A little while back, I ran a survey on what most stresses us women out, when it comes to our relationships.
57 women replied, and that was enough of a sample to provide some fascinating insights into what is really stressing women out, when it comes to our relationships. I thought ‘mother-in-laws’ would figure prominently high on the list, but I was wrong about that..
Read on, to learn more.
AGE OF RESPONDENTS
37% of the women who responded were aged between 41-50; 22% were aged 31-40, and then the 21-30 and 51-60 age groups were tied with just under 16% each. 10% of respondents were aged over 60.
WHO IS STRESSING US OUT?
Almost half (47%) of respondents were stressed out by their spouse / partner, with 46% being stressed by their children. Perhaps surprisingly, given how many ‘ bad in-law’ jokes feature in our society, respondents were more stressed by their own parents (40%) and their siblings (32%) than by their in-laws (19%).
19% of respondents were also stressed-out by their work colleagues.
THE MAIN RELATIONSHIP STRESSORS, BY AGE GROUP
I’ve analyzed the main relationship stressors for each age group, and here’s the key findings for each age group:
100% of the 21-30 age group were stressed-out by their parents.
People in this age bracket found it hard to actually talk to their parents, and almost a third of respondents had resorted to trying to block their parents out of their life; to move away from them; or to maintain a purely superficial relationship with them.
Parents were still the biggest stressor (60%) for the 31-40 age group.
53% were stressed by their relationship with their partner / spouse.
47% were stressed by their children.
Only 20% of respondents were stressed by their in-laws.
The main issues for this group were conflicting goals and ideals; trying to deal with their own and other people’s unmet expectations, and difficulties communicating about their frustrations in a way that wouldn’t lead to angry outbursts, either theirs or other peoples.
A full two thirds of respondents in this age group (67%) were feeling stressed by their children.
The next source of relationship stress was the partner / spouse, with 57% citing that as stressful.
And in joint third place, (48%) were siblings and parents.
33% of this age group were stressed by their in-laws.
This age group had the greatest amount, and the greatest variety of relationship stress, reflecting the ‘sandwich’ effect, where they are caught between often competing demands for their time and resources from many different family members, and also, the work place.
The biggest challenges for this group were ‘trying to please everyone’, and not losing the self while trying to manage everyone else’s moods and expectations.
‘Controlling my emotions’ was frequently cited as a big challenge, for this age group, as was a fear of confrontation. At the same time, there was an acknowledgement that “I can’t keep being the ‘good one’ in the relationship”, and that this growing need to confront issues instead of pushing them away or papering over the cracks was also a major source of stress.
Half of respondents were still finding the relationship with their children stressful.
Surprisingly, stress from the spouse seems to have totally dropped off for this age group – presumably because a decision was made to either go it alone, or accept the situation.
In joint second place, 38% of respondents still found their relationship with parents stressful; and the same amount were also being stressed by their siblings.
The key challenge for this group appears to be learning how to trust again – both themselves, and other people.
The multiple relationship stressors seem to boil down to just one main ‘relationship stressor’ for this age group. The responses varied greatly from person to person as to what this still-stressful relationship actually was, with the greatest number of ‘other’ (specific to the individual) responses than for any other groups.
For this age group, the biggest thing stressing them out in their relationships was a lack of open communication.
They were done with playing games and pussy-footing around issues, and strongly preferred to have all the cards laid on the table, so they could see what they were really dealing with.
Taken across all respondents, the 3 main challenges causing stress in relationships were:
If that sounds familiar, I have some stuff that can help you!
I’ve put together some free resources with some easy hacks for how to start to open up these three challenges, as I have the feeling a lot of women are struggling with these issues. If you’d like to get them, just send me an email (click on THIS for the address) and then whitelist this email so you actually get the resources.
From what I can see, the world is only getting crazier and crazier… so learning how to crush our stress is going to be a really valuable skill, going forward.
One of the biggest causes of stress is when we end up putting people who are low-priority ahead of those who should be top priority.
You know, like that needy friend who is on the phone tying up your time and attention for hours while your kids start going bananas because you didn't manage to get supper on the table, help them with their homework or maybe, even just say 'hi' to them and spend 5 minutes catching up on their day at school.
Part of what I'm trying to do with my Stress to Sanity Masterclass, which is nearly done, BH, and which I hope to roll out here soon for early-birders, is to help people quickly and easily identify what's really stressing them out, so moving from 'stressed' to 'solution' gets way, way easier.
As part of that, I've just put together this "Relationship Priority Matrix".
The idea behind it is pretty simple. The lower the number, the higher the priority. And if you're spending a bunch of time and energy on people who are in the outer rings - at the expense of people who are in your 'inner circles' - then that for sure is going to be causing you some massive stress. And it may well be time to rethink what's going on.
In the meantime, the 'What's Stressing Women Out In Their Relationships' Survey is still taking responses - we're up to 55 at the moment, and I'm aiming for 100 - so if you haven't already, take a mo and fill it in.
I'm happy to send the results to you, if you want, once the survey is done.
The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty stuck.
I have a lot to be getting on with at the moment, a new book to launch, a new course to get started – and I’ve been feeling totally and utterly stuck.
There’s so much uncertainty going on, isn’t there? Regardless of whether you’re a political creature or not (and I’m really not – I think all politicians are essentially the same, self-interested swamp creatures, regardless of how it may look from the outside), all this political uncertainty across the globe is still having a huge effect.
Here in Israel, where I live, we’re going into our third election in under a year. In the UK, where I’m from, they are going into their third election in around 2 years, and ‘Brexit’ is as uncertain as ever. I won’t list all the unrest that’s going on, but I’ve heard from people in such disparate places as France, Costa Rica and even Holland that the stress on the streets feels like it is ratcheting up all the time.
And it’s really hard to function in those circumstances.
We humans need a certain basic amount of stability in order to comfortably move forward. When we don’t have that, it causes us a considerable amount of anxiety – even if that’s only showing up a very low level. Like, finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, even though there’s nothing particularly stressful happening in our private life.
Or, like walking around with a head full of brain fog and uncertainty, where it just seems very hard to decide anything, or keep your thoughts straight, or to find the motivation required to start something new, or even to complete simple tasks.
Does this sound familiar?
Today, I woke up again feeling strangely incapable of getting out of bed. There was nothing ‘stressful’ to do today, nothing I wasn’t looking forward to, no hard conversations to dread, no difficult relationships to have to deal with. Yet, it still took me 45 minutes before I found the gumption required to open my eyes.
So, I stayed in bed to do some talking to God about what’s going on at the moment, and the thought floated up that I really need to cut loose from some of that dead wood that’s been dragging me down for months.
For example, my main Google email got hacked 4 months ago, and I’ve been putting off changing all my logins to Linked In, and all the rest, since then.
Of course, that just means that it’s been hanging around in the back of my mind since then, taking up a lot of space and contributing to the ‘brain fog’.
So today, I knuckled down and went to change the logins. It took me all of 15 minutes.
Then, I decided to delete the email too, and it’s amazing how big a weight lifted off, mentally, from saying au revoir to 4,032 emails that I really am never going to read or need again, but which I felt strangely responsible for.
The next thing on the list – which has also been hanging around for well over a year – is to find someone to migrate this site from Weebly – where it’s currently at – to a better-designed site over on Wordpress. Again, I’ve been procrastinating for ages and ages, worrying that I might be doing it wrong if I do it all.
But today, I realized wrong is at least moving me forward. It’s closing down another window of uncertainty, it’s leading me to the next stage of development. So I got on to Fiverr, and I hope to make some progress with that today, too.
Then, there were a few ‘relationship’ issues that needed taking care of, and which again I’ve been pushing off for ages. Why? Because I’ve been hedging my bets, and trying to keep everyone happy – except myself.
The truth is, there are a few acquaintances in my orbit right now who routinely bring me down, upset me and take my energy with all their whining, complaining and criticism. They don’t do it on purpose – a couple of them are actually pretty nice people – but today, I realized that keeping these broken relationships going isn’t doing anyone any favors, especially me.
What does that mean in practice?
I’m not sure. Maybe, just the mental decision to stop being so ‘available’ to their calls and emails, and to stop feeling so responsible for solving their problems – problems that are nothing to do with me, and often the result of them being totally in denial about certain key aspects of their own lives and personalities.
Of all the things that have been weighing me down recently, I think these broken relationships are probably the most significant.
What I learned today is that even if something isn’t actively causing me grief or upset, if it’s taking my energy away from being present, if it’s dragging me down instead of boosting me up, then I still need to address it, and minimize it’s negative impact on my mental state.
There’s enough madness and uncertainty going on all around at the moment.
Making sure that my inner world is as decluttered, and as uncomplicated, as I can reasonably make it is a key to coping with all the craziness, while still being able to move forward and get out of that ‘stuck’ place.
I’m so ready to try doing things differently, in a whole bunch of ways.
This morning I realized that jettisoning all this ‘dead wood’ that’s keeping me tied up, tired and confused is part of what I have to do, before that future ‘good’ can start to really show up.
So, if you’re currently feeling stuck, overwhelmed and confused, and you’re also ready for a change, you might want to join me.
I've been kicking around some ideas for how best to help people with the information in the People Smarts book, which will hopefully be getting a proper launch sometime late February / early March.
(By that I mean I'm paying a huge amount of money to an internet marketer to get the word out about the book, and I'm really hoping that's going to pay off!)
But in the meantime, here's where I'm up to, in trying to explain how having People Smarts can actually help people - like you, dear reader! - to start really liking and appreciating themselves way, way more.
Do you find it hard to just be yourself around other people? Do you feel anxious about letting other people down, or doing something ‘wrong’? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to feel good about yourself in six weeks or less, so you can just be yourself in your relationships, enjoy being you and light up the world in the way that only you can do.
In a nutshell, I want to help people to like themselves way more, and stop thinking there is something 'wrong' with them, or some 'fatal flaw' that can never be fixed. None of us are perfect, and it's the work of 120 years to keep finding the bits of our personalities that need a bit of fixing, a bit of polishing.
But once you get the stress response out of the way, underneath all of us have so much potential, so much good to bring into the world - and a unique way of doing that, that no-one else can do!
That's really what the People Smarts system is all about - understanding ourselves, and working to really bring our innate 'good' out, whilst minimizing the overwhelming reaction to stress that keep taking us out, and bringing us down.
So what do you think? Does this speak to you? Any comments or feedback welcome, and watch this space, as very soon I'm going to be opening up the chance to grab some free 'How to Feel Good About Yourself' sessions.
I know posting is a little slow here at the moment. I'm in the middle of completing the 'People Smarts' book which will help people to understand themselves and others better, and also help them defuse overwhelming stress.
I'm hoping to start getting some explanatory short videos up here soon, that will set out very clearly how the 4 stress responses underpin our mental health and emotional well-being, and how to move to a more balanced and less 'stressed' state.
In the meantime, I'm also trying to figure out how to make all this information as useful as I can to my readers, so I've put this short survey together, below, to hopefully help me do that. I'm aiming for 100 responses to get some proper feedback on what you want to be learning more about here on spiritualselfhelp, so please take a minute and fill it out.
It's totally anonymous, but if you want the survey responses once it's complete, just pop in your email at the bottom and I'll send that to you.
Thanks so much!
So, I'm nearly ready to start putting together the companion course for the People Smarts book, and there are a few more decisions I need your help with, dear reader.
Firstly, I'm getting icons designed for the 4 personality building blocks of MOTIVATION, CONNECTION, PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING AND BUILDING. Olly, my talented designer, has come up with these, and they look pretty good, but still need.... something.
I don't know what, exactly, but something. Any ideas what tweaks are required? (You can email me or leave a comment.)
Then, I'm also trying to figure out the best way of putting all the stuff about how we can really understand ourselves and other people better, and stop over-reacting to stress, across in a way that people can grasp it. I'm kind of circling around the following 'focuses' at the moment:
Which, if any, of these topics most interests you? And which would you be happy and willing to learn more about, in-depth?
Please email me, or leave a comment, and I REALLY appreciate all the help and feedback I've been getting from readers, recently, thank you!
I'll stick up another notice here when I'm putting out the last call for people to join the beta testing of the course / program when I have a proper title, and we're all clear on what I'm actually trying to do with it.
BH, it will be good when it gets there!
One of the things I am LOVING about getting this People Smarts stuff out there is the feedback I'm getting from readers. Your input is helping me so much to sharpen this stuff up, so thank you to everyone who is taking the time to interact with this, I know how busy we all are.
I want to thank Nu for asking me this question over email:
"I'm curious how your work may compare to the countless other methods/tests"
It's a great question, and it prompted me to really think about it. Here's what I came up with so far:
Here’s some of the main differences:
While all of us have a dominant ‘personality’ mode, every person can still access the traits and characteristics contained in a different personality building block, albeit with a lot of self-awareness about how we really operate, as people, and a lot of commitment to trying to ‘balance’ our stress reactions out in an optimal way, while still developing our innate talents and abilities.
People Smarts recognizes that personality is fluid and changeable.
This is probably the single biggest difference between this system, and others. People Smarts doesn’t try to stick people into permanent boxes, and it doesn’t buy into the idea that we can’t change our unhelpful responses to stress etc ‘because that’s just how we are’. Over time, how we react to stress can change and ameliorate, especially once we understand what’s really causing the unhelpful reactions at the subconscious (physiological) level.
What this means in practice, is that personality can and does change over time – both for the best and also for the worse. For example, if someone is subject to tremendous stress like a serious illness, betrayal by someone who is close to them, great loss, or some other situation where their sense of the world being a safe place was shattered, this can and does have a severe impact on their personality.
For example, serious trauma that isn’t properly recognized and dealt with can trip off an out-of-control FIGHT stress response in an easy-going BUILDER personality that can cause them to become a manipulative, angry and determined to put themselves first at every opportunity.
At the other end of the spectrum, if someone makes a commitment to learning about how their personality is currently configured, they may decide that they want to consciously work on cultivating other traits, and a different way of doing things.
It’s easier to show what I’m talking about with a real-life example.
A few years ago, I would probably have come out as a very unbalanced MOTIVATOR-PHILOSOPHER personality who was constantly over-reacting to the enormous stress in my life by alternating between rage fits (FIGHT) and massive depressions (FREEZE).
The shrinks tried to label my physiological reactions to overwhelming stress with labels like ‘manic depression’ and ‘bipolar’. Really? I had some enormous, ongoing trauma going on from childhood, that I had never properly recognized and dealt with.
Once I started doing that work, and really understanding where all my negative and unhelpful ‘reactions’ were coming from, that meant I could start to make some choices about who I was spending my time with, and how my relationships were playing out. Again, that can be very hard work, as dysfunctional people tend to hang out with other dysfunctional people, which means the stress levels are usually through the roof, and everyone is sparking everyone else off.
But by the end of that ‘sorting’ process, I’d let go of a whole bunch of toxic people, and I was also far more aware of the toxic ‘elements’ in myself and in my remaining relationships, that needed to be acknowledged, and ultimately improved. As a result, my stress levels dropped radically, and the triggers that were causing my rage fits and depressions practically disappeared.
When I took the People Smarts quiz a couple of weeks ago, I was really interested to see that I’m now more of a PHILOSOPHER-MOTIVATOR instead. And the more I can handle my stress appropriately, the more the positive side of that personality typology will start to come out in the world.
People Smarts also showed me, though, that I need to do some serious work to strengthen my BUILDER side more, which is currently almost non-existent.
BUILDER traits like superficiality, making peace, and having an interest in the more practical and materialistic aspects of the world really don’t come easily to me. But after doing the quiz myself, I can see that I would benefit from having more of those aspects in my life, so I now recognize that BUILDING is something I need to work on, more.
People Smarts can teach people to identify how stressful experiences may be affecting their personality and relationships in a negative way – and then also give them clear guidance on how to channel that stress in a more positive direction, and to get back to a place of being more ‘balanced’ again.
Another difference with People Smarts is that it doesn’t make value judgments on which personality block is ‘better’ than any other.
Human beings need access to all four personality blocks, in order to function at their maximum potential, and each personality type has its unique strengths, as well as its particular challenges to deal with. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers with People Smarts, just useful information about where we’re holding now, and what might be standing in the way of us achieving our full potential in life.
The last point to make, for now, is that People Smarts is dynamic, and it’s about encouraging people to celebrate the good within themselves NOW, while still striving to grow and develop more. Personalities can and do transform, people can blossom, and beautiful regrowth is possible after even the most ravaging circumstances.
It’s this message of realistic hope and optimism about human potential that I think is probably the single biggest thing that differentiates the People Smarts system from the other personality typologies out there. We aren’t stuck, we aren’t ‘fixed’ in one category, or one personality. Balance is available to every single one of us. We just need to know that change is truly possible.
Take the People Smarts Quiz yourself, HERE.
I’m in the middle of trying to get a new book and course sorted out (very rough description below) which will hopefully help people to gain a lot of insight into their personalities, and how overwhelming stress can lead to a lot of our bad middot.
The idea is to help people gain the understanding, and then the tools they need to start fixing all the bad middot stuff, including rage fits, melt-downs and depressions (amongst other things…)
I’m at the stage where I’m beta-testing the quiz – what you’ll find below is a short version of it, that will lead you to a detailed description of your stress personality, your strengths, and also your (stress-induced) weaknesses.
It’s all based on Torah, but ‘wrapped up’ in secular clothing, and I will explain more about it soon, BH.
But in the meantime, I need to road test the quiz, so here it is. This is the short version, btw, only 15 questions long, and should take less than a minute and a half to complete.
(If it doesn’t load, you can also just go directly to the Riddle page and do the quiz there, by clicking THIS)
’d love your feedback on this, if you have any. Either leave a comment, or email me (my comment form doesn’t seem to be working any more, apologies to anyone who has tried to get hold of me that way.)
The People Smarts Book and Course is coming soon!!
The “People Smarts” system has been developed from a synthesis of 10 years of research combining cutting-edge research with ancient wisdom to create a unique personality typology based on the four main personality building blocks of: MOTIVATION, CONNECTION, PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING and BUILDING.
The People Smarts system will help you to identify why unhelpful reactions to stress are happening, and then give you an easy-to-follow blueprint to get things back under control. As part of that process, you’ll learn how to:
• Identify your main ‘People Smarts’ personality type
• Change your stress pattern over time, and defuse unhelpful stress build-ups
• Understand how and why you react to stressful situations the way you do
• Deal with other people’s over-reactions to stress
• Maximize your true personality potential; and
• Develop loving, balanced and healthy relationships in every area of your life.
It’s time to take back control of your life and relationships, and to stop stress from running the show! People Smarts unique, tried-and-tested approach will teach you how to:
• Choose to walk away instead of getting into a fight
• Boost your motivation levels to achieve your goals and dreams
• Create clear boundaries and fearlessly police them
• Defuse depressed feelings before they pull you under
• Learn how to communicate in a way that other people can relate to
• Understand what really makes you – and other people – tick.
*It’s time to get People Smarts.*
Things are quiet on the blog at the mo, as I’m beavering away here on the book, and I’m about to jump in to the companion course, too.
The book is probably going to be called:
People Smarts: How to understand yourself, relate to others, and stop over-reacting to stress.
I’m very happy to get any feedback on the title, feel free to either email me, or leave me a comment below.
Part of this book is a 16 ‘stress personality’ typology, which helps to explain how our personalities can be shaped by our reactions and over-reactions to stress.
The good news is that once we understand what’s sparking off an intense and often intensely-unpleasant and unhelpful reaction to stress, we can then learn how to spot our ‘stressors’ before they totally torpedo us, AND also start to learn how to balance out our default reactions to stress, so that they’re more appropriate and proportionate.
So, in terms of next steps, in the next few days I hope to put up a basic version of the personality quiz here, and again, I’m very happy to have your feedback.
And then I’m beginning the course, which will really focus-in on the HOW.
HOW to understand and like ourselves, even when we keep over-reacting, blowing up and melting down.
HOW to start relating to other people in a healthier way, which means we don’t bully them and ride roughshod over them; nor cling to and suffocate them; nor totally ignore them and disappear into our own world for weeks at a time; nor totally ignore OURSELVES and pretend that our needs and wants don’t matter.
And then the last thing we’re going to focus on in the course is:
HOW to stop over-reacting to stress in an unhelpful way.
If you’re interested in learning all this stuff (and in being my course guinea pig), please drop me a line and get in touch.
Man, I’m actually started to get a little excited about where all this stuff is going. I’ve been looking for a way to put all my knowledge across to other people helpfully and accessibly for years…. and it looks like finally, BH, I may be figuring it out!
Posting will be a little slow on this site at the moment, as I'm working on a new book setting out how the 4F stress is literally making us crazy - and easy ways to start fixing the problem!
I hope to have the draft done (enough....) by August 1, 2019, and I'd love to hear from you if you'd like to be one of my beta readers. You don't have to check any grammar or spelling, I just want to get some feedback about whether I'm covering the right areas, and also if you have any ideas on how to make the book even more useful to the reader.
If you're interested, please drop me an email.