people are prone to traits found in codependency—they seek to control people for their own gain. Their thought process tends to be subjective and egotistical. Their behavior is chronically taxing and frustrating.

The agenda for most toxic people is to take advantage of others. They’re masterstoxic people2 of control—not the psychologically healthy self-control, but the psychologically unhealthy dominating control of others. They use people for their own specific needs.

Toxic people can appear to care about you, but typically the goodwill is not genuine, it’s a front, a scam. They resist supporting your goals for personal development because they want your time and attention to be spent on their needs and agenda. By degrading and criticizing you, they are able to lead you away from your pursuits and manipulate your devotion to theirs.

toxic people1Dr. Travis Bradberry states: Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. (read Dr. Bradberry’s article here)

You probably know some toxic people—they might be co-workers, they might even be friends, odds are you have a toxic person in your family, or you might live with someone toxic. Toxic people are sly. They edge their way into your life, and before you know it, they’re creating chaos and drafting you into their woes and problems. Toxic individuals are completely exhausting to be around and they can have a negative impact on your career and personal goals in life.

The distractions and stress that toxic people bring into your life are usually toxic peoplecostly. Most mental health clinicians would recommend ending relationships with a toxic people for your own well being. You deserve to have genuine friends and loved ones who value you without selfish motives.

Alexendra Palmer states: Detoxing makes you feel lighter, happier and healthier. Doing a food detox is easy, but what about getting rid of toxic people? (You can read Alexendra Palmer’s 5 Ways Your Life Will Improve After You Purge It Of Toxic People here.)

The sooner you remove toxic people from your life, the better.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

How To Listen Up! – Dr Sandy Nelson

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HOW TO LISTEN UP!

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells of a father who came to him saying, “I can’t understand my kid. He just won’t listen to me.” Covey patiently tried to get the dad to see the inconsistency of his statement. You don’t understand people by getting them to listen to you. You understand them when you listen to them.charlie brown listen

Is anyone listening?

It’s true that our high-tech, fast paced society today allots less time to listen to one another. Everyone is in a hurry, no one has time, but the need for communication and connection is more important than ever. Relationships at work and at home cannot thrive or survive without listening to one another. It’s imperative that we need to listen up!

Ever jump to understand a person’s disagreeing view? That’s not the first move of most people in conversation. People usually jump to judge, to argue, or to reject, to debate, but to understand? That’s in a minority of people.

listen1But we can change that. When we listen to another person, we can refuse to be distracted by our own opinions and biases. We can accept that listening to a differing view is not going to cause the veins in our foreheads to explode. It’s only fair that If we want our point to be understood, we need to practice understanding the point of others. We need to listen up!

listen

Listen to what people say, not to what we want to hear. Listen to their choice of words, not what we want them to say. Listen to their values, their complaints, their priorities, their outlook, and how they speak about other people, because that will reveal who that person is. So pay attention, put down any distractions, look at the person speaking, and listen up.

To avoid the impulse to finish the sentences of a person who speaks slower than we do is often a tussle. This is a test of our patience. And another impulse to avoid is planning what to say next when we should be listening. Also don’t interrupt the person talking, or take calls, or look at our phone (or TV), or wave to someone we know, or stare at the floor or out the window, all of which convey that the person talking is a bother to us, and not important.

Look at the person talking, without distraction. Practice listening with the intent to understand. This earns the respect of others.

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drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Letting Go, Holding On – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Letting Go, Holding On

We’ve heard the phrase many times: The past is the past for a reason.

Did we not know that? What does it even mean?

It’s a nagging whisper to remind us that whatever or whoever we’re clinging to from the past should be let go. We need to set it down. It’s a jarring reminder IMG_2250that we can’t go back. The past is the past for a reason. It’s a sounding alarm.

How do we set down a past that occupies a great deal of our present thoughts? How do we let go of prior regrets, lost love, anger, and betrayals? These experiences may be dead in the past, but jeopardize our life, happiness and success today, right now.

When we can’t let go, we drag along with us a sack filled with yesterday’s aftermath that we refuse to leave behind. The sack is heavy so it holds us back, weighs us down, and handicaps our current efforts. We’re not able to keep up with the opportunities that are offered today. We may struggle to get ahead because we’re dragging around this sack of the past, we’re stuck in yesterday.

Dragging our pasts through life everyday will never allow us to change any bygone circumstances. Holding on to yesterday will not provide control over IMG_2321what has occurred. But we can be invested in our future and have 100 percent control over our thoughts and actions today.

The past is your history. It’s a history that may have been painful at times, but also made you more wise, more cautious, more kind, and more confident. You can honor who you were by becoming who you are meant to be. I love this quote by Jeffrey McDanielI realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go. How fitting after letting go is their return to the living in spring, more ample.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

 

What Negativity Guarantees – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Have you ever known a pessimistic person to be overflowing with enthusiasm and a positive outlook? Me either. In fact, the negativity that reeks from pessimists reminds me of static electricity—energy in the vicinity that gets encased and stuck in its sphere.

When focused thought is negative, it creates ill, Marianne Williamson wrote in negative peopleEveryday Grace. Negativity guarantees a toxic energy that breeds ill—physically and emotionally. Wrongheaded persons draw and mentally shackle the people around them into a mind-set that’s diminishes any encouraging conditions in life. It’s all Armageddon to them. They engage discussions on only what’s dreadful, what is deficient, and what is wicked in the world. Their focus lacks any observations of what’s effective, good, productive, and positive. If this describes you, allow me to stretch my hand out and shock you back into worthwhile thinking.

Imagine a planet where blame was missing.

Picture a world absent of mindless faultfinders and pessimists.

IMG_3131Now, do your part in creating that vision. Put down any doom and gloom binoculars. Stop any guilt tripping. Stop criticizing everything and everyone. Stop highlighting the mistakes of other people. The more we stop the blame and catastrophic views, the more of us there are to focus on solutions, answers, and remedies. Blame keeps us glued to the dilemma instead of adhered to resolve. Explanations keep us attached to the problem instead of fastened to improvements.

If we think we hold a superior position on this earth, then it would be better served discovering tonics for peace and understanding instead of judgment and condemnation.

In Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, Eric Hoffer wrote: Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us. 

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Dr. Sandy Nelson

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Use Of Anger To Get Your Way – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Some people use anger to get their way. Do you know someone like that?

They adopt anger for power. They mistakenly blame others for their own weaknesses, choices, or situations. In anger they justify hurting others to boost their deflated ego—to conceal their own fear and inadequacy.

Any situation that frustrates us, especially when we think someone else is to IMG_0508 - Copyblame for it, is a trigger for anger, resentment, and aggression. But detonating anger, and acting with violence, does not set one thing straight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Reacting in anger destroys relationships—we lose cooperation, we lose integrity, we lose respect and we lose loved ones.

Anger that’s expressed reactively murders. It kills happiness, peace, trust, love, success, and dreams. It shortens life. People who can’t keep their temper under control and who tend to explode in anger double their risk of a heart attack.

How anger and resentment from disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks are handled influences not only our character, but also our physical and emotional health. While anger can be justified, exploding in anger is NEVER condoned.

whoaToday, if you’re about to lose your temper, remember it’s more than your cool that you will be losing. You will be losing not only the respect and regard of others, but also put your health in danger. If you want to be a leader in your company, in your family and in your community, you will need to manage your anger, and use self-control—refuse to blow up.

Learn to express anger calmly, showing regard for the people in the room. They will be more apt to listen and respect you for it. And you will be more on target to get what you want.

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drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Fear of Disapproval Remedy – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the Introduction to A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson writes Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.1513222_879994992058784_1395873912393926812_n

I agree. This is a fear we are all acquainted with.

Fear is what we learned when well-meaning adults physically punished us for our childhood mistakes.

Fear is what we learned when our honesty was disapproved of by the showing of rejection.

Fear is what we learned when our trust was violated thanks to the betrayal of others.

Fear is what we learned when we made our well-being dependent on anyone but ourselves.

IMG_2957The more we need someone’s agreement in our lives, the more consumed by fear we become when we sense their disapproval or rejection. There’s enough scary aspects of life today that we have little control over. But we don’t have to be scared of someone’s opinion of us or fear someone’s disapproval.

The more anchored we are in the vast amount of love we’re born with, the less we care about what others think. The fear of someone’s disapproval doesn’t have to rock our boat when we are focused on our own self-respect and significance.

Try it. When you have a different opinion than someone else today, express it calmly and kindly. Then ask the other person why they hold the opinion they do. Seek to understand and allow the differences between you.

Respect and honor YOUR views and your self-respect will increase. Seek to understand and respect the opinions of other people and they will admire you. Soon your fear of disapproval will fade and you’ll be less dependent on the approval of other people.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Got complaints? – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Malcolm S. Forbes says: The best vision is insight. However, a lot of people have placed their vision on sights outside of themselves—on other people and mostly on what other people are doing wrong.IMG_3247

We will not improve the world by lecturing other people how they should be better while ignoring the responsibility to better ourselves. Obtaining insight requires us to look within ourselves for those traits that hamper relationships, fuel resentments, and assist in our misery.

We will have better self-respect when we have a better self to respect. We will have better relationships when we have altered the parts of ourselves that pump doom into them. We will have a better planet when we take responsibility to correct the mind-set in our private world.

IMG_3277The transformation of your life begins with an examination of your thoughts. In Everyday Grace, Marianne Williamson writes: Our thoughts, not just our actions, create our experience. If you’re not happy and successful, investigate your thought content. Look for hidden complaints, resentments and grudges. When you stop railing against other people and stop blaming other people for your lack of prosperity, your mind and heart are then in a position to receive the happiness and success you desire. Instead of asking what’s in your wallet today, ask yourself what’s in your head.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated