I sometimes hear from people who think I'm too harsh on my callers. There are many reasons for the way I deal with someone who calls my program, but my particular approach is always in direct response to what I intuit from the callers themselves. Here's an email I got from Morgan, who titled her correspondence "Thanks For Your Advice and for TEARING Into Me!"
I called you the other day, and was shocked to hear you for real in my ear! My question was about why I was complaining about my fiancé a lot lately. My complaints were about his extra weight, being quiet on road trips, an, lately, his constant wearing of a baseball hat! You listened PATIENTLY to what I was nagging about, and then you truly laid into me...and well, I really needed it!
You told me that I wasn't marrying myself, and if I wanted to be with someone exactly like me, well, marry myself (ha!), but not stay and complain. You also stated that I was comparing him to me, and that wasn't helpful. He is his own man - a quiet, baseball hat-wearing man. Then you said that I should thank him for putting up with me for so long.
It is really interesting to me that I have always prided myself on treating others the way I wish to be treated-- my students, my colleagues, my friend--but that I had been treating my own fiancé in a negative, terrible and condescending manner, instead of thanking him every day for coming into my life. He is the most gentle, generous and loyal person I know, and the truth is I have been feeling crappy about myself and projecting that onto him.
Well, I went home and re-read "Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives," and got to the part that asks the reader to think about whether they would want their future daughter to be dating their partner. It really sunk in.I'd love it if my future daughter would be dating someone like my fiancé, but I don't think I'd want my future son dating someone like I have been lately!
Good wake-up call for me, Dr. Laura. I've listened to you for eight years. You are a true voice of reason, morality, and plain common sense in my head!