Dr. Joyce Brothers paved the way for many female therapists like me.
2. "Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery."
Think about the last time someone really listened to you. Do you remember how good it felt to finally be heard? That's because when someone listens to us, we feel like we matter. And that feels better than flattery! I take Dr. Brothers' simple wisdom into my work with couples by modeling and teaching listening skills. Relationships often vastly improve when people begin to really listen, because it lifts the burden of emotion, decreases stress, dissolves defensiveness, increases clarity and fosters connection.
3. "Anger repressed can poison a relationship as surely as the cruelest words."
What I've come to learn thanks to the work of Dr. Brothers is that repressed anger does not equal invisible anger. We may think we're doing a good job of repressing our anger, but a closer look often reveals otherwise. If anger is not properly addressed and released, it has a way of "coming out sideways." In other words, anger (and its underlying emotions) can seep out in behaviors such as addiction, persistent sarcasm, promiscuity or bullying—to name just a few. Repressed anger can also manifest as physical health issues like chronic back pain or a weakened immune system. I often say it like this to my clients, "Anger will find its own way if we don't make a way." It's much better for our own health and for the health of our relationships if we acknowledge our anger, identify its roots, and then create healthier outlets for that anger.