Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Honor of Mother's Day

This year, I decided to do something I’ve never done before on my radio show. For both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I am hosting a three-part series of conversations on “Relationships 101” leading up to each holiday. If money spent is an indicator of importance, $14.6 billion spent on Mother’s Day every year. This is second only to the Christmas holidays.

The first in the series is a conversation that was posted this last Monday with Dr. LeslieBeth Wish. She is a marriage and family therapist based in Sarasota, Fl, and her family therapy training was virtually identical to mine. So we had great fun sharing our mutual knowledge and being on the same wave length with each other. The “marching orders” I gave here were to provide an overview on why there often tends to be so much conflict in mother-daughter relationships. In broad brush strokes, some of the reasons are competition for the father's attention or to be the fairest one of all, jealousy at the daughter’s youth, the mother’s displacing her anger at herself onto her daughter, and the daughter using conflict as a tool to separate and individuate from her mother. You’ll have to tune in to the show to hear the rest.

This coming Monday the conversation is from the mother’s perspective about what parenting a daughter can be like. I spoke with Julie Pech who intuitively is just plain a good mom. She gives her 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son the freedom to explore and discover who they are while still helping them learn self-discipline. And she doesn't smother them. She shared stories and offered hints about how to be a good mother who acknowledges her children’s individuality while still providing structure for them.

The third in the series will air on the Monday before Mother’s Day. It features a conversation with a woman whose mother was harsh with her children because she was frustrated with her life. It seems she was born a generation too soon. My guest is Karel Murray, who talks about how, when she was 26 years old, she took charge of her relationship with her mother so that eventually, they would develop a loving connection out of what otherwise could have been a lifelong disaster for both women. She describes the before and after of this very important relationship and offers suggestions for my listeners regarding how she went about creating the relationship the two women finally had before the mother’s death.

Tune in to hear each of these fascinating stories from the perspective of both mothers and daughters. My shows are posted every Monday afternoon and three times throughout that week. But don’t worry if you can’t listen in live. Shows remain in the archives for three months. So there are plenty of opportunities.

Join me at “Relationships 101” on

Monday, April 19, 2010

It Happened Again

Last week, I received an e-mail that left me with a lump in my throat as I read it. When people reach out to me almost begging for my help to resolve a loss, particularly of their father, that is how I typically respond. Tears actually rolled down my checks as I read an e-mail from another man from Dubai who later became a phone client. His father had left home for another Middle Eastern country to work when my client was two years old, and he seldom saw his father again. As we worked, he described in great detail the crippling depression that clouded most of his childhood and how, most nights, he would cry himself to sleep all alone. Clearly, his was a cry unheard.

Last week, the e-mail began, “I have been studying your book Longing for Dad, and I think it may be the key to a lifetime of inability to create either a career or a personal life for myself in spite of a professional degree and all the effort I’ve been able to muster. . . . Your book has given me the specific insights I have been searching for for decades. . . . You’re the only one who has opened those specifics up to me. If you can help me come to resolution, I’ll do whatever it takes.” He even suggested a willingness to temporarily relocate to Minneapolis in order to work with me. Talk about desperation! I told him that would not be necessary, and that weekly phone calls and a face-to-face meeting on a weekend would suffice.

I truly am honored when I am approached like this. Partly because I am thrilled that my book is still having an impact 12 years after its release. And partly because I know what father loss and being left alone with it are like, having experienced that myself. And partly because it is my life’s work, my mission, to end pain for people who are suffering.

With Father’s Day fast approaching, if you are among the walking wounded damaged by your father’s literal or emotional absence, give yourself the gift of resolving your emotions, regardless of the circumstances that caused it. Mind you, it will be very challenging and difficult. But it can be done. And I would be honored to help.

Feel free to contact me to set up a complimentary initial consultation.