Maintaining the Peace and Your Sanity: Boundaries with Your In-Laws

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Although I’ve written about it before, over the past several weeks people have been directed to my blog by searching terms such as “in-laws don’t respect boundaries,” “maintaining boundaries with in-laws,” or “mother-in-law disrespects my boundaries.” So, I figured it was probably a good idea to revisit this topic.

Creating boundaries with in-laws can be tough, but it is absolutely necessary! If you don’t establish boundaries with your in-laws they’ll continue to intrude in your life, offer up unsolicited advice, and meddle in your business to the point that you welcome a slow and painful death over time together. Well, hopefully it doesn’t get that extreme, but you get the point!

Additionally, my research shows that dissatisfaction with your in-laws is linked to decreased marital satisfaction. In other words, if you’ve got a problem with your in-laws, your marriage is going to pay the price.

Boundary violations can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from unsolicited advice, uninvited visits (complete with no knocking or doorbell ringing), constant meddling, or sharing your private information with others, just to name a few!

Regardless of the violation, it’s important that you set firm boundaries with your in-laws if their behavior makes you uncomfortable. However, going this alone is not the best route. Although it can work (and we’ll talk about that later), your most valuable and important tool in this task is the person whose parents are causing the mayhem: Your honey bunny.

You need to enlist your sweetie pie because (a) regardless of how much your in-laws love you, they love their child more and will be more inclined to please him/her, (b) you don’t know the intricacies of your spouse’s family communication patterns (even if you’ve been together for ages!), and (c) most in-laws react better to mediated communication than direct confrontation with the other in-law.

Now, before you ask your spouse to make his/her parents all but disappear, really consider the boundary infraction. You don’t want to set so many and such rigid boundaries that it makes having a relationship with your in-laws next to impossible.

Additionally, there are some things you just have to grin and bear. Hearing that your partner prefers his/her meat cooked medium rare rather than rare (the way you prepare it) may be the only way your in-law has to feel relevant in his/her adult child’s life. So, maybe you just take one for the team and let mama-bear or papa-bear feel like they know best (even if you know they don’t).

However, if your in-law consistently barges into your house uninvited, tells you how to parent or manage finances, and uses your personal information as fodder for gossip, well then it’s time to take a stand.

How to Take a Stand without Setting off a Family Feud

1| Start by kindly and calmly telling your spouse what your grievance is.

You know how it’s okay to talk smack about your own parents, but you get really defensive when other’s do, even if you know they’re right? You’re spouse feels the same way. So, it’s best to use what researcher John Gottman calls a soft “start up.”

Don’t begin the conversation harshly or aggressively (e.g., “Your Mom is such an opinionated bitch!” or “Your Dad is an inconsiderate asshole!”).  Instead, focus on the specific behavior and why it upsets you. For example, “Honey, it really bothers me when your mom comes over unannounced and doesn’t even knock. It makes me feel like she doesn’t respect us or our personal space.”

Now, it’s highly likely that your spouse may not see his/her parent’s behavior as problematic. In fact, he/she will probably say “That’s just how she/he is,” or “She/he doesn’t mean anything by it.” Remember, your partner has dealt with his/her parents behavior for a lifetime.

2| If/when this happens it’s important to acknowledge what your partner said, but reiterate that it makes you uncomfortable and you would appreciate it if your partner addressed the issue.

“Honey, I know she probably doesn’t mean anything by it, but it makes me uncomfortable in my own house because I never know when she’s going to show up. It would really mean a lot to me if you talked to her about this.”

Now, hopefully your love muffin respects your feelings enough to address the issue.

However, he may dig in his heels and not want to say anything to Mom or Dad because (a) his family doesn’t talk about these types of things, (b) he doesn’t want to start a conflict, or (c) he’s just plain scared (This is a bigger issue and I’ll address this in the next blog post).

For now, let’s pretend your sweetie says, “Sure thing, anything for you dumpling.” Before he/she goes off to defend your honor there are several tips to guide that conversation.

First, your partner needs to frame the request as an issue he is having with his parents, not you. If he says you’re having a problem they may wonder why you’re not talking to them directly (although this is generally not preferred, nor does it yield a positive outcome) or be less likely to change.

So, your honey should say, “Mom, it really bothers me when you come over unannounced and just walk through the door. I’m an adult and married now and would really appreciate if you respected my privacy by calling before you come over.”

Or, “Dad, it really hurts my feelings when you don’t include Bob in your annual guys fishing trip. He’s my husband and I want him to feel part of the family.”

Second, if your sweetie’s parent retorts “Oh, are you sure you feel this way, and this isn’t Jean talking?” your spouse needs to present a united front while still taking responsibility for the complaint/request.

Yes mom, it is how I feel and I don’t appreciate what you’re implying. I know this isn’t how things were in the past, but it’s different now and I’d like you to respect my boundaries.”

Third, set the precedent in daily conversation. Your honey dumpling doesn’t always have to have a “come to Jesus” talk with his or her parent to set boundaries. Instead, lay the groundwork in everyday conversation.

For example, if his mom says, “Oh, I’m going to stop by today on my way home for the gym.” He can reply, “Well, let me check with Jean to see if tonight works for us.”

Or, my personal favorite, “let me check with the boss.” This is what my husband says when a family member makes a suggestion or request. It’s light and funny, yet sends a subtle message.

Incorporating these types of requests into daily conversation will let your parent-in-law know that boundaries must be re-negotiated and that you are your spouse’s priority, which is key when setting limits with your in-laws.

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Although setting boundaries can be intimidating, it’s essential to a happy marriage and happy in-law relationships! And remember, your honey plays a crucial if not the crucial role in this process. So make sure he or she is on board and has your back, like any good teammate!

But Sylvia, what if my honey is reluctant to stand up to his/her mom and dad? Don’t fret, next time I’ll share some tips for making sure your sweetie is a team player!

Until then,

Sylvia

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Love & Money: Yours, Mine, & Ours

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Last time, we chatted about managing money with your in-laws. This week, we’re going to focus on managing money with your honey. Despite the fact that your marriage is, hopefully, your most intimate relationship, many couples find talking about money difficult.

Couples grapple with different spending styles, decisions about whether or not to combine finances, and determining financial assistance to one another’s families. In fact, research by Papp, Cummings, and Goeke-Morey found that conflicts over money tend to be the most pervasive and troublesome issue of marital conflict and often go unresolved. As a result, couples may avoid discussing money with one another altogether. Although that may seem like a good short-term fix, it’s going to cost you a lot more than cash in the long run.

It’s important to note that having a calm, open, and respectful conversation will help you achieve the best results. Don’t start the conversation right after you open an astronomical credit card bill, or see a new designer bag sitting on the counter. Schedule a time, in advance, to discuss your finances. Then, both of you should come to the table with questions, comments, and concerns (or as I like to call them, QCCs).

Also, listen to where your partner is coming from and try to understand the root of his/her financial perspective. Often times, we repeat the past and spend or save the way our parents did. But, if that doesn’t jibe with your sweetie, then you need to work toward finding a mutually agreeable solution. Finances need to be a win-win situation and the first step to getting there is talking.

Below are some common situations couples experience and how to tackle them.

Situation 1: Spender vs. Saver

In a magical universe filled with rainbows and butterflies, partners agree 100% on how to spend and how to save their money. In reality, couples often have differing expectations. One partner may want to sock away all of the money, while the other partner likes to spend money on extravagant things, even if it means living paycheck to paycheck. These discrepancies are particularly problematic when finances are combined. Additionally, these habits are highly ingrained and hard to break. But just because they’re hard to break doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

First, if you’re committed to making your relationship work, you need to be committed to getting your finances in order. Make a budget and a long-term financial game plan that is (a) realistic, and (b) meets both partners’ needs. If only one person “wins” it’s less likely that the other partner will stick to the plan. Thus, it’s important that both partners are involved in the financial decisions.

If one partner is a compulsive saver, for instance, agree on a percent of your monthly take home pay that will go directly into savings. If the other partners love to eat out, come up with a realistic entertainment budget. This way, both partners get their needs met.

Also, you may want to consider each having a “fun money” fund to spend as you see fit. For instance, each partner gets $100/month to spend on lattes, shoes, gossip magazines, or whatever his/her heart desires. No questions asked. But, when it’s gone, it’s gone. This will allow each partner to feel like they have some financial independence, but also that they’re working as a team to meet their larger goals.

Finally, have monthly financial summits. Alright, it doesn’t need to be that intense, but set aside a time to chat each month about your budget, where things went right, or where things went wrong. Discuss any changes either of you want to make and check in to make sure your headed in the right direction to meet your long-term goals.

Situation 2: To Combine, or Not to Combine

Another issue couples struggle with is whether or not to combine finances. Although some sources say that joint-account couples are more satisfied, others suggest that separate is the way to go. In actuality, there is no “right” way to manage your finances. Only you and your sweetie can determine what’s best for you. However, there are two “must-dos” when determining whether to pool your resources or swim in separate financial waters.

First, it’s important to think and talk about why you want to keep your money separate. Do you want separate accounts because you don’t trust your partner? Do you just want to have a little freedom to spend as you please? Or, do you have a unique financial situation, such as remarrying in later life or having stepchildren that make it easier to keep things separate? It’s important to look at the reason for your decision and address any underlying issues that are affecting not only your finances, but your relationship as well.

If you find that bigger issues, such as lack of commitment or trust, are guiding your financial decisions than it’s important to have an open discussion about your concerns. It’s likely that these issues are impacting more than your finances, but the overall health of your relationship as well.

Second, you both need to agree on how your money is divided. For example, if you decide to keep separate “mad money” accounts and maintain joint checking account and savings accounts, you need to be in complete agreement over what comes out of what account. Do all joint activities (e.g., dinners out or vacations) and expenses, such as mortgage and groceries, come out of the joint account or does some of that have to come out of your personal account?

Additionally, if you do decide to have personal accounts in addition to joint accounts, it’s important to keep things as equitable as possible. If one partner makes more money, that person shouldn’t necessarily have more “fun money” or be able to do more activities because they earn more.  Also, it’s important that the priority be your joint accounts, not individual finances. Marriage and committed partnerships are team sports and financial inequality will eventually lead to resentment in the relationship.

Situation 3: Spreading the Wealth?

Couples may also grapple with differing opinions about if, and how, to give (or loan) money to extended family members. Some of these differences might be rooted in culture. Perhaps in your honey’s culture, children help support their parents and other siblings, even into adulthood; whereas in your culture, children may not be expected to provide financial aid to their parents or siblings.

Again, it’s important to listen to where your sweetie is coming from and come to a consensus regarding if (and how) you provide financial aid to family. Perhaps you agree to only give money to siblings as a “loan” and not a “gift” with concrete terms of repayment. Or, perhaps you both agree to give money to family freely.

The same type of agreement is needed when it comes to gift giving as well. Maybe it’s easiest to agree to spend $XX amount per family member for birthdays and holidays, this number may be influenced by the number of members you each have in your family. Or, maybe you have carte blanche when it comes to gifts. Either way, it’s important to talk about what you’re comfortable with and make sure that you and your love muffin agree.

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Although talking about finances may seem like a daunting relational task, it doesn’t have to be. Putting your cards on the table will help you and your honey set short- and long-term goals that will help you build a financial future together, which is a crucial step on the path to happily ever after.

Until Next Time,

Sylvia

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In-Law Relationships: A Holiday Survival Guide

When Irving Berlin wrote Happy Holiday(s) he must not have had a job, financial stress, or in-laws! As we’re all aware, the holidays provide us with a time to reflect on and celebrate our relationships, but they also can be extremely stressful. We stress over finances, hectic work and social schedules, holiday weight gain, and our family relationships.

One of the most contentious relationships come holiday time tends to be ties with our in-laws (and our own parents). We struggle over adapting rituals, being included in traditions, and splitting time between our family-in-law, our family-of-origin, and our nuclear family.

Holidays with in-laws (and parents) are stressful for several reasons. First, loyalties are often implicitly tested during the holiday season. Spending a holiday with the “in-laws” may be seen as a betrayal to the family-of-origin. Second, holidays with extended family members require change. Rituals and traditions, which reflect a family’s identity, often have to be modified to accommodate new family members. Third, deviations to holiday norms may elicit uncertainty, which can be detrimental to in-law and marital relationships.

It’s important to manage in-law issues effectively because research consistently shows a direct link between the climate of in-law relationships and marital satisfaction. In fact, a recent project my colleagues and I worked on demonstrated that children-in-law’s uncertainty and dissatisfaction within the in-law relationship is linked to dissatisfaction within their marital relationship.

Additionally, a recent study which followed married couples for 26 years found that couples were less likely to divorce if husbands had close bonds with their in-laws. Conversely, wives that were close to their in-laws had a 20% greater chance of divorce. This doesn’t mean that wives can get away with keeping their distance, but does suggest that we need to be mindful of how we negotiate our in-law ties.

Collectively, these results demonstrate the importance of managing our in-law relationships. The holidays are a great place to start establishing boundaries, creating new rituals, and fostering the development and maintenance of strong in-law bonds. The tips below may help you ensure that your holiday season is merry and bright!

Stop: When we feel uncertain or that someone, such as our in-laws, is interfering with our goals, rituals, and routines we tend to be more reactive. As a result, we may say and/or do things that we later regret.

If you feel overwhelmed or upset over a holiday issue with your in-laws (or your own parents), stop and take a personal time out. Take a moment to collect your thoughts and gain control of your emotions. Pressing pause will also allow you to reflect on what is really bothering you, rather than lashing out at your spouse, in-laws, or parents.

Once you’ve had a moment to cool down you have some perspective on the issue and will be able to more calmly communicate what upset you and why.

Collaborate: Traditions are one of the best things about the holiday season. However, the moment we say “I do” we are merging our families and our traditions. It’s important to be open-minded and have a collaborative rather than self-centered attitude when it comes to holiday traditions.

Be open-minded to trying new rituals that mean something to your sweetie pie and his/her family. Additionally, you may want to introduce your in-laws to traditions that are important to you and your family. They’ll get to know you better and feel included, which in turn may make them more eager to have you join the family fold.

It’s also important to make sure that your parents are open to including your honey bunch in family traditions (and in-laws, if you so desire). If they’re hesitant, stay firm and let them know that you’re a package deal now. You can’t include one without the other. This may end certain family traditions or force them to modify existing ones, but your loyalty lies with your spouse now and you have to present a united front.

Listen: You may have heard the phrase “read between the lines,” but it’s equally important to “listen between the lines.” If your sweetheart or in-law brings up an issue he/she is having, try to listen to what he/she is really getting at.

What is the real reason your mother-in-law is upset that you’re not coming for Christmas? Is it that she may feel like she’s losing her child or that she just doesn’t want to change? Is your wife’s dismissal of your family’s traditions really just a reflection of her hurt feelings at not being included in them?

When you engage in perspective checking and paraphrasing (e.g., “What I hear you saying is…” or “You seem upset that my family…”) you not only make sure that you’re on the same page as your relational partner, but also show that you genuinely care.

Build: Although it’s nice to be inclusive and try to accommodate all family members, sometimes you have to establish boundaries. If driving to four holiday dinners or spending two-weeks with your in-laws is not your idea of a good time, don’t let your family guilt you in to doing that.

Instead, acknowledge their feelings, explain your perspective, and then offer alternative options. Perhaps you celebrate the holiday a few days early or a few days late, or make a one-week rather than two-week trip. But provide multiple options and try to reach a compromise.

If you don’t establish boundaries, you’ll never be rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

Celebrate: With all the holiday hub-bub it’s important to not lose sight of your own nuclear family. Whether you’re a two-some or a family with children, it’s important to create your own traditions and rituals and take time to celebrate with one another.

Wine: Not whine, but wine, vino, the good stuff! If all else fails pour yourself a glass, or two, or heck just take the whole bottle. Everything is better when you’re sitting by a fire, sipping some wine, and thinking of your happy place!

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The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Following the tips above will help you want to deck the halls and not each other!

I’d love to hear how you handle your in-laws at the holidays! Tell me your thoughts in the comments!!

Until next time,

Sylvia

Center of the Universe Syndrome: Treating the Narcissist in Your Life

After my parent’s divorce at the age of seven, I went on a bit of a lying spree. I made up lies about any and everything and told them to anyone who would listen. At day camp that summer, I told one counselor that I was the “star” of my Catholic school’s basketball team (Mind you, I can barely dribble a basketball!). During the drive back from a field trip, I rambled on for over an hour about how: “I was the best player,” “everyone wanted to be like me,” “there was no one who compared to me,” and…well, you get the picture. When I finally shut my mouth for more than 10 seconds my camp counselor said, matter of fact, “You know, compliments mean more when they come from someone other than yourself.” Ohhhh, SNAP!

I’ve always remembered that piece of advice/chiding and almost twenty-five years later I typically keep my accomplishments to myself (aside from telling a few close friends and family) and don’t feel the need to toot my own horn. Unfortunately, a lot of other people did not receive this sage advice and are suffering from a serve case of narcissism; or as I like to call it center of the universe syndrome. Unfortunately, social media (e.g., Facebook  twitter) seems to reinforce these tendencies and gives the narcissist’s of the world their own center stage.

After having to hide yet another person on my Facebook news feed due to their nauseating self-promotion, I began to wonder about narcissism, social media, and relationships. Was I just green with envy and that’s why I loathed self-aggrandizing posts and status updates? Was I too reserved and doing myself a disservice by not touting my accolades? Or, was there something fundamentally different about me and my self-promoting counterparts? (And don’t worry, the irony of talking about narcissism on my blog, which I promote through social media, is not lost on me; but, as you’ll see, it’s a vastly different enterprise!)

A few hours of research later, I uncovered information that demystifies these seemingly out of touch with reality individuals and suggestions for helping the non-narcissists and narcissists of the world co-exist, peacefully and humbly.

“I Want to Talk About Me, I Want Talk to About I…”: A Narcissist’s Reality

We commonly think of narcissistic individuals as self-centered. Not only are narcissists self-absorbed, they also demonstrate “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and an exaggerated sense of self,” along with “a pervasive sense of uniqueness and entitlement.” In other words, they think they’re great and expect everyone to not only think the same way, but fawn all over their greatness as well.

Although outsiders tend to think of narcissists as extremely confident individuals brimming with self-esteem, the exact opposite tends to be true. Research suggests that narcissists tend to have lower self-esteem and their self-aggrandizing behavior is one way to get their self-esteem “fix,” albeit temporarily. Social media outlets now allow narcissists to readily stroke their own ego by promoting themselves in a very public way to receive the positive affirmation they so need. Several studies have shown that individuals who are categorized as being narcissistic as well as having low self-esteem tend to check Facebook more frequent throughout the day, post more frequently to Facebook, as well as post more self-promotional content (e.g., status update and photos) than individuals not categorized as narcissistic and with higher self-esteem.

Now, I’m not talking about people who share good news with family and friends, or occasionally boast about their own accomplishments, like completing their first marathon or getting a new job, either in person or on Facebook. Sharing is good. It’s important to share good news within close relationship. In addition, Facebook can be a great way to share good news with people near and far.  Instead, I’m talking about people who have an over-inflated self-concept (e.g., “I’m the best at FILL IN THE BLANK”), think everything they do is the most wonderful thing on the planet, and expect others to be in awe on their awesomeness.

Your Relationship’s Worst Enemy: Your Narcissistic Partner

Unfortunately, narcissism has more detrimental consequences than mere annoyance. As you may know from experience, narcissists make lousy friends and lovers. Although narcissists make new friends easily and have numerous superficial relationships, they’re less successful at maintaining meaningful relationships. In fact, narcissists tend to have minimal interest in developing emotionally close and committed interpersonal relationships. Instead, narcissists often see relationships as a new audience for self-promotion and, not surprisingly, aren’t too interested in what is going on with their partner. Narcissistic partners prefer relationships with people who make them feel superior or will help them climb the social ladder. Additionally, if a relational partner doesn’t stroke the narcissist’s ego, the narcissist has no problem dropping that person like a hot-potato.

In other words, self-centeredness does not a good relationship make.

Tips for Dealing with Someone with Center of the Universe Syndrome

Despite comedic portrayals of narcissists in the media, dealing with a self-absorbed monster in real-life is no laughing matter. Although a lot of people simply cut the big-headed beast loose, others stick it out either voluntarily (despite their faults, there is still something they love about him/her), or involuntarily (the person is a family member or a co-worker).

So, here are a few tips (from the most indirect to direct strategy) you can employ to make your relationship with your narcissist more manageable and, hopefully, more satisfying:

Grin and Bear It: The easiest way to deal with a narcissist (and by easiest, I mean least likely to set the narcissist off) is to grin and bear it. This strategy obviously doesn’t cure center of the universe syndrome, but it may allow you to interact with the person without making the problem worse or yourself crazy.

Unfortunately, there isn’t “hide” button for face-to-face interactions, so when you’re in person, listen to the narcissist’s egotistical rant and smile and nod, while engaging in some meditative breathing. (Seriously, they probably won’t notice you tuned out and you’ll be thankful you’re in your happy place!)

Online, it’s a lot easier. You can hide the narcissist’s status updates or twitter posts. This way you can be blissfully ignorant to their daily musings about how wonderful he/she is. Saving yourself frustration and your relationship even more damage.

Although this strategy is least likely to threaten your relationship, it is the most likely to increase your frustration and resentment. So, you may want to try a more direct, but still subtle approach.

Tone Down, and Ramp Up: Yes, this sounds like a new exercise craze (“Tone Down, Ramp Up” TM), and no, it won’t help you shed any excess weight (although, I think you’re beautiful as is!). But, it may help you save your relationship with your little narcissistic friend.

Tone Down refers to trying to subtly put out your narcissist’s over exuberant fire. Instead of even smiling or nodding in agreement when your narcissist goes on a self-enhancing bender, simply say and do nothing. No verbal reactions, no nonverbal reactions. Now, some narcissists won’t even notice your reaction, but others may.

Now, when you combine this with Ramp Up, you start moving the spotlight off your narcissist and let it shine on you a little bit too. When your narcissist talks about how amazing he/she is at FILL IN THE BLANK, don’t be shy to mention something about yourself. It doesn’t have to be as boastful (don’t get caught up in the passive-aggressive, one-upper trap!), but just enough to let your narcissist know that you’re a competent and admired human as well.

As research suggests, your narcissist may react poorly to this shift and decide he or she would prefer a new, more amenable audience. Or, it could help your problem a bit.  I’m not saying it will eradicate your narcissist’s behavior entirely (this trait is deeply rooted), but it may shift your relational culture, or at the very least, make interactions a bit more tolerable.

Bite the Bullet and Speak Up: In healthy relationships, when partners give one another criticism (in a constructive and positive manner, of course!) it rarely derails the relationship. However, the narcissist is a fragile creature that likes to be adored and admired, not critiqued. So, you should seriously consider the potential aftermath before you decide to explicitly say something. But, if you think that the rewards outweigh the costs then by all means speak up!

No one likes being criticized by their partner, even if your partner has your best interest at heart, and a narcissist will like it even less. Focusing on these strategies might help soften the blow and get real results:

Start with a positive: Don’t dig in right away, start with something you like about the person, and then address your issue. For example, instead of “All you do is talk about yourself! It’s annoying,” try “I love how excited you are to share your accomplishments with me, however, I sometimes feel that we only talk about you…”

Focus on behavior: Although being a narcissist is a trait and not simply a behavior, when you focus on the person he/she will become defensive. However, if you can separate the behavior from the person, he/she may be more open to listening to what you have to say.

Instead of “You’re so narcissistic!” try “Sometimes I notice that you tend to talk about yourself a lot and never really ask about me.”

Also, try to combine this with John Gottman’s famed X-Y-Z statement—“When you do X, in situation Y, it makes me feel Z”—for the most impact. For example, “When you only talk about yourself (X), when we hang out/talk (Y), it makes me feel like you don’t care about me or our relationship (Z).” This statement will help minimize defensiveness and anger, by having you accept responsibility for your feelings (rather than placing blame on your partner) and focuses on specific behaviors in specific situations.

Outline the costs and benefits: Let your narcissist know that there are costs to his/her behavior and benefits to changing it. Perhaps let him/her know that his/her behavior makes you hesitant to pursue/maintain the relationship, or that you avoid talking to him/her because of this behavior. Then let him/her know that changing the behavior will help you have a stronger, more intimate relationship.

Offer help: It’s not enough to say “You suck, now fix it.” Instead, come up with solutions to help your narcissist. Maybe you come up with a signal to use when he/she is getting too self-centered. Or, perhaps you help your narcissist find a therapist who can help him/her work through the issues that have led to this behavior, and provide him/her with concrete skills to change his/her behavior.

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Treating center of the universe syndrome is a difficult and intimidating. However, I fully believe that if the thought of addressing this issue makes your palms sweaty, then it’s probably the right conversation to have. Doing the right thing is usually the hardest thing; but the hardest endeavors have the sweetest rewards.

Until next time,

Sylvia

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