Ronald Mah, M.A., Ph.D.  Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist MFC32136

                                   Psychotherapy for Children, Teens, Adults, Couples, & Families, Consulting, & Training

          433 Estudillo Ave., #305, San Leandro, CA 94577-4915 - Office: (510) 614-5641 - Fax: (510) 889-6553 - e-mail: Ronald@RonaldMah.com - website: www.RonaldMah.com

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Books by Ronald Mah

 

Calligraphy for "Learning" in

Handouts

(Mini-Posters)

 

DVDs

by Ronald Mah

on Children's Behavior,

Discipline, and Child

Development at

                   

Articles

for Parents, Teachers, Educators, and Human Services Professionals

 

Consulting,

Parent Education,

& Staff Development Workshops

& Trainings

 

Professional

Development

Workshops, Articles, & Consultation,

for Therapists

 

Therapy & Counseling

 

Coaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handouts

HANDOUT FILES AND EXPLANATIONS
In my work with parents, teachers, social workers, therapists, and other social services professionals, I have developed or replicated information on handouts that summarize important principles, concepts, or theories that lead to more successful interventions.  You may download the files for your use. 

 

          Follow Links to Handout Files on:       

   Development     Understanding Children & Discipline     Communication & Conflict    Teenage Issues     Change & Growth Issues     Mini-Posters & Information     Adult Issues & Work Dynamics   

 

MINI-POSTERS & INFORMATION

On Irresponsibility  

On Appreciation  

On Unreasonable People   

Crisis! Calligraphy of Danger & Opportunity = Crisis, w/ mnemonic  

Education is a Weapon- Quotes on Education  

It's Hard...  

Alone

Remember

Things Kids Don't Learn In School  

On the Meaning of Success

One Hundred Years From Now

My Declaration of Self-Esteem, Virginia Satire  

The Four Keys to Ensuring a Successful Student

Speak Your Mind- Maggie Kuhn

Study and Practice = Learning (Calligraphy)

download Microsoft Word version

 

On Irresponsibility

 

In a family, a system, or an organization,

it is not possible to be irresponsible

without permission.

 

 Permission denied.

 

 

download Microsoft Word version

 

On Appreciation

_________________________________________________

 

No one can appreciate me to the degree that I deserve.

 

As much as someone may enjoy, honor, or find what I offer as useful or even inspirational… even life changing, no one can appreciate me to the degree I deserve.

 

For as much as someone may value what I offer,

no one knows what it took for me 

to become the person I am,

to be able to offer what I have.

 

No one knows… no one else was there to know what journey I traveled,

what obstacles and barriers I surmounted… what monsters or demons I fought and may still fight,

what pain and trauma I suffered to become who and what I am to be able to offer what I can.

 

Only I was there… only I know… and therefore, only I can give myself the appreciation I deserve.

 

If I do not give myself that appreciation, 

no one else ever will.

 

download Microsoft Word version

 

On Unreasonable People

 

 

Far too much energy is spent on trying to get

unreasonable people to be reasonable.

 

It takes anywhere from a few minutes (or seconds) to a few interactions

to determine if a person can be reasonable.

 

Some people cannot be reasonable because of

developmental issues, alcohol or drug influences, and/or deep emotional or psychological pain.

 

Reason works with reasonable people.

 

Boundaries and consequences work with unreasonable people.

 

 

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Danger & Opportunity = CRISIS!

The Chinese Calligraphy for Crisis was liberally (and incorrectly) interpreted to mean Danger & Opportunity (the two characters that make up the word).  The compelling nature of the symbolism has taken this interpretation into urban legend.  Although the interpretation is not literally correct, its appeal continues to resonate among many people.  

 

Crises offer risk or danger, and simultaneously offer opportunities for growth.  Enduring risk or danger in order to gain or seize opportunities is an empowering principle of healthy and successful lives. Become able to handle risk or danger, and welcome and even, precipitate crises in order to have life opportunities for success, growth, and relationships. 

Here's a mnemonic using the letters of CRISIS that reflects the appeal of the interpretation: 

C4 

Caring

Confidence

Consistency

Courage

R2 

Resources

Resiliency

Identity

S

Strength

I

Integrity

S

Skills

These represent the traits of healthy and successful children and adults.

 

 

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  Education is a Weapon- Quotes on Education

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

 

Education's purpose is to replacean empty mind with an open one.

 

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

 

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. --William Butler Yeats

  

The whole drift of my education goes to persuade me that the world of our present consciousness is only one out of many worlds of consciousness that exist. --William James


The secret of education is respecting the pupil. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's leisure. --Sydney J. Harris

 

The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions.

 

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. --Robert Maynard Hutchins

  

The education of a man is never completed until he dies.

  

The best educated human being is the one who understands most about the life in which he is placed.

  

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. --Thomas Henry Huxley

  

Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. --Joseph Stalin

 

My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects.

  

Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. --Sydney J. Harris

 

 

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IT’S HARD…

__________________________________________________________________

 

When someone says it’s hard…

 

To stay in school, to do the extra work, to take a big risk,

To confront something scary or uncomfortable,

To express a feeling, to challenge authority,

To stop drinking, or drugs, or other self-destructive behavior,

To do something new or different or unfamiliar,

 

Be sure to remind him or her that, it’s also hard…

 

To be poor, to be stuck,

To live with fear, or shame, or anxiety, or pain,

 

To live without hope or self-respect in your life!

 

Dare to have a hard… and a good life.

 

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ALONE

 ___________________________________________________________________

 

There will be times when it is best for me 

to leave or avoid unhealthy people.

And, I will be

 

Alone.

 

When I am Alone,

I must know that I am still worthy. 

Then I can learn how to be Alone without fearing being

 

Lonely.

 

Sometimes when I am Alone, I will feel Lonely.

When I am Lonely,

I must know how to nurture myself in healthy ways,

so that I will not become

 

Desperate.

 

For if I become Desperate,

I cannot endure being Alone. 

And, I will settle for unhealthy relationships with toxic people that will destroy my self-esteem, self-respect, and life.

I must learn that

 

I can be Alone without being Lonely.

I can be Lonely without being Desperate.

 

Then I won’t settle for losers!  I can be healthy.

I can find Dignity and Happiness.

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  Remember....

A good friend sent this greeting to me one Thanksgiving.  I don’t know the origin of the message, but it was thought provoking and offered great perspective that many people including myself, at times forget.  There are those individuals who have forgotten or who were never educated, that possess privilege that was built or acquired by the sacrifices and work of those before them (including famous, forgotten, and unknown heroes, community members, parents, grandparents, and others).  Remember this before your or loved one’s pity party gets going too long and hard.  Slow down the sense of entitlement and remember…

 

Remember:

 

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.

 

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, spare change in a dish someplace and a nice car/truck/motorcycle in the garage... you are among the top 8% of the world's most wealthy.

 

If you woke up this morning in good health, you are more fortunate than the million who will not survive this week.

 

If you have never experienced the danger of battle unfolding all around you, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in this world.

 

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking about you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

 

Have a good day, count your blessings, and pass this along to remind others how much we really have to be thankful for.

 

 

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  Things Kids Don’t Learn In School

Rule #1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.

 

Rule #2. The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

 

Rule #3. Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either.  You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

 

Rule #4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.

 

Rule #5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for it. They called it opportunity.

 

Rule #6. It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible.

 

Rule #7. Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are.

 

Rule #8. Life isn’t divided into semesters & you don’t get summers off. They expect you to show up every day, for eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks, it just goes on and on.

 

Rule #9. Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials.

 

Rule #10. Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them.

 

Rule #11. Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school’s a bother and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be kid. Maybe you could start now.

 

Someone sent this to me in an email. It’s fun, sarcastic, provocative, and also may be quite relevant. Enjoy it but don’t get carried away and self-righteous back at your kids!

 

 

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On the Meaning of Success

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children ... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is the meaning of success.” 

 

 

 

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One hundred years

 

from now, it will not matter

what kind of car I drove,

 

what kind of house I lived in,

how much was in my bank account,

nor what my clothes looked like.

 

But the world may be a little better

because I was important in the life of a child.

 

 

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MY DECLARATION OF SELF-ESTEEM

I AM ME

IN ALL THE WORLD, THERE IS NO ONE ELSE EXACTLY LIKE ME

EVERYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF ME IS AUTHENTICALLY MINE

BECAUSE I ALONE CHOSE IT - I OWN EVERYTHING ABOUT ME

MY BODY, MY FEELINGS, MY MOUTH, MY VOICE, ALL MY ACTIONS,

WHETHER THEY BE TO OTHERS OR TO MYSELF - I OWN MY FANTASIES,

MY DREAMS, MY HOPES, MY FEARS - I OWN ALL MY TRIUMPHS AND

SUCCESSES, ALL MY FAILURES AND MISTAKES   BECAUSE I OWN ALL OF

 ME, I CAN BECOME INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED WITH ME - BY SO DOING

I CAN LOVE ME AND BE FRIENDLY WITH ME IN ALL MY PARTS - I KNOW

THERE ARE ASPECTS OF MYSELF THAT PUZZLE ME, AND OTHER 

ASPECTS I DO NOT KNOW - BUT AS LONG AS I AM

FRIENDLY AND LOVING TO MYSELF, I CAN COURAGEOUSLY

AND HOPEFULLY LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS TO THE PUZZLES

AND FOR WAYS TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ME - HOWEVER I

LOOK AND SOUND, WHATEVER I SAY AND DO, AND WHATEVER

 I THINK AND FEEL AT A GIVEN MOMENT IN TIME IS AUTHENTICALLY

ME - IF LATER SOME PARTS OF HOW I LOOKED, SOUNDED, THOUGHT

AND FELT TURNED OUT TO BE UNFITTING, I CAN DISCARD THAT WHICH IS

UNFITTING, KEEP THE REST, AND INVENT SOMETHING NEW FOR THAT 

WHICH I DISCARDED - I CAN SEE, HEAR, FEEL, THINK, SAY, AND DO

I HAVE THE TOOLS TO SURVIVE, TO BE CLOSE TO OTHERS, TO BE PRO-

DUCTIVE AND TO MAKE SENSE AND ORDER OUT OF THE WORLD OF

PEOPLE AND THINGS OUTSIDE OF ME - I OWN ME, AND THEREFORE

I CAN ENGINEER ME - I AM ME AND 

I AM OKAY

Virginia Satir     

1975 from "SELF-ESTEEM"

 

 

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The Four Parenting Keys

to Ensuring a Successful Student  

It’s not that hard!  It is that simple.  Ask any teacher.  Ask almost anyone who has been successful in school and life. 

 

1.  Feed your child before you send him/her to school.

 

2.  Make sure your child has enough rest and sleep before each school day.

 

3.  Bring your child to school on time.

 

4.  Make sure to support your child to get his/her homework done each day.

 

Without these four parenting keys, the rest doesn’t matter.  Without these four parenting keys, all the theories, all the techniques, all the supplies… all of it doesn’t matter!  You may not be able to control to your satisfaction, the budget of the school district, or increase the taxes, or hire the perfect teachers, or repair the school building, or fix the ex, or change the makeup of the school, or the school board, or anything else, but you CAN and DO control these four keys as the parent.

 

It’s not that hard!  It is that simple.

Do it!  No excuses!!

 

 

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"Speak your mind—

even if your voice shakes."

“Go to the people at the top—that is my advice to anyone who wants to change the system, any system. Don’t moan and groan with like-minded souls. Don’t write letters or place a few phone calls and then sit back and wait. Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind—even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants.”

 Maggie Kuhn      

 

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Study

&

Practice

 

 

          = Learning

 

 

 

          Follow Links to Handout Files on:       

   Development     Understanding Children & Discipline     Communication & Conflict    Teenage Issues     Change & Growth Issues     Mini-Posters & Information     Adult Issues & Work Dynamics   

 

ADULT ISSUES & WORK DYNAMICS

Relationship Building at Work

Stages of  Relationship Devolution- For Assessment & As a Guide for Rebuilding Relationships 

Ghosts in the Twilight Zone- A Questionnaire for Discovering what you bring to Relationships 

CDR* Contract,  *(Co-Dependent Relationship)

Guide to Involving Stakeholders in Decision 

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  Relationship Building at Work  

I have developed these four revelations or explanations for work colleagues to share with one another to facilitate healthy and successful professional communication and relationships. 

 

In work situations, there is a need to develop relationships.  However, a work or professional relationship is not the same as a personal relationship.  Certain boundaries need to be observed in order for the work or professional relationship to be successful and appropriate.  There may be underlying emotional or psychological issues that can interfere with successful relationships and successful communication.  However, these personal issues are private matters and should be kept private.  Work colleagues should not be required to reveal personal, emotional, psychological, or family issues as a condition of work. The following are four areas that are appropriate for work colleagues to share with each other. 

 

How you can tell when I am stressed.

 

The worst way to approach me when I am stressed.

 

The best way to approach me when I am stressed.

 

The best way to approach me if the issue is

potentially sensitive or upsetting.

 

While they are revealing, they are not therapeutically revealing.  They will help facilitate more successful work and professional communication and relationships without delving into personal and private matters.  Work is work and therapy is therapy.  Appropriate work relationships and communication is not the same as personal intimacy. 

 

 

 

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  STAGES OF RELATIONSHIP DEVOLUTION

  For Assessment & As a Guide for Rebuilding Relationships  

It is often useful to identify at which stage of a negative relationship progression individuals are in.  This theory sees seven stages of decay.  Depending on which stage the individuals are in, the challenges to therapy and to rebuilding the relationship are different.  Needless to say, the more negatively advanced- the more devolved the relationship, the more difficult is the rebuilding process.  While the basis of this model from (John Gottman's work) focuses on couples, I have found it expandable and have found it very applicable to any relationship- in the family, with peers, and at work.  It can be used for therapeutic assessment and treatment planning as I have noted.  Developmental stage theory principles are applicable to this theory.

 

1) COMMENTING

A partner will comment about a behavior that s/he finds uncomfortable or negative in the hopes that the other partner will figure out the implicit message- that is, the expectation of the commenting partner is that the receiving partner will process thus- "Since s/he mentioned that, it must be something that bothers her/him.  And, since I care for her/him, I will automatically change my behavior."  Commenting may be one- sided or mutual.  If the other does not respond appropriately, the commenter begins to make negative assumptions about why not.

           

2) COMPLAINING

After commenting about the behavior, but getting no response (change), the partner will complain specifically about the undesirable or absent behavior.  The expectation of the complaining partner is that the receiving partner will process thus- "Since my partner has complained specifically about this behavior, and since I care for her/him, I will automatically change my behavior."  Complaining may be one-sided or mutual.  If the other does not respond appropriately, the complainer begins to make negative assumptions about why not.

 

3) CRITICIZING

After complaining about the behavior, but getting no change, the partner will move from complaining about behavior and begin complaining specifically about the other person; in other words, the partner begins criticizing the other person's personality or character.  The logic of the criticizing partner is "Since my partner who I complained to has not changed his/her behavior, there must be something wrong or corrupt about his/her personality or character."  Criticizing usually becomes reciprocal.  Again, if the other does not respond appropriately, either or both criticizers' negative assumptions about why not become more intense.

                                                                           

 

          A line can be drawn here to indicate the transition of treatment planning from primarily communications skills training (much of the issues raised in #1, 2, 3 can be handled with good communications skills training), to a more difficult level of therapy.  When the relationship has devolved past this line, at issue is no longer just poor communication but also of emotional injury which requires an healing process as well- which may (probably) require an adjusted therapeutic approach.

 

4) CONTEMPT

After criticizing the other partner's personality or character, and still being frustrated in getting the behavior the partner desires, the criticizing partner adds intentional insult to the criticism, thus conveying a sense of disgust, that is, contempt (resentment, disrespect, questioning integrity) for the other person.  At this point, any positive qualities or previous good experiences are forgotten, and the partner begins to abusively treat the other person.  The logic of the partner holding contempt is that, "My partner has failed to behave properly because s/he is disgusting, stupid, incompetent."  Contempt creates emotional injury; now, each has wounds that require healing. Contempt tends to be very reciprocal!

 

5) DEFENSIVENESS

After contempt enters the relationship and both partners are abusing each other, both feel victimized by the other, and respond by being defensive about his/her behavior.  The logic of each is, "It (including my behaviors) are all her/his fault.  Her/his behavior and/or flaws forces me to behave so negatively in response.  I know what her/his evil motivations are (mind reading)."  Being involved in negative behavior towards the other person, challenges ones self-image of being a good and fair person and creates defensiveness in order to self-justify ones abusing of the other.  Instead of answering complaints or criticisms, each responds with her/his own set of complaints or criticisms.

                                                                         

 

            A second line can be drawn here to indicate another transition in treatment planning. At this point, communications skills training and a therapeutic process facilitating healing of emotional injuries is tremendously complicated by the individuals evolving disconnection and individuals denying responsibility for his/her own behavior.  Their fear of further injury from intimacy and proximity interactions prevents the risk taking and vulnerability that is essential to improving communication and healing.  Individuals become self-righteous and will focus on what other partner should do or change, rather than take responsibility for his/her own behavior and attempt to change his/her own behavior. Thus, therapy has moved to a significantly more difficult level and needs to be adjusted once again.

                                                                      

 

6) DISCONNECTING EMOTIONALLY

After engaging in the fruitless negative and painful cycles of arguing, eventually one or both partners disconnect from her/his partner in order to avoid the pain of caring for someone who appears to not care for you reciprocally, to avoid the rejection and abandonment, and to attempt to stop the mutually abusive battles.  People may co-exist in a disconnected relationship for years...or for life.

 

7) DIVORCE

This is the physical divorce between individuals.  It may occur or not depending on other factors (economics, age/youth, and so on).  It happens between couples, peers, friends, employee and business, and individuals (including children) and families.

 

I find it useful to make this assessment with the couple or family.  It frames their devolved relationship and points them to the rebuilding process.  It is particularly useful when the couple or family has started to make or has made one of the two transitions (from criticizing to contempt, or from defensiveness to disconnection); it helps them see what is at stake and at the same time, what is required and why it would be challenging.

Moving backwards (or forward toward a healthier relationship) with a couple in the later stages of devolution means facilitating (as a therapist) and/or the couple moving toward

 

1)      emotional reconnection, which entails risking intimacy and being hurt again.  Couples who want change but are unwilling to risk the pain of moving from poor interactions towards more constructive interactions CANNOT grow healthier.

2)      taking individual responsibility for hurtful or neglectful behavior towards the other… no matter how much one feels he/she is just reciprocating.  Individuals must acknowledge that they had choice in how they responded.  The presents the possibility of alternate choices.

3)      acknowledging both how one has been injured (some individuals will have trouble acknowledging their own pain and need help articulating it), and how the other person has been injured.  Individuals are often so involved in (or avoidant of) their own pain that they forget or cannot acknowledge their partners’ pain… they lose empathy.  They act as if acknowledging the others’ pain diminishes the righteousness of their own pain. The acknowledgment of the other’s pain (and acknowledge of one’s own pain) is critical to the beginning of healing.

4)      understanding the symbolic components of communication where overt words, body language, behavior, etc. is interpreted as negative, hurtful, and even abusive.  Many couples’ conflicts arise from either misinterpretation of otherwise benign communication, or passive aggressive communication when one partner is upset and is unwilling or unable to articulate the upset more overtly.

5)      learning more direct communication styles, to interpret indirect communication correctly, to express more clearly the emotional components of communicate, and to own the emotional underpinnings of communication.

 

Less severely conflicted couples may only need support with the 4th and 5th aspects.  They would already be emotionally connected, taking responsibility, and aware of  own injuries and empathetic of the other’s pain.

 

 

 

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  GHOSTS IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE

            DISCOVERING WHAT YOU BRING INTO RELATIONSHIPS  

            A FOR-YOUR-EYES-ONLY SELF-QUESTIONNAIRE: Confidential.  Not to be seen by anyone except you, who are filling it out.  Please fill it out for your own illumination.

 

Complete the sentences with your own words as they apply to you.

 

About Now

1) When someone is angry I tend to feel....

 

2) When I am scared I....

 

3) I feel out of control when....

 

4) When I feel out of control, I....

 

5) Sometimes, I get that queasy, uneasy, tight feeling when....

 

6) The thing that bothers me the most in other people is....

 

7) The thing that bothers me the most in my mate is....

 

8) The thing that bothers me the most in me is....

 

9) At work, when I have a problem with another staff person, I....

 

About Before

10) When my father got angry I used to feel....

 

11) When my mother got angry I used to feel....

 

12) When I was upset or scared as a kid, my mother....

 

13) When I was upset or scared as a kid, my father....

 

14) When I was a kid, I felt out of control in the family when....

 

15) When I felt out of control as a kid, I....

 

16) When I was a kid, I used to get that queasy, uneasy, tight feeling when....

 

17) The thing that used to bother me the most in my mother was....

 

18) The thing that used to bother me the most in my father was....

 

19) When I had a problem with one of siblings, I would try to get my parent(s) to....

 

*20) My ghosts are....

 

If you find your answers bring up issues and/or significant discomfort and/or disturbing questions, you may wish to seek input and help from a professional.

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The C.D.R.* Contract

 ·       Whereas, I, suffer from chronic low self-esteem,

·       Whereas, it is difficult for me to like or love myself with any consistency,

·       Whereas, I am often unable or unwilling to give myself the love and nurturing I need, 

·       Whereas, I do not feel particularly worthy of love and attention,

·       Whereas, I have little experience with unconditional love given to me,

·       Whereas, I believe that you are inherently more worthy than I

Be it henceforth, be noted that the undersigned agree to the following stipulations of our relationship:

 On my part,

1)   I will love and give to you without hesitation,

2)   I will sacrifice my own energy, time, health, and well being to serve your needs,

3)   I will ignore to the best of my ability any signs of negative behavior by you towards me,

4)   I will forgive you any transgressions upon your part, no matter how severe or how frequently they occur,

5)   I will communicate my needs to you carefully or even suppress them so as not to cause you any anger or upset,

On your part,

1)   You agree to love me and give to me so that I may fleetingly feel the sense of worth that I do not otherwise possess,

2)   And, you agree to reciprocate in kind the quality and quantity of love and attention that I give to you.

Date:Always & Forever **   

Signature of C.D. :                            .

 

**However, if you were to betray me (at least in my eyes) by not returning my love and attention with your love and attention in equal kind, I will (after giving you many many chances against the advice of my relatives and friends and my better judgment) I will turn on you with all the intensity and anger of the betrayed.  I will have the REVENGE OF THE CO!

*Co-Dependent Relationship

 

The C.D.R. Contract (The Co-Dependent Relationship Contract)

-  explanation  -

 

The Co-Dependent Relationship Contract is an implicit contract that some people (w/ co-dependent tendencies) tend to invoke with the significant people in their lives.  Co-dependent individuals tend to have low self-esteem and have difficulty nurturing or loving themselves.  When others praise them, they have trouble internalizing the praise, believing themselves to be unworthy of it.  Unable to take credit for their accomplishments, character, or contributions to the family or community, they believe other people are inherently more worthy.  As a result, they are fundamentally unable not only to accept validation, but also to give to themselves the validation they need.  The implicit Co-Dependent Relationship Contract is an attempt to gain the nurturing and validation co-dependent individuals are unable to provide for themselves.

 

With the Co-Dependent Relationship Contract, the Co-Dependent commits him/herself whole-heartedly to unconditionally give love, attention, energy, and more to his/her target (love interest, students, family, friends, clients, and so forth).  The Co-Dependent will continue to do this despite sometimes overwhelming and debilitating physical, emotional, and psychological costs.  Even as this energy is often unappreciated, under-appreciated, or ignored… even as the target individual(s) may be hurtful and negative towards the Co-Dependent, the Co-Dependent continues to give.  Occasionally and very carefully, the Co-Dependent may bring up the inequity or openly begrudge his/her treatment by the target.  For the most part he/she tends to suppress his/her upset for fear of provoking anger or rejection by the target.

 

The Co-Dependent expects that the target will, according to the Co-Dependent Relationship Contract, somehow fully recognize and appreciate all that the Co-Dependent is giving to him/her and then fully reciprocate in kind, quality, and quantity of loving energy.  When this happens, then the Co-Dependent hopes to find some fleeting sense of love and worth.  Unfortunately, the target never fully appreciates extent and depth of loving energy sent to him/her.  He/she certainly does not appreciate the desperation and neediness underlying the energy.  And, even if and when the target does reciprocate, the target never reciprocates with a perfect unconditional quality.  If the Co-Dependent is filled with reciprocal love from the target, the effect is only transitory.  In the Co-Dependent Relationship Contract, the date is “Always & Forever” because the need is never ending.  The Co-Dependent’s neediness and self-doubt is too severe for him/her to take the validation and build upon it in order to sustain him/herself.  The Co-Dependent will then demand more love, time, energy, and symbols of validation. 

 

In addition, there is only one signature space on the Co-Dependent Relationship Contract- the signature of the Co-Dependent.  The target individual(s) of the Contract are not even aware of the terms… the expectations of the Contract, much less having committed him/herself or themselves to it!   The target never has “signed on” to the Contract. Yet, the Co-Dependent holds the target to its terms. 

 

The fine print of the Co-Dependent Relationship Contract holds a secretive and punitive clause.  When after repeated disappointments and a deepening sense of betrayal caused by the target’s failure to comply with the unknown terms of the Contract (giving the target many chances that he/she is unaware are being given!), the Co-Dependent will eventually be filled with an intense self-righteous rage against the target.  The Co-Dependent will then feel completely justified to vindictively punish the target for his/her betrayal.  The Revenge of the CO!

 

The Co-Dependent Relationship is fundamentally unhealthy and the Co-Dependent Relationship Contract is fundamentally flawed.  Loving and giving to others does not substitute for loving and giving to oneself.  Compulsively taking care of others while denying ones own needs will not result in others in meeting your needs.  This type of giving is actually a “purchasing” of nurturing and validation from other people.  It is not truly altruistic.  Altruistic giving and caring does not expect or demand appreciation or reciprocal action.  Betrayal and bitterness is inconsistent with altruism.  Betrayal can only come with an investment failing to give an expected return.  Healthy people give with an open heart and if they have expectations, they are clear and appropriate ones. Healthy people’s self-esteem rises with the act of giving as they are true to their own values and expectations versus their self-esteem rising because of the appreciation coming from those who have received their kindness.

 

Do not sign yourself to a Co-Dependent Relationship Contract.   Do not hold your intimate relationships to the terms of a Co-Dependent Relationship Contract- they did not “sign” it and have no idea of the expectations.  Learn to love and nurture yourself.  No one else can love and nurture you in the manner and to the degree that you require.  If you do not do it, no one else can do it for you.  Others can help, but it is up to you in the beginning… and in the end.

 

 

 

download Microsoft Word version

  GUIDE TO INVOLVING STAKEHOLDERS IN DECISION MAKING

derived from work of P.J. Bloom & E.M. Bridges  

 Test of relevance (personal interest or stake in the issue)

Do individuals have a high personal stake in the decision?

If they have a personal stake, their interest in participation will be higher.

If they have no personal stake, employees will be more receptive to their supervisor's directive.

 Test of expertise (degree of competence regarding the issue)

To what extent are individuals qualified to make a useful contribution to the identification or solution of the problem?

HIGH INTEREST

LOW INTEREST

 Situation I

w/HIGH EXPERTISE          

High interest, high expertise: If different individuals have a personal stake (high relevance) in the decision and have the knowledge to make a useful contribution (high expertise), the decision clearly falls outside their zone of indifference.  They should be involved in the decision making process as early as possible and given as much freedom as possible in defining the problem and specifying objectives.

Situation III

w/ HIGH EXPERTISE         

Low interest, high expertise:

In this situation, it is usually best not to involve other stakeholders unless necessary, and even then, involvement should be limited.  To involve others may increase the likelihood of alienating other stakeholders.  Although involving others under these circumstances increases the director/head's chances of reaching a higher quality decision, the disinterested parties are likely to wonder "what the director/head gets paid for."

Situation II

w/ LOW EXPERTISE         

High interest, low expertise:

This situation needs careful consideration and skilled leadership. Involvement of various stakeholders should be limited.  The rationale for involvement is to lower resistance to the decision.  A consultative model of participation may be useful in this situation so that the interested parties have input, but the director/head makes the final decision.

Situation IV

w/ LOW EXPERTISE         

Low interest, low expertise: 

If the topic or issue is irrelevant and falls outside the stakeholder's sphere of competence, then involvement should be avoided.  Indeed, involvement in this case is likely to produce resentment because subordinates typically will not want to be involved and will probably not follow through if they are delegated tasks.

Situation I is straightforward and highly desirable and will normally result in effective sound consensus decision making.

 

Situation II is delicate- basically, it addresses involving interested parties without giving them decision making power when they have no expertise to draw upon.  For example, letting parents make curriculum decisions, or letting teachers make administrative decisions, or letting children make schedule decisions (amount of free time, recess)!!

 

Situation III arises when trying to tap into resources (expertise) and can be problematic because without personal investment, the "expertise" tends to be perfunctory; it is often better to have enthusiastic ignorance (which can be guided) as opposed to indifferent expertise (which tends to lose applicability when the "expert" does not care to examine the situation thoroughly).

 

Situation IV arises when trying to make people participants when they are not interested.  Although a democratic ideal, involving everyone when all are not invested can cause problems perhaps worse than leaving them out.

 

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Copyright © 2007 Ronald Mah, M.A., Ph.D.
Last modified: March 11, 2013