Therapy Online: Getting through just one day stress-free is a rare occasion for many. However, by understanding those around you, in the home, the workplace, or even a personal relationship, you can overcome part of what causes that stress in the first place. Catherine Bridwell answers your questions about everyday problems that can easily be solved through communication and the help of Identity, of course.
QUESTION: My boss recently has required me to stay late to help with project deadlines. I have two young children who are cared for while I’m at work by my mother. I feel bad asking her to stay longer than the six hours each day that we agreed to. I need the $ from this job. What should I do?
Since everyone’s most important relationships are those with family and friends, you may have already begun sharing with your mother what is happening and what your thoughts are – she may have words of wisdom. The next step is of course communicating with your boss about the need for clarification. Approach him/her with a request to speak at his/her convenience. The subject is: clarification of overtime expectations. If you anticipate being nervous write on a notecard the points to be made and refer to it if you need to. Your boss’s job is to have the highest performing employees possible but the area between performing well at the job you were hired for and performing beyond that job can be grey. Your goal is simply to clarify for your own comfort level and, in fact, for the boss’s.
Some factors to discuss include:
The original work agreement (including your understanding of overtime)
Your flexibility (including frequency)
Heads up time (perhaps 24 hours)
Compensation for overtime
QUESTION: My mother is downsizing and has offered family heirlooms to my older sister and me. Sis wants all the most valuable pieces and Mom says I should go along with that. All through childhood my sister was treated better than me because my parents felt sorry for her (few friends, poor grades…..) and I was expected to accept that. This is definitely not fair. Should I speak up?
he distribution of family heirlooms may provide an opportunity to address long standing roles that are potential roadblocks to a good relationship between sisters in the future. You could begin by requesting a discussion about the various ways these pass-along decisions are made by other families:
Each daughter makes a list of her favorite 5 (or whatever number) and mom compares and decides
Create a master list and choose by turns
Determine monetary value and choose by turn keeping the tab close to even as you go
Have an independent, unbiased person choose and then trade with each other if desired
Hopefully Mom did not realize she was perpetuating the childhood roles by leaving the decisions/choices to you and your sister. But she was. Perhaps she will appreciate having her daughters relationship changing to a more 50-50 partnership. Although the approach to this change may be difficult, in the long run it will serve all those involved well.
QUESTION: My father-in-law is extremely rude to my mother-in-law in my presence. It raises my anxiety from 0 to 60 in an instant. My husband doesn’t want to say anything about it. Should I?
If your father-in-law is rude to you or your husband or your children, of course you address that – your husband should be prepared to do the same. Your father-in-law has most likely treated his wife in a bullying way for a long time and the two are familiar (even comfortable) with the pattern. You should, when it happens in your own home tell him that everyone is treated respectfully in your home: what he does and she tolerates elsewhere is their business. When it happens in your domain it becomes your business too.
You don’t want their example to be perpetuated as a role model in your own marriage or as an example for your children as one way some marriages work.
Bullies continue to bully only in settings that tolerate it. Any circumstances that make you uncomfortable deserve consideration and decisions about how to preclude that discomfort.
HAVE A QUESTION FOR CATHY and would like to receiving some therapy online? Please fill out the form below and your question will be answered in the order it’s received. Please continue to check back for your question to be answered. Note: we do not use last names