Ignore interpersonal power dynamics at your peril

It’s important to understand interpersonal dynamics because of the impact they can have on life in the home.

Photo by Kat Smith

In my skilled helper and coaching work I make myself aware of interpersonal dynamics because it is so important. It acts in the background and if you are not aware of it, you can come to false conclusions about the people you are guiding.

Interpersonal dynamics is any engagement between one to one, one to many or many to many. It involves the different levels of power between people and how people seek to increase their power. These power dynamics affect interpersonal relationships.

It’s important to understand the basic concept of interpersonal power dynamics before we move on into how it plays out in coaching caregivers and other forms of skilled helping.

I came across a situation in coaching where I realised that more was happening than my client was letting on. However, it soon became clear that there was a power struggle forming between another caregiver in the home and my client. This resulted in an open attack on me because the other caregiver felt a loss of power and became threatened.

Before things became a dark triad, I disengaged myself from the coaching. It was important to exit as soon as the interpersonal power dynamics are outside my scope as a skilled helper. This messy business is best handled by someone who specialises in interpersonal dynamics.

Still, it’s important to have what novelist Lobsang Rampa called the “third eye” (said to be located in the centre of your head) so that you can be aware of what is happening in a family coaching setting on a meta level.

This power dynamic has played out in my own life in recent times. As a caregiver of a loved one with a mental illness I was aware of this power dynamic between my adult child and my partner of ten years. There was a continual battle between them and while I did things to minimise the conflict, I was powerless to change the underlying structure between them.

The oscillation between the two of them grew into high levels of conflict. Eventually things became too much and my partner left my home. It was a gut wrenching experience and I am still living with the pain of loss of what we had created over a period of ten years.

It is not easy to be a caregiver of a loved one with a mental illness or any other health condition for that matter. This is why I have been inspired to help other caregivers through coaching. Knowing what to do in certain situations on a practical level can empower caregivers.

But ultimately caregivers need to learn to look after themselves and get the necessary support to take care of their loved ones.

It’s important to understand interpersonal dynamics because of the impact it can make on life in the home. To a certain extent it can be managed but in extreme cases as I have mentioned it would be wise to bring in an expert or make changes that transform the interpersonal dynamics in a holistic way.

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How anger spoils your health

Photo by Julien L on Unsplash

No matter how much good food you put in your mouth, it’s what comes out of your mouth that can affect your health.

People go on all sorts of healthy eating diets. Some try to cut down on red meat. Others eat both meat and fat. A growing group go vegetarian. Others go to the extreme and settle for a vegan diet.

Healthy food is all good and well but the words that come out of your mouth can lead to stress and anxiety. The things you say to other people—family members, friends, and colleagues—can have a detrimental impact on your health.

Especially when words are spoken in anger.

I’ve witnessed and experienced unnecessary anger turn into nasty words and comments. It makes me anxious, causes stress and affects my sleep.

The perpetrators suffer from the same levels of anxiety and stress. They justify their words, thinking that their anger was the right thing. Soon their bodies will feel the effects of what they spewed out in anger.

Before you open your mouth, think for a moment about what you are going to say.
Will your words hurt – both your and the person you are addressing? Are you in the right emotional state? Should you wait until you are calm?

Various techniques are available to calm yourself down. From the old wisdom of counting to ten or the more recent STOPP technique.

While expressing anger can be helpful when done in the right manner, blind rage as some people quickly fall into, just harms both parties.

I’ve been talking about spoken words face to face, but words can also be put into voice notes on WhatsApp, social media messages, and emails.

The best path to take is to understand that peace of mind makes the body healthy and anger expressed in any form is destructive to body, mind, and spirit.

Has anyone seen a long-haired ginger cat around, in the last two days?

Photo by Engin Akyurt: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-close-up-shot-of-a-cute-cat-9880690/

I saw this message on the power cuts app during the present blackouts:

Has anyone seen a long-haired ginger cat around, in the last two days? Our little guy has gone missing!

Cats always seem to go missing. It’s in their nature. A cat is free to do what it wants – to go stalking on roofs at night and generally run around as they please.

Someone I know tells me the story about how their cat would go away for weeks and live at another house — they didn’t know this at the time. They thought their cat had gone missing. When the cat came back, the neighbours (down the street) were in for a surprise when they came to collect “their” cat and were told that the cat didn’t belong to them.

Cats are much less dependent on humans compared to dogs. It’s basic sense that a dog needs its owner (what a terrible word) for food and water. A cat can find his or her own food.

They catch all sorts of things from birds, rats, lizards and even snakes. But often they do it just for the fun of it.

However, cats also know who butters their bread. We stayed at a cottage in the Southern Peninsula. My dear partner stayed with us for two weeks and every evening the neighbour’s cat would come for its meal. When my partner left, the cat didn’t visit me and my daughter. Then weeks later when my partner came back the cat made a reappearance in the evenings. It must have really enjoyed my dearly beloveds cooking.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch a cat adopting a hunting stance. I saw one recently on a roof, creeping up towards where a bird was on a tree. Suddenly, the cat froze like a statue. Not a movement. Then the bird flew away. The cat shrugged it off and continued hunting.

Cats seem to have a sixth sense. I was staying at a home in the Cape where the homeowners had a cat that never took any notice of me or my daughter. That’s how cats can be. On the night before our departure the cat came into our living space and spent the night with us. How did it know that we were leaving the next day? Perhaps it was glad to see us go.

Cats can teach us a lot. The way they rest their bodies. Their stretching exercises. Razorlike focus in their moment of attack. And their discerning (often aloof) attitude towards humans.

Gaping hole in supermarket spreads category leaves opportunities

Image by Bernadette Wurzinger from Pixabay

The spreads category on supermarket shelves has seen the disappearance of a leading yeast extract and a fish paste spread.

The choices now available for sandwich spreads are mainly peanut butter, jam, chocolate and a limited range of sandwich spreads.

With no real reasons given for the withdrawal of the yeast extract and fish paste spreads, it is difficult to fathom the underlying reasons.

Could this be an opportunity for the small business person or home industries to come up with alternative spreads?

A small but growing category in the home industries area is relishes that can also be used on sandwiches.

Pates such as biltong and other meat spreads have been introduced but they remain small perhaps because of the high cost of ingredients.

Cold meats are another area that is growing, as one has witnessed at Saturday morning markets. Some high-quality meat products are now being produced by small-scale specialist craft producers.

The cost of imported spreads is ever rising, and though limited quantities are available in specialist grocery stores, imported products are unable to match locally produced products in price. For example, a tuna spread from Portugal has been discontinued in the smaller grocery outlets because it is no longer economical to import it.

Those who enjoy toast for breakfast may welcome a delicious locally produced spread that has a far reduced carbon footprint than spreads from large centralised factories or faraway countries.

Commercial handline fishing from Kalk Bay Harbour throttled to death

Fishermen turn to begging on the streets and becoming car guards 

Photo credit: Chesney Bradshaw

Kalk Bay Harbour commercial handline fishing is on death row.

The fishing stocks have declined dramatically. One cause is overfishing outside of False Bay by giant corporate commercial operations and illegal fishing by foreign vessels. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Over the past three decades, policing of South African waters to stop illegal fishing by foreign operators has been lacking.

Adequate policing of the coastal waters costs millions and funds have shrunk (we all know why) to finance such operations.

Kalk Bay harbour is a travesty of what it once was.

During the summer months, I spent some time at Kalk Bay harbour. I fished on one of the boats for snoek and chokka.

It was a privilege to talk to some of the fishermen who are still around.

On the surface of things, Kalk Bay Harbour hasn’t changed. But when you dig deeper, you’ll find that things have changed for the worse.

In the hay days of the 1970s, commercial fishing boats would come in with a catch of 40,000 snoek on one day. On a very good day in the summer season of 2021/22, the boats brought in a total catch of 400 snoek. Sometimes only 40. Doesn’t this say something?

There are now three hand-line commercial fishing boats left. The other boats you see are commercial crayfishing boats that are based in Kalk Bay Harbour.

How come?

Yes, the decline of handline fishing is partly due to overfishing all over South Africa’s coastline.

But main reason is fishing quotas.

Commercial fishing quotas have reduced commercial handline fishing to three boats in Kalk Bay Harbour.

I witnessed firsthand how a veteran fisherman was forced to become a car guard. The boat he fished on was refused a commercial fishing licence.

Let that sink in. A fisherman from a very long line of fisher folk dating back to the first Filipino fishermen in the early 1800s.

Others have been reduced to begging on the streets.

Sad. Very sad.

All because of draconian measures of exclusion intent on a program of appears to be total annihilation.

Over 40 years ago, when I fished from Kalk Bay Harbour it was a vibrant place – a community asset. Now it has been reduced to a tourist trap. A?handful of eateries are the only commercially viable entities that exist.

There’s no doubt that it is still a beautiful harbour especially looking down from the homes above Kalk Bay and Boyes Drive. And it’s still a wonderful experience to walk along the pier and smell the fresh sea air. But for the fishermen who have been plying their trade for centuries, it unfortunately looks like the end of the line.?

Need content that brings you leads for your business?

I was looking at someone on LinkedIn who runs a small business and goes around commenting on other people’s posts. 

It seems that this business person has been told by some marketing expert to build relations by leaving comments with possible prospects.

Some of these comments are what one could call “sweet nothings”, a person just trying to come up with something to say but saying nothing at all. 

Is that sincere? Is that good for the business person’s reputation? Is that effective?

But the most telling thing is that the business owner has posted very little content from his profile.

Relationship-building and content are important when marketing yourself and your services. But you can’t do one without the other.

Content gives you a chance to explain your service, show prospective customers what you offer, how you are different and what value you bring.

But the difficulty with content for many small business owners is not knowing what to say and how to say it. Suddenly, they are on the internet and soon realise that without content generation they’re not going to reach out to potential customers.

If you haven’t had experience in coming up with concepts and marketing messages, you’ll soon discover that it’s not that easy to do. In fact, it can be a huge stumbling block for your business.

A person experienced in marketing communication and copywriting, can work with you to come up with concepts and messages that will attract more people to your business offering.

The problem here is that there are many people claiming to be marketers and copywriters, but how much experience do they have? Some of them cost an arm and a leg. Others may come up with messages for you but with what impact?

If you need someone to help you with your marketing messages, do your homework and find someone who has the experience and past success. Try to get a testimonial from a business person who has worked with the marketing person or copywriter and find out what results they have achieved.

How can I give without giving myself away

Click on the presentation to learn more

A top challenge to face in caregiving is how to give without giving yourself away?

Those of us who are caregivers realise this but often don’t act on it.

Rather than going to the reasons why, which usually gets us nowhere, let us think about what we should be doing.

We should all trust our own process. A coach doesn’t try to impose his or her process on someone such as a client or caregiver. Instead the coach tries to work with the individual’s process.

What a difference this makes!

With the explosion of advice on the internet and everyone pushing their own systems and processes, isn’t it refreshing when one realises that you have your own process that you can use to work through any challenge or difficulties you may face.

As a caregiver, I often face getting up in the morning and saying how do I work myself through this slump I have today? I use my own process to re-energise and focus.

In the presentation I have summarised what you could possibly call a first step in learning how you can give without giving yourself away.

If you have anything to add want to comment on it, please feel free to do so. It can help us all in our journey as caregivers.

Should you wish to get in touch click here