Dear Feelings Doctor: My wife and I have been going to counseling for almost a year now and have made little progress. It seems like we take a tiny step forward and four giant steps back. I'm exhausted and frustrated beyond belief. Help!
— At My Wit’s End in Santa Barbara
Dear Wit’s End: You know what it feels like when you have a splinter in your hand that just keeps getting sore? You poke around and move the skin to hopefully get it out, and it gets more tender and red? That’s the way it is sometimes with relationships.
When you are discussing feelings, all of your emotions and issues come to the surface, things get shifted around and you lose your balance a bit. You regroup, leave things alone for a while, celebrate your life and after a breather, if it’s really an important, pressing issue, begin again.
If it seems to be just “stuff” and the two of you forgot how to dance together, look at that. If you both are just poking each other because that’s what the two of you do, find a new, peaceful/fun way to communicate. Your relationship does not need to be discussed every day. Pick one day a week to check in and touch base, then leave it alone and let the splinter and the sore spot heal.
Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I are the proud parents of our miracle baby girl who we have waited for forever! Our lives are what we’ve dreamed about, and I want to be the perfect mother for her and let her know how special she is to us, and — that she is adopted.
She’s turning 5, and we have discussed this issue for a few years trying to find the perfect words. Please help us.
— Proud Mother in Los Angeles
Dear Proud Mother: Congratulations on your wonderful family. Adoption is an amazing gift for so many people, and the way you have described your emotions about your daughter are the right words. When you and your husband begin explaining what the word adoption means, let your daughter know that you chose her to make your family complete, she is the special girl that you were waiting for.
Keeping pictures of her birth if you have them and openly discussing what the word adoption means will help her as she grows up to know it as a positive experience in her life. There are also books on adoption for children that will be helpful for you.
Wanting to be the “perfect parent” may put undo pressure on you. On the other hand, being the mother you are already, with the perfect loving spirit for your girl, is exactly what she needs. And so do you. Blessings to all.
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Imagine This ...
You cannot spend 5 minutes in
the morning affirming that
all is well ...
and spend the rest of the day
proving that it is not.