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Families –Who Needs Them?

Family

As we contemplate National Family Week, what are your thoughts about your family?  As a therapist having worked with hundreds and hundreds of clients, I would say that the vast majority– at least 80% – find their family challenging.  There is a lot of blame and a lot of strain.  Often balanced with love, but not always.

As they say, “you can’t choose your family”.  But I am more of the mind that you have the family you have for a reason.  When you get out of the “Drama Triangle” there are endless possibilities for personal growth and healthy connection.  Let’s first find out what the Drama Triangle is..

Each angle of the Drama Triangle represents a different way of being:

  1. Victim (poor me, not taking response-ability, blaming others.  Feels safe by being taken care of)
  2. Rescuer (teaching helplessness, feels strong by taking care of others, over-protective, distraction from own issues)
  3. Persecutor (generally dominant, abusive or blamer.  Feels strong through putting others down.  Distraction from own issues.)

These are roles we unconsciously adopt and we will have a dominant role which feels more natural.  Which do you think is your dominant role?  How easily do you flit from one to the other?

These roles are not healthy ways to interact within a family as there always has to be someone in “power”.  This teaches helplessness and means that others are either in conflict or never fulfilling their potential.

A more empowered way of being is to consider “what can I learn from my family?”  If there was a positive reason that you have been born into this family, what could it be?  To learn assertiveness?  To manage conflict constructively?  To ask for what you want?  To learn compassion?  Perspective?  Patience?  Resilience?  Lower expectations?  Increase response-ability?  To express your needs?  To acknowledge your emotions?

By finding the positive learning from your family you are empowering yourself and you are also minimising conflict.

When you see your family members as teachers (even though they don’t know it), it can really help you deal with tricky situations in a more constructive way.  You can get through challenging times learning and growing as a human being and a human doing.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2014

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist and author, and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0845 130 0854 www.yourempoweredself.co.uk.

How to Have a Stress Free Christmas

Sress Free Christmas

You may wonder why on earth I am writing about Christmas in November, but already the shops are streaming Christmas music, the shelves are full of gift ideas and, it seems, ‘tis already the season to be jolly.  If you don't start planning now, it will be too late to have a stress-free Christmas.  And we all know that Christmas can be a very stressful time. It’s the pressure of the family being together and everyone having unrealistic expectations. Many anticipate an idealised experience yet the reality can be more challenging.  It is a time to be realistic about what can be done to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone. Here are my tips to help you:

Planning is Key

Whatever you do, you need to plan Christmas well in advance to minimise the pressure.   This is where your time management and delegation skills are really useful.  Plan what to do and by when.  Just because this is the season of goodwill, doesn’t mean it all has to come from you!  Make it a team effort, in the spirit of goodwill.  Give everyone a job for the lead-up.  One person buys the groceries, another picks up the turkey, another organises the drinks, yet another arranges the tree, etc.  Make this the year that you teach people how to treat you – you are not the do-er of all things!  And, if you are one of those for whom Christmas just happens, do help out, you have no idea how hard it is to pull everything together alone.

Remember that a lot of things can be ordered on the internet – make the most of it and you save a lot of trudging around in the madness which is the Christmas crowds.

Avoiding Debt at Christmas

Budget how much you have to spend – and only what you can afford.  Christmas is about being with people you love, not about buying the most expensive present possible or having a table full to brimming with food which would feed the whole street.

Allocate how much of this budget can be spent on food and how much on presents.  Then allocate how much you will spend on each person.   Make a list of what you will buy each person and stick to it.  Sometimes the simplest presents are the best.  One of the nicest gifts I received were some hand-made biscuits beautifully packaged.   If funds are tight, consider making it a family rule that no present should exceed a nominal amount.  This can be really fun and will waken up those creative juices, avoid the family rivalry of who spent the most money and bring Christmas in line with what its really all about.

Now, make a food shopping list, and stick to it.  Many people waste a phenominal amount of food.  There’s no excuse to over-buy now as the shops are open almost every day so you can always pop out for extras.  And you don’t need every type of chocolate and every type of cheese and twelve deserts to choose from.  Moderation is key. It will help your waistline too!

The Good, The Family and the Ugly

For the actual day, delegate someone to keep the drinks topped up, another to make sure the CDs are changed regularly, a diplomat to defuse any arguments, a washing up team, someone to organise the party games and a kindly, patient soul to look after Great Uncle George.  In terms of organising the food, perhaps someone could bring a starter and someone else can bring the dessert.

You don’t have to be a hero – it’s your day too!  Involving everyone can really help develop a convivial family atmosphere if done in the right way.

High expectations often lead to disappointment and Christmas is renowned for family disputes.  Keep your Christmas sweet by being realistic about what to expect so that tiny spats don’t develop into full-blown rows.  If you see a row developing, use some diversionary tactics such as asking someone to help in the kitchen, or take the dog out for a walk or have a fun forfeit for each transgression of the peace.  The transgressor can then set the next forfeit so people know what to expect and it can be all part of the fun.

Perfect Balance

Allow yourself not to be perfect.  The most fun can be had by what goes wrong rather than what goes right.  Don’t take it all too seriously and you will enjoy it more.  Too many people suffer from sense of humour failure and this can really feed into family tensions.

Typically, we will see more of our family and more family members at Christmas than any other time of the year.  It can be pretty intense and it’s important to take some personal time out on your own.  Perhaps a leisurely bath, a walk, read a book, reflect on all the highlights of the  year.
Enjoy this season of goodwill by planning early for it.  Do you have any tips that can help others plan for their Christmas with more Merry and less stress?  Do share!

And may I take this opportunity of wishing you the best Christmas ever – it all starts now!

Warmest regards,
Tricia

PS  For gift ideas to help create positive change for the people you love, visit www.self-help-resources.co.uk.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2013

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist and author, and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0845 130 0854 www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk.

Tips for Having An Amicable Divorce

Divorce Help

 

Whatever the circumstances for the breakdown of the marriage, it is important to approach your divorce amicably.  This will enable both of you to salvage a post-divorce relationship (important if you have children); save money on solicitors’ bills and keep stress levels to a minimum.

At the time of the split, it may seem almost impossible to imagine you could have an amicable divorce. Emotions are running high and you are most probably feeling very negatively towards your husband/wife.  So how do you have an amicable divorce?

 

Here are 6 top tips:

  1. Be business-like
    This may sound cold but it is important to put aside your personal feelings for your spouse, when approaching the divorce process.
  2. Be respectful
    You may be feeling quite negative about your spouse at the moment. But remember, you once loved them, have shared your life with them and perhaps had a family with them. Respect their point of view even if you don’t agree with it.
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff
    Fighting over every small detail during the divorce is bad news. It will increase your stress levels as well as your legal costs. There can be no winners and losers in a divorce case.
  4. Put the children first
    All decisions must be made in the best interests of the children. This creates a positive environment for an on-going co-parenting relationship.
  5. Be honest
    Not being up front about information is going to cause animosity between you and your spouse when you are trying to resolve issues in the legal case. Be honest with your solicitor and your spouse.
  6. Live in the present
    Try not to dwell on the past. Unfortunately, you cannot undo what has been said and done to bring about the divorce. Live in the present to ensure you make the best decisions for your future.

©Rhiannon Ford 2012

Rhiannon Ford is a divorce coach and consultant. She provides practical help and emotional support to people going through divorce and separation. Rhiannon practised as a family law solicitor for many years, and is also a personal development coach. She uses her legal experience and coaching skills to provide clarity and comfort to help navigate her clients through the complexities of the divorce process. Find out more about her divorce consultancy services at www.rhiannonford.co.uk.