Cheating Happened, NOW what?!

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cheatingcouplepic2089831860379119432.jpegCheating Happened. NOW, WHAT?

It is a confusing time in a relationship when someone cheats. We feel angry as hell at first, then we try to decide if it is a deal-breaker. If we are dating someone, cheating is most often a definite deal-breaker. But many times, cheating happens within a marital relationship. When cheating happens in marriage, it is not always assumed that the big-“D” is coming.

The Decision can be Doomsday -staying focused on the feelings of a potential dissolved relationship or view it as a wakeup call to resolve issues. It can keep you bound in the thoughts of the Deception or alert you to deal with what went wrong. It can feel Devastational- but can be a catalyst for meeting unmet needs or facing unfulfilled desires.

It can stay Disastrous- and keep one partner in victim mode- or be the bridge toward having the intimacy that was lost.

It can be a Dreaded journey of bitterness, anger and lost hope or a beginning toward rediscovering each other.

It can be the most Difficult time of your life or the most enlightening as to what your future holds for you.

You can stay in a Depressive state of being over the past incident, or choose to move forward in a positive directionIt can hold you hostage with Discouragement, or help you grow wings to soar.

It can provide for you insightful knowledge that gives you a new Direction toward forgiveness and healing. Or it can lead you toward leaving, but still needing to forgive and heal, which equals the Biggest “D”….DIVORCE. But no matter which path ‘you decide’ on, forgiveness and healing is required to have a positive emotional future.

If you cheated, or if your spouse did; TRUST was the key ingredient that has now been compromised. For a relationship to have a positive flow, trust cannot be broken. Chances are, trust was broken down long before the cheating began; not in every case, but usually -it is the case.

Cheating in the eye of the cheater seems to get justified by the wrongful actions of the non-cheater (the victim) in a relationship.

Cheaters usually do not take the time to identify and/or communicate their unmet needs, or they feel unheard -unappreciated -misunderstood or neglected in some way; so they go out to try to fill these unmet needs by emotionally and/or sexually connecting to someone else.

In some cases, the cheater feels like they did try to tell their partner, but to no avail. So, therefore, instead of explaining that they are unhappy and want to separate, or express their need to go get couples counseling, they avoid this action. To fill their void, they just slowly attract to what fills their unmet needs: a person who takes and shows interest with them. Then they slowly, without realizing it, emotionally connect to someone, which sometimes leads to sometimes sexually connecting- to that person.

Cheating is a false sense of satisfaction and it is not a remedy for fixing relationship problems; it makes them worse. Cheating is never justified, no matter how wrong the behavior is with the non-cheating partner. Cheating is a wrongful choice. Conflict can be resolved, compromised, discussed, and dealt with. Cheating requires a lot more than ceasing the affair, it requires a long span of time to recover, heal, forgive, rebuild trust, and repair the things that were broken before the affair! Even if couples call it quits after infidelity; recovering, healing, forgiving, and rebuilding trust is still needed, especially if couples must co-parent together after splitting up.

Healing after cheating is not something that magically happens with one counseling session, nor does it resolve after the victim receives a remorseful apology, if or when the cheater may ask for forgiveness.

Healing is a long process that takes time, patience, quality communication, understanding, listening, and adhering to boundaries that may feel uncomfortable for the sake of the ‘rebuilding trust process’ that must take place.

The most difficult part of healing after cheating for the ‘cheated on’ person in the relationship is not only having to rebuild trust and all the crazy emotions that go along with that but how to eliminate the thoughts replaying in their head; the “would of…could of…should of…thoughts” of doubt and self-blame that go along with being cheated on.

The victim sometimes is made to feel responsible by the cheater. The cheater will often say things like…” well you never….” or “you always…” or “you just didn’t listen to me…” etc. Somehow, the cheater tries to continually justify their wrongful behavior and choice with blaming their spouse for their own unmet expectations. Let’s get one fact out in the open, here and now:

Behavior that you don’t like, current conflict with a partner, unmet expectations, or unbecoming behaviors or attitudes of a lover -NEVER- justify cheating.

Solving existing conflict doesn’t correct itself by going outside the relationship in secret, and starting a new one! A cheater usually does have thoughts and feelings that are negative toward their partner, but the correct and mature and responsible way to deal with those unmet needs, or unwanted behaviors-is to talk about them, and seek counseling to resolve them.

If unmet needs cannot be filled, or if the solutions are not reached, that is when a person should speak up and express their desire to separate from the relationship.

A person should be confident enough in what they want enough~ to express it. So, cheating happened. We can’t undo that. But what we can do, is to learn how to express our needs to our partner. BOTH partners need to sharpen their communication skills. Our partners should never, ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable sharing their deeper thoughts and feelings with each other. Partners should never feel fearful to share constructive criticism.

In many cases, a cheating partner wants out -but continues to ‘blame the split’ on the non-cheating partner, placing fault on them. The cheater sometimes has a history of building up a record of wrongs for weeks or months or even years as if they are on a mission to try and make their partner seem inadequate for them, which then justifies their reasons for cheating and leaving their partner. Reality is that those weeks or months or years they spent in the blaming mode- focusing on what behaviors they didn’t like, were all building up in their own head, causing them the inability to express their needs and work on unmet expectations.

If you were the cheater in the relationship and you definitely want a divorce; keep in mind, you made your emotional disconnection long before your spouse even began to, and maybe they still haven’t! So as you approach your separation and divorce, be cautious not to treat the situation as though it is mutual. In the non-cheaters mind, no matter their past behaviors, the divorce is about infidelity, not irreconcilable differences.

If you are the person who does not want to reconcile (cheater or non-cheater) then you need to free yourself by expressing your unwillingness to reconcile.

If or When either partner keeps trying to deflect responsibility for marital problems onto the other unjustly- it will cause major conflict.

It’s hard to imagine this, but why be angry if someone doesn’t ‘want’ to love you and work things out? Isn’t it their loss? Do you feel you were at your very best, giving your very best?

The formula for a healthy marriage is:

1 emotionally healthy individual + 1 emotionally healthy individual = A Healthy Marriage! ~Life Coach Annalisa O’Toole

If you were the cheater, wouldn’t the love you show, possible willingness to reconcile, humble apology, disconnection from the relationship you had outside your marriage,  not be enough for them? If you are feeling this way, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your partner needs time to process, accept, and forgive in order to heal.

If you were cheated on, you may be feeling 3 different things…and what you should do:

  1. I might be able to try to forgive and trust again~ if I feel my partner is genuinely sorry and genuinely loves me and wants to work together to rebuild.

If you feel this, seek couples counseling.

  1. I definitely know I can not move forward with this infidelity that happened, and I admit I am not able to work through the forgiveness and trust right now, it is far too devastating.

If you feel this way, confidently tell your partner.

  1. I need more time.

If you feel this way, confidently tell your partner, consider counseling.

Interestingly enough, most cheaters are in reality, unhappy with their self. Many times they haven’t mastered knowing what they really want in life, so they fall prey to a quick infatuation that can provide a false sense of satisfaction. Sadly, most affairs are temporary seasons of happiness, and do not fulfill the voids they lacked in the first relationship, to begin with! And, without personal growth of ‘both partners’, their relationship (if they stay together) will have pop up problems in the future because they didn’t take an inventory of weaknesses, and learn from them, making changes to support an emotionally healthy connection. But even more devastation comes from getting a divorce having never gone through the personal growth work of recognizing your weaknesses, learning from them, and eliminating the same issues which may rise up in a future relationship!!

Cheating happens for many reasons, but several most common causes are:

  1. A person is not emotionally healthy enough to communicate their deepest needs to their partner; so they seek those needs elsewhere. It sometimes isn’t intentional, it just happens slowly. A cheater slowly feels the joy outside the marriage, that they somehow either don’t have, don’t work for, or don’t recognize ‘inside’ the marriage.
  2. A person does not feel safe or comfortable expressing their needs, for fear of rejection, fear of confrontation, or fear of not being heard and understood.
  3. A person prides themselves on being the support, leader, giver, fixer, provider, etc…so they actually feel “selfish” to express unfulfilled needs, they don’t want to tell their partner their negative feelings, (what is missing) (since most of the time, whatever the partner lacks, they pick up the slack on) so they gradually fall prey…elsewhere.
  4. A person is not feeling heard, appreciated, or supported by their partner, even though they try to communicate their needs, they don’t feel understood. Instead of investing time to fix this, they gravitate toward a person who makes them feel understood …elsewhere.
  5. A person is not receiving what they need most, and so an affair gives them a sense of affirmation that fills their unmet needs, temporarily, which creates a new emotional connection which causes the first emotionally connected relationship -to diminish.

Even if someone cheats, it is possible to consider a reconciliation. If you are currently confused about your marriage, or your relationship, because you were a cheater, or were cheated on…

Here are the 5 key questions to consider while your emotions are on a roller coaster as to ‘stay or not stay’ in the relationship which was compromised…

  1. Does the cheater feel remorse? Do they, or have they expressed a humble, sincere, heartfelt sadness for their behavior? This sense of guilt should not at all be confused with having fear of separation, or potential divorce. This guilt or humbled request for forgiveness should be real, not just ‘words’- and not initiated due to the possibility that the ‘cheating relationship’ didn’t work out, so the cheater just wants to go back to normal…
  2. Does the “cheating” spouse seem to have unstable emotions? …it is expected that the non-cheating spouse has unstable emotions…(shock, grief, depression, anger, resentment, bitterness, etc) but if a cheating person has severe mood swings, where you find it hard to understand what they are thinking and feeling, it probably isn’t a good time to communicate on details about your future relationship. If a person seems to want one thing one day, and on another day -they are focused entirely in another direction, they most likely, need more space. This is a sign that the unstable person (could be the cheater or the non-cheater) needs more time to evaluate his/her needs as an individual, and need more work in the self-development department before re-committing to be a team together.
  3. Does/Did the victim of the cheating spouse take responsibility for the unmet needs of the cheater prior to the affair? If a partner was/is willing to admit mistakes AND a willingness to make corrections for those mistakes, going forward, and can truthfully say they can forgive (either now or sometime in the future) and move forward, then these are positive signs things could work toward reconciliation.
  4. Was the non-cheating spouses’ needs met by their partner prior to the affair? In other words, was there distance- or everything seemed fine? If everything seemed fine, and the non-cheater was blindsided by the affair, it means that there were unmet needs -and possibly still are unhealthy traits in the cheater; examples being: inability to express what they want, but pretending all is well; not able to express deep thoughts and feelings and not feeling understood; but not sharing these details; or taking ‘space’ in a relationship making their partner feel they are working on things; but that time was spent cheating. (Characteristic: dishonesty) If someone has not overcome unhealthy characteristics – it would not be wise to consider reconciliation.
  5. If both partners erased the “affair” from their mind- pretending it didn’t happen and they were faced with only the feelings for one another, their communication with one another, and their personal needs that they need to be filled- would there be a score of 8+ in each category if the scale was 1-weakest and 10-strongest between them in each of those areas?

Examples would be:

Feelings:

10 = feeling close and attracted to my partner

1 = no attraction and don’t feel close at all.

Communication:

10 = we can talk and we understand each other, rarely argue

1= We fight. All. the. Time.

Personal needs met:

10 = My needs are always met by my partner.

1 = I don’t think my partner has any clue what I need most.

This test shows the work involved to reconcile beyond the work involved in rebuilding trust back! It helps couples evaluate whether the numbers reflect ease or difficulty of the reconciliation process. If numbers are low in these areas, working through a trust will be harder. If numbers are high, couples stand a better chance of resolving their issues and working through conflicts.

One of the biggest mistakes couples make after infidelity is playing the ‘blame game’ -blaming their partner for being unhappy with their present relationship, and naming all the wrong things their partner has done or is doing- as if this justifies their choice or reason for stepping out or not wanting to reconcile. This sometimes goes on for years.

It is much more freeing emotionally to know clearly what it is you need most, and decide if that criteria is realistic in your partner’s ability to meet those needs, or seek counsel to determine if they can.

Sometimes, we can love someone but just can not live with them. Sometimes we cannot feel deeply loved by them because they just don’t take the time to meet our deepest needs. Or…we have built up the record of wrongs for so long in our minds, any thought of a positive emotional connection to reignite a flame is impossible because it would make all of our hard work that created a “wrongful partner” seem as though we lied!

Don’t let pride or your record of wrongs stand in the way of reconciling. If you feel your partner is capable of loving you and meeting your needs and overcoming their inability to communicate their deepest thoughts and feelings, initiate a humble reconciliation. But if your partner has a hardened heart, you should either hold out …giving them time to heal and forgive, or make the decision it would continue hardening your heart to do that, and move on. Only you can decide what God may be leading you to do. There is not a best friend, a family member or even a counselor who can make the best decision for you. Only you, and divine connected guidance within you can decide if your future includes your partner, or if your feeling led away from them.

To divorce or not to, to move back in or not to, to reconcile your differences, or not to … lies between you…God …and your deep inner knowing, of what is best. Our deepest yearnings, those are our invisible compasses, guiding us toward joy. Our spirit is always trying hard to lead us toward joy. “Forget reason”…”forget religious laws”…those are things our inner soul speaks to us…” go here, where it feels good”…..that is our divine nature. To feel love. Acceptance. Joyful experiences. Belonging. We need it so badly, we forget that sometimes wrongful places and people illuminate the belief that we can capture the good things we need elsewhere, and avoid the feelings of ‘lack’ we may be feeling, elsewhere. Many of those illuminations are just illusions or false beliefs that seem real. They feel so real. Many of these, are fake. Fake illusions of our deepest needs. It’s trickery. ‘Bloom where you are planted’ is a powerful quote. But then so is this quote…

When the pain of remaining the same grows greater than the pain of making a change, we change. ~author unknown

When our feelings of lack expand in one area,                                                          our feelings of fulfillment expand in another!!~Coach Annalisa O’Toole

If you genuinely try to communicate, take steps toward your personal growth, learn from your mistakes, openly communicate what you need, and your partner is still not hearing you, this determines that your partner is not working on their own personal growth. If your partner is not accepting responsibility for their actions, or openly and positively receiving constructive criticism…it may mean you need more time and space, or you may feel God guiding you another direction.

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a moment,

some for a season, and some for a lifetime.

Pray about your situation and go with your gut feeling. No one should stay in a situation that feels constantly resistant- but no one should give up over a mistake if/when someone deeply loves you and you just don’t want to go through the work- that would be tragic too. Sometimes we just know when it’s time to let go. Sometimes we just know ~we need to hold on. Also, remember this…

When a person really loves someone, they would not need to be asked, prompted, or swayed by a counselor, a clergyman or anyone else to meet their partner’s needs because it should come naturally to them, to not only recognize what their lover needs, but meet those needs lovingly, and consistently.

“Love wins; every vibrational emotion below love,                                              either helps us learn or lose.”~LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

Test your emotions by viewing this chart below for where you are feeling emotionally, where your energy vibrational number is, God’s view of that state, and the process you’re in.

We can not control what other’s will say or do, but we can control our reaction and response to them, ultimately controlling our own emotions for our desired state of wellness! ~LifeCoach Annalisa

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a personal or Relationship issue, reach out to me, by calling, texting, or seeking more information at my website!

Life & Relationship Coach,

Annalisa O’Toole

678.431.6528

http://www.askannalisa.com

Is Controversy YOUR new Normal?

Every. Single. Day. There it is, right there in the headlines; a major controversial theme for the day, which can sometimes take over the news and media for weeks. Saints vs. Rams, Native American vs. Catholic teens, Wall funding vs. Congress, Kavenough vs. Ford, the list could go on for days on end. It has become such a normal part of our daily living, daily news, and daily conversations that I am very concerned for our marriages, our newlyweds, our premarital couples, our young adults, and our future leaders!

The constant controversy we are faced with on a regular basis from companies, groups, National sports leagues, and well-renowned organizations has become the new normal, and nothing can be more damaging toward creating peace and unity! If this has become the ‘norm’ in media, in TV reality shows, in the press, and all over social media- how in the world could families refrain from making this the norm in their own homes and in their most precious and valued relationships with loved ones, spouses, and especially with their children?

This new acceptable form of daily conflict seems innocent, and unavoidable at times; but what is happening is, ‘MEDIA’ is taking ‘clips’ of happenings, or small segments of words or phrases spoken, and developing a negative story out of it; creating perspectives that would sometimes, and often, be non-existent if the ENTIRE message, or ENTIRE video, or ALL the facts were presented, to begin with.

Our controversial culture is wreaking havoc in the subconscious minds of everyone! We literally have become immune to acts of controversial behaviors assuming everyone will adapt and it will be fully acceptable!

This couldn’t be farther from the truth!

DON’T LET THIS NORMALIZATION OF CONFLICT BE YOURS TOO!!

Even one of the fruits of the spirit in the Bible states having forbearance, which means, don’t have resistance, don’t challenge and push for things, have self-control. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. …

If every day we brought a ‘new’ problem to the table within our family or in our workplace, or in our community, everyone would be in discord, major dysfunction, and a breakdown of love and trust would diminish!

When an environment is a never-ending pool of different perspectives, different opinions, and arguments, there is conflict continually. Successful families and companies have positive flowing relationships when they can create an atmosphere that promotes positivity, results, praise, respect, and admiration. The following guidelines are helpful to create unity within groups, teams, partnerships, and families:

  • There is kindness; even expressed when providing constructive criticism. We don’t ‘bash’ the child or spouse or employee, we express our discord with ‘choices’ or ‘behaviors’.
  • There are boundaries and rules, and they are conveyed as to what and how they should be followed; if homes have no children; spouses express preferences to each other and each partner works hard to conform to their partner’s desires in an effort to please each other.
  • There are consequences for not complying to boundaries that everyone agreed to in a family; or set forth by the leader, parent, President, or top authority figure. Without adequate consequences, there would be chaos, and no one would have any reason to adhere to the boundaries, much less comply.
  • There is respect. Not everyone will agree, or like all the boundaries, rules, or laws put into place; but under the leadership or parental units, or companies where people have hatred, or a deep dislike, or a strong disagreement; it is the mature responsibility of those individuals to understand this very important principle: If you don’t like the management, you have a few choices: leave the company/family/relationship/group, move out or away from your current authority submitting yourself to new leadership or management, or you rise up to be the leader yourself! But if you remain in the situation, and your way of dealing with it is to badger, criticize, complain, cause dissension, disrupt others peace, you have caused strong negative energies to take over within you, and it wreaks havoc to all those around you. Why engage in actions to yourself and others that cause thoughts and emotions to suffer?

If you are in a family, group or company that argues and has a lot of dysfunction and problems, you have a few choices.

You can stay in the situation (hoping it changes; trying to change it- which often creates constant resistance and lowers everyone’s energy vibrations and emotions! Unless all parties can communicate effectively or seek counseling) Problem rarely gets resolved

Leave the situation (get a new job, move out, or ignore and distance yourself from the problem or person) -problem remains

Argue, or try to ‘WIN’ (a useless, virtually never successful effort) lowers emotional state & problem remains.

In all the above remedies: problem remains. Division, discouragement, bitterness, resentment, blame, negative emotions, hard-spiritedness, dissension, and discord are all results of staying insistent on getting your way.

Compromise is where two parties both ‘step off’ of certain desires, and ‘allow’ for some unwanted things. The keyword here: BOTH parties must give & take.

The only time a person should stand their ground is if a choice is made without their consent- against their will or against their desire- that person afflicted should not be held accountable in any way (financially or otherwise) because someone else made a wrong choice. Example: Son breaks family TV when he threw a ball in the house. Mom thinks the parents should replace it, describing the incident as an accident. Dad, on the other hand, feels the Son should relinquish his allowance, seek new neighbors yards to cut for money, and do whatever else it takes to buy a new TV.

Would the parents replacing the TV be teaching the child how life works? If the parents were not in the child’s life in 5 years, the same scenario happened in college, would the child feel like ‘all’ the roommates should chip in to recover the cost of a TV… since, after all, it WAS an accident? Or, would the child have grown up realizing that we are all responsible for our mistakes- purposeful and accidental mistakes?

Love wins. Patience endures. Kindness calms. Thoughtfulness encourages. Non-resistance compromises.

Sometimes we must come to the realization that we can’t keep trying to have our expectations met, it is so emotionally draining.

Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Letting go of trying so hard to make a point can be energizing. If someone has a different value system, your point is mute anyway.

Sometimes, it is best to do the following when a difficult person says or does something against our better wishes:

  • Pause.
  • Shake our head. (release that negative feeling!)
  • Realize that sometimes the other person resisting our decision is based solely on their own fears or levels of insecurities.

Each day does not have to include drama. Be a drama-diffuser. Here are the best ways to reduce drama, cease potential arguments- and keep positive flowing energy at work and at home.

A person has a critical argument or comment:

Your Response: That’s interesting.

A person has a negative statement or complaint:

Your Response: What are your ideas to fix that?

A person is going on and on with Blame…blame…blame:

Your Response: What are your plans moving forward since you can’t change the past?

A person has a project or something unreasonable for you to do:

Response: My answer is no, but I’m willing to compromise with the idea to ____________________.

Try hard not to let our present day culture that has developed a ‘normalcy’ to drama and conflict, be your method of everyday operation as well! The Nations leaders may not be in constant unity, but our relationships, families, and workplaces can be!!

Be happy within yourself, and kindness will flow. Be content and grateful, and appreciation will come naturally. Be a person with no expectations, and you’ll rarely be disappointed.

Don’t take things personally. Don’t assume. Always honor your word. And always, do your very best. ~The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Less conflict = more peace!🤗✌

Life & Relationship Coach,

Annalisa O’Toole

askannalisa.com

10 Steps for Struggling couples

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couples siloughette

Relationships, unfortunately, don’t have a 3 month, 3000 miles rule for going in and getting a tune-up or oil, filter, lube! But just as important as keeping our auto maintenance periodically, our relationships need checkups too, especially if couples have pushed unresolved issues under the rug over and over for years, and they tend to surface over and over, and they seem to be facing the same problems over and over.

Something to remember is that when a person goes years layering the problems and keeping a record of wrongs in their mind, these records tend to fester and grow bigger the more they think about them, and the more they share them with others, who most likely share their victim stories, and then that only adds fuel to the flame as well.

Conflict resolution means two things. It means a willingness for both parties to participate in being teachable toward listening to possible solutions and guidelines and choose their best path. And second, both people admitting their own personal weaknesses and mistakes, taking responsibilities for those, admitting faults, and moving forward in a positive direction toward compromise and forgiveness.

Coaching and counseling fails if one person has their mind set on the deadset belief that the coaching or counseling session is going to be focused on ‘setting their partner straight’ about some things. In other words, they feel that the counselor is going to hear their view, and going to ‘change their partner’. It will always be the coach or counselors position to hear both parties, and present ideas and suggestions that both people in the relationship may choose as a compromise, so that both parties feel they are working together as a team, and that they are both benefiting from a solution, and working together. Sometimes, however, suggestions will be outside the comfort zone of someone. That is because to accommodate our partners in relationships, change is often a part of successful flowing relationships. This does not mean, however, that we are supposed to change in ways that are uncomfortable, or feel unnatural to us. If there is a change our partner wants us to make that is outside of our comfort zone, we have a very HUGE decision to make, and we all know what that is. We must ask ourselves,

Can I continue to live with and love this person, creating this change in my life, and in theirs, easily and comfortably, without feeling resistance to this change, for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship?

If the answer is yes, you can stay in this relationship without hardship. If the answer is no, you will have a big decision to make.

The reason I love this question is that this question helps us evaluate ‘ourselves’; rather than continue to blame, or point the finger toward our partner. People tend to say things like this…

“Well, if my spouse would just stop…….and then they finish this sentence with whatever behavior is unbecoming…this idea sets up the belief that the problem lies solely outside of their self.

OR this one…

“Well, if only he/she would start ________more, then I would be more________.

They tend to fill in this sentence with whatever they desire from their partner to justify their reason to step up.

Here’s the major part of how this all has to work though. There has to be quality communication about what changes are necessary if any. What does need changing? What needs are being unmet? Has each partner even discussed their personal needs with each other? Why do we struggle? What are the fights about? What are the issues? Here are the 10 steps to get back on track to being friends, having fun, communicating, laughing together, finding that passion, and rediscovering the marriage you once thrived on!

  1. Make your needs list. Exchange it, and work on filling each other’s needs. DAILY.
  2. Buy the LOVE LANGUAGES book. Read it together. Know yours. Know Theirs.
  3. Buy the movie: FIREPROOF. WATCH IT together, ASAP. No Interruptions.
  4. Hire a Life Coach or Counselor, but be open, be teachable. It takes 2!
  5. Talk, Don’t Argue. If emotions get elevated; take a break.
  6. Work on your Communication skills. The NO’s of communicating: no interrupting, no yelling, no blaming, no bringing up the past, no name calling, no going to bed mad, no threats, no ultimatums, no defensiveness, no changing subjects; stay on topic.
  7. Anger will never fix anything but only brew more anger. Talk in a calm manner.
  8. Forgive. Unforgiveness is like paying rent for a home you don’t live in or visit.
  9. Don’t keep a record of wrongs, in your head, or verbally expose them to others about your partner, this just keeps the negative energy alive and continuing.
  10. Start new today with a new attitude of moving forward with positive new ideas for a positive future! You must believe it to achieve it!

For more life coaching information- visit http://www.askannalisa.com or find Life Coach Annalisa on Facebook or other sites as Coach Annalisa or Ask Annalisa!

Ask Annalisa!

Do you have a child, or do you RAISE one?

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childpicParenting has two parts. The two parts are two different things. There’s the first part of parenting; the act of ‘becoming’ a parent, where you actually created a child, the child was born, and now you are either a Mother or Father in name only. The second part of parenting, the more committed part, is where parenting isn’t about the simpleness of claiming the title of such a privilege, but the act of loving and caring for the child day in and day out. Even a parent who doesn’t live with their child should know and understand that an emotionally connected parent is the one engaged in their child’s life enough to promote the child earning respect for them. An absent parent = absent respect. A child learns more about their parent’s values by being around the parent.  A parent who is actively engaged in their child’s life, learns about their child’s intentions, and is in a position to guide, support, and mentor the child with the end goal being raising and developing a responsible, kind, confident, and stable adult that strives to succeed in life to their fullest potential. The responsibility for this development shouldn’t be left to only one parent; but all too often, it unfortunately is. Some divorced parents use the excuse that their child never calls them, or reaches out to them. It is not the responsibility of a child (a young, sensitive, undeveloped mind, with an undeveloped level of people skills and maturity) to reach out to a parent; quite the contrary. It is the responsibility of each parent, regardless of a living situation, to reach out to their child, on a regular basis to create and build a strong relationship. It is not the child’s responsibility to be the only initiator for staying in contact or to plan to spend time together.

According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau every two years (and most recently in December 2011), there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 22 million children.

Single parenting doesn’t always mean that only one parent is raising a child. Many cases of divorced or unmarried parents are co-parenting together, meaning that they both share in the responsibility of teaching, mentoring, disciplining, supporting, encouraging, and paying for the child’s needs. Some of the co-parenting arrangements still involve one parent paying support to the primary custodial parent, while some parents choose to have no child support, but split the child’s costs. There are some children who actually live in two homes; they split their time between both parent’s houses. There are judges in the US that are beginning to award the child support be directly deposited into a child’s bank account, versus being paid directly to the primary custodial parents account when a child is a certain age, and the parent’s income is substantial for this scenario to be beneficial for the child (usually a teenager). But, while money is necessary for raising a child, emotional connections from BOTH parents are more important. If a child grows up feeling loved and supported by both parents, it creates strong trust in their own relationships. A child may not remember the tennis shoes a parent bought them on their 9th birthday, but they will definitely remember if one parent didn’t come to their party to celebrate. A child may not be affected by who pays for their car insurance while they are in high school or college; but you can be rest assured, they will remember if their parent supported them by spending time with them teaching them how to drive. A child may not recall how parents split the cost or didn’t share in paying for braces, but they will surely remember who dives them to their monthly appointments and takes them to the drug store for the supplies, and talks with them about dental care, and idea’s to implement for relieving pain. In all of these common scenarios, it is ‘time’, ‘attention’, and ‘helpfulness’ to a child that instills a strong relationship between a parent and a child.

There is a saying that has been posted about parenting that hits a home run in my opinion, on conveying the difficult task of preparing a child for their future. This quote sums up almost all of what a parents job really is, beyond making a child feel loved, of course.

theroad~Our job as parents is to prepare our children for the road…

not prepare the road for our children.~

It is a difficult task to be in the constant care of a child which involves maintaining organization, scheduling, food preparation, medical attention, discipline, schooling issues, social intervention, teaching, mentoring, hygiene, extracurricular activities, and spiritual guidance. If only one parent is handling these tasks, it means that a child is only getting influenced by that one parent’s perspectives. Even if two people are no longer living together as parents, the child still deserves to know and be encouraged about all of their life’s many twists and turns from both parents.

In many cases, a parent who is ‘not’ the primary custodial parent (the parent the child lives with full-time) feels that sending a child support check, and calling occasionally, is being a parent. News Flash!! Money isn’t what a child needs emotionally. Money is not where a child learns kindness, or patience, or how to talk to an adult with respect. Money doesn’t instill confidence, nor does it reinforce certain values and principles that often get pushed aside because parents are too busy. Values, like loving your neighbor as you love yourself; or the golden rule, treating others the way you would want to be treated are reinforced when a child has both parents guiding them on a regular basis. And if only one parent is trying desperately to persuade a child towards loving and honoring God, but another parent doesn’t engage in the child’s life enough to demonstrate their spiritual walk, how will a child learn the importance of the most important relationship in all of life, connecting to their heavenly Father? And here’s an amazing point: How will a child learn- that maybe, the primary parents perspective may be a little ‘off’ if they don’t have a differing perspective from their own blood-line to compare it to?

Too many non-custodial parents are viewing their young child’s life as they would a friend; they believe the relationship is a 50/50 exchange. If the 50/50 exchange was what marriage counted on; everyone would be divorced. If the 50/50 belief (you give this relationship 50%, and I’ll give this relationship 50%) were what all friendships counted on, there would be far fewer friendships in this world! The truth is, young children didn’t ask to be part of split families. They did not ‘choose’ to have both parents living in two different places. They are not thinking of their family relationships as something they have to invest in. Children and teens are naturally focused on themselves. All children are consumed with playing, school, friendships, and extracurricular (sports, gaming, clubs, social media, etc) It isn’t psychologically in a child’s mind to think like an adult with a thought that might be like this: “Oh yeah, haven’t made plans with Grandma & Grandpa in a while, I should call them and get on their calendar.”…..

The most important thing a parent can ever do for their child, (regardless of ANY living arrangement, regardless of geographical locations, regardless of income, regardless of the support payments or non-payments, regardless of any issue between the non-married parental figures) is to show love, show up, show support, show encouragement, show that you are engaged in their life, show that you’re interested in their life by being there with them. Show them you will be there IN PERSON to guide them along their journey as they develop their own values, their own passions.

~Our children are learning how to be the future parents by our actions; which will be developing our grandchildren.~

In the case of Parental Alienation…

Wikipedia: Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a term coined by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner, and introduced in his 1985 paper,[1] to describe a suite of distinctive behaviors he argued were shown by children who have been psychologically manipulated into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members – typically, by the other parent and during child custody disputes.[1][2]

…it is VITAL divorcing parents research the after-effects of this tragedy) the targeted, alienated parent must continue to pray, reach out with love, and be patient, allowing God to embrace the children with truth and the courage around the child to reunite with the lost parent. In no way, should a parent lose hope, or be angry; children can not be held responsible for estranging themselves, when they were led (either passively or deliberately) to shun a parent in their life; especially when no abuse, neglect, nor abandonment was present.

Parents shouldn’t just be a distant figure the child hears from every now and then; a real parent shows up LIVE, and IN PERSON, next to their child on a regular basis, talking to them, looking them in the eye, spending quality TIME with them, demonstrating their perspectives about life.  An engaged parent is the one a child can depend on in happy times of celebration and in sad times of defeat. Our children need both parents. Children don’t deserve to be deprived of the two people in their life that are the sole responsible parties for their development, the support, the encouragement, the love, and the installation of life’s important lessons. The most important life lesson being…..learning how YOU connect to God and how you live out YOUR life in Faith and not fear. Children learn what they see, not what they hear. 

For more relationship or parenting advice, follow this blog! Visit annalisaotoole.com for more info on Life Coaching. For ordering audio downloads, or to learn about an upcoming debuting PODCAST, The Ask Annalisa Show, available beginning June 1st: visit: www.askannalisa.com. 

 

 

 

Why can’t I meet ‘THE ONE”? ~a guide to successful dating practices~

datingFirst of all, let’s review your THOUGHTS. Since your thoughts create emotions, and your emotional vibrations play a direct role in manifesting and attracting what you want, we should work on your thoughts.

If your thoughts are the same as the title of this blog: ‘Why can’t I’…(a double negative thought) this creates the same. In other words, if you believe you can never or will never do something…you will continue to not do it. You will never do it. So, your first tip in manifesting your soul mate, or the person of your dreams, is this: BELIEVE you can attract them. Then, think thoughts, and express words that allow your belief, words and thoughts that express the desire you want. So, shift your thoughts and feelings to this:

  • I will be meeting ‘the one’ soon.
  • I am ready to meet the one.
  • I am attracting the one.
  • I know ‘the perfect’ companion is arriving.
  • I believe the perfect mate is on their way.

One close friend of mine, believed so deeply in this concept of preparing and expecting his ideal mate, he actually rearranged his home in a way to prepare for her! He cleaned out the closet, and made half the space empty, ready for her things! He only uses 1/2 of the medicine cabinet in his bathroom, I think he even bought a new toothbrush and tooth paste and placed them in their new packaging in the bathroom drawer!

The next shift toward meeting your ideal mate, besides believing and preparing, and thinking thoughts that speak life into this desire, is to become the very best YOU. I hope you are not making the mistake of thinking that the ideal mate is your ‘end-all’ for solving your loneliness, or will end your yearning for companionship. Thinking a mate will rescue you from any pain, is a lie many people fall into believing.

You will be amazingly interesting, amazingly intriguing and ultimately attractive when you have passion in your life. When you are aiming for something that is enthusiastically driving you to serve in an area where you are using your creative talents, using your skills and gifts to help others, you will not likely make the mistake of being needy-clingy. Nor will you tolerate a mate who is. Maybe it’s your career, maybe it’s a part-time thing, or maybe you are at the beginning of figuring it out. However, if you have no idea what your calling is, or have no dream or excitement that drives you, you may want to consider spending some time on yourself, take a break from dating, or ‘trying’ to meet the right one. Going on a personal growth journey can be invigorating! Did you ever watch the movie, or read the book, Eat, Pray, Love? Fabulous.

Here’s a major News Flash: How will you know WHO you want, and if they will connect with you on a deep level, if you don’t know who YOU are, or where YOU’RE headed? How will you know if someone aligns with your dreams, aspirations, retirement plans, or mission, or values, if you haven’t discovered those for yourself? Everyone has a dream, everyone has a calling. I hope you’re not expecting another person to complete you. I hope Hollywood hasn’t saturated your mind with the notion that a love affair is the answer to make all of life’s crazy problems disappear!!

Falling in love will put a temporary hold on your existing issues. Discover your Calling, work toward that, and when you attract the right person, everything will line up perfectly.

A third vital step to meeting THE ONE, is knowing who you want. Do you have a list? I always encourage singles to ‘make the list’. This is a real, written out, bullet point list of all the traits you love, all the characteristics you need. Believe your worthy of this ideal person. Believe this person exists. Believe in God’s guidance toward attracting this person to you in His way, in His time. A big mistake I see in coaching single adults over the years is people having the same mentality about dating as we all had when we were young. It is the cycle that runs a little like this:

  • The Attraction: chemistry with someone based on looks and personality first.
  • The Hook: trying to see if they are interested, and will go out with you, or ask you out.
  • The Hopefulness: dating this person, hoping they will turn out to be everything you need!
  • The Reality: learning their flaws, believing they will change, or that these flaws won’t bother you much
  • The Let down: you are emotionally connected, intimately involved, and  scared you may be realizing they may not be suited for a ‘forever’ relationship with you.

A better, healthier, emotionally stable scenario for dating should run like this:

  • The Meeting: the first time you meet; you learn some interesting things and are intrigued.
  • The Talking stage: talking on the phone, or texting, getting to know them.
  • The Dating: Learning all you can, for as long as you can BEFORE becoming emotionally attached to them, intimate with them, Evaluating if their values and priorities jive with yours!
  • The 90 day rule: Don’t give up the cookie for 90 days. See if you can sustain getting to know them for at least 90 days before you become committed, or enter an ‘exclusive’ relationship. This way, you can feel assured that you have spent time discovering and evaluating whether or not they are safe, healthy, kind, and meet other important traits on your list. A great book that includes this awesome idea, is Steve Harvey’s, Act like a Woman, Think like a Man. 

If you have been dating, and you possibly are experiencing some of the following results, These are RED FLAGS. Red Flags are cautions about behaviors that usually do not produce positive, successful relationships.  Remember (this had a HUGE impact on me when I first read it) “We only allow people to treat us in a manner that matches how we really feel about ourselves” —WOW. Where is your deserve level?  Do you need to raise it?

If any of these Red Flags are happening, it is wise to try and re-evaluate your decisions about dating this person.

  • The person you’re dating is dating other people, so you feel confused and jealous.
  • The person you’re dating is not always available, and your unsure as to why.
  • The person you’re dating is needy, calls all the time, and is overly concerned with you.
  • The person you’re dating is emotionally unavailable; but seems to be into you
  • The person you’re dating won’t talk about where your relationship stands
  • The person you’re dating sleeps with you, but will not commit to being exclusive
  • The person you’re dating has an addiction. (drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, gambling, or other…)
  • The person you’re dating is unstable. (Not working, not responsible, not taking care of themselves but relying on others for meeting their basic needs)
  • The person you’re dating does not share your views spiritually
  • The person you’re dating does not share your same values about food, diet, and nutrition, or a healthy lifestyle
  • The person you’re dating does not make you feel energetic or important
  • The person you’re dating seems to be focused on their self mostly
  • The person you’re dating is estranged from their immediate family
  • The person you’re dating asks you for money, a loan, or to borrow things
  • You just have a ‘bad’ vibe, or an ‘off’, unexplainable, negative feeling about them

This list could go on and on, but I tried to hit the important ones.

Believe in meeting the one. Believe timing will be perfect. Believe everything in your life is in divine order. Believe, everything is happening for a good reason. There is power and wisdom in all that happens. And most importantly, know who you are, what it is you want, and then, you will, by default, attract who and what you deserve!!

~Coach Annalisa

For more relationship advice, or a free phone consultation about your situation, call Life Coach, Annalisa at 678-431-6528.

Self-Empowerment

Here is a glossary of words to help you feel EMPOWERED to design the life you ‘really’ want….
ANXIETY….thinking on the past or future. Remedy: Be grateful in this present moment, enjoy the moment you are in, put away the electronics at times when you need to take in what is around you; engage in building relationships (not online, but real-face-to-face time) and simply, let go…allow…flow….in the ‘now’.
DEPRESSION…allowing your mind to default to the doubt, fear, worry, past hardships, future anxiety, sadness of something in the past. Remedy:
SHIFT… shift your mindset to your blessings. What do you have in your life right now that you are so appreciative of? WHO do you have in your life right now that you are so thankful for? Think on things that you desire so much, you can almost taste them showing up!!
BELIEVE…in yourself…in your gifts and talents….in your dreams…in your abilities to serve others and make a positive difference. YOU can, but if you think you can’t, your right.
RELATIONSHIPS….think on what IS working. What is DYNAMIC, not on what is not working, not going right. ONLY entertain the thoughts of positive outcomes, what you want, as if those things are already happening. When you do this, it’s like magic. Opportunities and change in others starts to happen. What we focus on; we bring on. Bring on flowing energy of love! Bring on your soul mate. Bring on the things that make you smile!!!!
MANIFESTING…. is awesome. Just remember, you can not think yourself thin by continuing thoughts of how fat you are! Contrasting thoughts are confusing GOD!!! Get clarity and vision for what exactly what you desire, think on that– as if it IS happening, it IS taking place, it IS developing…and you will recognize amazing results, fast, too!! But, as long as you have thoughts of what you don’t want, those will keep showing up.
Ever started liking a certain car, and then all of a sudden, you seem to see it everywhere? AH…..interesting.
SELF-TALK…the words we say to ourselves are powerful. Are you speaking life into yourself? Or, do I hear doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, disbelief, unworthiness, undeservedness whispering over there between your ears? Every great endeavor, every great relationship, every great entrepreneur started with someone putting value in him or herself first, otherwise, how could they get others on board for their mission, idea, or service? We will only receive in life, that which is aligned and equal or above to how we think of ourselves and what we deserve. Are you receiving what you deserve? No? Let’s raise our deserve levels, by acknowledging and believing we are unique, wonderful, and have gifts and talents that serve a greater purpose that can make a difference in this world. YOU ARE DIVINE!!!! No less than an amazingly talented, spiritual being who has work to do. First, in loving and forgiving yourself, and next, recognizing your great qualities, and then lastly; discovering a need in the world that your creativity can go and make a difference !!!! It can be with family, with a spiritual mission, with a business, or a career, or even within something part-time; but we are all called to do something; we must discover that calling, and begin with positive, loving, kind self-talk to accomplish our dreams. Remember Mohammad Ali? When I recall him being filmed, his famous words were: “I AM the greatest, I’ll show you how great I AM.” God worked through him, he was a champion in his field. In the movie, “Facing the Giants”, a teen was doubting his ability to kick for the football team because of his small size. His father said, “God can use you, David”. The boy said, “How can God use me, I’m so small, and the other kicker is the best at it”. His dad looked at him and said, “David, God works through the last, lost and least, to show how mighty He is. You go out there and do your best, let God do the rest!” In the cliff-hanger ending,Image result for champion pic David needed to make a 50 yard field goal to win the State Championship, and the coach asked him, “David, do you believe you can do it?” David said “I’ve never kicked that far before, coach” Coach asked again, “But David, DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT? I NEED YOU TO BELIEVE YOU CAN!”…..
……..YOU ARE A CHAMPION, but not until you believe it!!……

Live your Dream in 2016, 10 (steps) to WIN!

Every New year, we all set resolutions (sometimes people don’t) and we set goals, and we at least think on what we want to accomplish, or strive to do different. We think of what we want to do different, we think of what we want to change, what we want to accomplish.

Most people start out with great intentions, but with time, fall off the path of their journey they were so fired up about at the start. I believe in ten things to help people accomplish their goals and resolutions. Here they are:

10 to Win:

1st: We need CLARITY of our goal. What is it specifically we want?

Success is defined as a consistent effort of many steps toward a worthy ideal.

You should write down what you MOST want, one thing that you want more than anything in 2016. Have a detailed idea, write it down.With clarity, you are better able to visualize it, and believe in attracting it!

2nd step: Commitment & Self-Discipline

Commitment to consistent efforts (regardless of how we feel) and  Self-discipline, following through with the commitments made long after the enthusiasm of doing so has passed.

After you make a commitment -to keep your commitments- with consistent discipline, then there a few more steps to getting the results you desire this year.

3rd is the incredibly effective power of visualization. You must actually VISUALIZE having, being, doing, or accomplishing the thing you want most. Visualize it often, as if it IS happening right now. What is the weather like? Where are you standing? Who is with you? What are the emotions your feeling having achieved it? What are others saying to you?  Who would be the most proud? Who would be influenced and inspired by your achievement most? Visualizing is VERY important because it promotes BELIEF.

4th, after commitment, self discipline and Visualization, is deep BELIEF. You must deeply believe you CAN have it. You must believe you deserve it. You must believe you are capable of having it, believe you can maintain it. You must deeply believe it will make a positive difference in your life and in the lives of others. You must believe so deeply- that you feel it is coming to you right now. Each moment, with each choice you’re making, you’re closer to having it show up!!

5th, ACCOUNTABILITY. Who will you check in with on your progress? Or, do you have small target goals to accomplish that hold you to be accountable? Who is a mentor or someone having accomplished this before you that you can check in with? Do you have a support system in place, a person, or a computer program that allows you to ‘track’ progress? No one knows the level of success without the activity toward it being measured. Where will you measure your progress? How will you know if your advancing, or behind schedule of your particular goal without measuring, checking your progress, and getting coached or helped, or mentored toward your goal?

6th -Don’t fall into the Excuse Trap. If you don’t have an accountability partner, create one. If you’re leaders associated to the business you set a goal in are not supporting you in the way you most prefer, or feel is right, don’t spend energy criticizing, BECOME the leader you don’t have! Promote yourself faster! Don’t verbalize or even think on the reasons that have come up why you CAN’T, forget about those. THINK ON the reasons that created your WHY in the first place! Either your DREAM is bigger than all the challenges, or you ‘allow’ the bumps in the road to be bigger. It’s your choice. You can have a GOOD day or a BAD one, the difference is your mindset, and whether or not you’re going to allow exterior factors to influence your journey toward advancement, or allow it to hold you back. Again, your choice. Also, keep in mind, ‘justifying your inactivity, or falling off the band wagon’ is unacceptable. GET MAD! You would get mad if someone didn’t keep their word to YOU! So, why aren’t we mad at ourselves, we treat ourselves horribly!! Don’t be your own enabler!!! HA!!  If you miss your daily action, do it right away, as soon as you become aware!!

7th – Meditation. Start your day with power thoughts! The affirmations, thoughts, and mindset you focus on are the very things that will show up for you throughout your day. Prayer and meditation are two of the most effective ways to design your life and live with positive experiences and aids in easily ridding the negative things from our focus. It can help relieve doubt, pain, fear-based thought, or creating hypotheticals in our mind over circumstances outside our control. It helps keep us in a neutral state of loving peace. Try it!  If you’re unfamiliar, youtube is a great resource, or books on amazon for beginners!!

8th- FAILURE is good. FAILURE is not an option, but know this: You only fail if you don’t keep trying. QUITTING = FAILING. What if Thomas Edison quit after his 1000th attempt to create electricity? What if Abraham Lincoln decided NOT to run in the Presidential campaign after having lost 9 times in his political career, basing his level of success on his failures, verses his small successes along the way? Reggie Jackson could not hold the current #1 home-run hitter position of all time without his 2,597 time record of striking out!! These famous guys failed forward to success. We can too. It’s OK to fail at a task – you don’t fail at the goal unless you make a conscious choice NOT to cross the finish line with whatever it takes. I loved the video of the runner of a race who tore a ligament during running, and as he limped to keep going, his father joined him from the stands, with an arm around him, they crossed the finish line together — NOW THAT’S HAVING COMMITMENT, CONSISTENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, BELIEF, NO EXCUSES, and a NO FAILING MINDSET!!

9th- Do at least ONE THING DAILY toward your goal. If you are not taking daily steps forward, you will fall back. Someday isn’t a day of the week. Don’t allow other FAST TRACK people to get you discouraged. Their time management, their family commitments, their job, and their energy levels are different. Decide on your goal, set an action plan, include something daily –one phone call, one contact, one action step, and your small efforts will turn into big results over time.

And the 10th IN it to WIN it step is this:

KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, YOU DESERVE IT!  YOU ARE WORTHY!  YOU ARE A CHAMPION!  YOU ARE A WINNER IN GOD’S EYES!

Now…go for it. When you accomplish it….come back to this post and tell us about it!!! Ready, Set,…

Commit, Discipline yourself, Get Clarity, Get accountable, VISUALIZE it, Believe it! No excuses, Do one thing a day to keep failure away, Meditate! FEEL WORTHY and Deserving!!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When she says, “We need to talk!”& other communication survival tips…

downloadCommunicating…

with live speaking is a lost art. If verbal articulation is involved, people bail out, they would rather send a text. God forbid we dial a number! Youth these days begin getting to know someone through text messaging first. I asked my teenage daughter the other day if the cute guy at the gym asked for her friends number. She said yes, he did. I asked her, “Well, did he call yet?” She responded, “Mom, no one calls you! He’s not gonna call.” In shock, I said, “What do you mean he won’t call?” She went on to explain he would text her, and they would start talking. So, innocently, I said, “Oh, so after he texts her, he will call and they start talking.” She says, “NO, Mom. They start texting, you know, talking through texting.”  What a shame, I thought.

The young people today are losing ground on quality communication, and fast because of the vast text messaging that is the preferred method of transferring information. It’s really sad that they are not able to perceive tones, moods, fluctuations of voice, or even detect silence, through texting on a device. What’s even more alarming is that the people skills and social skills that many adults have learned through the youthful experiences of real interaction and real conversations on the phone, will be a weakness for this younger generation of avid text messengers.

As a relationship specialist, I am floored with the number of couples who try to work out problems and actually communicate through text messaging. Couples need to realize that one priority of a solid, love relationship is to be transparent. Couples who share their feelings openly help to create or maintain intimacy through talking in person. When they can look at one another eye to eye, and feel free to express their feelings in a non-judgmental, non-threatening way, they are able to feel a closer connection and bond. When they are able to get better and better at having discussions, versus regular arguments, they can learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses regarding differences and expectations.

Communication involves three phases. First, it involves a talker, and a listener. Second, it involves one person needing to feel understood, and one person being understanding. Third, it involves a talker with a motive, and a listener with feedback. In each of these phases, there are two distinct roles. One role is the giver, one is the receiver. Arguments happen when both people try to take over the same role. Discussions stay discussions (not developing into arguments) when one person seeks to help the other more frustrated person, feel understood, INSTEAD of trying harder to be understood him or herself!

Here’s the best tips for communicating effectively, and having regular discussions that never turn to arguments. The basic five rules critical to follow for productive talks.

  1. Never interrupt.
  2. Never bring up the past; stay on the subject at hand.
  3. Never name call, or criticize your partner.
  4. Never threaten to leave the room, the house, or the relationship.
  5. Never go to bed mad; agree to disagree, or reschedule your talk, but be kind before sleeping.

Here are some other guidelines to keep in mind, so that when you need to talk, both of you have a productive conversation where you both feel that your feelings matter, that you’re being heard, and feel understood.

If one person is frustrated, or even angry, even if it’s not ‘at’ you, it is VITAL, that you become a strong listener, and do not let the elevated emotions of your partner, elevate your own. Keep calm, and offer support, empathy, understanding, and concern. This is not the time to offer opposing viewpoints, alternate suggestions. If tension is high on the subject, become a listener, with little advice, more phrases like, “I hear you” “I understand” “I know what you’re saying”, “I feel your (pain) or (hardship)”

If one person ‘becomes’ highly emotional during a talk or discussion, they should recognize that elevated emotions will decrease chances of coming to a resolution; and increase chances that a full argument could arise. Signs of escalated emotions are: yelling, rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, physical outbursts of hitting, stomping, kicking, etc..

If any of the following things happen when you get frustrated, it is highly advised that you seek anger management, counseling, or help with what may be triggering your outbursts of stress that turn into unhealthy behaviors. Here’s a list of unhealthy characteristics indicative of needing help in communicating:

  • VERBAL THREATS of any kind.
  • HYPOTHETICALS (defined as false accusations or assumptions that are not real) example: “So, if your Mother plans another party, most likely she will be rude again, and then what will you do?” (key words indicative of a hypothetical situation: If, Most likely)
  • CRITICIZING, Blaming, accusing, badgering, harassing, name-calling, or bullying
  • Physically abusing material items, destroying property
  • Physically harming a partner, child, or pet.
  • Hinting or proclaiming statements implying your intent to harm yourself, or take your life.
  • Hinting or proclaiming possible intent to break up, divorce, or leave

The following behaviors are absolutely not appropriate when you’re wanting a productive conversation.

  • Replying with defensive statements.
  • Creating avoidance tactics (changing the subject, not answering the question, blaming, twisting a response around to point toward you, making critical statements, using any response that doesn’t pertain to the subject (the root of the issue)
  • Having a heated discussion in front of others, around the children, or at work.
  • If one or both partners are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If one person is unwilling to talk, but the other keeps nagging.
  • If one person is getting aggravated and their emotions are escalating, and they don’t take a break.
  • If one person is angry, and the other person decides to be angry because the other one is.
  • When one person is ‘assuming’ things.
  • When one person is ‘taking things personally.’
  • When one person is not willing to ‘own their wrong’ or ‘take responsibility’ for their actions.

~Sometimes, it’s not a matter of one partner being right, and the other wrong; but each having a ‘different’ perspective. Mature couples can recognize this scenario, and accept the difference, rather than try to convert their partner to their view.~

Most people get agitated when they have an unmet expectation. It is important to clearly, and lovingly, express what you need, and get in agreement with both your needs and how each of you plan to fill the other’s. There is nothing more frustrating in a relationship than expressing your need, but continue to have it go unmet. If this is happening, it is necessary to find out ‘why’ your partner is not willing to fill this need. It is usually one of three things:

  • They are incapable of filling this need for some reason
  • They are unwilling to meet the need for some reason
  • They are unclear  of your need or expectation

It is also VITAL to use the FEEL, FELT, FOUND principal when communicating things to your partner. You can begin statements with, “I feel _____________, when _____________” or “I have felt ______________, and _____________’ and then, “I have found that when _____________”

When beginning with these statements, the issue is about YOU, and not about what your partner is doing wrong; it is perceived more as a need of yours that you need filling, versus a wrong behavior their doing.

It is important to learn the art of setting boundaries. Boundaries are a way to inform others of your needs, in a loving way. This is in no way, a permission slip to command your desires, or be demanding of what you want. Here’s a great example of a person who is setting a healthy boundary in a loving way:

Susan, I really feel loved when you take the time to move my laundry over when I forget to. It means a lot to me that you work with me as a team” This works a lot better than saying “Why didn’t you move my laundry over? I forgot to do it last night, what did you do all day?”

Here’s another example: “It is really important to me that the boys eat healthy before practice, but we both get home so late, should I put something in the crock pot today, or can you get home to make something, or should one of us pick up something on my way home?”

What’s great about the latter example, it incorporates questions. The great thing about asking more questions than making more statements in communicating with our partners, is that it sends the following VERY important messages.

  • Questions imply you care about your partners input, their idea’s, and their viewpoint.
  • Questions create a team-mindset, versus a single-mindset that is perceived as selfish or uncaring.
  • Questions make another person feel heard, understood, and creates respect toward the one asking.

During communication, we should be mindful of the Biblical truths as a guideline. Galatians 5:22, 23, and Corinthians 13.

Love is.Kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, not keeping a record of wrongs, not self-seeking, not jealous, joy, hope, forbearance, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, not boastful, not easily angered, not rude. Love never fails.

If you need more communication tips, I can Skype, phone coach, or do an in person session with individuals or couples. Life Coaching is a great way to reconnect in your relationship, or prepare for marriage. 

Happy Talking!

LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

678.431.6528

Why do “I” …need Personal Growth?

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“I am who I am”, Heard yourself say that? Or, “I’m just me. No one can expect me to change.” Some of us feel we are fine. We are emotionally healthy. There are hints that life can throw us to know we are kidding ourselves!! Here’s the reality, while setting our personal boundaries is vital to good relationships and creating balance and peace, there are definite times in our lives we need to stop, look within, evaluate our choices and actions to possibly consider tweaking some things. Clues to needing to exit on a new path of personal growth are easy to detect- if your conscious. Here are a few clues:

–People stop listening to you and often become distracted.
–You can not get into or have trouble staying in a committed relationship.
–You do not have a passion, hobby, or strong creative interest in your life outside friends, family and/or a lover(s).
–There is constant drama around you.
Ok…so if any of the criteria above holds true in your life, here are 10 ways to come into massive personal growth –so you can begin to enjoy life! Experience peace. Create balance and harmonious relationships.
1. Read or listen to the audio versions of a personal self help book. I recommend Joel Osteen’s “YOUR BEST LIFE NOW” to start. Or, “THE MAJIC OF THINKING BIG”
2. Surround yourself with people who are where you most want to be in life, emotionally, career wise, spiritually and intellectually.
3. Evaluate who you talk to most. What goes in (your brain) comes out. Make sure people you are close to are not negative, whiney, energy draining, and crisis oriented. Choose positive people who speak life, givers who do for others, people who support your goals, and love their life.
4. If someone walks away from you- Let it be. Let go. Move forward. They may come back in a different season, but for now, you just work on you -to be your very best.
5. Love and forgive yourself. The past is over. Your future is so bright, you’re going to need shades!! Read Jer.29:11
6. You are designing your life. Your thoughts are creating your mood. Your mood inhibits or prohibits your actions. Your actions are developing your life’s journey! So, adjust your thoughts to what you desire with a positive expectation; so deeply believing that all resources and opportunities are aligning to make this a reality even as you read this!! Remember this too: Anxiety happens when our minds are affixed on past or future things. Be mindful of this present moment, be grateful and count your blessings…you will feel anxiousness subside the more you begin to dwell in the “now”.
7. Live and let live. Don’t be needy or clingy to other people. Find your niche’. Discover your calling. This makes you an interesting person. People want to be around people who have fun. People are drawn to those who have enthusiasm! Don’t have unnecessary expectations of others. Let the little stuff roll. Life is too short to get bent over things that won’t matter in 5 years.
8. Understand this: IT IS A HUGE MISTAKE TO MAKE ANOTHER PERSON YOUR WORLD. No one is responsible for your happiness, except you. You should be creating a life that is fulfilling, fun, enriched with activities and opportunities that don’t always involve the love of your life.
9. Trust your inner compass. Go with that gut feeling! This is God within you saying YES or No! If it just doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Know the difference between feeling fear or feeling hesitant.
10. Work on self discovery. Just because you have a physical attraction to someone doesn’t mean you are meant to be and will live happily ever after. Your values must match. People need similar priorities and goals or there will be constant resistance.
Decide your career path. Choose your retirement location. Develop your dream. Work on a project that serves someone or something that helps them in some way! Make a list of your “must haves” in a relationship so you have clarity on what you want, and most importantly, your personal red flags!

In careers, love relationships, family relationships and friendships…we should NEVER let our need for affirmation, affection or attention be so strong that we stay involved, but sacrificing our deeper beliefs and values.
Make 2015 your beginning of a massive personal growth journey! Remember, it’s up to YOU…to make ALL your days great!

For more Self-empowerment, dating or marriage coaching, contact LifeCoach, Relationship specialist, Inspiring Speaker, Annalisa O’Toole
678-431-6528
@coachannalisa /twitter
lifecoachannalisa@gmail /email

Annalisa O’Toole, Life Coach, Relationship Specialist, Inspirational Speaker http://www.annalisaotoole.com

Relationship Struggles? Tips for re-connecting…

Emotional Connection is the secret to Flowing Relationships...

Emotional Connection is the secret to Flowing Relationships.

INSPIRED LIFE COACHING….. December 2014 Newsletter

by Life Coach, Relationship Specialist & Inspirational Speaker,

Annalisa O’Toole

Emotionally Connecting is the root foundation for relationships to flourish…

If your Relationship is in need of repair, it is most likely, because your EMOTIONAL CONNECTION has been compromised. It is in jeopardy, it is not strong, and it is creating havoc in your life. Here are the BEST ways to reconnect emotionally. It requires at least ONE person, constantly working to show love, support, and admiration, and trustworthiness. It takes two forgiving, honest, and willing people to move forward. If you are the one trying to repair, mend, or save a relationship, you will know the advice below that is specific for you. If you are the one who thinks everything is fine, but your partner is having trouble –look again at the following things. You need to absorb some emotional-connecting tips- and fast!!  Stop arguing about the little things, and realize it is your EMOTIONAL CONNECTION that has been broken. Let’s repair it!!! Hope these tips help you through this season. We are in a season of giving, so try to focus more on what you can GIVE to the relationship, verses WHAT you get or don’t get out of it.

If one is tired, offer a massage —

If one is crying, hold them.

If one is bitchin, say, “I understand what can I do or help you with?”

If one is frustrated, let them vent without getting mad – one person at a time with the elevated emotions!! Your job is to Just listen, empathize, support, offer assistance.

If one is nagging, say, “What can I do to help you?”

If one is demanding, say, “Let me write these things down, so I don’t forget, I know they are important to you, I’ll do my best at these”

If one is distant — give them space.

If one is short—say, “I know it feels as if your world is falling apart, but I still love you.”

If one is quick tempered, say, “How can I make things easier, or relieve your load?”

If one is late home from work, have dinner ready, offer a beverage, sit with them and talk.

If the house is messy, clean it.

If it’s trash day, take it out.

If its grocery day and you’re buying them, bring home flowers guys. Girls: Bring home his favorite item, or beer.

Leave notes of appreciation saying “have a great day” in their car, or by their mirror in the bathroom.

Guys: Buy a spa day certificate, take the kids all day, and tell her she’s off-duty!!!

Girls: Buy an admission ticket to a sports event, or the shooting range (hopefully you haven’t made him too mad! HA!)

Love Languages:

Most people feel loved if their partner does one or more of the following:

TIME      GIFTS      SERVICES        WORDS OF AFFIRMATION       AFFECTION/TOUCH

Figure out which one is their HOT button, do things around that love language as often as possible.

Social Media & Friends of opposite sex:

Clean up your friendships outside the marriage. It is not good to have ‘female’ or ‘male’ friends you talk to daily or often. Even if you speak to this person about getting their gender perspective on your relationship – which seems innocent, it creates a sense of disloyalty within your partner. Phone records can be checked. Although you may not be in a sexual relationship —-an emotional connection starts by talking often — and even if talking often is not leading to an emotional connection, it would never be perceived as ‘platonic’ if there are multiple texts and calls throughout day to day. OR, long patterns of texting or talking on and off throughout the month. Chatting on games, snap chat, vines, and other forms of communication are all the same. They are not healthy to participate in with friends of the opposite sex if you are in a committed, exclusive relationship. Even if you both trust each other impeccably – it sends the wrong message to the other chatter – the message being –I have a need to talk to you, and have fun conversations with you- because my partner isn’t available to. Even though this isn’t the message you INTENDED – it is what ‘can’ be perceived. So  to stay in the safe zone: REFRAIN.

WORDS & COMMUNICATION:

  1. No interrupting
  2. No threats to leave house or relationship.
  3. No name calling.
  4. Stay on topic, no bringing up the past
  5. No going to bed mad

If someone is upset, ask more questions verses making more statements. Always repeat what you thought your partner said, here’s an example: “So, what I heard you say was”: then repeat that outloud. This way, your partner can feel they were ‘heard’ with their perspective, or ‘not understood’. The goal in any conversation is for one person to feel understood.

The MINUTE your emotions start elevating (heart rate increases, sweating, or feelings of panic, or feelings of anger) due to frustration or anger, it is best to TAKE A BREAK rather than yell, or get aggressive, or begin hitting walls.

If, or when- one partner see’s their partner is getting worked up in anger, it is best to begin soothing them with things like:

Let’s talk about this later.

Maybe I should go, and we can talk it out later.

Maybe we should just stop talking now, hold each other, and come back to a discussion later.

Always speak life. Never let your words have a frustrating tone- no matter your mood, their words, their accusation, etc…If they are upset, YOU REMAIN CALM! If they need correcting, do it lovingly. If one is upset, the other could use phrases like:

  • I hear you, I understand.
  • I am so sorry that upset you. What can I do to make you feel better?
  • Come over here, let me hold you.
  • Let’s go do something very, very special together.
  • I love when you ______________
  • I think it’s so cool that you ______________
  • You make me feel so good, and special when you ________________
  • You’re leaving home in THAT shirt? You look so good in that, I worry someone will steal you away! (playful, not jealous tones…easy does it on this one)
  • I am so sorry that is happening to you, how can I help you?

If you are the one upset, be careful to use the I FEEL______I FELT_____, I FOUND______ method, it makes your partner feel less accused, less criticized, and it makes it more about ‘your feelings’ than their wrong doing.

EDIFY your spouse even if it is not received in love. The goal is to give -without any expectation of a return. Give compliments, show appreciation, offer helpfulness, show thoughtfulness, show kindness, show consideration. Don’t have double standards. EVEN IF they aren’t showing these to you, DO IT ANYWAY!! They will eventually learn their mistakes, and your example will pay off – or things won’t change and then you can re-access the relationship or seek more coaching.

If you are estranged, separated, or working on things and sex is ‘OFF’ limits presently –NEVER make a pass, or caress, or reach to touch your partner unless THEY initiate, so you know that you know- that you know- they want to go there. If sexual relations are OK, take the time to be gentle, do something fun and different. Be about making THEM feel good for a change – it’s not all about YOU, you know. Get creative, and be spontaneous. Break the same-ole, same-ole routines. Surprise your partner with something new. Remember:

Passion is a Friendship – ON FIRE!!!

Learn to LAUGH! You must share laughter together. It is the secret ingredient that makes everything else work. If you cannot laugh daily, create pet names, make up new stuff that makes you laugh, act silly, whatever, you are missing a very important part of emotionally connecting.

BE OK if your partner needs to CRY! What someone who is crying needs most, is less talk, and more holding. PERIOD. But reminding softly, that they are loved, and you’re in this forever and, ever after that, is not a bad idea!!

Always give eye-contact….ALWAYS, even if they are not looking at you! Don’t be easily distracted if they are talking to you. FOCUS on not only looking at them, but listen intently, put the phone down. IT CAN WAIT!

INITIATE a fun activity together, plan a date, or plan a future vacation together. Plan a project, or do something charitable together. GIVING always creates peacefulness within.

RESPECT the money manager of the relationship. This person has it tough; they have to be the bad guy. They have to budget, they have to say no, they have to access the needs (that don’t always align with their partner’s idea of needs) Somebody will have to be more flexible, but ultimately, the money manager needs A LOT of understanding, and appreciation –The hardest duo’s are when the $-manager is the FEMALE. Because that is out of alignment with the MAN who needs feeling like he’s in charge, like he’s the leader, and the decision maker of the family. But, if his weakness is managing money, he needs to respect and adhere to the woman’s talent and ability to manage – the woman in this role needs to take EXTRA care when talking, and planning, and deciding things. There is a fine line between being the decision maker, and respecting your Man!

HE needs respect upmost in the relationship.

SHE needs to feel understood, loved, cherished, adored, and be reminded by her man she is number 1, he’s in for the long haul, and there’s no one else who could ever take her place and she’s amazing, and you love her cooking, and she is talented, and she makes you feel so good, and…….

NOTICE: Men –need one thing. Woman: A long-Complicated list!!!!  Men & Women who ‘get this’ will have flowing relationships.

PRAYING together is the ULTIMATE way to build back a strong emotional connection. Try it, it’s amazing. Start out with one person, build up to taking turns. It can truly shift your relationship; it somehow creates a sense of unity that is empowering.

Resources that are helpful in hurting relationships:

  • The movie FIRE PROOF.
  • Purchasing the 40 day journal they use in the movie at a local Christian book store, and do it.
  • Love & Respect book, or ANY book by Gary Chapman. He wrote the love Languages book also.
  • Briggs Meyer’s- ISDC Personality Profiles. This is great insight for determining how your partner thinks and their perspective of things. It is helpful for improving communication and connection.
  • Attend a marriage or couples retreat or seminar together.
  • Create a ‘MUST HAVE’ list and each of you ‘share’ your list of desires, and work on giving more.
  • Decide the past hurts that are still rising up, and creating problems, write them each down on an index card. On the back, write how you choose to forgive, and move past it, what you’ll do different in the future moving forward…then have a BURN date, by the fire! DISCUSS each one- STATE YOUR WRONG if you were- FORGIVE-OFFER your NEW way of resolving-PRAY-THEN TOSS them in the fire!!! Don’t go back to those situations.

If your partner is distant – YOU warm up.

If your partner is quiet, make them laugh.

If your partner is hurried, help them.

If your partner is trying to make plans with friends without you, (they are needing space, apparently) you make plans on your own, happily. Two individually independent people with their personal interests are far more intriguing and enjoyable- than two people who are together all the time- without outside interests. Make SURE you are supportive of your partner’s friends, interests, and activities that have nothing to do with you. This is healthy, and a necessity in life.

Keep in mind, if you are in a position of trying to consider: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO in your relationship, these tips are VERY IMPORTANT as you seek God and His guidance for that decision.

  • Fruits of a loving spirit, (within someone’s character) are peace. Lack of them, is turmoil. Here they are: Gentleness, kindness, joy, humbleness, not self-seeking, doesn’t keep record of wrongs, not jealous, patient, and loving.
  • Have I maintained a loving spirit, for a long consistent amount of time, and my partner still treats me unloving?
  • Does my partner seek God, or is there something else more important: Money-Entertainment-Friends-Work-etc.? (not sure, look at where their money, time, and thoughts go)
  • Do I –or- Does my partner have purpose and passion about life outside of ‘us’? A person without this, will often times rely too heavily on their partner to feel good about themselves, and this is not only insecure, but a big load for someone to bear! It is vital that people discover their skills, talents, and creative side and serve someone or something in this world to make a difference – not just with their partner and on the home-front!!
  • Does my partner have a positive energy around them, do I feel uplifted when we are together, or is most of our time feel like one or both of us wants the other to change something?
  • Is there an unhealthy, influential person in my partner’s (or my) life that is not likely to disconnect from (them) (or me) anytime soon, and therefore; makes it extremely difficult to have and keep a strong emotional connection with my lover?
  • Are our values so different that our priorities are different, and this causes us to have constant conflict?
  • Do I –or- does my partner –stay in this relationship because they ‘fear’ something? Rejection, instability, being alone, jealous of the other moving on without them, fear of not having or making enough money, etc…
  • Do we find ways to manage our children or do we constantly have issues regarding their care?
  • Is there constant drama, other people involved in affairs that should be handled between just us?

I hope these tips are helpful. I hope they make you think, and contemplate your relationship -so you can make the positive changes that will ensure your happiness together. For some, it’s taking time to create space and work on building back the friendship, so the passion is re-ignited. For other’s, it is re-building a friendship, so the passion increases, so the mistrust issues diminish….and more trust is gained.

You attract more bees with honey!!

Coaching relationships doesn’t make progress if one or two people have a hardened heart, remain un-open to change, un-open to forgiveness, or are unteachable.

Relationship coaching however, can succeed if each person will ‘look in the mirror’ – accept their weaknesses, commit to change, and work on serving their partners deepest emotional needs.

The Holidays are only stressful if you allow them to be. I hope this Christmas season, you will commit to your relationship. The changes necessary, and work toward your mutual goals to create a wonderful and loving, romantic New YEAR!!!

Looking forward to hearing from you and learning how you’re doing!!

Coach Annalisa O’Toole~

(ph)678-431-6528 (email) lifecoachannalisa@gmail.com

Follow for More relationship advice daily on Twitter: @coachannalisa