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Rhonda: Welcome to Season Four of Master Coach Mindset™. Hi, my name is Rhonda Britten, and this Season I will be opening up my archives and sharing the most popular questions I’ve received over the last two decades from coaches just like you. Whether it’s about the art of coaching or addressing your Clients’ questions about relationships, career, or self. Plus, I will be answering the questions you have right now about your practice and your Clients. Ask me anything you’d like at MasterCoachMindset.com.
In today’s Episode, I will be sharing my answers to your questions straight from my archives. Today’s topic: Your Client and Relationships.
Rhonda: How can I serve you today?
Caller One: Well, I’m having a great deal of trouble with balance in my life. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. I’m trying to really build my career and really grow in my career. I’m a single parent of young twin daughters. Other than every other weekend and one evening every other week, my kids are with me.
Caller One: I try to get as much done during the day as I can, but because of the nature … I actually have two businesses and because of the nature of the businesses, I do have to do some night work. This is always a challenge. My kids need my time. I want to be there for them, but then I get resentful that I can’t focus on, you know-
Rhonda: Great. So, a couple things I want to ask you right away. Do you have a support system?
Caller One: I do.
Rhonda: Okay, great, so you have a support system. Do you call upon them, so that’s one?
Caller One: Yeah.
Rhonda: Okay, great. If you have a support system, actually the only way that it can be a support system is if you actually use it. One, is asking for support. That’s one.
Rhonda: Two, you talked about your children and wanting to be there for them. That’s wonderful. Then there’s also called another skill which is teaching your children boundaries so they know-
Caller One: Yes, I have great difficulty.
Rhonda: Okay, great. So, this is one of the areas that I invite you to start practicing. Besides asking for support from your support team, is also to start putting boundaries in place. Like, “Well, when mommy has the door shut, you can’t come in, you must knock.” Or, “when mommy is on the phone…” You know, you must start putting parameters in place where they know it’s “yes” and it’s “no,” and they know they still love you. You know, you still love them, but that there’s boundaries and that you’re not at their beck and call.
In actuality what you’re teaching them is, if you’re at their beck and call, is that love is supposed to be there whenever you want it to be. What kind of 25-year-old, 30-year-old children are these going to end up growing into?
Caller One: Well, I wish it were true that I were there at their beck and call but because I’m not very effective at setting boundaries and keeping them up. I mean, we usually disintegrate into scream fests. I would really … you know, it’s not the role modeling I want to offer for my kids.
Caller One: What happens is it exhausts me and then I don’t have energy.
Rhonda: Okay. So, who’s the first … I’ll have to ask you, who’s the parent?
Caller One: I am.
Rhonda: Great. So, there is no screaming per se. I mean, yes, you’re going to scream occasionally. Don’t get me wrong. Every parent screams occasionally. Your job is to put boundaries in place and you have to go through the difficult training of your children in order for them to abide by.
Now, this not only goes for children. This goes for adults. This is business. This is family. This is children. It’s all around the board. Most of the time people can’t put boundaries in place because they have a difficulty keeping them because they don’t want to do through the challenge of actually putting the consequences in place and hearing the complaining and the whining. And, oh well, that’s right, mom’s not here right now.
Caller One: Well, my kids will bang on the door.
Rhonda: Okay, great. Then you get to say, “No banging on the door. You get to knock once. If mom doesn’t answer unless something is bleeding or the house is on fire, if it’s not a catastrophe, then you must patiently wait.” Or maybe they slip a note through the door so they don’t knock at all, especially if you’re on the phone, maybe they don’t knock. “You don’t get to knock on the door, you slip a note through door. The only reason you walk in at all is if somebody is bleeding, something is on fire, you know, some catastrophe.”
But, that they are knocking on the door and slamming on it and you’re not putting a consequence in place, why would they stop doing it?
Caller One: I’m willing to do the consequence and I’m willing to put up with that first reaction to it, but I have trouble coming up with the consequences in many cases.
Rhonda: Great. What I would invite you to do is you can do a couple things. One, you can talk to your children about asking them what kind of consequences you could put in place. Two, you could ask your support team to support you in coming up with different boundaries to put in place. Usually a consequence has to be something that they care about. So, for instance, if they knock on the door, and they have to go sit in their room for the next hour, is that really a problem or do they like sitting in their room?
You know, so I don’t know what the consequences are per se in your family because I don’t know the things that would really bug them. You know, would it bug them to not watch T.V. for a day? Would it bug them not to be able to use the phone? What would bug them? What make would them go, “Oh, man, I don’t want to lose that.”
Caller One: The thing with sending them to their room. I have used that, but it’s just always a struggle. They’ll be banging on the door.
Rhonda: That doesn’t matter. You have to ignore it. That’s fine.
Caller One: Yeah.
Rhonda: Every time they bang on the door, you get to say, “Great, every time you bang on the door is another hour that you sit in this room, and you go to school tomorrow and then you have to come in after school and go up and sit in that room again. So, it’s your choice. You can either not bang and be done in 30 minutes or a half hour, whatever you do, or an hour, or you can bang on the door and make a racket and every time I have to come into the room, another half hour is added on. It’s really your choice.”
Remind them that it’s their choice. They’re putting the consequences in place because they’ve broken the agreement. Okay? So, you’re putting the … I don’t care how young they are. I mean, how old are your children?
Caller One: They’re nine.
Rhonda: Yeah, nine years old, they can totally take responsibility. They know how to do this. They just get to manipulate you and therefore you don’t get balance because you’re not willing to go through the boundary per se of putting the consequences in place and then keeping on going with it and not being faced by it. Not yelling about it. Another half hour. You just come in turn the clock another half hour, da, da, da, da. You walk out. Doesn’t bother you. It’s their choice. La, la, la, la, la.
Caller One: Another … Maybe you can help me with this.
Rhonda: If it’s along the same question.
Caller One: It is along the same question. When I have to take them to my place of work. One evening a week I have to take them to work every other week.
Rhonda: You’re choosing. So, you’re choosing to do that, not you have to. You’re choosing to do that. That’s a choice.
Caller One: Right. I don’t have a babysitter.
Rhonda: How many people live in the town you live in?
Caller One: A lot.
Rhonda: Okay, great. If you wanted a babysitter, I bet you could find one. So, you’ve chosen to take your kids with you. Clearly, the minute you think you have to, resentment is already right there. You don’t have to. It’s a choice. So, you’re choosing to take them. Okay? You have a support team, yes?
Caller One: Not as strong a one as far as family support.
Rhonda: I didn’t say family. I never mentioned the word family. I said support.
Caller One: Right, and I do have a support team.
Rhonda: Great. So, could they support you one evening a week? Could you hire another babysitter? Could you talk to the people that live in your neighborhood for babysitting?
Caller One: You know, the key is that most of them are teenagers. You know, people that need to be home early and they can’t stay as late as I need them too on a weeknight.
Rhonda: Okay, and how many people live in the town that you live in?
Caller One: A lot.
Rhonda: Okay. So, all of these wonderful excuses to keep you victimized, build your resentment up.
Caller One: Yeah.
Rhonda: Which of course makes your fuse short which then gives you the really good excuse of yelling when you can’t keep a boundary in place when they don’t do it because you don’t have the patience to actually go through it five times. It starts with that you feel like you have to.
Caller One: Yeah.
Rhonda: Your bottom line is there’s a lot of people that live in the city you live in. And there’s college students and high school students and there are probably babysitting coops. There’s probably a babysitting online that you can go to. You could put an ad in the paper. Lots of different things. You could ask everybody you know.
Caller One: You know what? You’re right. Because I do resent them.
Caller One: You know, it’s not … This whole thing is not the way I want to parent.
Caller One: It is just giving me an excuse, holding me back in my career.
Rhonda: Yes. And, it’s also not giving them a role model of how to actually have a career and move forward in your life.
Caller One: Right.
Rhonda: And be able to still love.
Caller One: Right.
Rhonda: See, boundaries don’t take love away. That’s how it feels when you start putting boundaries in place. It feels like you’re taking love away, but the bottom line is you’re not taking love away. The minute the boundary is complete, the minute the consequence is over, you don’t keep punishing them. You love them right away. It’s not like, “Well, mommy is not paying attention to you because you did that.” It’s really about letting them go and loving them the minute they’re done with the consequence. But we have a tendency to do as adults and as children is we silently punish after the consequence.
Caller One: Yeah.
Rhonda: So your job is to keep as clean as possible, no resentment and getting out of the words “have to” and “should” and instead looking for that support, asking for help, and doing things that you want to do with those boundaries. Does that make sense?
Caller One: Yes it does.
Rhonda: Great. Well, are you complete?
Caller One: Yeah
Rhonda: Thank you.
Caller One: Thank you.
Rhonda: How can I support you today?
Caller Two: Well Rhonda, I wanted in to talk about a Client of mine with a relationship situation. He is a 51 year old male that works for a company in Canada. Has worked there for over 30 years. Been married for over 28. Has spent the last two years going back and forth between his wife and girlfriend and can’t decide where he wants to live. Everything that he talks about he relates back to them when asked what he’s missing in his life. Everything relates back to the women, “This one brings this one in and this brings this one in.” He admittedly thinks about this 80-90% of the time.
Rhonda: Great, so does he want to continue to do that and does he really want to decide? Doesn’t sound like he really wants to decide.
Caller Two: He does really want to decide. He has come to the point where he really knows that this needs to stop.
Caller Two: Because what it’s about is protecting his wife and how it is affecting others around him.
Caller Two: I did challenge him to consider getting his own place.
Caller Two: But this decision wasn’t about the women, it was more about him.
Rhonda: Yes. Yes.
Caller Two: So, he in the last week, because of the things that happened, did see the value in doing that and has agreed to do that.
Rhonda: Excellent! Excellent! That’s brilliant, great! Excellent. So bottom line is, yeah, bottom line is, he gets his own place and then he can date both of these women. And the bottom line is his wife may or may not have anything to do with them, the decision may have already been made. You know, it depends on where she is. And does she know anything about this? He doesn’t.
Caller Two: Oh absolutely!
Rhonda: Oh she does!
Caller Two: Oh yeah!
Rhonda: And she’s okay with it?
Caller Two: Well, no.
Caller Two: He knows that he can suck her back in.
Caller Two: So, I mean, she has said no before, that it’s over, and then he sucks her back in. So he consciously now knows that even if she says that he can get her back in.
Rhonda: Manipulate. And is that what he wants to do to earn her love?
Caller Two: No.
Caller Two: The thing that he talks about is that the word failure comes up frequently with him. He agreed to buy “Fearless Living.” We talked about that. What it appears to be is the indecision of being afraid of making a mistake.
Rhonda: Yes. Yes.
Caller Two: And then the disapproval of his family.
Rhonda: Well clearly that hasn’t stopped him from doing it on the side.
Caller Two: No.
Rhonda: Right. So, he sits down and says he wants to be approved by his family, but yet he hasn’t lived in a way that that would be true.
Caller Two: Right.
Rhonda: So he says that but that’s an incongruency. So that he says that but that’s not how he’s acting, so therefore that’s not really the truth. He says it to sound good and to be the good person, the right person, the better person, and moral person. But in fact it’s really not a value for him.
So first of all, I would dismantle that false thinking that’s a value for him because it’s not a value for him otherwise he would never have had an affair. He never would have if that really was something that was very vital to him. So that’s one thing. Two, I really agree with you for him to have his own place. And then three, I invite you to make both of these women human. That there is no right decision. It’s just different types of love and which one will serve him twenty years from now, or ten years from now, or twenty years from now. What love does he want to cultivate? What is the love that he has with the girlfriend? What is the love that he has with his wife? And which one does he really see himself wanting in 5 years from now? Is the girlfriend the immediate satisfaction or really is it a deep love?
So I would have a conversation about what love is. Just start education him about love. Like what is love. What does he think love “should be like?” What does he think it’s going to be like? Let’s say imagine a perfect day with his girlfriend. Imagine a perfect day with his wife. Now imagine that everything’s broken. What would it be like with his girlfriend? What would it be like with his wife? So that he can start determining what love is to him and what is it that he really seeks? Both of these women may not actually be the answer. I daresay, there’s probably somebody else. If it’s still so muddled, I daresay it’s probably somebody else. And in order for him to meet that person, he needs to obviously disentangle from the relationship now and move on his own in order to really find out who he is. Because clearly, like you said, he finds all his worth and self-esteem from having these two women. Again so, I love it, it’s great! Anything else I can support you with? You’ve been fantastic and what I would do is again, educate about love.
Caller Two: No, I don’t believe so.
Rhonda: Are you clear? Is this supporting you?
Caller Two: Yes.
Rhonda: Okay. Great! Thanks!
Rhonda: How can I support you?
Caller Three: Hi Rhonda! I am working with a Client who is in a relationship that his wife is very verbally aggressive to the point of being abusive in what he’s telling me. Given the situation, I do believe him. And at the same time he does understand that he’s choosing to be in this relationship. He’s there for the kids and he wants to have an everyday presence.
Rhonda: So first of all you can ask him, “so you’re sacrificing yourself for your children.” Is that true?
Caller Three: He would say, “yes, that’s true” and “no it’s not true.”
Rhonda: Okay, well there’s only one truth. He’s either sacrificing himself or he’s not.
Caller Three: Okay, he’s sacrificing himself for the kids. He really longs to be close to his wife. And, I believe, he’s part of the problem.
Rhonda: Yes, of course. It takes two to tango. So, what I’d like you to do is go, “This isn’t about your wife. What I can do is support you in deciding how you want to be treated as well as how you want to treat.” So one is if the wife, so to speak, is being emotionally abusive and either one we don’t have to agree with it. We can just go, “Great. If that’s something acceptable to you. No, it’s not great so what boundaries do you want to place? What is it that’s not acceptable to you and let’s start practicing saying, ‘that’s not acceptable to me,’ or ‘that’s not okay with me,’ or ‘that’s no longer available for that conversation.’” Come up with creative ways to support him in putting boundaries in place. So that’s one. It’s neither here or there if she is actually doing it. If he believes she’s doing it then we have to support him in creating boundaries. And being able to say “yes” or “no.” And being able to not react because his reaction probably feeds her abuse. And, of course, that’s not an excuse for the abuse, it’s just something for him to be aware of. And so when you say, “he’s part of the problem. What do you think?” What are you sensing?
Caller Three: I’m sensing that he’s really wanting to have her respond to him differently.
Caller Three: And when she doesn’t he’s frustrated and he withdraws.
Rhonda: Okay. Got it.
Caller Three: I’d say that his situation would be served better, he would be served better, and his relationship with his wife would be served better, if he could stay present and allow her her feelings and to say whatever she wants to say.
Caller Three: And not let it get to him.
Rhonda: Okay. Great. So now we’re going to work on expectations of relationship. So he has an expectation that she should “react a certain way.” Well, you’re gonna get to ask him, “And is that true? How often does it work?” “Well, doesn’t often work very well.” “So great. So, is there value in continuing to have that expectation? Or can we shift it into having an intention for you? So you can say to yourself, ‘I am doing all I can in this relationship.’” Because when you close down are you doing all you can in the relationship? No. Of course you’re not. You can say “no.” Great. So are you willing to stay open? Are you willing to stay vulnerable? And are you willing to take the risk in order to have more love in your life? Because bottom line, the number one risk, in order to feel love is to share oneself and risk rejection. If he’s not willing to share himself and risk rejection. And then I would add for this particular person, being responsible. He must be responsible. Just because he share’s himself doesn’t mean she’s gonna be all giddy and go, “oh you’re sharing yourself.”
Caller Three: Right.
Rhonda: You know.
Caller Three: Or even become angrier.
Rhonda: Yeah. Exactly. And he gets to go, “you know your anger, I get you’re angry and this is what I need from you. So we have to help him with boundaries. We have to help him ask for help. And we have to show him the difference between perception and reality. You know, what’s the difference between what his expectation is versus what’s reality. And how can we support him into being satisfied, fulfilled, creative, more sense of himself in reality so that he doesn’t react and therefore is able to have more power, keep his self-esteem, self-confidence in check no matter what the other person does. So this isn’t about her at all. It is about him. And we have to increase his skills about his ability to reach out, ask for help, and to say what he needs and wants.
Caller Three: And for him to increase his skills and abilities that is around setting boundaries.
Rhonda: Setting boundaries, asking for help, being willing to see the truth, paying attention to his tone, not withdrawing no matter what. And he may withdraw after five minutes but he stuck in for five minutes, congratulations. So how fast does he withdraw? Great! Can he stay open and not withdraw and actually be present and allow her to do whatever she needs to do. And he stands there in support of her. So he’s basically a witness to her moods, her attitudes, her frustrations without any shame, without any judgment.
Caller Three: And to know that it’s not about him.
Rhonda: And to know it’s not about him. Yes. And a lot, you know, a bunch of things that you said. It’s not going to take tomorrow it’s going to be months and months that he starts mastering these skills. But if he starts mastering the skills, she will vibrate to him differently. It will be a different relationship because he will no longer, you know, do the game that he does to try to get her love. So, how much is he manipulating to get her love. It sounds like a lot. And punishing, so silent punishing. He’s silent punishing. He’s manipulating in order to, you know, get her to realize, to open, you know, to get her to change. But that’s not how people change.
Caller Three: Right. Right. And the risk in that is that the relationship becomes better or the relationship may end.
Rhonda: Yes, absolutely. And he will know this wishy-washy place he’s in now and using the martyr thing on. “I’m staying for the kids. You know, it’s the kids.” Baloney baloney. Yes that may be true for a certain percentage of the population, but I dare say there’s benefits for him staying. He doesn’t have to risk. He doesn’t have to be vulnerable. He doesn’t have to date again. You know, he doesn’t have to go through any of those awkward situations. You know, right now he gets to blame her. He doesn’t have to blame himself. You know, he’s putting it all on her. So, there’s lots of benefits for him to stay and do this martyr thing. So, you get to start pointing out, “Well great. What are some of the benefits of you staying?”
“Well there’s no benefits. I’m doing it for the kids really.”
“So, you don’t get to act superior, and you don’t get to say you’re right, and you don’t get to pretend that it’s her and not you.”
“Oh well yeah, I guess I do that.”
“Yeah, I guess you do.”
And that will support him in having a new awareness and seeing how he perpetuates the situation with the way he treats her in response to not getting his needs met or his way. And then he manipulates and silently punishes. So, we have to take away the silent contracts, the expectations and start supporting him into creating intention in order to be proactive and responsible inside this relationship and how he wants to be as a man. How he wants to be as a man rather than this relationship. It’s not about the relationship; it’s about how he wants to be as a man.
Caller Three: Yeah, because he keeps talking about how he’s appeasing his wife. Trying to … the expectation …
Rhonda: Yes, but … and is that a loving place? Yeah, and is that love?
Rhonda: No, that’s fear. He’s appeasing because he’s afraid. Well, can he love himself? Start loving, doing loving actions towards himself and loving her. Is appeasing a loving act? You can ask him that. Is appeasing a loving act?
Caller Three: I will.
Rhonda: And he’ll go, “Well yeah because I give her her way.” And is that a loving act? Well, eventually if you keep on going down that train of thought he’ll go, “Well, no. That’s not a loving act.” So, is it a loving act to silently punish? Is a loving act then to withdraw? Is it a loving act to have silent contracts? Is a loving act to have expectations and then being unfulfilled? Is that a loving act?
Caller Three: Well, no.
Rhonda: Great. So, let’s talk about what would be a loving act. What would be loving? And not from a place of martyrdom, but from a place of that I am worth something, I have equal value in this relationship as you do. And therefore, I include myself in all the decisions for this relationship. It’s not just a one person relationship because right now it’s a one person relationship. It’s all about her.
Caller Three: It is. There’s no mutual.
Rhonda: Yeah, so he’s not including himself in that relationship. So, what I invite him to do is obviously read “Fearless Loving” that’s really be critical for him to read “Fearless Loving” and especially to read the boundaries chapter, Chapter Six. So, he can start taking responsibility.
Caller Three: Right.
Rhonda: Alright. Are you complete?
Caller Three: I am Rhonda that has helped me immensely.
Rhonda: Great. Thank you.
Caller Three: Thank you.
Rhonda: How can I support you today?
Caller Four: I have a question regarding a Client, and she has problems with her husband over money.
Caller Four: And basically the problem is that he likes to spend it without telling her. She likes to keep a budget. And he can’t be bothered with keeping a budget, and especially on sports equipment for himself. That … he likes to do that and so, she thinks that her role is to change him.
Rhonda: Yeah, I’m sure she does. In order to save themselves for retirement and such.
Caller Four: Right.
Rhonda: So, question right off the bat is does he have any mad money? Does he have any money that he can go spend on sports equipment? Is that part of the budget?
Caller Four: No, I don’t think so.
Rhonda: Great. So, there’s a couple things. One is I completely understand it’s just like, you know, husband or wife or wife or husband whoever’s in charge of the money, the other person has to feel, if they’re this type of person that you’re describing, has to feel that they have some sort of self-control. That they have some sort of depth, you know, that they can take care of themselves, they have some sort of, you know, self-reliance. They can, you know, do what they want. They’re grown-ups. They’re treated with respect. So, what I invite her to do is actually look at her budget and do a couple things.
One is to give her husband mad money. Not only on maybe a weekly basis, but also a monthly basis or even a year basis. So for instance, let’s say, and I wouldn’t give it to him all at one time of course, but that she incorporates some of these things. And she talks to him, and she actually talks to him and says I don’t know, “Maybe you’re feeling hemmed in or you’re feeling like you can’t have fun. That’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to be the bad guy. I don’t want to be your mother. What I want to do is be you partner. So, if we could come up with some intentions for our money. What is some of the things we want to do with our money?” And have him get involved in the conversation of, you know, does he want a bigger house? Do they want a different house? Do they want to pay off their mortgage? So, that he can be enrolled in what this budget means.
And then he has to have some mad money. And maybe not as much as he wants, but if he feels included in the conversation and he has “permission” or “allowed to” or feels able to spend without, you know, without causing great havoc on the family, he’ll have a little bit more freedom. If that happens and if they start having a mad money budget and he can do that, then obviously if he continues to go past the mad money budget and they agreed to the mad money budget, one they have to reevaluate that and relook at it and is that really realistic or two, he has to start facing that he has, you know, that’s how he gets love is by causing havoc on the money and then she has to give him attention. And is this how he gains attention? Is this how he gains his own sense of self by shopping? And does it make him feel like a man that he gets these sports things?
So, that’s kind of the second part of the question. The first one is just to go, yeah he’s got to have mad money. Just like if it was the opposite, a woman needs mad money. I mean absolutely. And, you know, my sister Linda is in charge of the books, and her husband, you know, they give him 50 dollars, he spends 50 dollars if you give him five, he spends five. So, it’s kind of like that same conversation. I wouldn’t, again, give him the whole amount for the whole year, but I would give him some freedom inside the month to actually do what he wants and yes, this is who he is and that’s who she married. Does that make sense?
Caller Four: Yes.
Rhonda: Do you have anything else about that?
Caller Four: Would it be helpful, do you think, if she could get him to sit down and talk about what he wants. What kind of sports equipment that he wants and then figuring out some kind of a savings plan to get it?
Rhonda: Yeah, yes that may be … I would say that’s an added to what I’m talking about because one is he just needs mad money. The guy sounds like he needs, you know he sees a new golf club, and he needs to go buy it. And I don’t know what their income is whether, you know, she’s in charge or she makes more money or he makes more money, but the fact is let’s say that he makes equal to and or the same amount of money that she does. You know, and he’s the type of person that needs to feel like he can go, you know, he works hard he needs to go buy a golf club he can god damn buy a golf club!
Caller Four: Right.
Rhonda: You know, so, yeah there’s nothing wrong with that want that sense of want that sense of feeling. And yeah, sure she can budget certain things in and she can talk to him about it, but on one hand, he’s got to have some mad money and if she doesn’t want him to have any mad money, then she’s just as controlling as he’s not willing to be controlling. About how she earns his love and respect is by controlling and that she has to be his mother. Another way to do this, I’ll just give you another little thing, is that he becomes in charge of the money. And that would frighten the daylights out of her.
Caller Four: Right. She talked to him about that, and he didn’t want to do that.
Rhonda: Yeah, well that’s nice he doesn’t want to do it, but you know, hey. That’s nice. If he’s not willing to be responsible for the amount of money that’s coming in then he’s got to start seeing what it’s like. And she has to go through the difficulty of bills being late and, you know, is she willing to do that? Does that make sense?
Caller Four: Yep.
Rhonda: Okay great. Great. Anything else.
Caller Four: Nope.
Rhonda: Are we complete?
Caller Four: That’ll … I’m complete.
Rhonda: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you.
Caller Four: Okay.