Archive | January 2016


Once in a while, I have to put on my clinical hat while I address a topic.  This is one of those times.


I recently encountered a situation in which someone was putting all sorts of conditions on our relationship:  Very troubling.

We all know that relationships are messy in the first place.  There are so many facets to them, some inward; others interpersonal.  Add conditions and the mess grows biggerr.


Conditions are bricks in a barricade.  They indirectly say, “No.”


Because they go around the circle to get to the point, they create triangulation in a relationship.  What?  Triangu….???
That’s when someone or something becomes the third party in a relationship that is supposed to be between two people.  The big problem with this is, nothing can ever be resolved.


One thing that I especially dislike is that conditions push the one on whom they are laid away and put him or her below the one setting up these requirements.  Instead of being equals, one person has usurped power over the other.


So, what do you do if you find yourself in this position?


In the relationship I mentioned, I was able to take away the need for the conditions.  That might not work in every case, so here are a couple of other thoughts:


*Remember that conditions are an indirect way of saying, “No.”   If you understand that, you can interpret them better.  If this is someone who will have a conversation with you, asking them about this might help.


*Some relationships simply need to end.  If you can recognize that the “no” means, “I don’t want to make a commitment,” for example, it is much easier to say good-bye.


*A bit of assessment and negociation might be needed.  Some conditions have come up because of something that caused pain.  Acknowledging that, meeting conditions that fit the circumstances and asking to be released from others can build strength and closeness.  In other words, own your part.

*A saying we used to have when I was in social work school is, “Look beyond the content to the process.”  If someone is putting conditions on you, interpret them.  “I have to like your attitude” could mean, “I’m afraid.”  If you are able to ask about this, you can get the extra “something” out of the middle of your friendship and solve the matter.

*Sometimes, simply refusing to “play” will help.  Conditions don’t work if you don’t cooperate and take the inferior position.


I could probably come up with more ideas, but you get the point, yeah?




Sometimes, I’d do well
To take lessons from my cat:
She’s really quite smart;
Let’s talk about that!

She knows what she wants;
An expert in self esteem;
Makes up her own mind;
Doesn’t need “a team.”

She knows when to purr;
When it pays can be quite sweet,
And when things get tough,
She lands on her feet.

She’s not too concerned
About what others might say;
In her opinion,
She’s more than okay!

If I could just learn
To think of myself like that;
I might have to take
Lessons from my cat.


Some might think of soul food as things like hush puppies or gumbo,
But there is true nourishment for our souls,
Far more nebulous; yet tangible indeed:


A word of encouragement,
A loving touch,
A prayer offered at just  the right moment;
A hug when we need it so much.


An unexpected phone call,
A friendly smile;
A compassionate person who listens
Or just sits with us for a while.


These are the things that fill us,
That warm our souls;
That give nourishment and strength so we live
As we’re meant to be, well and whole.


When I’m still enough to listen,
My soul whispers to me.
She tells me many secrets
About what is and what could be.


Often, her whisper is singing
Or poetry and rhyme.
Once she spoke in cries and wails;
I hear her whispers all the time.


I find her to be elusive,
If I try hard to hear,
It seems that she moves away;
Perhaps she tries to disappear.


I know to treat her with honor
And show her love each day.
That’s when she is most happy
So that she has plenty to say.


My heart sings a song,
Heard only by me.
Sometimes, it’s loud;
More often, it’s soft and sweet.


This song in my heart
Has played a long time.
Built day by day,
It’s impossible to rhyme.


The song still goes on,
Like a faithful friend,
A companion
Whose presence will never end.


This is a new day,
Filled with fresh ideas,
Creative vision,
Hopeful plans and dreams.


Yesterday is done;
It has now grown cold,
With its hurts and pains,
Its accomplishments,
Blessings, smiles and gains.


I’ll fold yesterday
Put it in a drawer,
Tell the good stories,
Forgive all the rest,
Recall the glories.


Today, I will build
And sow healthy seed,
With promises bright,
So that tomorrow
Brings blessings and light.


I seem to need reminders
Of wisdom that is true:
I can only be myself
And act as I’m called to do.


I can’t be what others want,
Or tuck myself away;
To meet with their approval:
The price is too high to pay.


If I want true acceptance,
To know prosperity,
I must live from inside out
With love and integrity.


I’m grateful for reminders:
Distractions have a way
Of trying to confuse me
So I feel less than okay.


AS I grow more confident
In my identity,
I need fewer reminders;
It’s so pleasant just to be.