To Control or Not to Control?

Control is the most common source of anguish in our lives. Most of us secretly would like to control the actions and choices of those who impact us the most—our spouses, parents, children, ex-spouses, bosses, co-workers, etc. If we could just convince them that our way is the best way, our lives would be so much easier. If we could just get others to behave in ways that make sense to us, our problems would diminish. If we could live in a world where people accommodated our needs, life would be great. And then, there’s reality. I know you’re thinking, “I don’t want to control everything and everyone. I know that’s not possible.” I know you think you are the reasonable one. The one that understands what you have control over and what you don’t. I know you believe that it is those other people who are so controlling. But guess what? You are that person. We all are. Whether you are conscious of this or not, you spend a lot of time and energy trying to control people and things that are completely outside of your control. You leave notes for your husband in hopes that he will remember to complete your “to do” list today. You lie to your wife to avoid her anger. You threaten your kids so they will complete their chores and stay out of trouble. You spread gossip at the office about your co-worker so you will get more recognition and she will get less. And so on and so on. We are all busy squiring about trying to control our world. Sometimes we win but most of the time our strategies lack integrity and end in conflict, disappointment, frustration, or outright war. So what can we do instead? I’m certainly not suggesting you live your life in a way that relies on chance alone. You don’t want to be a victim of circumstance or someone who does not act to achieve your goals and create your life. You do have power. While you will never have control over what others think and do, you do can influence others and take actions that impact situations and interactions. Here are five golden rules to help you manage your need for control. Identify what is most important to you. What do you want to create or impact and why? Understand where you have control and where you do not. Be honest with yourself. Get your emotions under control first. While you are entitled to feel frustrated, worried or angry, good decisions always come from a place of balance. Remember, you do not live on an island. You will always need to consider and work with other people’s agendas and needs. Avoid power struggles whenever possible. Take time to consider your options. Look at the short-term and long-term risks, rewards, and unintended consequences. See what actions are in alignment with your intentions and goals. Make sure your personal integrity is intact. Consider where your motivations lie and course correct as needed. Focus on where you do have control and influence, and act accordingly. This may take the form of communicating with others, decision-making, accommodating, withdrawing, compromising, motivating, inspiring, and taking actions that move your life forward. So, the next time you struggle with wanting control, taking control and losing control, follow the five golden rules. In doing so, you will retain your personal power, be more effective in achieving your goals, and build positive relationships with those around you. If you or someone you know is struggling with the issue of control, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Contact me at 310-379-5855 or email me to schedule an appointment and start creating the life you choose today. Be well, Julie The Pathway to Love at-home program: Get your Free Relationship Assessment Quiz at

A Classic Relationship Issue that Stands the Test of Time

It’s a classic difference between men and women that inevitably causes friction. And if this issue is not acknowledged and worked out, it can and has threaten many a relationship. So what is it? Let me give you an example with a story about Diane and Bob, a married couple.

Diane comes home one day and starts to tell Bob about the horrible day she had at the office. She tells Bob that her manager called her in and began to blast her for submitting a report that was lacking necessary data. She goes on to say how her manager was out of line and rather nasty when it was her co-worker, not her, who was responsible for that part of the report. In addition, her manager completely dismisses her rebuttal and says that she is still holding her responsible for the final project. Diane thinks that her manager is secretly “in love” with her co-worker as she always lets him slide on things and never gives her a break.

Bob listens attentively. When Diane takes a breath, Bob responds.

Bob starts to first ask questions like, does Diane have a document that states what part of the report is her responsibility and what belongs to her co-worker. Bob asks a few more clarifying questions and then goes on to give multiple suggestions on what Diane should do in regards to dealing with her co-worker, her manager and her job. His suggestions are reasonable and sound. But after Bob finishes his response, Diane is annoyed.

Diane goes on to say “Well, that really isn’t the point. I don’t think you understand.” Bob replies with “Of course I understand. I think you’re missing the point.” And the friction continues until Diane storms out of the room declaring how Bob is insensitive, arrogant and always thinks he knows what’s best. The argument has now turned into a competition over who is right, who is smarter, and who knows best.

Sound familiar?

So if you’re a typical woman, you know exactly where Bob went wrong. He went straight into trying to solve Diane’s problem before lending an empathetic and sympathetic ear. Diane was really needing Bob to listen and empathize with her, not solve her problem.

And if you’re a typical man, you know exactly where Bob was coming from. He loves his wife and doesn’t like to see her unhappy. He’s had lots of experience in these matters at his own place of work and wants to help Diane solve the problem so she doesn’t get more grief from her boss. His intention is to be helpful to his wife. He feels sideswiped when she responds with anger and annoyance as if he was the bad guy. His annoyance builds as he feels his wife doesn’t appreciate his intentions and instead attacks him for trying to help.

Here’s my advice to Diane and Bob.

I suggest that Diane let her husband know what she needs from him before sharing a story. If she only needs him to listen and support her emotionally, she should make that clear from the get go. If she would like both empathy and advice, then let that be known.  It will also be helpful for Diane to remember that her husband means well. He’s just being the man he is, and that is one who wants to fix the problem so she will be happy. He truly has her best interest at heart and if he misses the active listening part, it isn’t because he doesn’t care or thinks she can’t solve her own problems, it’s simply because that’s how he’s hard wired.

In regards to Bob, I suggest that he ask what Diane needs from him as she shares her frustration. Does she want advice or does she simply need to vent. I also suggest that he work on being an active listener first and problem solver second. Until his wife feels heard and validated, she won’t be very open to his advice and ideas anyways. Once she feels heard and has experienced am empathetic response, her emotional state will subside and her rational brain will be open to hearing your perspective and suggestions.

Whether you relate to Diane or Bob, I invite you to take a look at how you and your significant other communicate and implement the suggestions listed above. A warning—it is easier said than done. We all operate from our default position and it takes time and conscious effort to change patterns and automatic responses. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some help. A few sessions may do the trick!

Be well,


P.S. If you or someone you know struggles with communicating in their relationships, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

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What You Need to Know About Acceptance

I wrote an article about acceptance some years back but thought the topic is so important that I'd write an updated version of the same. A lot of people are now talking about "unconditional love" and the act of acceptance. I've been writing about this for years. And yes, part of the process of creating transformational relationships is to come to a place of acceptance--acceptance of both yourself and your mate. It is part of phase three in The Pathway to Love and is the gateway towards an incredibly intimate, passionate, and fulfilling relationship.
However, there are important things to know about what acceptance truly means and what it does not. There are other things to know about how one goes about getting there. So in the interest of setting things straight, here's what you need to know.

I highly suggest you click Read in Browser to access the full article. This information is too important to miss!

5 Words That Will Ruin Your Marriage

Here's another article I published on YourTango a couple of months ago. It received thousands and thousands of hits and was syndicated on many other well-known sites. This article addresses what specific words to avoid during arguments and discussions as well as what specifically you can say and ask instead. This one is another must read!

Words are powerful. They can cut you, heal you, inspire you, and stop you. Learning the language of marriage takes time and due diligence. Here are 5 words that are destined to cause damage to your marriage. Say them regularly and the damage may be irreparable.

To read full article, Click Read in Browser

Why Relationships Fail…

There are many reasons why relationships fail. Some people will tell you their relationship failed due to infidelity, addiction, lack of attention, abusive behaviors, or severe money problems. And while these are all legitimate reasons for a relationship to fail, I propose that these reasons are just symptoms of the real reason why relationships fail. From my perspective, failed relationships have one thing in common. Relationships fail due to a difference in the desire and ability to create true intimacy. I believe that this is at the foundation of most, if not all, breakups.

Dealing with Relationship Ruts

We are a society addicted to adrenaline. We associate excitement with instant gratification, success with final measurable outcomes. We expect or at the very least want to feel good all the time. These messages are reinforced with commercials, marketing and sales strategies, and images that we are bombarded with day in and day out. Our relationships are not immune to the pressures of instant gratification. If we find ourselves bored or dissatisfied we immediately go to “something is wrong”—wrong with us, our lives, our mates, or the world. We have a hard time looking at the big picture. Instead we focus on the circumstances at hand and react accordingly. To illustrate my point, let’s hear Bill and Brenda’s story.