Without purporting to have any formal education in what makes a relationship thrive, he recently published a book (If You’re in My Office, It’s Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Staying Together) in which he shares what he has observed makes relationships fall apart irretrievably.
Tragically, several of my clients have had to confront the suicide of a loved one, or find themselves in the position of wanting to support someone who has experienced such a loss. The following list of resources focuses on supporting adolescents and young adults, but is relevant for a wider population as well.
To a large degree (although not across the board or in every circumstance), we have much greater power to control how people treat us than we are aware. Often from fear of appearing selfish, unkind, or losing connection, we allow ourselves to be disrespected, and in so doing, start to lose pieces of ourselves.
The former approach entails a readiness to attack, confront, criticize, or cast aspersion, and quickly escalates a conflictual exchange that could be so much more easily resolved. The latter promotes a sense of powerlessness in the relationship, self-pity and self-victimization, sulking, withdrawal, internalized and growing resentment, and does little to move a situation or dynamic in new directions.
The book’s title — We Are Called to Rise — is drawn from the quote by poet Emily Dickenson: “We never know how high we are, Till we are called to rise; And then, if we are true to plan, Our statures touch the skies.” The following two eloquent quotes capture the book’s essence.
There is ripple effect in a family with an autistic child, an astronomical one in terms of family dynamics. Dr. Cecelia McCarton, founder of The McCarton School and Center for Developmental Pediatrics in New York notes that family members — parents, siblings, grandparents, and extended family members, are all affected by a child’s autism.
Brain science supports anecdotal evidence that compassion is infinitely more effective in de-escalating conflict and nurturing intimacy than are cool logic and rational argument. The following tactics are generally less than successful in trying to get the understanding and caring we need from our partner: