Spousal punishment can be inspired by and cause misery for a variety of reasons. As a therapist, Dr. McCoy has seen spouses punish the other for a long ago or more recent transgression: an infidelity, a lost investment, a wayward child, a business that went under or a career that never quite blossomed. Another frequent cause of spousal punishment: a relocation.
Living with such tension is hazardous to health and happiness. It takes two to perform this malevolent marital dance: the outraged punisher and the partner who feels guilty or otherwise deserving of punishment.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy explores ways to stop the cycle of marital punishment before it completely erodes love and good will. Even if peace seems impossible, she emphasizes that where there is love and a willingness to work together, so much is possible.
We all have life stories and scripts by which we live our lives. What one does with one's story can cause painful inertia in the present or facilitate positive change.
For some, clinging to an outdatd life story is a habit, an excuse not to risk change. Some have a story that is an endless loop of victimhood. Some have life stories and expectations that complicate family relationships in many ways.
Changing one's perspective and one's life story can be difficult and painful, but can lead one toward growth and a more satisfying new life. It may mean letting go of old pain to make room for new possibilities. Letting go of old family roles can be liberating and lead to better relationships with kin. Letting go of bitter life stories of victimhood can open your life to new opportunities. Letting go of old anger can create room for joy.
When you change your story, you can change your life.
What is life like when the retirement honeymoon is over?
Settling into this major life transition is much like we experienced in settling into our life's work or a long marriage: taking responsibility for our own choices and behavior and living with gratitude.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the fact that constant happiness is an impossibility, even under the best of circumstances, but we cn make the choice to stay positive, to accept current reality and to make peace with what is. Gratitude is a major part of this. So is understanding that happiness comes most readily not from getting, but from giving, not from hedonistic pleasures but from doing what gives our lives meaning at this phase of life.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy reflects on a New York Times opinion piece by a young writer complaining of the rudeness of people who send emails or texts to say "Thank you!" or who leave a voice mail message instead of texting. He said that such people were wasting his time.
Dr. McCoy discusses the value of all forms of communication across the generations, saying that we need to honor each other's favored means of communication, reaching out to each other in a variety of ways. She talks about the value of being respectful of each other, of greeting another's message with warmth rather than silence, and how this can bridge gaps between us, whether these are generational or philosophical or due to past misunderstandings.