OMG! Dr. Amador, Bethenny Frankel’s therapist, gave her the exact same advice in Monday night’s May 14th episode of “Bethenny Ever After” that I gave in my post in early May 2012 titled Perfect Words for Paralyzing Moments: Listen, Breathe, Refrain from Speaking. Dr. Amador gave this advice in regard to the way Bethenny deals with her husband, Jason.
It honestly feels like a verbal blood bath to watch Bethenny assault her husband with an army of words that just don’t end when they’re discussing anything important, especially Jason’s career choices. I’m not saying Jason is perfect – Bethenny’s default position is the ‘Jason isn’t perfect argument’ – nobody is perfect. But you’re in therapy, Bethenny, to figure out how you can have better relationships with people because you have ascertained that you come into relationships as an exceptionally damaged person. When you default to ‘Jason isn’t perfect’ you’re competing with him on who is damaged more, which really isn’t fair to him. He has to be able to work out his stuff without your judgment and condemnation, just like you’re working out yours.
A little background on me and Bethenny…I worked with her in Los Angeles in the early 90s when she was in the special events business and working with Merv Griffin Productions. She was an event producer and I provided live entertainment for events. Bethenny has been a completely consistent person as long as I’ve known her. She has always been into health and fitness, snacking on crudité instead of sugar products, exercising, and has been a fast and hard worker. When I saw Bethenny appear on “Martha Stewart Celebrity Apprentice” I was delighted to see that she was one of the first to capitalize on marketing herself as a businessperson on reality television. I think Bethenny deserves all the success that she has. You go, Girl.
But since I provide mediation services for artists and athletes, and offer private practice conflict management services to work-related issues, I’m fascinated with the logic used by people who have agreed to be on reality television. Whether it’s Vicki Gunelson on Orange County Housewives, determining that the child support owed by her new boyfriend, Brooks is acceptable, but Slade’s child support issues are not; or Teresa Guidice’s attempt to logic out her obvious dislike of her sister-in-law Melissa for marrying her brother Joe; or Kim’s attempt to support her logic for treating her mother so abominably throughout her wedding planning, there’s a lot of work for mediators and therapists among the Bravo reality shows’ cast members.
The sad thing is, we are all these people. They are no different than we the viewers. We are both the slayers and the slain, using words and ego as our weapons. So let’s all make a commitment to Listen, Breathe, and Refrain from Blame when conflict arises, so that we can move forward in relationships in a healthier way, without judgment, without comparison to the faults of others, and without the need to collect injustices.
Thank you, Dr. Amador, for endorsing an approach that I also consider to be wise in conflict management in verbal disagreements: Listen, Breathe, Learn.