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Please Choose the High Road

Friday, February 27th, 2009 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

I write this as a recovering “low roader“. In years past, when entering into an argument I was willing to pull out the big guns, try to “win” at all costs, and leave my so-called opponent bloody and wounded. I was tough! All that I garnered from that approach was lowered self-esteem, a guilty conscience, and a relationship that was difficult, sometimes impossible, to repair. I knew how to make people fear me and actually thought of that as a positive trait.

Anger is an important emotion. You will never hear me advise you to squelch your irritation and just be “sociable and friendly” (I cannot tell you how many times my father told me to do just that — I never listened). The trick is to figure out what to do with your feelings of outrage, frustration and indignation while holding on to the standards you have set for your own behavior.

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

When You Can’t Protect

Monday, January 5th, 2009 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

2008 has been quite a year. Most of the people I come into contact with are eager for it to be over. I must admit that I join that group. Of course, the turning of the calendar doesn’t promise that anything novel is about to occur — it simply gives us the sometimes needed illusion that we have been given permission to start anew.

So, I asked myself, what exactly has made the last year so painful for me, personally. I think, that when I scrape everything else away, it is the realization that I cannot shield some of the people I love the most from harm.

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

Appreciating Our Differences

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

This evening I went to see the movie, “Rachel Getting Married”. If “Caddy Shack” is your idea of a great film , this one is definitely not for you. The film is devastating and human and joyful and touching and hopeful all at the same time. I enjoy a certain amount of emotional wreckage, especially when my doses come from a distance, so for me, I feel that my movie money was well spent.

One of the sub-themes of this movie was the realization of the joy and comfort available to us when we are able to expand our ways of thinking so that we include other cultures and points of view in our value system. I will not reveal plot points, but this is story-telling that possesses wisdom and an attitude of respect. See it if you can.

What I experience over and over in my life and practice is the belief held by many that it is impossible to be emotionally intimate with someone who sees the world through a different lens. We seem to be living in a time where we expect others to “twin” with us. If they fail to do that, we immediately brand them as the “enemy”, and close our minds and hearts to all kinds of wonderful possibilities.

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

A Life of Generosity, Gratitude & Grace

Thursday, October 9th, 2008 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

Years ago my mother used to say to me, “Gregory Peck can park his shoes under my bed at any time”. I felt the same way about Paul Newman.

Granted, I never met the man, but between his amazing good looks, generosity, talent and personal courage I do believe he was someone quite special. I have never heard or read a negative word about Paul Newman. He appeared to be down to earth, and humble to the point that he attributed his many successes to good luck.

One of the discussions I frequently have with clients is about their feelings of not being good enough. There is always a mention of someone, or several someone’s who “make” them feel inferior. This is what I have to say about that: Anyone who truly feels good about him/herself, who is comfortable in his/her own skin, would NEVER attempt to make another feel “less than”. There’s a adage I learned a long time ago — “under the arrogance lies the shame.”

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

The Blame Game

Friday, September 12th, 2008 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

It’s so tempting, when something goes wrong, to decide that someone, anyone, but us, is responsible for the fiasco. If the person we wish to be at fault is a stranger and if we can manage to ignore the little voice inside that knows that we‘ve bent the truth, I suppose it’s ok to take that stand. If, however, our problem is with someone close to us, we are facing an entirely different situation.

I see many couples in my practice, and, not surprisingly, I hear a lot of , “you did this” or “you made me do that”(rarely, by the way, does anyone “make“ us do anything). The reason such individuals show up at my door is that they get so caught up in who’s right and who’s wrong, that they keep going around in circles. What is really needed is a tactic that focuses on solution, not fault.

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

In Defense of Wallowing

Monday, August 25th, 2008 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

Most of the time I’m all about finding creative solutions, persisting at what you love to do, and trying to remember that life does not only dole out bad news. This month, however, I succumbed to self-pity and a feeling of doom. Two members of my family received some very bad and very serious medical news, and that, on top of everything else, led me to feel “What’s the use?”

Unlike some I’ve known who wish they could just check into a psychiatric hospital for a few days to regroup, that was most definitely not my wish. Having worked in a psychiatric hospital, I know that all instruments of possible harm, including shoelaces, tweezers, and pens are confiscated, as the staff focuses on keeping patients from harming themselves or others. Patients are kept behind locked doors and are usually surrounded by others who are in more distress than one could possibly imagine. No, a psychiatric hospital would not do it for me.

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.