January 19, 2008

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

1. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
2. Follow the three R’s:
* Respect for self,
* Respect for others and
* Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

These are from a book called “Life’s Little Instruction Book”, by Jackson Brown and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I copied the above instructions from my friend Janette‘s blog. I really like them.

Books on dysfunctional families

January 18, 2008

I have just finished reading Adult Children: the Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by John and Linda Friel. I really enjoyed it and I think I learned a lot about healthy and unhealthy ways of relating.

They talk a lot about co-dependency and addictions (as therapists, they have treated a lot of people with addictions), and they explain a lot of different types of abuse and how this teaches us bad ways of relating and affects our development and leads to co-dependency and addiction.

From the book:

Co-dependency is a dysfunctional pattern of living which emerges from our family of origin as well as our culture, producing arrested identity development, and resulting in an over-reaction to things outside of us and an under-reaction to things inside of us. Left untreated, it can deteriorate into an addiction.

Because they are focusing on ‘family-of-origin’ work they look at how people take what they learnt from their parents and replicate it in their relationships with their children. I also have their follow-up book The Adult Child’s Guide to What’s Normal. I’m looking forward to reading it too.
I also recently bought and read They Fuck You Up: How To Survive Family Life by Oliver James. I’m still not sure if I liked it. James believes that far too many mental illnesses seem to be blamed on genetics when there is plenty of proof around that how a child was treated in the very early stages is probably more to blame. I enjoyed the bits where he analyses various famous people and their relationships with their parents and/or their children (Prince Charles, Stephen Fry, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, George W Bush, Jeffrey Archer). I didn’t really enjoy it when he said gay men were gay because their mother’s emasculated them and were a stronger personality than their father (page 104). I tend to agree with James that nurture probably has far more to do with mental health problems than nature but I often found his conclusions hard to agree with – I looked up the references many times to see if he cited references for various things he claimed, which he did. But just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it’s not true! If there IS evidence to back it up, then maybe I need to change what I believe. But there are a lot of psychology studies (and other studies) around with dodgy conclusions or methodologies, or using very small samples. I’d love to read a response that’s examines this book by checking out all the studies in it.