If You were Meant to Be Controlled You’d come with A Remote

img_6380The need to control or be controlled is a relationship killer! We’ve been talking about building a strong foundation for life and more specifically for relationships.  When we enter into a relationship we have an established foundation. And for some of you lucky folks that foundation may be very strong!

However, As we talked about yesterday, that foundation can be severely damaged, due to our past.  One example, when fear is in the foundation, it can cause us to run when we start to care for someone.  As soon as we start to care a red flag starts waving and and an annoying  voice screams, “You might get hurt…run! Run Forrest Run!”  It’s imperative we repair that part of our foundation so that we don’t run from what is good for us. Let’s move to talking about a need to be controlled and then we’ll hit you control freaks.

Yes, there are those who I believe have a need to be controlled.  There were moments I thought I was one of them.  However, I realized I’m simply like my father.  Meaning, I will go along with the “control” as long as it is what I want to do anyway.  If I begin to feel as though I’m being controlled to do things outside my desires or values then I’m out!  But what about you?  Do you find yourself in controlling relationships?

This is a common thing with those of us that are the “babies of the family” or only children.  We get accustomed to being taken care of and so we can adjust easily to a controlling situation.  However, it can also lead to misery for us and our partner. Let me quickly explain.  This is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t for the person who appears to want to be controlled.  Because they were also spoiled!  Meaning, they got what they wanted growing up.  Guess what, the control freak may take JOY in not giving you what you want.  It gives them a power they feed on! And it won’t be long until the spoiled child/adult revolts and chaos ensues! All of a sudden the dynamics of the relationship change and the “control freak” will ((well))  freak out and the spoiled child begins to become the problem child!  It gets ugly!

Ironically, the control freak does love us, and not just because they are in control.  And they may not even realize they don’t want to always be in control.  Their past just tells them that if they give up control then things go horribly wrong  Let’s wrap this part up by saying, you are a grown ass man or woman…you don’t need another momma or daddy.  So if your foundation for relationships and life has the “I need to be taken care of” brick in it…fix it! If you’re already in a relationship with a controlling person they won’t like it (at first).  Their need for control will be threatened.  So email me for a good therapist…you’ll need it. And when they realize they no longer have to do all the work in the relationship they may just love it!

So what about you control freaks? You know who you are!  There is nothing in your home out of order, you know where everything is located and when you get to it…it is  color coordinated, your dog and even your cat behaves when you are home, and you lose your dang mind when things don’t go as you planned. Listen, I love you!  Seriously, I admire your ability to take control and keep things in order.  And as I alluded to earlier, I am attracted to you, because I can’t even organize the trunk of my car! Seriously, I drive a nice Mercedes and it looks like I live in it! However, God gave me one momma and one daddy so I have my limits in a relationship. And that is my point to you.  When you are over controlling you move your relationships from a boyfriend/girlfriend connection to a parent/child connection. And guess what? When you move to the parent/child connection intimacy flies out the window!  I’m having some fun with this, but please take note.  If your relationships tend to go from hot and steamy to quick “pecks” on the cheek or lips then this may be what is happening.  I don’t want to be gross, but when you start seeming like mom or dad then you aren’t going to get those long romantic kisses anymore.

When I was a counselor I would have couples come in and the intimacy was gone! They were having less sex than a 95 year-old heart-patient in an ICU.  And it wouldn’t be long until I would see the parent/child dynamic.  Let me say it one more time, God gave us one momma and one daddy…we don’t need another one.  If the need to control is in your foundation for life and love then fix that brick!  Sure, there are places in your life where you need to be large and in charge, but not with your sugar booger! What? You don’t call them your sugar booger? Well, start there and watch things start rocking and rolling! Ah, if it were just that easy right?

In summary, please know that I do love you control freaks…I need you in my life (to a point).  You are strong and powerful leaders in our community.  I would just encourage you to keep that in the boardroom and leave it out of your home, and especially the bedroom.

Love you,

Tony

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This is Why Your Relationships Suck

aerial photo of sea
Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

I’ve been back in the dating world now for almost three years.  Granted, if I’d done what my therapist recommended then I’d have said, “I’ve been back in the dating world for 2 years. Meaning, I would have taken 6 months to a year away from dating after my divorce.  I’ve yet to meet someone who did that, and that is why many of us have been or will be single for many years.  It is because we are trying to build relationships on weak foundations.  Let me explain.

First let me say I am writing not as an expert, but as someone who wants to help you learn from my mistakes.  One of the “red flags” of dating started waving when after two years I began to realize that almost the same exact people were still on the dating apps (including me). Yes, they would come and go, but for some reason these amazing men and women were in and out (mostly out) of relationships.  I kept hearing people say, “I’ve been single” for 10 years or more.  And listen nothing is wrong with that…if that is what the person wants for their life.  However, that wasn’t what I was finding.  They wanted to find “their person.”

As I stated in my previous blog post, I began to believe that many of us couldn’t find our person due to the fact our foundations are shattered.  Many of us are trying to build a relationship on foundations made of sand…including me.  In the words of Old Dominion, “Are we written in the stars, baby, or are we written in the sand?”  I want my relationships to be written in the stars so they don’t easily wash away.  It is why I hope you’ll join me in reading my blog posts so we can do our part by repairing our foundations. Remember, you and I can only choose to fix our foundations.  We have no control over others.  So make sure you choose to date or enter into relationships with others who want to put in the work as well.  Many will just want YOU to change while they remain shattered.

For some, the foundation has been shattered by a father or mother who wreaked chaos on a family.  They were unfaithful, suffered from an addiction, and or they were abusive, and we’ll discuss that in future blogs.  However, when you and I go through a divorce or breakup our foundations can be critically damaged. From this point forward we’ll just use the word “breakup” to include all the above! The damage a breakup causes is why psychotherapist tell us to take time away from dating afterward.  We have to take the time to repair the foundation!  So ask yourself, what is the longest amount of time you’ve gone without dating? Keep that in the back of your mind for now, and lets look at some things that occur to our foundation during a breakup:

  • You begin to lack trust in others
  • You feel as though you are unattractive
  • You may feel the need to control everything
  • You are lonely and will do anything to fill the void
  • You think sex will feel the void
  • Self Medicate to kill the pain
  • You assume you need to be a pleaser so you don’t lose the next “one”
  • You believe God has failed you…so you’re done with Him
  • You think you’re unlovable
  • You think you are irreversibly broken
  • You believe you need someone else to make you complete or happy
  • You rest your happiness on others
  • You assume you are unable to manage life alone
  • You think you need someone to tell you what to do
  • You believe that you need to tell others what to do
  • You must remain in control so as not to be hurt
  • If you feel as though you’ve found the one…you must run

You could add to the list and feel free to do so by making comments below.  As I continue to blog about establishing a strong foundation we will dive deeper into the above “cracks” breakups cause.  Today let’s look at one of my cracks that has caused major problems, and that would be mistrust.

What did your breakup say about you?  No, not what is everyone else (including momma) saying about you…what did it say to you? I’m still processing it somewhat, but for me I think it made me very insecure and scared beyond belief.  Many of us dating in our 40s and beyond were married for 15 to 30 years, and one day found ourselves single.  We assumed that we had met “our person.”  We assumed we had chosen correctly.  We assumed we were a great husband or wife.  We assumed a lot of things and then felt like we’d made an ass out of you and out of me. So what does this mean you find in my/our foundation?

I realized a few months back that this has caused me to run when I begin to truly care about someone. It is a decision that haunts me daily.  I have trouble trusting that someone can truly care about me, and will stick around, and thus I run before they have a chance to ditch me!  You hear how messed up that is right?  The truth is, if you want to have a  great relationship then you have to be willing to handle great risk.  There are no guarantees.  However, we have to be willing to allow ourselves to love and be loved all while knowing it may not workout.  If you aren’t there yet…then don’t start dating just yet.

In my next blog we will look at how many of us develop a need for control, and how that weakens the foundation for future relationships.  I love you and hope you’ll share my blog with others by clicking below, and signing up to receive my posts by email.  I am a guy who loves love! I want a healthy relationship and in fact…I know I will one day find it.  I hope we can do it together! Join me on the journey.

The Foundation

Today I planted a tree!  My cohost Jenn gave me the little tree above and instructed me to hike up Mt. Si and plant it.  So off I went on my great adventure to plant the tree.  I had hoped to plant it on the summit, but once I got there the snow was too deep.  And it was at that moment God spoke to me through the little tree.  Yes, like Moses I had my own burning bush!  Okay, that is a little dramatic, but keep reading, because this is good.

It hasn’t been much of a secret that my love life has not been great.  And while I can’t take all the blame…I can only speak for myself and I do accept most of the blame.  And I think that one of the reasons I haven’t had great success with a relationship is because my foundation is weak.

When I wanted to plant that tree I looked for the perfect spot.  A place where the tree would have a great foundation, and it’s roots would take hold so that it could stand against the difficult days ahead.  For that tree to grow up and thrive it has to have a strong foundation.  The roots have to take hold and then one day it will be able to endure the storms.

The same is true for us.  We need a strong foundation because when difficulties arise (and they always do) we have to be able to handle them.  Life is about being able to handle the crap storms that inevitably come our way.  We are going to face rejection, stress, setbacks, illness, and the list goes on doesn’t it?  And if our foundation is weak we won’t handle the storms appropriately.  And let’s be honest, relationships are challenging.  So if the foundation is weak…we can’t rise to the challenge!

So in the following blogs let’s talk about how to strengthen our foundation.  Yes, at most of our ages we should’ve already done it, but we didn’t and can start now.  Also, some of us may have had strong foundations at one point, and allowed time to weaken it a bit.  So we may just need to go back in and fix a few things. For example, a divorce can destroy our confidence, financial stability, and do I need to go on?  If we allow it to do so…divorce or other forms of heartache can weaken our foundations for future relationships. It is very tough to have a healthy relationship when your foundation is full of unresolved issues of mistrust, heartache, control, and etc.

I was in a relationship with someone I still adore to this day, and it didn’t workout because my foundation was weak.  This became very apparent to me after I read a message I had sent to her on Facebook. It was one of those moments where you just shake your head AT YOURSELF! It was pathetic…I was pathetic.  It was weak, and that is not who I am in my “heart of hearts.”  She wasn’t looking for perfection, but she needed to know I was strong enough to do life with her.  I was not and good for her for picking up on it.  And good for me for allowing it to challenge me to do do better, and to focus on once again establishing a strong foundation.

Today was Thanksgiving and I was thankful for her. Well, thankful for her, Jenn, and that dang miniature tree that I carried around for nearly 4 hours.  Little did I know that I was the one who needed the right foundation!

I hope you’ll follow along and we can work on our foundations together.  Many of us have built our foundation on sand, and it’s time to move to solid ground. The good news is that I know how to fix it…we just have to be willing to do the work.  And this just isn’t about relationships…it is about life.  A weak foundation will cause problems spiritually, and mentally as well. So let’s get busy!

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Love you,

Tony

 

Life is Easier When We Do It Together

dadI thought about Billy Ray Russell today. My dad LOVED watching people succeed.  He would smile and light up as he talked about someone getting a promotion, closing a big deal, or getting a great job. Think about that for a moment, I was raised in a home where my father didn’t resent or feel threatened by other’s success, but instead he celebrated it!

I want to encourage parents (including me) to follow my father’s lead. It is so easy for us to “talk smack” about others. And what message does that send to our children? I believe it makes us look petty, somewhat narcissistic, and very insecure. After all, the root cause of “talking smack” is insecurity and an absurd level of competition. Yes, a competitive spirit can be very beneficial in life, but when it makes us appear resentful and angry…it’s gone too far.

If you struggle with jealousy and resentment then I’m guessing when you see other’s success it turns you inward. You quickly begin to focus on what you perceive to be your failures, and thus you feel sad and angry. At that point it can be in our nature to project that anger onto others. After all, it’s easier to blame others than to accept responsibility for not being where we’d like to be in life.

I believe that my father realized something very important about life. It is easier when we do it together. He knew that none of us would get where we wanted to be without helping and caring for one another. I find the phrase “A self made man” absurd! As my dad would often say, “We all need a little help from time to time.”

You are a wonderful and magnificent creation, and you were not designed to compare yourself to others. The world needs you to be you! You are the only you we have and we need you! Sure, competition can make life more interesting, but make no mistake about it…we were created to love and support one another, because life is much easier when we do it together.

 

How Memories Help Us Heal: RIP Andy Henson

andy
Andrew “Doc” Henson

The first line of today’s blog was going to start with, “I lost a good friend this week”, but I then realized that isn’t true.  We never totally lose those we love.  I hadn’t spoken to Andy for years, because we both did what adult friends seem to do…we kept putting off calls and visits.  Then the phone call comes reminding us that we procrastinated for far too long, and a rush of emotions and feelings begin.  For a brief moment I did feel guilt, but it quickly gave way to regret.  I regret not taking the time to have just one more conversation, and a couple of cheap beers while laughing.  You rarely spent five-minutes with Andy without laughing.  

Andy was extremely intelligent, and I know this because I actually gave him an IQ test.  After a “few” Strohs he asked, “Russell you give IQ tests at your office don’t you?”  Before long we were taking a 20 minute drive to my psychology practice.  Despite his mildly altered state of mind he scored within the superior range of intelligence!  I shouldn’t have been surprised considering his father is a doctor, his oldest brother was a doctor, and his second brother is a doctor!  However, Andy always said that his mother was smarter than all of them! I asked him why he never became a doctor and his answer was simply, “I hate the sight of blood.”  

Another odd indicator for Andy’s high level of intelligence was the bathroom in his apartment.  The first time I walked in I was not only shocked by the fact it hadn’t likely been cleaned for 10 years, but there were at least 4 encyclopedias on the floor!  Most college guys go to the bathroom while reading Sports Illustrated, but Andy would read through encyclopedias.  And If anyone questioned the amount of knowledge in that large head of his all they needed to do was sit and watch Jeopardy with him!  Is it any wonder he cringed as he stood and watched me burn some of my text books the day I graduated from college?  He stood there shaking his head, and at one point reached into the flame to save a book he said he wanted to read.   

One of my most vivid memories comes from my first marriage.  On the…the wedding day and a minute before we walked up the long steps to trot down the isle…Andy pulled me aside to ask me one last question.  Well actually it was more of a statement when he said, “Russell, if you don’t want to do this I will take you anywhere you want to go.  We’ll just get in my car and take off!”    

The wonderful memories like those I just mentioned play-out with HD quality in my mind, which helps replace the regrets and tears.  Make note that Andy would despise my sentence structure, and the fact I’m talking openly about shedding tears.  Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts about one of my favorite people.  My heart and thoughts go out to the those of you who were lifelong friends of Andy, and to his family who have endured too much grief over the last few years.  I pasted Andy’s obituary for you to read below. It’s well written with humor, which Andy the English major would have loved.  Remember, we never fully lose those we love when we have memories of them that make us smile.  

 

Obituary:

ANDREW SAMUEL HENSON. Andrew “Andy” Henson, 45, died on Monday, March 3 at his home in Hurricane. A lifelong resident of Hurricane, he was preceded in death by his brother Dr. Scott Henson, maternal grandparents Clyde and Midge Westfall and paternal grandparents Clifford and Harriet Henson.  He is survived by his parents, Dr. Sam Henson and Joan Westfall Henson of Hurricane, & brother Dr. Doug Henson…and many other friends and family were listed.    

Also left to miss him as well is his mixed breed mutt, “Mac,'” passed on to him by his late brother, Scott, and who, by Andy’s admission, pees too much. Growing up in Hurricane, Andy was a better than fair athlete being a starter for the Hurricane High School basketball team and an all-state golfer. He was a low single digit handicapper during his mid and late teen years at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, noted for routine 300 plus yard drives. He received his B.A. degree from Marshall University in 1991 and became a top administrative assistant to state treasurers Larry Bailey and later John Perdue. He worked there alongside his good friend, cousin and golfing croney, Sam Cole, the assistant treasurer under Mr. Bailey.

Andy’s health took a sudden bad turn in 2002 when he developed dilated Cardiomyopathy, a very serious heart problem, ultimately requiring a heart transplant in 2003 at Cleveland Clinic. This forced his retirement from the political arena. Even though he could no longer play he continued to follow golf via the PGA tournaments. Always rooting for the underdogs, he particularly enjoyed seeing Tiger, on those rare occasions, take double bogies or plop one in the water or among the trees.

Visitation for family and friends will be on Friday, March 7 from 6-9 p.m, at the Allen Funeral Home in Hurricane. The Allens, long time family friends are assisting. The Henson family wishes to thank the local rescue squad and Putnam EMT’s for their efforts. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to West Virginia Health Right in Charleston or to your favorite charity. On the off-chance that there is an organization around whose aim is to help left-handed golfers with outlandishly high handicaps, please remember them in Andy’s name.

Why I Love The Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan (notice it doesn’t say diet)! #weightloss

untitledI want you to say hello to a weight loss plan that I believe is the answer to many of your struggles with weight loss (I’m not getting paid for this).  As you can see it is called, “The Dr. Oz Weight Loss Plan” and not a diet.  Why?  Well I shouldn’t speak for the good doctor, but I believe it is because this plan is made up of foods that you and I should be eating daily.  Now, if you don’t need to lose weight then you would need to add a few healthy items, or just eat more of what is on the plan.  I guess this is where I should state the obvious…I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV.  You shouldn’t take my word for how you should diet or exercise, and consult your doctor.  I am however a guy who has had to watch his weight his entire life, and I can truly tell you what has and has not worked for me.

Let me say this, every diet will help you lose weight if you follow it.  I have lost weight on Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watcher, The Three Day Diet, and the list goes on.  And because I run I am usually able to keep the weight off until I get lazy.  However, if you are no longer a young kid or adult you have to start being very careful when dieting.  Those starvation diets of your youth may cause serious damage now that you are older…but sexier.  And as we all know the starvation diets help you lose weight, but 15 minutes after your first margarita or HoHo you are fatter than you were to start with!

I love Dr. Oz’s plan because it teaches us how to eat healthy.  It takes us back to the Garden of Eden where we first ran naked and free, and picked fruits and veggies.  Unfortunately, according to the story of Genesis, the chick ate the wrong piece of fruit, and now you and I are having to talk about disease and dieting!  Why would anyone believe a talking snake anyway?  I digress!  I also love this plan because in two weeks BOTH my wife and I lost over 10 pounds.  Yes ladies, if you stick to it & you will lose weight almost as fast as the testosterone men that surround you.  The reason I believe that is important is because many of you reading this may need to lose several pounds (according to your doctor), if you jump on the scales the first week and see 1 pound…you are going to go on a beer or Bon Bon bender in 30 seconds.  If you see that you have lost 10 to 15 pounds in two weeks then you will be motivated.  Did I mention I’m not a doctor, but I do own a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope?

Well you have heard enough from me…go check it out for yourself by clicking The Oz Diet.  And remember, you should consult your doctor before starting any new weight lost plan, new exercise program, or sexual position.  I just threw that last one in for those of you with a bad back!  Please hit share below to share this with your Twitter and/or Facebook friends, and I would love for you to subscribe to The Next Half!

Who Loves Ya?

Tony Russell

The Definition of #Success: A lesson my father taught me in the ICU without even saying a word.

While I sat by my father’s bedside in the ICU I learned what it means to be successful, and to have lived a life of meaning.  And he didn’t even say a word!