I was sitting in an appointment with Donna N., one of my ex-drug addicted clients when she explained to me one of the real important differences that made the difference in my treatment of her addiction vs. all the other usual methods. You, see, my clients teach me so many important things that I can then hand on to you. Isn’t that awesome!
When Donna came to see me she was 54 years old. She had already done the traditional 12-Step programs finding them depressing, always leaving right after the first part of the meeting, not wanting to hear all the negative stories of those who were sharing on any particular evening. However, that isn’t the point I want to make here. The point that I want to make goes back to something she explained to me about the problem with these 12-step meetings based on her observations of those who attend them.
Pay attention because this is an important aspect of healing. You see, someone can get off their drugs and be in “recovery” and still have problems out there in the world for two reasons. The first is because the addicts whole life is consumed by procuring whatever it is that the brain tells them is necessary, in this case drugs. Once the addiction is no longer controlling every thought and action, there is a whole lot of time that needs to be filled in. Then the question comes in as to what that time should be filled with, and 12-Step meetings aren’t the answer. But, that is a different story for another day.
The problem is that when a person becomes addicted to anything their emotional development stops at that chronological age. So, even if that person looks like an adult and may be very successful in their chosen career, internally they still have the thoughts and behaviors of a teen ager for example. This becomes a problem because the ex-addict doesn’t know how to relate to a person their own age. There are many social cues that are lost, emotions that are not contained in an effective and mature manner and as such, building relationships becomes a bit of a fiasco.
So, this is what I want you to understand if you are an addict of any sort, and this includes people with histories of anorexia and bulimia. If you are finding it hard to relate to people your age, this is why.
The next question becomes how one overcomes this issue. I have many techniques that I teach my clients when they go through any of my programs based on addiction. However, I will do my best to give you some information here that may make your life a bit easier in this area.
1. You have to realize that the world does not revolve around you and what your feel you are entitled to. Not, really. Everyone has a right to have their needs taken care of and this is especially true in any sort of relationship. The way to make a friend is to be a friend. That means taking an interest in what the other people are doing and truly caring about them. Not because you have something to gain from them, rather because you think they are a cool person to be around, perhaps sharing some of your interest and certainly your values.
2. Be yourself – stop pretending to be something you aren’t. Go back to Vol. 335 in this weblog – the one right before this one to learn about why this is so important – to show your vulnerability to create truly meaningful relationships.
3. If you do something that hurts another, take responsibility for it and apologize from your heart. Then ask that person what you could do to help make up for that hurtful thing you did. Then do it.
4.Think of ways to be helpful or to show that you care about another person. I sometimes will purchase books and recorded programs for my best friends when I find something that I think they would truly appreciate. I send cards to people that I know are going through a hard time (though in all honesty I send about one birthday card out a year to my youngest sister who sends me the most beautifully chosen cards in the world.)
5. This is a BIG ONE: Think before you speak. Man, back before I got into hypnotism and NLP, I used to piss people off all the time. I didn’t care what anyone thought. However, I learned how to use language such as “I firmly suggest that you…” or I don’t know if this is right for you, but maybe it would be a good idea if…” This way you aren’t forcing yourself and your opinions on anyone, rather you are just giving them something to think about. More often then not action will be taken when conveyed in this manner.
6. Never use the word “but” because in doing so, you have just unsaid whatever came before it. Instead use the word “and” to link up two thoughts. “I know that you would prefer to ____, and you need to do go to bed now.”
7. You can also take on a stronger meaning if there is something that truly needs to be addressed by telling the person “I am not asking your opinion, I am telling you that what needs to happen now is……” You use this when someone is being abusive or creating problems in your life only.
So, there you go, some ideas in how to better get along with people, make friends. Understand that the best way to make true friends is to be a friend. The better a fiend you are, the better and closer relationships you will have. However, there is one thing to keep in mind which is this:
8. Never “people please” because all that will do is fill you up with resentment when that person you are people pleasing could care less about that which you are going out of your way to do. That person is oblivious and it is a good thing. Do those things that are within the realm of the level of friendship you have. If it isn’t a particularly close friendship, small gestures are all that are necessary. Doing too much for someone or being overly familiar with a person before that level of trust and respect is built, is off putting so don’t even go there.
I trust that if you use these tips you will find yourself having much better results maturing your interactions with others bringing you relationships based on who you truly are as a person. Give it a go and you will be amazed. I know my clients are every single time!
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