Monday, August 11, 2008

5 Things Elizabeth Edwards Must Do NOW!!!

Dr. Gilda Carle

Elizabeth Edwards lost her 16-year-old son in a car crash. She contracted breast cancer. Her cancer returned to her bones, and it is inoperable. Her husband told her about his infidelity in 2006, and she believed they worked through their woes. She said this was “a process made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007.” Yes, it seems “easier” to abandon one crisis for another, but avoidance doesn’t resolve anything. Her husband is still involved with his “other woman,” and it will take years to rebuild trust—if she even wants to.

Based on my new E-Book, “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats,” here are 5 things for Elizabeth Edwards to consider now:

1) The fear of lovelessness that accompanies illness is real. Many of my physically ailing clients assess themselves as “damaged goods.” So they unwittingly accept “less than” treatment from mates they would ordinarily kick to the curb. Elizabeth must realize and honor her self-worth.

2) John defended his affair with this: “I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.” He rationalized that he didn’t love his mistress, and anyway, his wife’s cancer was in remission at the time. John believes his own lies; Elizabeth must decide whether to accept them.

3) During a long marriage, some people stray to prove they still have the power to excite. This is a self-serving and narcissistic move. The Edwards and their children need intense therapy to grasp what happened, why, and what to do next.

4) Elizabeth has 31 years worth of reasons to want to keep her marriage and family intact. John described her as “the most extraordinarily unselfish woman I have ever known.” Elizabeth must never allow unselfishness to trump her self-respect.

5) Unwavering self-esteem and firm boundaries stave off “less than” treatment. An egocentric and narcissistic John obviously interpreted her “extraordinary unselfishness” as weakness—which he abused. Elizabeth must stop being so pushover-nice, and confront her husband on his lies.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reports that 65% of betrayed couples fix their issues and remain together. Nonetheless, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy warns that betrayed spouses can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Such emotional scars coupled with physical ailments can be devastating. Is Elizabeth up to doing emotional work on her marriage as she physically battles cancer? She said, “This is really, really tough.” Let’s pray she can pull it off.

“How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats”
Immediately Downloadable

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her web site is She is’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on’s Dating & Personals page. She is also a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!") DR. GILDA was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sibling Rivalry: Does Yours Match Hollywood's Oldest?

Dr. Gilda Carle

Oscar winners Joan Fontaine, 90 years old, and Olivia de Havilland, 91, are sisters. And they have been feuding for as long as they have been alive. As children, they had savage wrestling matches, hair-pulling marathons, and Olivia fractured Joan’s collarbone! Today Olivia lives in Paris, while Joan resides in California. Unfortunately, the distance between continents hasn’t been great enough to get these women to patch up their past.

The girls were born in Tokyo, Japan. Their mom was an actress and their dad was a patent attorney. It is said that Olivia never wanted a younger sister. (Few older kids want to share the spotlight with a young newcomer!) And for her part, Joan always believed their mother favored Olivia.

Joan was a sickly child with anemia, measles, and a strep infection. Upon the advice of their physician, Joan’s divorced mother moved the girls to the U.S. A mother who doesn’t care for her daughter would not move her across the world to improve her health. Nonetheless, any child who feels her mom doesn’t love her will have difficulties forming loving bonds. Case in point, Joan had 4 husbands, and she is estranged from her two daughters, especially after learning they were in touch with Aunt Olivia.

Olivia became an actress first, and then Joan chose to follow her lead. Olivia would naturally have resented being upstaged and copied by her young sister. While Olivia used the name “de Havilland,” for some reason, their mother forbade Joan to do the same. So Joan needed to invent a new last name for herself. Which did she choose? She picked her mother’s former stage name, Fontaine, perhaps as another attempt to get her mother’s love.

Throughout this duo’s lives, they were in contention for parts, and they competed for Oscars. To our knowledge, the only thing they hadn’t competed for was men.

Mo Rocca and I did this piece about the feud between the Oscar-winning sisters:

Do you suffer from derailed communication with a sibling? Its effect on you may be greater than you imagine. Here’s what you can do if you are suffering.

How to Heal Sibling Rivalry
1) Be sure both of you WANT to heal your feuding.
2) If you do, calmly discuss your turmoil and discuss why this occurred. Be honest regarding your feelings and your fears.
3) Let bygones be bygones, without reiterating the past at every pass.
4) Keep your eye on your goal. The two of you share: a) a past unlike any two people, b) a medical history you may someday need to draw from, and c) an understanding of your unique life circumstances. These elements can provide rich insights about who you are and how you behave. Instead of arguing, embrace the fact that each of you is still available to the other to do this work.

I have a sister whom I’d love to strangle at times. It particularly unnerves me when she doesn’t take care of herself, and does stupid dysfunctional things. But when push comes to shove, she’s still my sister, and we know we can depend on each other for whatever life’s challenges provide. It wasn’t always this way. When she was stealing my clothes, plagiarizing my poetry, and throwing knives at me at the dinner table, I hated her. But the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference, and I’m surely not indifferent to my sister today. I don’t know whether Olivia and Joan will think that their nineties is the right time to finally right their wrongs. But if YOU have a shot at making sibling amends, do it. The burden of anger seeps through your bones and into every relationship you have. After you make peace, you will feel much freer to enjoy your entire life!
Dr. Gilda

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.),, is an internationally-known psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her new 4-volume, 400+ page E-Book Program is “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats”:, which is Immediately Downloadable.

DR. GILDA is’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on’s Dating & Personals page. She is also a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of the best-seller, "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"),
She counsels people throughout the world through her Instant Advice at and her Mentoring programs at . She is VERY GRATEFUL to all those she’s known who have given her a hard time, and pushed her to grow! She hopes that you, too, will employ this life-enhancing path.