RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP!

Image“I won’t ever forget the first time I laid eyes on him.  I thought that I would just die if I couldn’t have him for my own.  He was so gorgeous and on top of that, he was nice to me.  I couldn’t get him off my mind . . . in fact, it was as if I was obsessed with him!”

Ever felt this way?  I thought so.  (Otherwise you’d not be likely to be reading my blog entry about attraction!)  I guess that if there were not such a thing as attraction and romance, the world population might be stunted a bit.  That having been said, let’s look at what “attraction” really amounts to, and just how many regrets it can (and oftentimes does) lead to.  If that’s the case, then just what on earth IS love, anyway!

I believe that love comes to us in many forms.  For example, our love for our children; our love for our parents; our love for our pets.  When it comes to romance, love and lust can be difficult to separate – especially in our youth.  A very important lesson that I had to learn the hard way (i.e. two divorces from unfaithful men) is that it is imperative for lasting love, that we become friends, first, (rather than to act on feelings of attraction.  By “act on” I mean, jump head-first into a romantic relationship with someone with whom we share amazing chemistry and not much else.)  How well I recall my mother having once, long ago, said to me, “Why don’t you just pick-out someone ordinary and give yourself TIME to fall in love?”  Oh my gosh!  Did THOSE words ever NOT COMPUTE!!  My thought at that time, and my response to her was, “If I don’t feel ATTRACTED to him, why on earth would I want to DATE him?”  Today I wish I had spoken my response aloud; maybe then, my mother could have talked-some-sense-into-me!

I’d had a history of being attracted to the handsome bad-boy types.  I found them exciting.  Attraction is fun and it’s exhilarating, and even addictive.  But it doesn’t last long when there are bills that can’t be paid, children who are getting sick leading to enormous medical bills, and the other everyday life sorts of problems.  Once the attraction is gone in a relationship that is based upon attraction, what’s left?  NOTHING! 

My husband and I became very good friends right from the start.  He wasn’t the “hottie” that my previous two husbands had been.  Thus, for an attraction to develop, I had to get to know him well, and allow the attraction to stem from our friendship, and to grow over time.  (Mind you, he’s not homely, but if I were back on the dating scene, I would pay very close attention to the moral-of-the-story, Beauty and the Beast!  He’s just rather plain compared to my ex’s.)  Consequently, when those old everyday problems that become overwhelming when stacked one-upon-the-next-one become too heavy, we always have our deep friendship to fall back upon!  It really works!

So what IS love?  For me, love is wanting what is best for my loved one as much as I want what is best for myself – EVEN if that means that I must make some sacrifices to participate in the achievement of his happiness.  It means that we will be two people who share singular goals for our future together.  Yes, it means being patient, respectful and kind.  What ingredients are necessary for this recipe to be successful?  Below is the recipe you can count on!

  • We must share the same common values.  Values that consist of the way in which we view: 
  • Faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in a relationship; 
  • Child-rearing values and beliefs;
  • Autonomy in a relationship;
  • Trust;
  • Commitment;
  • Open, respectful communication;
  • Compromise.

The list above requires a good deal of maturity on the part of both people in the relationship.  But for a relationship to work over the long haul, a relationship must contain the above ingredients.  Combine these ingredients, and your relationship will be successful and lasting; it will stand the test of time!

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(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Letter to My Parents (Post Has Been Moved to In Honor of All the Children!)

Letter to My Parents.

Letter to My Parents On Parenting

Dear Mama and Papa,

I love you so much. I wouldn’t be here at all, were it not for you, for you brought me into this world. It is an enormous world. One that often frightens me when I step beyond the umbrella of your loving care and protection. You’ve gone to great lengths to teach me to take baby steps out into that enormous world so that I would always have the reassurance of knowing that I can quickly retreat back to the safety of that umbrella I know as “home” should I need to do so. You face the dangers of the world for me so that I never have to worry that I am alone.

Your dedication to loving me and to providing me with the confidence and faith I need to take baby steps toward my eventual independence overwhelms my heart with gratitude. For in so doing, you provide me with the confidence I need to grow to be strong in my principles and in my convictions. You’ve explained to me how crucial those attributes will be to my being able to lead a successful adult life someday.

One of the most important gifts you have given me, is the gift of stability. I’ve not entered this world at an easy time. There is so much violence going on that I wouldn’t feel safe except for the fact that I know that I can count on your steadfast reliability. I am faced, yes, even in middle school, with the ever-changing conditions of the world outside our home. I feel afraid that nothing might ever stay the same.

I’m only twelve. I have no frame of reference from which to draw courage to face the day ahead, except that which you provide for me. I get really scared sometimes when the other kids at school talk about the world coming to an end, and all the killings in schools like mine. Daily, I worry. At those times, it is only the reassurance of your consistency that gives me hope and renews my faith in the world around me. You have always been the foundation of the inner strength upon which I am challenged, daily, to build my present and my future life. I learn from the consistent steadfastness within our family, that despite the awful conditions in the world, I can remain hopeful that there are some things I will always be able to depend upon to remain stable . . . if only my inner self.

I just wanted to write this letter to you, to thank you for doing all that you can, to stabilize my world so that I don’t have to live with constant ambiguity. Thank you for being my constant anchor in the storms that rage in the sea of the world. Thank you for teaching me how to maintain my faith that all will be well within me, no matter what. For I reaize that parenting can’t be easy.

Love,
Your Son,
Tommy

Copyright 2013-2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Overdose: Help Your Therapist Help You

Accidental overdose can be prevented by helping your helping professionals help you. I clearly recall my first two experiences with a therapist. My first experience was with an older, kindly gentleman. I’d been afraid of my anger one day when I’d shaken my six year old son who had just lit a candle and placed it underneath our infant daughter’s bed. I met with Al for a few sessions when he concluded that I was a fine parent and really had just needed someone to talk to. Immediately following our final therapy session, I went home, took three five milligram valium (about which he’d known nothing) and wrote Al an overly enthusiastic letter about my success with implementing the information I’d just finished reading in a self-help book I’d recently purchased at the local drug store. Little did Al know, I could barely remember what I’d read.

My second experience was just a few years later. I’d been living a nightmare in a bad marriage and had experienced thoughts of ending my life. Out of genuine fear that I might be tempted to act upon these thoughts, I decided to seek professional help. I intuitively realized that the levels of hopelessness and despair to which my mood had been plummeting rendered me in some very real danger. I searched the yellow pages and found a wonderful therapist. He was attentive, supportive and validating. Lord knows, I’d desperately needed to find all three qualities in a hurry. When he suggested an antidepressant medication, I knew that he’d recognized the severity of my emotional state. When he recommended ongoing therapy adding, “I don’t want you brought in here on a slab” for the first time in years, I felt my heart fill with hope. (My hope stemmed from the fact that I knew he’d not only heard, but fully realized my cry for help.) This validation was to carry me through the coming year at a time when I believe I very well might have otherwise reached the end of my rope.

Sadly, there existed a dangerously intrusive element about which I hadn’t told my therapist. That cunning and baffling saboteur was my (as yet undiagnosed) alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs. Little did he know (and little did I know it mattered) that each evening as I’d ingest my antidepressant, I’d chase it with anywhere from one to four vodka gimlets. Then, of course, were the ongoing prescriptions for Fiorinal I was ingesting every four hours without fail for chronic headaches along with the occasional valium pill for anxiety.

In many ways, I’ve credited that therapist over the years with having been one of the guardian angels who contributed to saving my life. Indeed, he played a critical role in saving this addict from herself in that his compassion came at a time when no one else was able to show me any care and concern. Could I have helped my therapist help me more effectively though? Absolutely. Without informing him of a few of the most imperative pieces of information of all, could he have unknowingly contributed to the catch-22 in which I’d unwittingly become trapped by my addiction? Absolutely. In retrospect, this had been a classic case of the blind leading the blind. He could have known nothing about my addiction. His very sincere compassion provided me the glimpse of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel I’d needed to go on fighting my exhausting battle with depression. However, needless to say, with my daily ingestion of my liquid central nervous system depressant, alcohol, the antidepressant medication he’d recommended was rendered useless. In a worst case scenario, could this have inadvertently resulted in an accidental overdose? Most definitely!

As for working through the issues he and I talked about, I was literally either too emotionally numb, or too busy riding a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows from my drug use to have been able to make any kind of progress therapeutically. Fortunately, with the searching that my ongoing misery led me to pursue, I finally located another of my guardian angels. This lady (a chemical dependency counselor) performed a merciful intervention on my addiction one morning at 2 A.M. It was that night that my addiction to pills and alcohol was “called out” into the open where it could be clearly identified, confronted and dealt with. Later that same morning, I admitted myself to a residential treatment hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Thirty-three years later, here I am, still sober and extremely grateful. It was my fond memory of that therapist’s compassion for my emotional suffering that inspired me to move forward with my dream of helping other addicts find their way out of the nightmare of addiction. I returned to college not long after having gotten into recovery from addiction, divorced my alcoholic husband who refused to quit drinking and began to experience the richness and joy of a sober life. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that my battle with addiction was easy, but having received the specialized treatment of my addiction counselor in treatment, I learned that I could face and deal with any problem that I encountered.  It became exceedingly clear to me just how fortunate I am to be alive and to have been spared suffering the agony of having taken anyone else’s life on those small town roads I’d so haphazardly, repeatedly navigated while under the influence.

So . . . . here is where you, the client, must take responsibility for being your own advocate! You absolutely must be totally open with your therapist about every medication you take and the amounts and frequency with which you use mood-altering substances. Don’t take chances with your life. Accidents usually happen because someone has been careless. Know that accidental overdoses are exactly that . . . they’re accidents that happen because someone has been careless in neglecting to research the possible dangers of mixing their prescription medication with another mood-altering substance. Whenever two mood-altering substances are mixed, each intensifies the potency of the other! Any pharmacist will gladly answer any questions you might have about any drugs and/or their interactions with one another. They can also be easily “googled” on the internet. The necessity of taking responsibility for everything we put inside our bodies cannot be overstated.

Don’t take chances with your life.

Make it your business to be in-the-know!                               

(Copyright 1974 – 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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