I’m sitting on an airplane writing this post, because I’m on my way to West Virginia to see my parents. My father had a stroke several months ago and my mother is doing her best to care for him. He has become feeble, has paralysis in one arm, and has difficulty walking. It is during this phase of life where living far from home leads to more heartache, stress, and yes guilt. After all, they took care of me when I wasn’t able to care for myself. People remind me, “Well you have your own life to live.” I feel that’s a poor excuse for not being there for parents who greatly sacrificed so I could have my “own life to live.” And so the guilt deepens.

As I fly smoothly over what looks to be the Great Lakes I attempt to prepare myself to see two wonderful parents who have grown weary. It’s difficult for me to accept that the two people who gave me a strong foundation have grown weak. And now they need me to guide them. Yes there comes a day when the parent becomes the child, and the irony is…they won’t listen.

narWe have all met Mr. or Ms. Know it All right?  They try to one-up every story, monopolize conversations, and they will try like hell to be the first to answer a question…even when they weren’t the one being asked!  So what would be the reason for this annoying behavior?  Well, it likely revolves around their narcissism or insecurity.  Some may say that the narcissist is insecure, and that is what spurs them on toward superiority.  I wouldn’t fully disagree with that, but there are a couple of differences I find between those who are acting out of insecurity and those who are truly narcissistic, and I believe it is important to be able to determine the difference.  Because one you need to run from, and the other you simply need to run toward.

The insecure person wants to be respected, because they lack self-respect.  The insecure Mr. or Ms. Know it All is practically begging to be admired and valued because of a need for acceptance.  However, the Narcissistic Mr. or Ms. Know it all feels that you should realize you need them, they are due your admiration, and they are highly valuable to any organization lucky enough to have them.

So the next time you meet someone and they are a Know it All don’t rush to judgement.  Figure out where they are coming from.  If they are insecure then take the time to breathe life into their soul!  Dr. Chuck Swindoll says, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.”  The insecure person will grow from your encouragement and will eventually stop being a Know it All.  The narcissistic Know it All will not.  They will feed off of admiration and encouragement, and rather than allowing it to make them a more polite and secure person it tends to inflate the ego.  And it leads to them treating others poorly, because they truly see all others as beneath them.  To sum up my point, the insecure person feels as though they need you in their life, while the narcissist feels as though you need them in your life.

 

GodWhen I moved to Washington almost 5 years ago I would have told you it was because this is where God wanted me to be.  There was little doubt in mine or Amy’s mind that God was sending us from Texas to the great Northwest!  Well if this has been part of God’s plan then it was poorly thought out.  Yes, we have made some incredible friends here and absolutely love the culture and beauty that surrounds us, but little has gone right for us financially, mentally, physically, and even spiritually.

I only write this because It is my form of therapy, and helps me process it, but it has truly been one disappointment after another.  And being a former pastor I know all of the amazing clichés that can be tossed my way like, “God didn’t promise us things would be easy, God puts us through trials to strengthen our faith, & God is there during the storms.”  What people don’t like to think about is the fact that maybe…just maybe God had nothing to do with the decision. It is possible that what I thought was God guiding or speaking to me was nothing more than wishful thinking, or gas from a bad plate of lasagna.

Let me give you a great example of what I’m talking about in this blog laced with sarcasm and discouragement.  About a year ago I was talking with a lady who informed me that God had used the Wolf’s station vehicle to speak to her (100.7 The Wolf).  She said that she was praying about her pastor, whom she thought was a “Wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and then she saw our vehicle pull up next to her!  And she knew at that moment that God was communicating with her.  So she then likely went to the elders of her church to get rid of the Wolf (aka pastor).

I’m not here to say that God does or doesn’t communicate with us, but I have learned that I need to be very careful when I think God is speaking to me or others.  I have never heard an audible voice, but I’ve been thinking…He is God so if He really wanted me to know something wouldn’t it be loud and clear?  I just believe that there are more times in life where people believe they are following God when in reality He is following them, and He is likely thinking, “Why in the world would he think I wanted him to do this?”

exit-from-crisis-signFitz and I talked about my midlife crisis on the radio show this morning, and he had a Top 10 List for me.  New research says these are the “modern-day” top 10 signs you are having a midlife crisis.  I have to be honest and say that I have done all, but two of them!  Well, I didn’t get my back waxed, but I do have my wife Amy shave it.  And I haven’t gotten Botox or a facelift, but it’s only because I can’t afford it!

Top 10 Signs You are having A Midlife Crisis:

1.  Getting a tattoo.

2.  Getting a facelift.

3.  Getting botox.

4.  Running a half marathon.

5.  Going to a music festival.

6.  Getting your back waxed.

7.  Changing careers.

8.  Buying a fancy watch.

9.  Buying the latest gadgets or technology.

10.  Getting into extreme sports.

A few other signs in the top 40 are getting a Twitter account, buying a fancier smart phone than your kids, and buying a juicer.

Please share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and etc.!

oopsI was recently in someone’s home and noticed a stone tablet that I absolutely loved.  On the tablet was what I would call the Relationship Alphabet, and for each letter there was very brief relationship advice.  Over the next several days I would like to share some of the advice with you.  A is for “Admit Mistakes” and I’m not sure people fully understand how powerful this step can be in improving their relationships. There is another way of saying “admit your mistake” and that would be, “Say you are sorry“, but maybe that will be S!

I was raised in a home where both my parent were willing to say they were sorry so this comes easy to me.  Well that and I screw up often, and I have had a lot of practice!  Many of you may be reading this and saying, “Tony my honey bunny never ever admits they are wrong and I…I always have to say I’m sorry first.”  I know that can be difficult, but if it opens up the lanes of communication and thus forgiveness then just keep taking the high road.  If it isn’t leading to forgiveness and resolution then I would highly recommend finding a good marriage counselor.  Now, let’s think about another situation for a moment.  What happens when two people who can’t admit their mistakes get together?

When two stubborn people argue and hurt one another, but never admit they are wrong or say “I’m sorry” then how do they resolve conflict?  They don’t…they simply go back to pretending that it never happened, and there is no resolution to the problem.  Therefore, as time goes by the pain and resentment are stored in their emotional and relational vault called the heart.  Eventually the vault (heart) becomes full of all those things that tear people apart, and ironically they may describe it as a feeling of emptiness.  The heart is far from being empty, and in fact it is overflowing with emotional damage.  You see, when people learn to say they are truly sorry and admit they are wrong then issues can be resolved, and the healing can begin to take place.  Thus, the space in your heart can be filled with what it was designed for…love.

Tony Russell, MA, LMHC (inactive)

If you have some thoughts or questions please feel free to send me an email below.  Also, PLEASE hit a share button below to let your friends on Facebook, Twitter, & etc. know about The Next Half.  

Two big questions come in for the Ten Minutes with Tony Podcast:

  1. Should a guy buy his NON-PREGNANT wife a Mother’s Day gift?  She would like one!
  2. A woman asks if her hubby’s birthday gift is lame or lovely?

Being a midlifer I wondered how single adults are affected by the divorces taking place all around them.  Does it make them fearful of marriage?  Does it make them think marriage is a waste of time?  So I turned to Fitz in The Morning cohost Ellen Tailor to find out, and I love what she had to say and I think you will as well.  PLEASE HIT SHARE BELOW and consider subscribing to my podcast and blog.

 

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Ellen Tailor, Cohost of Fitz in The Morning & Blogger and Fashion Fanatic at What’s Ellen Tailor Wearing.

 

 

russell-Wilson-Ashton-Meem-wedding-picWhen the news of Russell and Ashton Wilson filing for divorce was released I was honestly saddened and disappointed.  Not disappointed in them as individuals, but that apparently their marriage is over.  Like the many fans here in Seattle I have enjoyed seeing the pictures of the two of them visiting our local children’s hospital.  I pictured them as having a wonderful marriage full of happiness, faith, and excitement.  Even as a counselor who knows what you see is often not what you get…I allowed myself to put them on a pedestal.  I think a byproduct of moving into midlife as a man is that we get more sentimental about life and even love!  We realize how quickly life goes, and we want to see younger people enjoying every moment of it.

As a radio personality it is expected that I’ll say something comedic or controversial about the situation, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to that point with this situation.  Yes, I know they are both young, they have no children, and they will find love again, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that yet another marriage has failed.  I too filed for divorce when I was in my mid-twenties with no children involved, and it was still a very painful process.  No one is prepared for the friends and family members they lose in that process.  My point being that a divorce is always painful even if it is needed and/or wanted. There is truly life after divorce, but at the moment it is happening the world seems very dark for most.  This is especially true for those who have children, and file for divorce.  They then have to battle depression, anxiety, and the ugly one…guilt.

I simply want those of you who are thinking about getting a divorce to follow the advice my mother gave me at one time.  Do everything you can to save your marriage before walking away from it.  And by trying everything I’m talking about marital counseling, sitting down together and truly listening to what the other wants from the relationship, and being willing to make some changes and compromises.  But with all of that being said remember that you only get one life to live, and you should be happy and be treated with love and compassion.  I would never encourage someone to stay in a relationship where they are miserable, but make sure you can’t find love right where you are before moving on.  I am married to the love of my life, and I’m so glad we stuck together through the difficult times.

 

Road endsThanks for giving me ten minutes of your time.  I received a BIG question from a listener, and I want to share my answer and hear some of yours!  She is wanting to know if she should have an affair, but before we get to that I want to give you the top 5 things HAPPY couples have in common.

heartI recently read an article that listed signs that someone is not over their ex love.  And since many of you have returned back to the dating scene I thought I would share them with you, and then I will briefly give you my thoughts.  So here are the signs your new love interest isn’t over their old one:

  • They talk about them often.
  • They are searching for them online, and checking out their Facebook OFTEN.
  • They keep in touch them.
  • They get annoyed when finding out their old love is dating someone new.
  • It’s been less than three months since their break up.
  • They haven’t ended the relationship with their ex.

I’ve actually read research that says if your partner keeps bringing up and/or talking about someone from work, school, or etc. it is a sign they may be cheating.  In this case we are assuming you aren’t married and just beginning to date.  If they continually talk about their ex then guard your heart, because they likely still have feelings for them  I don’t think this means you have to “ditch” them, but you should be careful.

If they are searching for the ex online or hitting their Facebook on a regular basis then “buyer beware.”  But remember, we are all curious so don’t jump to conclusions if it is just an occasional glance at the social media sites.  Now, if they are constantly in touch with the ex through Facebook, email, and even talking on the phone then I would recommend you tell them to give you a call when they are ready to move on!

The last three in the list above seem obvious, but in case you are like me and a slightly naive lets talk about them.  If your new love interest gets visually upset that their ex is in a new relationship then take three steps back, turn to the right, and make a run for it.  Yes, we all get a little jealous even when we don’t want an ex, but if it goes beyond that then their heart is still on the mend.

The last two can be combined, because they are obviously a huge red flag!  If it has been less than three months since your new beau or beauty’s breakup then they aren’t ready to move on just yet. I’m not saying you shouldn’t move forward, but just know you are rolling the dice on getting your heart broke.  And if they are still in a relationship then they are NOT your new love interest…you are their mistress or gigolo!  I know they may be promising you that one day you’ll be together forever, but it’s likely you will be waiting forever for that to happen.  Run like your ass is on fire!