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How to Ask for What You Want: a Fable and a Story

Pat LaDouceur, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 28th 2010

The Fable

A traveler walked alone down a country road on a cloudy day, wearing an old cloak. The Sun and the North wind decided to have a contest to see who could remove it.

“This will be easy,” the North wind said. He sent a powerful blast of cold air toward the traveler, who only pulled his cloak tighter. The North wind tried again and again, blowing so hard that birds were pushed from their paths, and leaves scattered from the trees. The shivering traveler hunched against the wind and held onto his cloak.

“Let me try,” said the Sun, as he moved from behind the clouds. As he gently poured his warmth on the traveler, the traveler opened his coat and within minutes took it off. (Aesop)

The Story

When I first saw a couple I’ll call Rachel and Jim, they were ready to divorce. Tension was high in the room as they talked.

“He doesn’t listen,” Rachel said, her voice filled with frustration. “He never listens. I try and try and I just can’t get through. It’s like he’s locked away someplace and I don’t have the key. What’s the matter with him? What’s the matter with me?”

Jim stared out the window. When I asked what it was like for him to hear this, he said, “I’m used to it. I never get it right and I get tired of trying. It’s like she has a scorecard and I come up short every time. I can’t do any more.”

hey were caught in a negative cycle, where each person’s reaction helped keep it going. After I understood how each of them felt, I helped them see how they were stuck in that cycle. When Rachel felt frustrated, she was also lonely and wanted to feel close. But instead she complained.

When Jim heard her complaints, he shut down. Underneath he was lonely too. But he saw how arguments pushed them apart, and tried hard to keep things calm. His quiet made Rachel more frustrated, and Rachel’s complaints made him more quiet. Underneath they both felt very alone.

Read More …  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=38468&cn=289

Relationships and the Silent Treatment

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jul 8th 2010

One of our readers E. Mailed a question about a friend who uses the “silent treatment.” The reader wanted to understand what this was all about. Here is a continued and longer explanation of the answer already provided.

Does your husband, wife or intimate partner use the silent treatment when upset about something? The silent treatment is one of the most damaging relationship problems. Why is this? What is it?

The silent treatment or “stonewalling” refers to someone who is letting you know that something is wrong without telling you why. If you ask if anything is wrong, you are met with silence. There is no explanation, no response of any kind, only stony silence.

Too many people, within the context of their intimate relationship, seem to believe that their partner can read their mind. In other words, there is an incorrect notion that you should know why he or she is upset. Most often, the recipient of the silence is left with feelings of confusion and exasperation as they try to resolve the problem. However, how can someone resolve a problem when they do not know what is wrong?

Read More:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=38823&cn=289

Is Romantic Rejection A Specific Form Of Addiction?

Article Date: 08 Jul 2010 – 0:00 PDT

The pain and anguish of rejection by a romantic partner may be the result of activity in parts of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

The study’s findings could have implications for understanding why feelings related to romantic rejection can be hard to control, and may provide insight into extreme behaviors associated with rejection, such as stalking, homicide and suicide – behaviors that occur across many cultures throughout the world. 

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/193961.php

 

Dating: Some Self-Esteem Savers

By Joanna Stan, MS
 
I have been in the single arena, and it is an arena, for nearly a year. In this time frame I have learned, lost, cried and felt elation, all at varying levels. How does a woman know when the guy actually likes her? How does a woman know what to say or do and not seem crazy? The answers are there are no answers.

Sometimes one person may feel a connection when the other does not. Sometimes we come across potential partners who are super-sexy, successful and have that “catch me if you can” attitude. They’re not worth running after if they won’t run right after you too.

Dating is hard. But I think the key to positive dating is to attempt to remain objective as possible. I know this is nearly impossible for some and I am guilty of it. Many of us have hopes and ideas of that perfect person crossing our path and leading us into at least a long, comfortable relationship, if not marriage.

With that said, I have decided to write about some ways to save your self-esteem while dating.

Read More …  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/07/08/dating-some-self-esteem-savers/

New Test Predicts Chance of Relationship Breakup

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 8, 2010

Researchers have developed a new method to assess whether a romantic relationship is going to fall apart.

The technique uses automatic word associations to find out what people really think about their partners.

The activity determines if individuals find it easier to link words referring to their partner to words with pleasant or unpleasant meanings.

According to background information in the article, research on relationship success has mainly focused on how the people in the relationship feel about each other. And this is usually done by the obvious route: asking them.

“But the difficulty with that is, that assumes that they know themselves how happy they are, and that’s not always the case,” says Ronald D. Rogge, of the University of Rochester.

“To make things worse, a lot of people don’t want to tell you if they’re starting to feel less happy in their relationship.”

So he and his colleagues Soonhee Lee and Harry T. Reis turned to a technique often used to assess racism and bias, other feelings people have trouble admitting to themselves and to researchers.

The 222 volunteers in their study were all involved in a romantic relationship.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/07/08/new-test-predicts-chance-of-relationship-breakup/15418.html

 

Biological Clock Stimulates Women’s Sexual Drive

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 8, 2010

As a sign of the times, women often delay child bearing until their 30s and 40s. Then, perhaps in a race against time, women engage in a variety of sexual activities including one-night stands and adventurous bedroom behavior.

In a paper published in the July edition of Personality and Individual Differences, University of Texas psychology graduate students Judith Easton, Jaime Confer and Cari Goetz, and David Buss, professor of psychology, found that women age 27-45 have a heightened sex drive in response to their dwindling fertility.

In the study the researchers split 827 women into three groups: high fertility (ages 18-26), low fertility (ages 27-45), and menopausal (ages 46 and up). The respondents answered an online questionnaire about their sexual attitudes and behavior.

Compared with the other groups, women with low fertility were more likely to experience:

  • Frequent sexual fantasies
  • Thoughts about sexual activities
  • More intense sexual fantasies than their younger counterparts
  • A more active sex life and willingness to have a one-night stand
  • A willingness to have casual sex

Contrary to their predictions, the researchers found that when comparing low and high fertility women who were in relationships, the older, less fertile group did not fantasize more about someone other than their current romantic partners.

Instead they fantasized equally about their significant others and other romantic partners.

Read More:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/07/08/biological-clock-stimulates-womens-sexual-drive/15416.html

   

The Bond of Shared Solitude

Psychological benefits of taking a break in silence and nature.

 



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