Reality Break

A recent nightmare where Andy Cohen starred as my therapist and had to restrain me as I exploded Theresa-style tipped me off. Time to take a “reality” break. What at first was just good gossipy fun has descended into emotional strife. The griping, back stabbing, poor communication and relentless judgment going on between the “ladies” of the Real Housewives franchise has stoked some unpleasant emotions in me.

As I watched Andy Cohen engage with these women on a weekly basis always hiding his feelings about the women and the events with a big smile and crossed eyes, I noticed that I began to take on the anger and frustration he seemingly cannot express.

So I've decided I can’t watch it anymore. That means protecting my brain from these women and other television shows that are sad and debilitating.

I didn’t realize that I had such control over my life until a woman once told me this- “As an adult, you get to decide what enters your brain.”

As a child, I didn’t have much choice in the matter, but now, I do. As a result, I've eliminated all Law & Order shows, most of Lifetime (the channel regularly likes to kill women), and all local news programs ("single women at risk in San Francisco, news at 11").

The fear mongering across the board is unhealthy. So I'm putting a stop to it.

The Female Olympics

By Carina Chocano, NYTimes Magazine: "One way to think about the 'Real Housewives' shows is as a kind of perverse, televised postfeminist-feminine-status Olympics. Here’s how it works: A group of highly competitive, thoroughly confused women are pitted against one another in five events: wealth, youth, beauty/body, husband and glamour career. In order to participate, the housewives must qualify in at least three of these categories. They need not have all of them in order to win, but it helps. Some categories trump others. For instance, wealth trumps beauty, and husband trumps glamour job. Kids-plus-husband trumps job, too — especially if the process of acquiring them leads to a show of one’s own. Every show features at least one aggressive instigator whose job it is to ratchet up the jealousy and paranoia and keep the interpersonal conflicts coming. All you really have to do to be a real housewife is take pride in your privilege, your leisure, your profligacy and your willingness to amplify the melodrama at every possible opportunity. You can’t win unless somebody else loses. "

Accurate Language

I'm no stranger to avoidant behaviors and avoidant language. You know what I mean - saying you have to wash your hair instead of saying you're just not interested. But language shapes our reality and used too often, wishy-washy language can turn a decisive woman into a victim. How do you change that? Get more accurate with your language. Beware - it's not easy. Here's how Martha Beck suggests you do it.

Victim Language

1. I can't...

2. I have to...

3. I don't have time to...

Accurate Language 1.  I wont... I choose not to... I don't want to... I've decided not to...

2. I will... I want to... I've decided to... I choose to...

3. I'm going to do something else. That's not my highest priority.