Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor Dr. Toni Galardi
Dear Dr. Toni:
I am working in Hollywood in a technical position that does not require a formal education. For many years, I only made $60,000 a year. Due to a stroke of luck (which may be debatable) I was promoted to a director position with a production company and now earn over $300,000 a year. I know there are many people out there struggling so my problem may not seem very important but I don’t know where to turn.
After I became a director I started using cocaine at parties, which eventually graduated to daily use. I was dating a really sweet girl and began cheating on her with a lot of different women. I worked with one of these women and when I tried to break it off with her she called my girlfriend, and now my girlfriend will have nothing whatsoever to do with me. She has agreed to meet me for couples therapy but not to get back together. I’m not sure if that is the answer for us. I think we just need to put this behind us and move forward. I am not seeing any of the other women anymore. What do you think we should do, Dr. Toni?
Bewildered in West Hollywood
I agree with you. I would highly suggest that you forget couples therapy too. What is called for, however, is not to expect her to simply move beyond your transgression because you say so. If you want to regain your girlfriend’s trust and use this crisis to grow into a more expanded self, I suggest you go into individual therapy and work on your self-esteem issues. That you began acting out through sex and drugs when your income substantially increased is very telling.
You didn’t disclose your personal family history but it might be useful to explore with a therapist the beliefs you carry about making a lot of money. It feels to me that you are self-sabotaging out of feelings of unworthiness. What was your mother and father’s beliefs about money and power? I would also suggest you go to either an AA or CA (Cocaine Anonymous) meeting. I pick up a lot of arrogance from your letter. One of the steps in a twelve-step program involves making amends. I would recommend you call every woman you had gratuitous sex with and apologize. Besides doing your own therapeutic work, humble yourself and agree to your girlfriend’s terms and attend couples counseling as well.
Every “loss” has a gift for us if we choose to see it. Good luck with your journey to real esteem of self.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I am a stay-at-home mom and my husband has been laid off from work. He has been unable to get hired and he wants me to go back to work until he does. I was a teacher before we had children. I know I cannot make the kind of income that he was making and it seems silly to get a job teaching temporarily. He wants to give up our home, sell one of our cars, and live in an apartment until things turn around. I do not think drastic downsizing is the answer. I am afraid we are going to end up stuck in a working class lifestyle with me as the only breadwinner.
My husband and I are really fighting over this issue and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go back to teaching but I don’t know what else I can do. I can’t afford therapy or career counseling so I am writing you. Can you help, Dr. Toni?
You would be surprised at how many couples have had to do role reversal since the economy crashed. In my phone-coaching practice, I worked with a guy who lost his job in corporate America and then decided to develop an internet business finding rare parts for motorcycles and now has this niche business that is international. His wife is an accountant who works outside the home while he cares for their child and runs his home-based business.
Perhaps there is some kind of teaching you can do that is not in a formal academic setting. There are all kinds of seminar businesses where they train you to teach their material in the corporate workplace. Or perhaps you can start your own business teaching stay-at-home moms something you have a passion for. As for downsizing, I would suggest that you streamline your lives and cut out all the extraneous activities or expenditures before doing something as radical as selling the house, unless you are about to be foreclosed on. Empower your husband right now. He most probably feels terrible about not being able to provide for his family preventing you from being there for your children but you never know what gift lies in you moving back into a career and him spending more time with the children as he job hunts. Perhaps he can assist you in developing a home-based business while he continues his job search. Start doing some research and get outside your box. Change is gain, my dear!
To submit questions for Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor, contact Dr. Toni Galardi through DrToni@LifeQuake.net (no period after the Dr). For those seeking phone coaching, Dr. Toni can be reached at 310-712-2600.