Are YOU listening?…… Huh? What!

Center Street Coaching
September, 2014
Center Street Coaching Newsletter

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Life Event/Value

Death of spouse /100

Divorce /73

Marital separation /65
Jail term /63
Death of close family member /63
Personal injury or illness /53
Marriage /50
Fired at work /47
Marital reconciliation /45
Retirement /45
Change in health of family member /44
Pregnancy /40
Sex difficulties /39
Gain of new family member /39
Business readjustment /39
Change in financial state /38
Death of close friend /37
Change to a different line of work /36
Change in number of arguments with spouse /35
Home Mortgage over $100,000* /31
Foreclosure or mortgage or loan /30
Change in responsibilities at work /29
Son or daughter leaving home /29
Trouble with in-laws /29
Outstanding personal achievement /28
Spouse begins or stops work /26
Begin or end school /26
Change in living conditions /25
Revision of personal habits /24
Trouble with boss /23
Change in work hours or conditions /20
Change in residence /20
Change in schools /20
Change in recreation /19
Change in church activities /19
Change in social activities /18
Mortgage or loan of less than $100,000*/ 17
Change in sleeping habits /16
Change in number of family get-togethers /15
Change in eating habits /15
Single person living alone *


TRAVEL /100 !!!!!!!!!
Center Street Coaching and Sonoma Couples Retreat offer guidance and and support for the challenges life brings to you and your relationships.
When you are ready to make the changes needed to create a healthy and joy filled life, call me.  I can help, it’s what I do.
Marianne Harms, LCSW/CSW
Couple’s Coach/Life Coach
Center Street Coaching

735 Center Street

Sonoma CA  95476

Dear Reader:

My body doesn’t do well when travelling.  It starts even before I leave home and only goes downhill from there.  And that tells me it is all in my mind. You see, I’m a homebody… body likes to be at home, in its own bed, my head on my own pillow and a familiar shower every morning.  I like my cup of coffee in the morning made in my own coffeepot and I like looking out my window at the garden as I take that first sip.  So when the near future holds travelling in store, I immediately begin to stress…..and we all know what stress can do to a body.  My point here is, the mind has a powerful effect on the body and since we do have some control over our thoughts and ergo feelings, we can  eliminate those negative somatic results.

OK, so my stress this month was travelling. What’s the stress in your life and how does your mind exacerbate the reality of what you are stressing about?  Being short on paying your rent/mortgage, or a spouse/best friend/child who is seriously ill, or having to rebuild your house after an earthquake is serious stress and there is no easy way to deal with that depth of worry. Those are eventful stressors, but even these can be managed to a great degree by becoming solution oriented, talking about feelings with a trusted friend, becoming pro-active if possible, and holding positive thoughts about the situation.


However, I’m referring to those stresses that we create in our own mind over something that hasn’t happened yet.  Catastrophizing and ruminating are two such mind benders that serve no purpose.  You see, I believe we are given everything we need to deal with every situation that comes along in life.  But ONLY at that very time are we give the needed resources, not before.  So if we create a situation in our mind, our mind really doesn’t know it isn’t happening. It acts on the worry but we have no resources. Thus, stress.


Ah, if only I could heed my own advice.  I’ll work on it.

Listen to me!!!!   Huh? What?
Men’s brains are different than women’s.  It is neurological and hormonal and cultural.  Men and women, or rather boys and girls,  are treated differently, spoken to differently by parents, teachers and total strangers from the very get-go.
                        The Get-Go
When couples talk to one another they need to know how their partner listens.  I often say, “listen until the words your hear are other than your own, and speak so that your words can be heard.”  What does that mean?
When your partner broadsides you as you walk in the front door with a barrage of accusations and issues. most likely you are saying in your own head, “I’m tired, can’t this wait” or “what do you mean I always/never……”, or “you know, you never……. either!”   And the more words your partner uses, the more you tune out and/or walk out, leaving your partner miffed/furious/abandoned.  No one is listening nor speaking in a way that they can be heard. Everyone suffers.
Here’s the problem guys:
When you don’t respond to your partner she will make assumptions in the void created by the silence.  That is usually not a good thing.
Women will revisit an issue until she feels satisfactorily heard….to men that feels like nagging, to her it feels frustrating. It’s a no-win situation.  Everyone suffers.
Furthermore, guys, muttering under your breath and rolling your eyes are passive- aggressive ways of communicating displeasure; but those manipulations are not received with any degree of satisfaction.  I can only guess that since men are often afraid of their naturally aggressive nature, silence is better than exploding.  But there is an in-between.
Here’s the problem, ladies:
Your man believes with all his heart that it is his job to make/keep you happy.  When you are criticizing, blaming and shaming him, when you come on like gang busters, the job of protecting you and making you happy becomes daunting.  He feels doomed to failure and your man does not like to be a failure in your eyes.
And, another thing, ladies…..too many words! If you use too many words and rephrase the same issue ten different ways, you lost him. Notice how his eyes glaze over.  Whine, same thing, you lost him.  While we’re on the subject of ten different ways to express the same issue, you’ve got to realize that addressing ten different issues in the same barrage will be so overwhelming you will sabotage every chance of being heard.
So here’s the solution guys and ladies:
For the guys I can only suggest that you try to understand what it might feel like to be ignored by your lover.  She feels insignificant, crazy, alone and discouraged.  The more you abandon her, the more she will pursue..  So take responsibility for your communication. You can politely disagree, you can suggest you both talk about it later, maybe after you have unwound, but always acknowledge your partner.
Ladies…..Keep your communications short, few words carefully chosen to be non critical nor blaming, but expressing clearly your feeling will get you where you need to be…..remember, just a few words.  Be solution oriented, don’t whine.  Men just don’t know what to do with whining.  And timing is everything… sensitive.
Most of all, honor each other’s differences and always treat each other respectfully, polite, with dignity.  You both have to do this, but if your partner is reluctant, it is still your responsibility to do your part.  That’s all you can do.  It matters.

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