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Volume 03 | March 2008 | When Nagging gets in the way

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Contents

Part 1 - Welcome!
Part 2 - Feature Article - When Nagging gets in the way


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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 their work?
  • 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 yourself.

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” life.

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 gina@recoveringworkaholics.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,

Gina Gardiner
Helping you create a life you love!


Recovering Workaholics
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel from outside the UK: +44 1708 703 959
Email: gina@recoveringworkaholics.com


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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 info@recoveringworkaholics.com or through info@graduatesolutions.co.uk


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Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues please let me know on gina@recoveringworkaholics.com or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner


For any further information about Recovering Workaholics or to discuss your coaching needs contact
gina@recoveringworkaholics.com or
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).

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 do” culture.

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Author : Gina Gardiner