Category Archives: For Parents

Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch

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Dear Mr Rupert Murdoch

I am the woman who was a guest on Fox news and was sexually harassed by your employee, Mr. Bill O’Reilly in 2013. You may be aware that my attorney, Lisa Bloom, and I have spent a few days in London speaking with members of the British media and giving testimony to OfCom regarding your takeover of Sky TV. You may be wondering why I doing this. I am not after money and I have no legal claim.

The truth is I’m a big girl. I can survive an episode of sexual harassment. And even though I’m a single mother and have no trust fund, I am confident I can continue to make enough money to take care of my children in this world without the help of Fox News. But what I don’t like is the systematic way your company has silenced female employees with non-disclosure agreements, further injured victims of sexual harassment by removing them from their jobs and, in many cases, completely derailed their careers. All the while, you kept the men who victimized them and all their accomplices in their jobs. I believe that your corporate culture felt that paying tens of millions of dollars to victimized women was just the cost of doing business.

At the same time I watched your network going after high ratings by sexualizing your news presenters with hair, make-up and wardrobe that rival street walkers. Many of those competent employees are highly educated women with advanced degrees. In doing so, you led an entire industry in competing with you for news viewers to create harmful role models for our daughters. This is why I continue to speak out. I don’t want to see the Foxification of Sky, nor anymore waves of your hand telling the BBC that “Nothing is going on at Fox.”

The last time you nearly took over Sky and were stopped by the famous phone hacking scandal, you reacted in a very different manner. You shut down the newspaper responsible for the crimes (though you soon after replaced it with a the Sun) and you took full page ads out in newspapers, apologizing to the British people and the victims.

But this time there is a clear under-reaction, just a little bit of last minute housecleaning in the week’s before OfCom’s recommendation and no restitution to the victims of your sexist corporate system.

Mr. Murdoch, this is the time to be on the right side of history when it comes to women’s rights. Here’s how you could do this:

  1. Unmuzzle the victims. Give them back their voices.
  2. Give them back their jobs if they want them.
  3. Take out a full page ad in the New York Times apologizing to women everywhere.
  4. Finally, respond to this letter by allowing me to interview you in a televised interview.

You’ve made enough money with our faces, bodies and images. It’s time to treat us the competent employees that we are, not office sex toys.
Sincerely,
Dr. Wendy Walsh

Family Secrets & Sirens – Is Your Family Too Closed or Too Open?

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When I was a kid, there were two kinds of families in my neighborhood, the fun, welcoming, kind who never knew how many people were going to be at the dinner table, and the private kind who rarely invited friends over and bit their tongues when asked personal questions. I considered my own family to be on the former ilk. Back then, I thought this could only be good. At various times in my development, the motley crew at our 5:30 dinner table might include a pregnant teenager on billet from our church, some cousin’s college aged kid who was doing a semester at our house, and an assortment of peer friends. And there were few secrets in that dinner table conversation. All states of the human condition were ripe material for conversational comedy.

Today, family therapists look at a family’s tendency to be more closed or more open as a way to determine how healthy it is for the children in the nest. While there is a huge range of communication styles within a family and styles of inter-relating with the community, a couple of extremes can indicate a family dysfunction. One is too private and the other is too open to outside influences.

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When you think about too private, think of the heart wrenching family structure of Philip Gerrido as the extreme example. His crazy ideas and violent behavior ruled the nest that included a kid-napped and raped “wife.” The family had little input from outside relationships, not even at school because the children were home schooled. This is a rare, extreme example of a closed family system. Another, less obvious, closed family system might be a family who follows a religion that is not represented in the community. Because some of the community’s lifestyle choices might be at odds with their religious beliefs, this family tends to limit social contact and exposure to media. Finally, an even more subtle example might be a family who is just very private. They send overt or silent messages to the children that family matters are not to be discussed outside of the home. They also are reluctant to have too many guests in their home.

There’s another extreme. That’s the family with so many people and ideas filtering through the front door that the family has no compass at all. These families often lack a family code, a set of values to return to when the winds of peer pressure blow too strong. Too many ideas and too much information, when not tempered with sound social structure and family emotional guidance, can make children feel frightened, and also leave them confused when they begin to build their own identity as a young adult.

The key is to find the right balance of open and closed. Having a tight-knit family structure that provides privacy and protection from influences that do not underscore family values is not necessarily dangerous for kids. But having a family system that prohibits exploration of alternative thought and choices, leaves a child unprepared when she/he eventually leaves the nest. Teaching children family values is crucial to their development. I call it, “Instilling The Hopi Way.” But preventing a child from interacting, exploring, and questioning the big, wide, world of ideas outside the front door, handicaps them when they begin the process of becoming individuals.

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How to Think Yourself Happy

thinking christmas giftsI’m a weird hybrid of mindfulness and geeky science. I’m obsessed with human bonding but I wouldn’t dare “treat” a patience who has come down with a case of delusional love — the feelings are just too positive. Being mindful means learning to stop over thinking and trust the deeper human connection.

But…. I’m also practical. Sometimes you can think yourself happy. I do believe that using one’s intellectual mind when it comes to matters of the heart — especially the painful side of love — can be a great tool. As Sigmund Freud once said, “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love object or its love.” And it is when we are dealing with unrequited love that a good brain can come in really handy. When it comes to emotional problems, I believe there are three ways that a good analytic mind can bring some relief.

1. Reframing – When all seems lost, a dose of logic can refocus the problem. Instead of pining after a lost love, our rational mind can remind us that the relationship wasn’t so great after all. Or, it can bring us hope that our next partner is the real love we’ve been waiting for. Reframing our problems in the work of the pre-frontal cortex, not the emotional brain.

2. Understanding the Sociology – Whether you are looking to find love or wondering whether divorce is on the horizon, understanding your own mate status in a given mating market is an intellectual exercise that can help you make good choices. For instance, a bumpy patch in your relationship, when you are young and living in a big city with plenty of available mates can more easily lead to a break up, than a boring patch in a longterm marriage in a mating market where most people are coupled up. Or, if you are a female college student (a place where there is currently an over supply of successful females) you might choose a loyal boyfriend over an exciting player because you can feel the partner crunch.

3. Recognizing Patterns – Break ups are great because they often provide us 20/20 vision of our past. It’s also a painful opportunity to assess what our role in the relationship conflict. When we start to look at our love life through the lens of a scientist, looking for patterns, we can see how we attract some familiar schema that somehow resemble our childhood. This is a great opportunity to do some personal work and get into better relationSHAPE for the future.

In my online workshop, The Psychology of Human Mating, I reveal the whole mating game board. Other relationship coaches may tell you how to make your next move, but it means nothing if you don’t understand the game. This is your chance to become empowered to find or keep the love you deserve.

DR. WENDY WALSH IS AVAILABLE FOR TELEPHONE RELATIONSHIP COACHING. TO SCHEDULE, PLEASE CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THE BOX ON THE LEFT. SHE’LL PERSONALLY RESPOND.

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Are you a Relationship Professional?

imgresAre you going to iDate in January? It’s the world’s largest dating industry conference held at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas on January 20th-22nd. Attendees include online dating operators, dating coaches, matchmakers and other relationship professionals. We spend 3 days collaborating, networking, learning and sharing tips and secrets to growing our businesses.

This year, I’m thrilled to tell you that I will be leading a pre-conference seminar that is part “Love Science Pro: The Psychology of Human Mating” and part business strategy for matchmakers. Find out more here:

To register for my special pre-conference seminar on January 20th, go to the iDate 2015 registration page, and click on: ADVANCED BUSINESS STRATEGY FOR MATCHMAKERS AND DATING COACHES

Hope to see you there! – Dr. Wendy Walsh

 

FOR COUPLES: The Secret of Love and Parenting

loving familyKids can be challenging. But so can our adult love relationships. But are they the same relationship? In many ways they are, and what we learn from one kind of relationship, we can apply to the other. The common link is emotional intimacy and the big tug-o-war in every intimate relationship is the struggle between independence and union. While many people have heard of co-dependence, that pop psyche term that means no one can remember whose problem is whose, not many fully understand the feeling of a healthy inter-dependence.

Independence and union are the yin-yang of human connections. Being in union with another fills us up with feelings of security, confidence, and heals our loneliness. And sometimes being together can also feel more like suffocation and imprisonment. Independence can help us feel powerful, free, and proudly self-sufficient. But independence can also bring feelings of isolation, fear, and, with no cheer leader, insecurity.

Every intimate relationship is a live action game, it’s partners on the same team with (hopefully) a common goal. Like basketball, sometimes one partner runs with the ball and scores, and other times is happy to assist or play defense. You steer the parent/child team when you make a firm rule. Your child steers the team when his/her unadulterated insight blurted out at a family dinner, awes and amazes you, and you change your behavior based on it. In an adult relationship, you may choose to lead by instituting firm boundaries between work life, couple-hood, and family life. He leads when you all move to a new city for his job and know that the long-run win will be family harmony.

The biggest difference between parenting and adult love is the direction separation runs. When you meet a stranger and fall in love, your journey together is one where you continue to grow closer and closer to create deep intimacy. A mother/child relationship runs the opposite course. You begin, literally as one body. And your journey is a long, slow separation from womb to dorm room. Both kinds of relationships share this: on their journey together each partner’s needs for closeness and autonomy will wax and wane as emotional needs ride the waves of daily life stresses.

Some people might think that another huge difference is that kids can’t leave. They are wholly dependent on their parents. But I beg to differ. Although kids may be financially dependent on their parents, they can emotionally leave the relationship. They can check out if their well-timed calls for some  autonomy are not heeded. They can check out if they are given too much independence, and feel unprotected by their parents. Lovers can do the same thing. They may leave physically or emotionally.

So, how can we honor the struggle between our desires to be an individual and our desires to be a partner? The answer is always to talk about it. To have empathy for another’s autonomy and not “take it personally.” To voice our own needs for autonomy or closeness in a non-threatening way. The road to intimacy is a prickly path. We will often make mistakes in judgement, or act from a place of fear. But the other wonderful thing about all relationships is that they are alive and growing and there is always room for repair. And in that very process of repair, where we may use empathy and humor, we will feel in union again, that is, until the next time we feel smothered.

For more watch my youtube video on: Why IN-dependence is OUT