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Volume 09 | May 2009 | When Does Giving Them A Hard Time Pay Off?

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Part 1 - Welcome!
Part 2 - Feature Article - When Does Giving Them A Hard Time Pay Off?
Part 3 - Special Offer - FREE One Month SaVVy Club Membership!

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Part 1 - Welcome!

Dear Partner of a Workaholic,

Welcome to this our ninth 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.

I speak to many partners of workaholics who are left feeling unhappy about their relationship and worried about their partner’s health. Time and time again when I work with clients who are partners of a workaholic, they find themselves feeling that their own self worth has been eroded and that they are feeling small and unloved.

As we work together and they begin to develop a greater sense of control over their own destiny, more confidence and optimism they begin to change the way they feel about and respond to their partner. As they do this the dynamics in the partnership shift and their partners begin to change too.

Many partners of workaholics are so fed up and frustrated by their partner’s patterns of behaviour that when their partners do come home they give them a really hard time. It may ease their frustration for a while but does little to encourage a change in their partner’s behaviour. This month’s article explores this approach.

Do you need to work on your own personal baggage?
To let go of the insecurities and negative feelings which have grown over time because you have felt neglected or been worried about your partner. Working on these, perhaps with a coach, can give you the resources to try a whole new approach.

Once one element shifts, nothing can stay the same. What have you got to loose?

If you’d like some help, book a complementary 30 minute coaching session to explore how I can help you explore the way forward.

I am very pleased to be able to let you know that the SaVVy Club are offering Recovering Workaholic members one months free membership to try things out. See below for more details.

Make 2009 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

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

I have included the following section for the benifit of our new members. It is also worth a re-read even if you read it last month. You can skip to part 2 if you prefer.

Some of you may have heard the feature on Woman’s Hour on Thursday 25th April which focused on the difficulties living with a workaholic creates. If you would like to hear that feature please visit the BBC web site at

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?
  • Do 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 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.

When I first began Recovering Workaholics I created it for people who wanted to redress the work/life balance in their lives. Those who wanted to enjoy their work but who were keen to create a life full of passion, enjoyment and fulfilment. It soon became evident that there were many people who were partners of workaholics and were desperately trying to manage the impact that their partners work habits had on their relationships and their lives. Sometimes the loneliest place is when we are with others.

Partners often contact me saying how alone they feel and how difficult it is to solve the problem because ultimately the change is down to someone else.

The article this month is designed to let you know that whilst you may feel very lonely, you are by no means alone. If there are particular issues or examples of difficulties you would like to explore through this newsletter please contact me and I will do my best to cover them in future newsletters.

It may feel like a huge challenge but you can help your partner to change their beliefs and behaviours but before you do so you need to examine and adapt your own.

If you would like some help to do this coaching can help.

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 fulfilment 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

Make 2009 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.

Recovering Workaholics
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 Does Giving Them A Hard Time Pay Off?

One of the fundamental principles of modifying behaviour you don’t want is that you reward the behaviours you most want to encourage.

Yet many partners of workaholics work against this principle.

Picture this:-

A wife or husband wants to spend more quality time with their partner. They are tired of feeling left out and on their own. They are feeling frustrated, lonely and fed up. Underneath, the emotions are bubbling away until the spouse arrives home.

All the negative emotions are like the lava bubbling away beneath the surface of the volcano which will come rushing to the surface and explode.

The workaholic is greeted by lots of complaints about how they never come home early enough, are inconsiderate, thoughtless etc. Or when they meet an atmosphere cold enough to freeze water and responses are monosyllabic and restricted to polite pleasantness.

Whilst I do understand how partners feel and they feel they need to offload, it is a flawed approach. Positive rewards and attention work well with children and are as effective with adults including workaholics.

Now, you know that if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.

Your approach so far has not worked. Your partner is still a workaholic.

Why not try a completely different approach, not just once but consistently over time.

  • Reward your partner for coming home.
  • Welcome them with open arms.
  • Make them feel special.
  • Make their coming home and giving you time and attention an experience which is so good they will want to repeat it.
  • Remember that they are likely to feel stressed and tired so give them time to unwind before you launch in.
  • Welcome them home unconditionally. Let them know how pleased you are to see them.
  • Positive praise and encouragement is the order of the day but it must come from the heart and not seem patronizing and mechanistic.
  • Give them space to wind down and let them know that what you are doing.
  • ‘Brought you a cup of tea – have some time to yourself and then lets ………’

You could argue that you have needs too and why should you put theirs first. It all depends what you really want. If it is for your partner to leave the job for the day to come home there must be a positive pay off.

It is likely that their success was one of the things which attracted you to them initially. The workaholic partner will often believe that they are showing their love for you by being a great provider. It has been my experience that the motive of workaholics is positive. They are not deliberately trying to make you feel unhappy, but are driven to strive for success in this way.

Working with a coach can be incredibly helpful when working on developing a healthy sense of self worth but there are things you can do to help yourself. Try the ideas above.

We would love to hear how you get on and if you have other ideas which have worked for you.

To arrange some coaching support please contact me by email at or
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).

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Part 3 - FREE One Month SaVVy Club Offer

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Next time you’re heading to London for a volley of meetings, don’t spend your evenings alone with only the remote control for company. Get out there and enjoy what the City has to offer.

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London’s first boutique social events club.

For more information, please visit
or call 0870 005 6225.

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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 or complete the feedback form at

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner

For any further information about Recovering Workaholics or to discuss your coaching needs contact 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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Copyright © 2009 Author : Gina Gardiner -