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| Volume 03 | March 2008
| When Nagging gets in the way
Part 1 - Welcome!
Part 2 - Feature Article -
When Nagging gets in the way
Part 1 - Welcome!
Dear Partner of a Workaholic,
Welcome to this our third newsletter written especially
to support Partners of Workaholics who have excessive
work habits. In this newsletter we will provide
support for those of you who have to deal with a
partner whose excessive work habits means they work
all the time and ignore you.
The theme for this month’s article for Workaholics is managing the nagging voice in your head. You too may find it helpful as the voice in our heads can exaggerate, distort and aggravate situations leaving us feeling worthless and in victim mode. Not a very comfortable place to be.
In the Partner’s article I’d like to focus on words which are actually spoken out loud to your partner, what you say and the way in which it is said. The tone of voice, the words you use and the timing of when things are said all have the capacity to widen the gap between you and your partner, to let them off the hook as they can rationalize your nagging as unreasonable, or to make them think.
Are You The Partner Of a Workaholic?
- Do you feel as if you play second fiddle to
- Is it left to you to make excuses to the children,
to family and friends because they are late or
too busy to attend?
- Does your partner’s excessive work habits impact
on your life and your relationship?
- Do you send the evenings on your own – even
when they are in the house?
- Is your partner too busy or too tired to pay
you the attention you need and deserve?
- Is your life being affected because of the demands
of your partner’s work?
- Do you feel your own sense of self and your
confidence are being eroded because they pay more
attention to their work?
- Are you feeling lonely and left out even though
you are in a relationship?
If the answer is yes to three or more of the
questions above you may be in a partnership
with a workaholic.
You may be thinking:
“I didn’t need to see those questions in order
to recognize that things between my partner and
I are difficult because of his or her work. What
I need to know is what to do about it!”
Workaholism is no different to the other “….holisms”
in that the problem can very difficult for partners
and families to deal with.
In the first instance you may recognise that there
is a difficulty and be worried. Your worries may
be for them, their long term health and well being.
You may worry about the fact that the children hardly
see their father/mother or that when they do they
are too tired to show a real interest in them. Your
worries may be about the impact work is having on
your relationship and how it makes you feel about
Unless your partner accepts for themselves that
they have a problem, it is extremely difficult to
make them face it. Your concern may simply be ignored
or be misconstrued as nagging. Until they acknowledge
that they have a difficulty and they determine that
they want to change their lives, you will need to
deal with the impact it has on them, you and the
rest of the family.
Am I saying things are hopeless? No of course not
– quite the opposite in fact.
What I am suggesting is that in the first instance
you need to understand what being a workaholic is
about. Each person will have their own personal
reasons for becoming a workaholic but if you have
read the information on the website you will know
that there are a number of reoccurring themes. I
suggest you watch and listen for the clues your
partner will undoubtedly offer, as to why they have
become a workaholic.
When we work with an issue which appears to be
outside our control it often feels insurmountable.
It is my experience that we need to work on these
external things by working on ourselves. There are
things we can't change, but what we can do is change
the way we feel about the issue and how it makes
us feel. The paradox is that as soon as we make
the mental shift in ourselves there is frequently
a shift in the underlying problem too.
Being the partner of someone, who is too busy to
notice your needs, can begin to make you feel less
attractive and really knock your self confidence.
The reality is that in the majority of cases being
a workaholic is about them and not you.
I suggest that you work on ensuring that you feel
good about who you are and confident enough to help
them to deal with their issues as and when they
are ready to.
This months article "It’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it" considers how your response to your partners work habits can have the opposite effect to the one you want. The principles are true for teenage children and work colleagues too. If you want things to be different you have to change old patterns of behaviour. Listening to yourself and understanding what that triggers in your partner is a vital step to creating a different future.
Recovering Workaholics is a growing concern. We
offer 1:1 coaching, and training to facilitate those
who want a truly satisfying life. Understanding
what drives us to work to the point where love,
happiness and fulfillment are the poor relation
is the first step to creating a life you truly love.
We can help you work towards achieving your “dream”
We also offer support for those who are facing
retirement or who have recently retired or experienced
redundancy and who are finding it difficult to adjust
to the change.
If you know of anyone who would be interested in
working with us please let me know by contacting
me at email@example.com
Make 2008 the year when you took consistent action
to make a positive difference to the quality of
your own life and for those who share it with you.
With best wishes,
Helping you create a life you love!
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel from outside the UK: +44 1708 703 959
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Part 2 - When Nagging gets in the way
Whether you are working with your partner, your teen age children or a work colleague the principle is the same. What you say and the way in which it is said, the tone of voice, the words you use and the timing of when things are said all have the capacity to widen the gap between you and the other person to let them off the hook as they can rationalize your nagging as unreasonable, or to make them think.
Most partners of workaholics feel neglected; they see themselves taking second place to their partners work. Clients often describe how their partner will take the time and trouble to listen to a member of their staff far more readily than they do them or their children. “If they loved me enough they would want to spend time with me” They make the assumption that it is lack of love which causes their partner to spend long hours away from them. Their frustrations and sense of loneliness take over and as soon as their partner gets home the frustrations spill over and they share how they are feeling and the recriminations begin.
Like so many of the strategies we use when we are feeling un-resourced it is incredibly unproductive. Despite the fact that the strategy rarely works, many partners (and parents) find they go into nag mode knowing it is destined to fail and make them feel bad into the bargain. Einstein’s definition of madness is to carry on doing the same thing even though we know it doesn’t work. Yet millions of us continue to behave in a set way long after we know it is failing. This is not about blaming. We do the best we can given the personal resources at our disposal. What we want to do is to help you feel you have a wider range of resources at your disposal and the choice when to use them.
To understand why it fails so often you need to take a step back and take a long hard look at what is really going on. Understanding what is actually happening can also give you the opportunity to behave differently.
Most workaholics are workaholics because of some deep seated need within themselves. Many are driven to succeed on terms which only they can define as they push themselves long after most people would feel highly successful. For some it is the dread of failure rather than the pull of success which drives them. A poor sense of self worth developed in childhood, the need to feel significant by doing things for others, or having external verification of worth are all common reasons for people feeling more secure in their working life than in their personal life.
You know your partner well. Consider what is driving them? Think about the relationship they had with their parents, siblings or at school.
Partners will often respond disproportionately to a particular tone of voice or to being told that they have failed. It often hits a deep seated raw nerve which has been created during their formative years. The nagging becomes synonymous with a parent telling them how useless they are or a teacher or class bully belittling them.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you
ensure you make the most of your life please contact
us through firstname.lastname@example.org
or through email@example.com
Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
If there are any topics you would like covered
in future issues please let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org
or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.
What do you think?
For any further information
about Recovering Workaholics or to discuss your
coaching needs contact
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44
Gina Gardiner recognised by "Investors In
People" as creating an "innovative and
exemplary training programme for emerging and middle
managers" and by Ofsted as an “inspirational
leader”. Her experience includes that of “Change
Management” and in supporting organizational leaders
in developing strategic vision and creating a “can
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Author : Gina Gardiner