"He's Jealous of My Success"

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The Counselor's Turn

Ticking Time Bombs

"At first, Sharon and Seth were like two snarling lions. What they had initially assumed would be a temporary role-reversal had, over the years, become permanent, triggering major upheavals and agonizing bouts of self-reflection about responsibilities and expectations. These two had been arguing for so long, they rarely spoke civilly to each other. What's more, though they were struggling with division of labor issues that confront all working parents, they had never actually sat down, discussed their problems and tried to hammer out a solution that made sense for both of them.

"However, before they could even begin to discuss practical issues, Sharon and Seth had to learn to control their anger so every conversation wouldn't deteriorate into a shouting match. Sharon had to understand how important it was to take the time to view issues from her husband's perspective, instead of marching into the house like a drill sergeant issuing orders. What's more, though Sharon liked to think she was handling the discrepancy in their income in a caring fashion, the reality was that many times she treated Seth like a second-class citizen. She had to curb her hurtful outbursts, and also to say a simple "I'm sorry" when words she regretted slipped out.

"Whereas Sharon was a get-it-off-your-chest kind of person, Seth was a time bomb, holding onto his hurts until his anger exploded. Instead of making his own needs and concerns clear, Seth spent most of the time defending himself against Sharon's criticism. Shy and lacking in self-confidence, he nevertheless had an inner resilience that neither he, nor his wife, appreciated. In time, Seth shored up his sense of self-worth, developed confidence in the decisions he was making and began to feel good about the choices he had made. Many men would have been swamped by the business failure that Seth had managed to use as a springboard for a new, rewarding life.

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn, continued


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