News from Jude Bijou and Attitude Reconstruction™      


Joy, Love, and Peace in 2016

Attitiude Reconstruction  


November 2016                Harmonious Relationships


Jude Bijou
Jude Bijou MA MFT is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and workshop leader. Her multi award- winning book is a practical and spiritual handbook to help you create the life you desire.  
What are you doing this coming Saturday?

Consider joining me in Santa Barbara for my fall one day Communication Workshop, 9:30am to 4:30pm through Adult Education .

In an easy, fun, and non-confrontative way to learn and practice the four rules of good communication. 

     Like us on Facebook     Follow us on TwitterFind us on Pinterest

For the third year in a row, the Attitude Reconstruction newsletter has an open rate in the top 10% of all Constant Contact users.


Visit the website
and take the free survey to identify what's standing between you and more joy, love, and peace.

  Visit my blog


book cover
Attitude Reconstruction

Join Our Mailing List

Check out the helpful content on the Attitude Reconstruction Website


Consider purchasing
Keys to a Good Life, a book that includes a collection of articles, including one by yours truly on how to deal with anxiety!

It is now available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. and is the perfect way to find wisdom to unlock your power within.


"It's very simple. If I was a cat you would love me."

"I want our divorce to have a country farmhouse feeling."


"I like being alone. At least I know who I'm with."



"It's not you, babe -- I've been neutered."

"Wait--did you just compare our relationship to the situation in Syria?"

"You want a child. I want a dog. Can't we compromise?"

"Sometimes I wonder why I bopped you over the head and dragged you in here in the first place."

Hello friends,

Hooray! The election is finally here. Will some of the craziness disappear? At least the ads will stop. What a year. I'll leave it at that.
Consider this an invitation to attend my transforming one-day communication workshop this coming Saturday in Santa Barbara. Details and a link are in the left hand column! 

You'll see that in this month's newsletter I've included a wide variety of cartoons about relationship killers. There were just so many right-on ones, I had a hard time choosing.

In addition to addressing the three relationship killers and how to overcome them, I've included my trusty 9 Tips for a Sane Holiday Season.  
First, some interesting articles and fun videos


The first article is what are relationship deal-breakers in terms of dating according to the Business Insider.

Another interesting article makes a case why four-day workweeks are bad for your health.  
Third is a fascinating article that includes 31 gifs that show you how astounding, everyday things work
Three Videos Guaranteed to Get You Smiling

The first video is of Debra and Marie, Raymond's Mom, getting the idea of serving tofu turkey for Thanksgiving.

The second is Debra and Raymond's young son reading his story about "The Angry Family."

The third is of  weird things couples fight about. 
The First of the Three Relationship Killers

As a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years, I've seen a lot of couples. And over and over, the demise of marriages and relationships in general, is not over money, children, or health but crummy communication styles. Unfortunately we were not taught in school or at home about how to communicate so we resort to a freewheeling and unconscious style, unaware of the consequences of how our message is received.
Here are the three relationship killers of love, connection, openness, and intimacy and how to cut them off at the pass.
1. We "you" the other person. That means we tell the other person about themselves -- what they should do, how they should be, and how they were, all under the guise of being helpful. When we "you" another person we're out of own back yard. We give unsolicited advice and make negative observations. Our knee-jerk reaction is to blame, resorting to sarcasm and criticism, teasing, attacking, and finger-pointing. And the result is that if we aren't ready for or don't want feedback, it immediately inspires defensiveness and falls on deaf ears.  These "you-ing" strategies are guaranteed to create separation and alienation. The recipient feels hurt, misunderstood, and angry. No constructive communication ensues and the receiver walls him or herself off against the pain and insult.
The most important thing to remember is to "talk about yourself." This is our true domain. Our job is to share what we feel, think, want, and need. Doing so brings closeness, as we reveal information about ourselves. It can be scary and definitely takes some practice to figure out what is really going on inside. We have become so use to being in other people's business. But it's not too difficult if we pause for a minute when we're about to "you" someone. In that moment we must ask ourselves "What's true for me about the specific topic at hand?"
For example, instead of saying "You're late. Obviously you don't value my time." Say "I was worried when you didn't arrive at 5:00pm, especially since we agreed to text or call when we're held up. I'd appreciate it if you would do that in the future so I don't feel anxious."

The Second Killer to Relationships

We overgeneralize, bringing up the past and living in the future instead of sticking to the specific topic at hand and dealing with the present. Overgeneralizing can take the form of sweeping conclusions, abstractions, and labels, and using words like "always" and "never." The tendency to bring in other topics barely related to the subject at hand, and not letting go of situations does not solve the issue at hand. Lumping topics together is confusing and makes it difficult to understand what's really going on and what the upset is truly about. Resorting to vague generalities and multiple topics creates overwhelm in all parties concerned. Overgeneralizing kills clear communication and will not address the current situation.
The second most important thing to remember is to stay specific and concrete. That's what we do with music, architecture, engineering, cooking, math, physics, and computers; and what we must do when communicating. When we stay specific, others can understand what we're saying - the topic, the request, the reasons. It means we must deal with one topic at a time. Staying focused on one subject brings peace as we can understand each others' position and begin to find some common ground from that space.
Rather than saying, "You always embarrass me in front of your friends. You make fun of my cooking, belittle my knowledge of football, and treat me like I'm the maid." Say "I felt hurt and humiliated at the party last night. I spent a lot of time creating a nice environment for everyone to watch the game and I'd like to be appreciated for my efforts.
The Third Relationship Killer

We don't speak up and take care of ourselves, mostly due to feeling bad about ourselves and or the fear that the other person will have an emotional reaction. We bury what's true for us and sacrifice ourselves in the process. We become unwitting victims of our own inability to stand up for ourselves and or state our needs.
The most important thing to do is to lovingly and effectively speak up about what is true for you. It is based on the premise that we are both equal and entitled to have our wants, needs, and opinions respected and taken into consideration. To this end we must abide by the Attitude Reconstruction rules of communication: 1. talk about yourself; 2. stay specific; 3. focus on kindness; and 4. listen 50% of the time. Handle upsets as they arise or shortly thereafter.
Stockpiling your unspoken truths can become chronic and will eventually destroy your self-image or result in internalized anger that will eventually blow up and lead to unpleasant confrontations. In either case, your needs will never be met, your physical and mental health will suffer, and the relationship will likely be destroyed.
If you can't picture yourself mustering the courage to speak up, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. Check out a couple of my articles. One is on building self-confidence. The other is about speaking up to transform your life. If you need additional help please consider consulting a mental health professional.
Relationships are hard work. Clear communication is not something we likely learned from our parents or peers. So practice these simple skills and become a loving communicator and partner.

    "I'm late, you're angry -- we quarrel."
Nine Tips for a Sane Holiday
Here's a timely article I put in the newsletter a couple of years ago. Hopefully, it will help you have a wonderful holiday season.

As soon as autumn comes, people's thoughts begin to shift to the holidays, and sometimes those thoughts are accompanied by difficult feelings such as depression, frustration, and anxiety. For some, the holidays conjure up unpleasant associations, such as the first event without Grandma there, or prickly family get-togethers. Then there are financial worries, the pressure to come up with gift ideas, dealing with school kids on vacation, to-do lists, and much more.
The goal is to feel joy, love, and peace so you can enjoy time off from work, and savor meaningful moments with your family and friends. After all, don't you want to feel the season, and share it?
Here are nine simple and practical ways to make your holiday saner. 
  "Well, they consider him a member of the family."

1. Get organized to feel more peace and less frantic.
Start by making a list of everything that needs to be done so you minimize the anxiety and the feeling that there's just too much to do and not enough time. This might include card writing, party organizing, shopping, cooking, work deadlines, travel/lodging arrangements, and family/friend communications.  Once you have things written down, you can make a big calendar and fit it all in. Get specific, designating time for each task, remembering to include quality time with loved ones. Also, list your projected expenses, set a realistic budget, and stick to it.
2. Use your mind to reduce anxiety and increase peace.
Keep your attention in the present. When you're focused in the past or future, you'll likely feel overwhelmed and rushed. Create a holiday mantra to remind yourself of what is true. Repeat "One thing at a time. Everything will be all right." "Be here now." If you do, you will definitely feel more calm and enjoy the present.
3. Practice acceptance to feel more love.
Give up your self-centered, critical, nagging, sarcastic, finger-pointing expectations and judgmental ways. Accept that people and situations are the way they are, not the way you want them to be. Repeat this phrase when going to a party, or participating in family holiday traditions. Refrain from being negative, pay attention to the good, and verbalize that.
4. Give appreciations and lend a hand to feel the love .
Express appreciations for thoughtful gestures, give praise, and practice random gifts of kindness. Remember that these behaviors go a long way to foster feelings of connection. Do things that demonstrate caring and sharing. Ask "How can I help?" or "What can I do?" and then comply without argument and with a smile on your face.
5. Remember gift-giving is about love.
When you start to get tangled up in buying anxiety, ask yourself, What can I do that will show my love for this person? What will make them feel happy? Perhaps it's a month's moratorium on sarcasm, setting aside time to just listen to your partner without interrupting, a hand-drawn card with a message, a personalized poem, or a list or short video with ten reasons you love this person.
6. Prioritize your "yeses " to feel more joy.
We can create real tangible joy by being true to ourselves , rather than go along because we "should" or that it's expected. Often we go on auto-pilot at holiday time with party invitations--and then beat ourselves up for overeating and overindulging. Strive for balance. Don't be afraid to speak up. See how saying "yes" really feels before you actually accept an invitation. Weigh the outlay of time and energy before agreeing to host or organize a house party, office party, book club party, or any other holiday event. Only agree if you really want to do it and have someone to help. Accomplishing this requires listening within to that still silent voice, and aligning your actions with your heart's wisdom.
7. Be good to yourself to feel more joy.
Approach the holidays like an athlete in training. Pace yourself in terms of eating out and partying. Make sure you get lots of sleep. Make room for alone time to replenish your energy--even if it's just a short walk around the block. Think about how bad you would feel come January 1 if you gained 7 pounds. This holiday season, do it differently--avoid regrets.
8. Don't bury your emotions to feel more joy, love, and peace.
Handle your emotions physically and constructively. If you feel sadness, perhaps because this is the first year a loved one will not be in attendance, allow yourself a good cry. If you know you'll feel angry at the antics of Uncle Jim, pound or stomp out the anger when you're in a safe, private place. And if you feel freaked because you have too much to do, or you're bringing someone new home with you, allow yourself to shake and shiver before knocking on the door.
9. Remember the "message."
Whenever you find yourself feeling frantic, annoyed, or upset, remember the true meaning of the holidays. It can help to frequently repeat a "mantra" such as, "This time of year is about joy, love, and peace."

Hey Jude:

How can I stop insisting on having my way?
What I call "selfishness" is one of the four core attitudes associated with anger. Being egotistical, narcissistic, or stubborn indicates you believe your needs and views are more important than others. Find a way to constructively channel your anger physically. In private, pound a pillow, stomp around, yell non-sense words, or hit old telephone books with a flexible plastic hose until you are exhausted.
Then try repeating over and over to yourself, " Your viewpoints and needs are as important as mine" or
" How can I help?" Or strap some duct tape (imaginary) on your lips and start to listen, understand, and acknowledge the other person's position. Work together to find solutions.

Or consciously practice surrendering your own desires for what's best for the other person. Do this without keeping score or bringing up your concessions at a later time and you will find your heart expanding with love. 

       I'm sending you best wishes for a grand Thanksgiving.

Thanks for reading this newsletter. If you have any feedback, suggestions about a newsletter theme, or general comments, I enjoy hearing from you, so write me at:
                           With love,