Expert Author Susan Leigh
I was talking earlier with a friend who is a lawyer. She was saying that she'd recently found herself over-thinking her cases after work, waking up during the night worrying if her clients had followed her advice, questioning if she could have done more, concerned about their next steps. I replied that caring about our clients is important, but it's also important to step back and appreciate that people need to make their own decisions once they've been presented with the right information and gained some clarity about their options.
She asked me how I cope with the often distressing details I hear and was surprised when I said that I don't lie awake at night replaying my clients sessions. I told her that I do my very best when I'm with each client. That they know they can contact me if they need to, but that they also need time to process what's happened, no doubt with improved confidence levels and a greater understanding of their earlier life experiences. But where it goes from there, what happens next is part of their journey and for them to decide.
I like to tell the story of a beautiful house that's full of wonderful things; fabulous paintings, luxurious fabrics, expensive furniture. But if that house is built on sand a serious bout of rain could threaten its stability and potentially wash it away. A surveyor may come in, look at the house and advise of any dangers, on how to repair it, but if the homeowner chooses not to listen or do the repairs they are left with that information in order to consider the consequences of their decisions. And, of course sometimes the rain will not come and the house will survive.
People's lives can be like that too. They may have constructed a great life that looks perfect, but ongoing, sustained trials can put the entire structure under threat.
As a counsellor and hypnotherapist I am in a not dissimilar position to the lawyer. I too see clients and sometimes hear things that I feel may need to be dealt with quite urgently. Hypnotherapy is a great, non-invasive way of helping people with their underlying issues without necessarily having to uncover or discuss the detail of any contributing factors. So a lot of healing can be done quite subtly, in a private, non-disclosure way
But any therapist or adviser has to respect their client's choices. Each person has their own journey to make, which may include loss, hurt and pain before they're ready to make changes. This may happen even though the therapist may indicate that there are easier ways for them to protect themselves or handle things in a better, more positive way.
Don't forget that people may also be receiving lots of well-meaning advice elsewhere. Family, friends or colleagues may all have sensible, considered opinions, but those opinions will often be coloured by each person's experiences and wishes for the client, or they may be invested in the client's decisions. And there are those clients who will keep on seeking help until they hear what they want to hear.
Then there are therapy junkies who half-heartedly go from one adviser, therapy or therapist to the next, relieved that 'nothing works', so that they don't have to change. These people may be afraid of change, preferring to stay in their comfort zones even when it's becoming increasingly uncomfortable. They may want to maintain the status quo or are concerned at the tsunami which will be caused by them behaving differently.
All of us who work in areas that impact on or influence people's lives, from healing to advice giving, have to be aware of our boundaries and the beginnings and endings of our responsibility and input. What we see may well be interpreted through our own referencing of their story; we hear their words, are moved by them, but the emotions we feel are based on the significance we place on the different elements of the words we hear.
For example, we may be upset when we initially hear of a bereavement, but upon listening further we may hear the client express relief that someone in pain or who has behaved badly towards them has died. Experience and training teach us to be prepared to take each client session with caution and respect.
Being aware of our boundaries, doing our best and then stepping back is the most appropriate way to proceed, both for ourselves and our clients, whenever we're dealing with other people's issues and concerns.
Expert Author Susan Leigh
I love reading that sales of stationary are on the increase. It's wonderful to imagine people handwriting messages of congratulations, commiseration, thank you's and other personalised notes to each other, thinking up ways to communicate their thoughts and feelings in notes, cards and letters which may well be treasured and kept indefinitely. Yes, texts are a quick and efficient way of communicating but there's nothing quite like receiving a personalised letter.
There's also something incredibly personal about keeping a journal, even when it's intended to be read only by ourselves in private. If you're thinking of keeping a journal mark it as an important part of your journey, a special commitment you're making to yourself.
- With that in mind, ensure you buy an attractive notebook, a quality journal that you're going to enjoy using. The contents are special and as such deserve to be held in a smart notebook dedicated to the process. Make a regular date with your journal for writing down your thoughts and feelings about what's happening in your life and allow it to become a kind of therapy in its own right.
- Transcribing the day's events, obviously from our own perspective, can help us process what's going on, so allowing us to reflect firstly on the fact that we're voicing our own interpretation of each story. Then we can start to work through how each situation impacts on us. Significant or difficult exchanges often benefit from a little retrospective analysis and consideration during this dedicated time and it's nice to do so from the comfort and security of our own home.
- We can write down our goals, perhaps on a daily, monthly or even annual basis and then determine the stepping-stones needed with which to measure our progress. In that way we make our journal something to be accountable to. And it's certainly a great way to monitor pitfalls or set-backs that crop up and have to be faced and overcome. We can learn from those and watch how we found solutions or alternative routes in order to progress.
- Also noteworthy things that inspire us can be treasured within our journal. Memorable phrases that we discover, ah ha moments, sights or experiences that strike a chord can be stored away for future reference. It's good to have a place where we know these little gems are safely kept, where they can be revisited as desired.
- Record your successes each day. Some people forget what they've actually accomplished and then lose the ability to give themselves credit for those accomplishments. Introducing the discipline of writing down three things achieved each day, things that made them proud or gave them joy can turn a naturally pessimistic or negative outlook around. So it becomes far more uplifting and positive.
- Also unlearn the bad habit of thinking negatively by committing to regularly recording even simple successes like going to the shops, doing chores or even travelling somewhere new. Things that may seem easy or straightforward to one person can require a massive effort and be quite a milestone to another. Train yourself to regularly visit your journal and value your successes and positive results each day.
- Some people may use their journal to write a letter to someone who's impacted on their life. It may be a letter to someone's who's passed away and there's now a desire to write an acknowledgment of the different emotions that have been experienced as a consequence of them no longer being around; gratitude at having known them, hurt, loss and grief through missing them. There may be a difficult relationship that needs to be explored and somehow resolved. A journal can provide a therapeutic outlet towards healing.
- Keeping your notebooks and journals somewhere safe, in a private place is important. There may be an occasion when you may feel inclined to show it to a special someone, perhaps as a way of explaining some aspect of yourself, a deeply personal demonstration of the trust you have in that person and the relationship.
At some point in the future you may then choose to re-read your journals, reflect back on your life and really value your route to becoming the person you are today.
Expert Author Susan Leigh
How important are you? Do you feature on your own list of priorities? If you're a parent you no doubt regard your children as your number one priority. If you work as a manager or business owner with staff or targets to consider you'll justifiably treat work as vital. It's important to look after your staff and customers, earn a living and be in a stimulating environment that sustains you.
Family and friends are important too. They're often the reason we work so hard; to provide them with a comfortable home and lifestyle, good schooling and fun times together.
The big question is, where do you fit into all of this? If you went to a restaurant or consulted a specialist and saw that they were stressed, irritable and overworked you'd probably wonder why they'd agreed to take your booking. The same applies if you're being pulled in all directions and not feeling able to cope. Irritability, frustration and resentment can start to surface. No one benefits.
Achieving some balance in life, where you recognise your limits and boundaries, allows you to be the best version of yourself. Then everyone, including you, has a better experience and quality of life.
Here are 10 ways to be the best version of yourself:
- Practise positive self talk. Start to notice those automatic 'I'm so stupid' responses that can so easily surface when you're stressed. Yes, something you did may have been a mistake, but that doesn't mean you're stupid. We often talk to ourselves more harshly than we ever would to anyone else. Learn to be kinder to yourself and recognise your early warning signs of stress.
- Schedule time for things you know you do well. It's especially important in the midst of tough or difficult times to remind yourself of your skills, talents and abilities. Allow time for the things you enjoy and are good at. Sport, DIY, playing an instrument, volunteering can be ways to bring a positive mindset into your life.
- 'Broadcast' what you've done. Household chores, chauffeuring duties, the errands that go unnoticed are often taken for granted. There's no need to be heavy-handed, but occasionally remind others that you've stocked the cupboards with food, the clean laundry and towels don't get replenished by magic. Solicit appreciation for those efforts that support the smooth running of their lives.
- Smile and accept compliments and praise. Don't shrug them off in an 'it's nothing' way. Acknowledge, say 'thank you' and let them know that good manners and appreciation are important to you.
- Pace yourself. Being the best version of yourself means being able to manage stress. Learn to recognise what you can and can't do each day. There's no merit in being invincible or feeling that you've failed if you don't manage to do everything. It's okay to tackle big jobs in stages.
- Let others help. If you're working long hours or have many demands on your time why not engage help with cleaning, gardening, ironing or with business tasks like PR, accounts and social media. The time freed up can be used elsewhere and is often money well spent. Delegate tasks to staff and encourage them to blossom and become more enthusiastic about their work. Let your children help. Even if their efforts are clumsy it's good to encourage them to become more independent.
- 'No' can be the most positive word in your vocabulary when used well. 'Yes' can become a negative habit if you automatically take on too much by way of work, social engagements or family responsibilities. We may be eager to please others, appear efficient and successful. But saying 'no' in an appropriate way allows you to use your time well, focus on your priorities and become the best version of yourself.
- Nurture your relationships. Our partners, families, colleagues, friends cannot be expected to be psychic but will often be understanding and supportive if told what's going on and asked for help. Let them in and they may even come up with great ideas and suggestions.
- Have regular breaks. It may seem counter-intuitive to stop work for a time, but regular breaks allow you to better manage stress and return to work with a fresh perspective and new insights. Being the best version of yourself means looking after yourself and pausing from time to time. Have a healthy snack, plenty of water and switch off for an hour or so before bed.
- Accept invitations and offers that take you out of your comfort zone. Scare yourself a little every day, even if it's simply by choosing a different lunch, speaking to someone new, accepting a challenge. Allow your confidence and self belief to grow by expanding your horizons. Keep a journal and log those mini-successes to sustain you during difficult times.
Becoming the best version of yourself means shaking off old, unhelpful patterns that may have once worked well for you. And interestingly, once we become receptive to positive changes other factors often work to motivate and sustain us.
Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
Expert Author Kelan Ern
The other day I was talking with a client about the pinewood derby.
This is where kiddos (typically in Boy Scouts) build their own wooden cars... design them... paint them... and race them against other kids. Growing up, I loved competing it in. All my friends crafted and schemed their car a little bit differently. And each went to different lengths to win.
(Sometimes the parents got a tad more involved than the kids even!)
But there's a lesson embedded in this competition that can be carried over into other areas as well. You see, the pinewood derby is a game of slight edges.
Here's what I mean:
To compete the cars must be a certain weight and cannot exceed a certain size. Besides that, everyone is starting with the same raw materials. But there are little tweaks you can make to your car that adds up to a monstrous advantage.
These include: only have three wheels touching the track (decreases friction)... making the back of the car heavier than the front (boosts potential energy)... and rolling the wheels in graphite (decrease friction)...
Phew... I think that's enough physics for one day.
Here's how this applies:
High-performance and being at your best each day is a game of slight edges too.
Everyone is faced with the same decisions each day. But there are tons of little tweaks you can make that add up and allow you to be at your absolute best.
These include: how you start your day... how you plan your day... how you manage your to-do list... how long you work for... how often you take breaks... how you confront others... whether you multi-task or solo-task... how much time you devote to problems... how much time you devote to solutions... how much time you devote to fun... how much time you devote to relaxation... how much time you devote to meaningful projects... how much time you devote to distractions... how much time you devote to connecting to others... what you do before bed... how much you sleep...
Those are just the tip of the iceberg. But there's a lot to work to with in that just simple list.
Each one of those "tweaks" can make to bring out more confidence... more focus... more productivity... and more fulfillment. But only you know which "tweak" is most appropriate for you.
Pick the one that will make the biggest difference.
And take the first step forward.
Even if it's a tiny one.
Expert Author Deepal Bhatnagar
There has been an increased interest and speculation in the evolution of 5G in the recent years, further this year in 2018 it is expected 5G will come into the real scene. By the end of 2018, AT & T seems to launch mobile 5G to plenty of selected markets. Further, starting with Sacramento, CA a lot of cities will be introduced to fixed 5G as Verizon partners with Samsung. While the alternative carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint are in plans to get into the 5G scene by 2019 and 2020. In a National Security Report published by The White House, 5G Wireless service is now included as an infrastructure priority.
So, what is 5G?
5G is the 5th Cellular Technology Generation - the G stands as the generation, which follows, the 4G standard that was introduced in 2010. In December 2017, a formal standard was established which lays specification for 5G. So, 5G, when it is about the download and upload speed, will surpass 4G standards by 100 times. Further with 5G, there will be less latency problem existing currently in the network. 5G results will be faster, and the connectivity will be more reliable which will advance the next coming technology.
Implication of the 5G evolution
  • IoT & Autonomous Cars
With the evolution of 5G, the autonomous cars will be more safe, enjoyable, and efficient. 5G has low latency which will allow the autonomous cars to be closely linked with other connected devices, like smart city infrastructure - traffic lights, etc. 5G will simplify the stress we are currently putting on 4G networks with the increasing number of connected devices. IoT will be much more fast and dynamic as there will be a speedy transfer of massive data volumes. Without sacrificing the performance, 5G will connect more and more devices.
  • Mobile Innovation
As quick as the mobile Internet will be, there will be an evolution in mobile innovation too. With superior AR & VR experiences, there will be not seen or not heard before mobile experiences which are not supported by the current generation 4G technology. The present-day smartphone is not aligned to 5G, but as the technology rolls out, there will be tremendous growth in the devices as well. Further ZTE has already announced that the company will be bringing 5G compatible phones by the end of 2018 or 2019's start. 4G has the strain of increasingly connected devices which will be alleviated by the 5G technology.
  • Home Internet
The technology will first be in the play with fixed 5G so the Home Internet will enjoy a lot of benefits. The most amazing features of the 5G technology are that it doesn't involve a lot of costly investment in the way it is required for installing the fibre optics cable. The 5G Home Internet will be entirely wireless, letting users enjoy hassle-free Internet experiences.
  • The Future
After a lot of wait and consideration 5G is sure to roll out by the end of this year 2018. We can identify that some of the areas like autonomous cars, Home Internet and Mobile Innovation are bound to evolve with the 5G evolution. However, thing for a long-term, 5G will be bringing powering innovations in the digital scenario.
Expert Author Seema Kukreja
Mobile phones and telecommunication services are getting better and cheaper every year. Mobile phones are revolutionizing businesses. Today we use apps for everything like ordering food at home, making payments and hailing taxis. All types of large and small companies are relying on ubiquitous mobile phones to maximize efficiency and productivity. Data collection and field inspection agencies are also seeking the benefits that can be offered by switching from paper based data collection to mobile data collection.
Saves time - Collecting data through paper based forms is a tedious process. Further curation and data entry into database is time consuming and error prone. Mobile field data collection will save a lot of time.
Reduces costs - Manually conducting paper based surveys incurs additional costs associated with printing, transportation and data entry into databases. Mobile data collection procedures will ensure lower costs in the long run bringing monetary profits for the businesses.
Improves Data Quality - Mobile apps can prevent human errors from surveyors and field inspectors. Possibility of human errors is further reduced by removing the need of data entry process. Mistakes in the survey forms can be detected in advance and apps can be updated on the fly.
Data security - Paper forms are prone to damage due to negligence or catastrophic events. This can be prevented by using mobile data collection apps which will simultaneously upload data to replicated servers.
Live data analysis - Mobile data collection apps can upload data instantaneously which can be used by business leaders to generate live reports and enhance decision making capabilities.
Better compliance - With data collection software, a set of predefined standards are mentioned and can be checked easily which allows field inspector to spot any non-compliance measures.
Technical training - Training field staff and providing them with updated documentation adds to the costs when using paper based data collection. The mobile apps can provide the field technicians with automated training and tips to help them do their job correctly. They can easily access to updated documentation from the app.
Improve performance - It is often difficult to track performance, quality of work and productivity levels of field staff. Using KPIs collected from mobile data collection apps, executives can monitor the performance of field staff and take measures to improve the performance.
Safety and emergency - It's not possible to track the conditions of the employees on field in emergency situations like a collapsed mine, a downed power line or gas leak. It becomes difficult to lend real time support. With Usher professional, managers can view the current location of employees on a map and review their recent activities.
There are some challenges to the adoption of this technology widely.
Cost of developing apps - The initial investment in developing apps is often an impediment for small companies. In addition, these apps need to be maintained and updated and having to hire experts for this is expensive. Mobile form apps helps reduce these costs by providing a data collection platform where creators can develop and maintain data collection apps using a graphical interface to drag and drop various form components. The apps can then be deployed and made available on App stores on all mobile operating systems.
Availability of the internet - Some rural areas may lack good internet connectivity. To serve such areas, the app needs to be able to collect data offline, which can be uploaded at a later point when access to the internet is restored. Apps developed can be used for offline data collection. The collected data is uploaded when internet connectivity is restored.
Expert Author Alec James
When you think of hot tubs, you likely think about the luxurious lifestyle they promise.
For many of us, the idea of entertaining friends in an outdoor 'tub, relaxing after a hard days work or even just spending time with the family is an enticing one. Hot tubs are still the ultimate in luxurious lifestyle choices, but when you've decided to take the plunge (all puns intended) and invest in a 'tub, you've got some decisions to make.
Specifically, you've got to decide whether you want a hard-sided hot tub or an inflatable model instead. Both come with their own distinct advantages, but why should you choose a hard-sided model?
Here are the biggest reasons:
A hot tub is the cherry on top of your home, and if you're planning on sticking around for a while (or just raising the value of your property), you'll love the fact that your hot tub, once installed, is locked in place. No worries about puncturing your tub and nothing to do but sit back, relax and enjoy the relaxing warmth.
That permanence also has the handy side effect of creating a more premium look in your property!
Improved durability
Whilst it'd be unfair to say that inflatable hot tubs aren't durable, it's also undeniable that they can be punctured - completely destroying their ability to function.
With a hard-sided 'tub, you don't need to worry about sharp objects, animals or anything else getting in the way of your enjoyment. It also means that, with the correct care, your 'tub can function effectively for decade after decade.
Additional features
Inflatable hot tubs are great, but they often lack the advanced features of hard-sided hot tubs like lighting systems, massage jets, speaker systems, individual seating, foot massagers and more.
Needless to say, these are features you can expect to find in certain hard-sided models. In fact, because there's fixed space for electronics, you'll find that hard-sided models have a great deal more going on technologically than inflatable models, something which contributes to their higher price.
Easy installation
Although you lose the ability to move your tub, hard-sided tubs feature exceptionally easy installation. An installer will place your tub in position and, provided there's a large enough power supply nearby, quickly and easily install your tub into position.
There's no need to worry about plumbing and no worries about durability throughout the winter months, either! It's a huge reason why many people choose to opt for a hard-sided model.
Expert Author Susan Leigh
Sometimes we may be faced with a difficult situation with our partner. He or she may be becoming increasingly anti-social, refuse to mix and meet with our friends or family. We may try to be supportive and understanding for a time but eventually become more and more frustrated with the situation. It can be hard to know what to do, how to handle times like this, especially if we're a sociable person and love using free time to catch up with family and friends.
Let's look at some considerations when dealing with an anti-social partner:
- At first try to explore the reasons behind his or her behaviour. Could he be depressed or struggling with stress; might there be a problem that you're unaware of? Sometimes people retreat into themselves and become increasingly isolated when they feel out of their depth. The thought of being sociable, chatting and laughing animatedly with others can fill them with dread. Pay attention to his behaviour generally and look for clues. Is he sleeping okay, how is his appetite, temper, sense of humour, libido? Changes in any of these areas can signify that there is more to this than him simply feeling anti-social. He may need to consider seeing the family doctor or undergoing counselling or stress management therapy.
- Incorporate activities into your free time and holiday periods that he feels are of value. Some people feel that free time should be used for 'worthwhile' activities like tackling outstanding chores. Agree to spend half a day in the garden or tidying the garage. Then you can both feel that you've earned the lunch at a country pub or going to see a film.
- If there is a backlog of chores that are getting him down might it be worthwhile hiring someone else to help? If you can afford it, it can make sense to pay someone to do the cleaning, ironing, decorating so that you can spend time together relaxing and having fun. When a couple spend all their time working they can lose sight of the friendship side of their relationship and life can become a little humdrum. Remind each other of what is important and commit to enjoying each other's company.
- Could there be other reasons for his attitude towards your friends and family? If he feels uncomfortable with them might there be a valid reason for his feeling that way? Ask the question and then wait for him to answer. There's no point in second guessing his point of view. He may not like your behaviour when you're with them or their attitudes and idea of fun. Give him the opportunity to verbalize his feelings. Then you can discuss what options you both have for the way forward.
- Some people hold very different views as to the best way to spend their free time. For these people there can be two equally valid options to resolve this dilemma. One is to alternate what you do, each taking turns to decide and then agree to participate together. This can bring new experiences into both your lives. The other is to spend some free time apart, each doing your own thing, and then meet up later to share the news about the day's different stories and adventures. Whatever works best is the most appropriate decision for you.
For some couples there may need to be a more serious decision taken about the relationship. Sometimes in life we may have to consider a new start, especially if becomes apparent that we hold completely different views, values and opinions about the way our lives should be spent. Individual or relationship counselling can be an important step in understanding ourselves and each other better, and this may lead to exploring compromises and a way forward.
Expert Author Susan Leigh
Recognising the time has come to end a serious relationship is often especially stressful. We may have shared many good and bad times together, grown up with them, certainly loved them for a time. We may even still love them, but not in the way we know we should.
But there can be a lot of distress, confusion and angst over ending a relationship; are we doing the right thing, what if the grass is not greener elsewhere, are we making a mistake, will we ever find someone else, someone who cares fort us as much as our partner does?
What can we do to decide if it's the right time to end our relationship;
- Over time we may gradually notice that we are becoming increasingly irritable with our partner; the things that initially attracted us to them may be starting to wear thin. Their easy-going ways may now seem boring, lazy or aimless. We've become less interested in what they say or do. Perhaps our sex lives have gradually dwindled away.
Some of these symptoms may be due to stress. We may have a busy job, impossible deadlines, be juggling a lot of areas of our lives. Try to identify where the problems lie, take a break, start to spend more quality fun time with your partner and share your mutual concerns. Relationship counselling may be a useful route to follow at this time.
- If you're sure that your feelings towards your partner have changed start to acknowledge that our paths sometimes include special people, but only for a limited period of time. He or she will always be a part of who you are, they've helped to shape your personality, contributed to who you are today. Give thanks for that but also acknowledge that sometimes, at a later time we have to separate and move on in different directions.
- Stop and consider the consequences of staying with someone out of pity, guilt, fear of causing them distress. How humiliated and disrespected would you feel if someone did that to you? Caring for someone may mean saying 'I don't love you in the way you deserve to be loved'. This can be a very painful conversation, but ultimately it may need to be done.
- If you decide to stay in your relationship will you look back in five years time and regret not leaving sooner? Family pressures, financial concerns, emotional distress can cause a lot of pressure but staying with someone for the wrong reasons can result in slowly growing to detest them, become increasingly resentful, maybe even cause health implications.
- Communications are an important part of a good relationship. Falling out of love but remaining good friends can sometimes happen when open and honest channels of communication have been maintained throughout. Talking things through at the time ensures that there are no surprises, both people know how each other feels and, as such, decisions can be shared, understood and agreed together. Listening is a key part of this process.
- Caring for another person means wanting what's best for each other, even if that doesn't include us. And equally, if we come to realise that we've fallen out of love it's about respecting the other person enough to give them the chance to find someone who does want them, will love them as they deserve to be loved.
Holding onto someone out of fear of making the wrong decision, or because of concerns at ending up alone and lonely is both hurtful and disrespectful. Sometimes taking a break or even ending the relationship allows both parties time to miss each other and re-evaluate what it means to them. If you're meant to be together the time apart will enable you to appreciate each other all the more, clear your heads, have a period of reflection and become completely sure about the importance of the relationship in both your lives.
Expert Author Susan Leigh
Abuse is a powerful and evocative word. Many of us may well think of sexual abuse when we first hear the word, but abuse covers physical, emotional and mental hurt too, and can be experienced by any age or gender, by young children or our senior citizens.
Abuse in an adult relationship often occurs as a slow, subtle process. If a person was rude, sarcastic, nasty or aggressive on a first meeting there would be little chance of us agreeing to meet them again. Often the abuser's behaviour is styled as attentive, wanting to help us improve, being keen to take care of us, demonstrating support, and indeed, that may be the case. However here are some ways to recognise an abusive relationship:
- Abuse is often about control, fear of you leaving, not loving the other person enough, not wanting to be with them anymore. Money can be a significant part of their control, buying you treats, expensive gifts, offering to take care of you. It can be a seductive process, being wined and dined, treated as special, especially if this is a new or unfamiliar experience for you. But this behaviour is often a subtle attempt to become an increasingly integral part of your life.
- Having someone else take control of the finances may be a relief at first; not having to worry about bills, knowing that side of your life is being taken care of. But gradually you may find that you're having to justify your spending, being criticized for buying certain things, accused of spending too much, being discouraged from being independent. This can be especially problematic in cases where you don't work and rely on them to provide an allowance, or where all income goes into a joint account which is regularly inspected and complained about.
- Having a job, a career provides a feeling of independence, satisfaction, accomplishment and this can cause your abuser to feel uneasy and insecure about their level of control. They may start to criticize your enthusiasm for your job, discourage you from applying for additional training or advancement. They may become irritated, bored, dismissive if you try to discuss your work, colleagues, problems or achievements. Company social events or training days away with colleagues can gradually become a source of argument and tension.
- Another way to recognise an abusive relationship is when you receive unwarranted criticism about the way you dress, your make up, your desire to look smart and professional at work or when socializing with others. Even your attention to personal hygiene may be treated with suspicion as being flirtatious and attention seeking.
- Personal confidence and levels of self-esteem are gradually eroded by a bully or abuser. This can start with a raised eyebrow, a suppressed laugh, a 'you're not wearing that, are you' or a 'there's no point in you applying for that job', all purporting to sound like concerned, helpful advice but in reality a slow process of intimidation and undermining. Some abusers will try to hi-jack any attempts to improve yourself through dieting, exercise, night school classes by saying they are unnecessary, expensive, inconvenient.
- And yet often abusers are adept at making you feel that this is your fault, that if you were a better person they would not need to be so critical of you. Many abusers are contrite afterwards; they apologise profusely, vow never to behave that way again. This can be a seductive pattern as often the victim feels that if they loved more, tried harder, were more supportive their abuser would be more secure in the relationship and not need to behave so abusively.
- Family and friends are regarded as rivals for your time and attention. They may be ridiculed, dismissed as a bad influence; the questioning and arguments may gradually be seen as too much hassle. Or your partner may consistently offer alternative, exciting or important arrangements that conflict with times when you'd arranged to meet your friends. They gradually start to omit you from arrangements because of your unreliability.
- Turning up unexpectedly or phoning regularly may seem flattering and attentive at first, but over time 'where are you' and 'why didn't you answer your phone/call me back' can become more sinister. You may find that your mobile phone is regularly checked, your phone bill is examined for patterns of calls, the mileage on your car is noted.
- Sex can be a significant part of abuse, being forced to perform unwelcome sexual acts, dress up, be filmed or photographed in ways you regard as unpleasant, humiliating or degrading can all serve to increase their control while reducing your confidence and self-esteem.
The process of abuse serves to slowly alienate you from family, friends, other people and interests. Many of us dislike confrontation, try to avoid it especially if it becomes menacing, scary and aggressive. Abusers are often skillful at presenting their controlling behaviour as love, concern and guidance. Being vigilant about retaining a level of independence and outside support can help keep other options open as to the safest, most appropriate next step for you.
Expert Author Michael Zuren PhD.
Many businesses have high turnover rates due to unhappy, unsatisfied, and/or unappreciated employees. There are several ways a company can create loyalty, happiness, and more positive attitudes towards employee's jobs. One such approach is through increased company functions and gatherings that help develop office friendships throughout the company. Also, the creation of management teams and developing a teamwork mentality will help employees gain the feeling of ownership in their company. Instead of an us versus them attitude between departments, friendships throughout the company will also help build a complete team attitude. Many prominent companies create outlets for their employees to volunteer, fundraise, and help their community. The following suggestions will also increase employee pride, happiness, and ownership of their responsibilities at work.
• Family Atmosphere - This type of environment creates a climate of fairness, equality, respect, and makes it safe to express dissent. This atmosphere is welcoming and creates a friendly environment to introduce new ideas. Employees teams may encourage a challenging but supportive environment and strengthen loyalty and teamwork throughout the organization.
• Recognition Programs - Company programs that recognize hard work, commitment, effort, and contributions breed organizational success and loyalty. The recognition program should include monthly awards and gift cards or a free lunch. Recognition from a supervisor at least two ranks above an employee makes a meaningful, engaging difference in employee morale.
• Organizational Pride and Belonging - Promote activities that development and establish pride and loyalty which is the backbone of any businesses long-term success. Employee turnover is extremely expensive and productivity and product or service development suffers. An engaged employee is a person who is enthusiastic about their work. Improving employee engagement directly impacts measurable business outcomes. Employees who are committed to success, emotionally attached, and socially involved with a company demonstrate qualities that business managers thirst to have. Engaged employees are more productive at work, take less sick days and exhibit other favorable behavior, promote the business to others and show their happiness to customers.
• Mentor Programs - Thinking long-term for future company success. A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser that assists in developing competent employees and future leaders. Mentoring program train and encourage seasoned employees to be mentors. A mentoring program can facilitate dynamic skill growth throughout an organization. Informal learning can be as important as formal learning programs.
• Volunteering Options - Look for opportunities for your company employees to get involved in the community. Allow your employees to volunteer their time or fundraise for a good cause. It is good public relations for companies to show their communities they care about their customers. These activities will create good-will among the local community and your employees. Create a team to decide what cause your company will offer financial support for a charity or cause.

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