Welcome – Start Here
You get the best of the best.
I’ve dedicated my life to understanding what make us as individuals, couples and family systems tick. And, I’ve used that understanding to help others.
I began my private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 1981 and have logged over 25,000 client hours, hundreds of hours of supervision and attended dozens of professional workshops and seminars. My wall is lined with books, most with weird sounding titles.
I refused reimbursement by insurance companies for services rendered. People paid “out of pocket,” which meant that if I didn’t help people, I didn’t eat. This is THE litmus test for a successful therapist.
You benefit now because I spent the past five years reflecting and dissecting my professional years, discerning what I said and what I did that truly helped others.
I’m terribly creative with a streak of practicality which leads me to offer practical tools that touch the core elements and generate a life, marriage, family and relationships that offer the most out of life for you and everyone around you.
The best of what I offer is found in the Members Area.
And, I continue to develop new tools and understandings that enable you to give and receive love more powerfully as well as eradicate old beliefs and build new brain cells about what relationships truly should be.
What follow is a personal “Mission Statement” that I put together a few years ago. For the most part is fits, although if I really worked at it, I would change/add a few things.
Here’s another window into me:
I live each moment with an appreciation for that moment. Within that moment I am given the opportunity to discover more fully my strengths, how they are called forth and am reminded that I am a unique person wanting to serve and participate. I live with no regrets for the past or worry about my future.
I accept responsibility for my actions and thoughts. I am responsible for eliciting from my friends, colleagues, family, community, clients and the universe what I need, want or desire. Within that responsibility I find tremendous freedom and joy.
I am a person of integrity, who does the right thing, yet is not bound compulsively by rules. I continually upgrade my personal foundation and intentionally set increasingly high standards for myself. I surround myself with people who accept me and consciously and willingly meet my needs. I give a high priority to caring for myself physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
I create reserves of money, energy, time, opportunities and people, that enable and call forth extreme generosity and limitless creativity.
I view my existence as a lifelong process of development and unfolding, tremendously exhilarating and never completed. I welcome the edge of growth and exploration.
My vision for coaching and working with others begins with a desire to add significant value to those I choose to work with and to offer world class service. My ultimate goals are to work with others to expand more fully their world, help them appreciate and utilize strengths and to ultimately watch them develop a life in which they attract without struggle their most important successes.
I develop lifelong relationships, based on mutual trust and confidence, from which a community of like-minded successful people emerges.
I honor and value your presence.
And, I look forward to working with you.
Dr. Bob Huizenga
When You MUST GET OUT NOW!!
Saving your marriage begins with a simple but vitally, sometimes life and death, question: am I Safe? Please answer this question first, before you make any attempts to save your marriage, get your spouse back or use different tools to mend the marriage.
I want to know you are safe. I want you to take action if you are NOT safe. I will provide some guidelines (a questionnaire) that will help you determine your level of safety.
THERE ARE TWO LEVELS OF BEING SAFE.
The first level speaks to your physical safety. If you have any, and I mean any, inkling that your marriage may erupt with physical violence, please complete the first questionnaire honestly and follow my directions.
The second level focuses on your emotional safety in your marriage or relationship.
Mending a broken marriage demands an element of emotional safety and trust. Yes, there are problems, but there is a degree of felt safety in the relationship. You are afraid, but the fear is manageable.
These modules move you toward removing the fear (and hostility) and creating a safe and inviting space for the two of you.
The second checklist below enables you to discern and pinpoint the types of fears and anxieties and begin the process of healing and removing them.
You Must Feel Physically Safe with Your Spouse
How a Client’s Violent Death Changed my Life
It was in the late 80’s.
A young woman entered my office for a late afternoon appointment. It was her first appointment, referred by a friend.
She presented herself as a reserved quiet person. Her eyes and body language spoke volumes of her sadness. She often breathed deeply and sighed.
She talked about her marriage, how she wanted to save the marriage. She was not specific about the status of the marriage other than she wanted her husband to love her.
We spent the 50 minutes with background information and building rapport.
The next afternoon, after getting home from the office, I opened the local newspaper and to my horror a picture of this young lady was on the front page.
She was brutally stabbed to death in the bathtub by her husband no more than 8 hours after I saw her in my office!
Although an idealist – trying to save relationships and bring people together in deeper intimacy – I was from that point forward, forever cognizant of the “at risk” potential in trouble relationships.
And, believe me, there are many women (and men) “at risk” in relationships that no longer hold potential for healing and growth but instead are a seed bed for violence and destruction.
In my therapy as an online coach I often encounter a spouse who out of his/her personal neediness or numbed by his/her sense of victimization will go to almost any length to “save the marriage” even though s/he and or the children are “at risk” by a spouse who uses and abuses.
Yes, it is laudable for us to write optimistic copy about the potential to bring the “spouse back.” But, this sometimes flies in the face of reality.
So, what do we do?
I try to enable those who in their sense of victimization and helplessness – who believe their capacity to endure abuse will prevail – who live focused exclusively on the degrading behavior of their spouse, to discover their sense of internal power – to begin setting protective boundaries – to begin examining their standards for a healthy relationship and the values they want to live with.
Don’t be a Frog in the Water
You’ve probably heard the metaphor of the frog that is placed in water; the temperature of the water is raised and the frog’s body accommodates the warmer temperature.
The water becomes warmer and warmer and still the frog does not seem to notice.
Eventually the temperature reaches boiling point and the frog, failing to realize his dilemma, is cooked.
Persistent and continual exposure to an abusive relationship is much the same.
You tend to build a tolerance for the abuse, rationalize many of the behaviors, continue to hope for the best and soon emotionally melt and sometimes are physically assaulted.
Functioning becomes difficult. You feel nothing or try to push away the pain and anger. You may withdraw into numbness with diminished self-respect.
The following exercise enables you to evaluate your present situation and in that process reclaim, over time, your personal power.
This personal power will enable you to cope with yourself and the relationship with more effectiveness.
This exercise or questionnaire will enable you to make distinctions regarding the abuse and your response to it. Begin to put words and thoughts on what you experience. You will begin to discover the specifics of what the abuse means to you and the specific impact it has had on your life.
Be honest. Honesty will set you free.
Check yes or no to the questions:
|❏||❏||1.||Feel afraid of your partner much of the time?|
|❏||❏||2.||Tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will be just fine?|
|❏||❏||3.||Feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?|
|❏||❏||4.||Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?|
|❏||❏||5.||Find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy?|
|❏||❏||6.||Wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?|
|❏||❏||7.||Feel emotionally numb or helpless?|
|❏||❏||8.||Feel afraid to leave or divorce?|
|❏||❏||9.||Feel tied down, feel like you have to check-in?|
|❏||❏||10.||Feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects so that the other person won’t get mad?|
|❏||❏||11.||Find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy?|
|❏||❏||12.||Find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse over time?|
|Does your spouse…|
|❏||❏||13.||Humiliate or yell at you?|
|❏||❏||14.||Criticize you and put you down?|
|❏||❏||15.||Treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?|
|❏||❏||16.||Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?|
|❏||❏||17.||Blame you for his own abusive behavior?|
|❏||❏||18.||Act excessively jealous and possessive?|
|❏||❏||19.||See you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?|
|❏||❏||20.||Constantly check up on you?|
|❏||❏||21.||Keep you from seeing your friends or family?|
|❏||❏||22.||Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?|
|❏||❏||23.||Have a bad and unpredictable temper?|
|❏||❏||24.||Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?|
|❏||❏||25.||Threaten to take your children away or harm them?|
|❏||❏||26.||Threaten to commit suicide if you leave or tell you s/he cannot live without you?|
|❏||❏||27.||Destroy your belongings?|
|❏||❏||28.||Abuse alcohol or other drugs?|
|❏||❏||29.||Have a history of trouble with the law, gets into fights, or breaks and destroys property?|
|❏||❏||30.||Does not work?|
|❏||❏||31.||Blame you for how s/he treats you, or for anything bad that happens?|
|❏||❏||32.||Abuse siblings, other family members, children or pets?|
|❏||❏||33.||Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names?|
|❏||❏||34.||Is always angry at someone or something?|
|❏||❏||35.||Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go?|
|❏||❏||36.||Nag you or force you to be sexual when you don’t want to be?|
|❏||❏||37.||Cheat on you or have lots of partners?|
|❏||❏||38.||Is physically rough with you (push, shove, pull, yank, squeeze, restrain)?|
|❏||❏||39.||Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways?|
|❏||❏||40.||Accuse you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuse you of cheating on him/her?|
|❏||❏||41.||Not listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings…things always have to be done his/her way?|
|❏||❏||42.||Ignore you, give you the silent treatment, or hang up on you?|
|❏||❏||43.||Lie to you, doesn’t show up, maybe even disappears for days?|
|❏||❏||44.||Make vulgar comments about others in your presence?|
|❏||❏||45.||Blame all arguments and problems on you?|
|❏||❏||46.||Tell you how to dress or act?|
|❏||❏||47.||Experience extreme mood swings…tell you you’re the greatest one minute and rips you apart the next minute?|
|❏||❏||48.||Tell you to shut up or tell you you’re dumb, stupid, fat, or call you some other name (directly or indirectly)?|
|❏||❏||49.||Compare you to former partners?|
Take a couple minutes to go back over your check marks, paying particular attention to the yeses.
Vitally Important: If you checked mostly yes to numbers 1, 12, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, and 37 I strongly urge you to get away… NOW! If it seems impossible for you to do that now, promise that you will begin planning an exit strategy NOW. Begin contacting local community support groups, resource centers, etc. Please.
Congratulate yourself for being honest and think: “This is one of my first steps in freeing me and claiming my power and respect as a person.” Does that feel a little better? Just a little?
You Must Feel Emotionally Safe with Your Spouse
A feeling of personal safety is paramount to initiate the rebuilding of a marriage and developing a love you can trust. A safe environment allows the natural unfolding of each other and the relationship to emerge.
Without a safe space, a couple encounters fear. Fear gets in the way. Fear perpetuates the cycle of negativity and reactivity. Fear grinds to a halt the warmth, understanding and commitment to embrace self and each other.
Check your top 3 fears that presently contribute to distance and mistrust in your marriage.
|Typical Fears of Encountering the Other|
|❏||It will end badly and both of us will feel rotten.|
|❏||I will be met with silence and that will frustrate me.|
|❏||I’m concerned I won’t be able to believe what s/he says.|
|❏||I’m concerned I will be appeased or patronized.|
|❏||I’m concerned I won’t know how to respond when I feel brushed off.|
|❏||I’m afraid I might get physically hurt.|
|❏||I’m afraid the conversation might get out of control.|
|❏||I’m concerned my words or expressions will be misinterpreted.|
|❏||I’m concerned I won’t be heard adequately.|
|❏||I’m concerned I won’t be able to say what I really want to say.|
|❏||I’m concerned I won’t have the space or freedom to say what I need to say.|
|❏||I’m concerned there will be uncomfortable silence.|
|❏||I’m concerned I will get hooked by his/her body language.|
|❏||I’m concerned I will walk away feeling guilty, or it’s my entire fault.|
|❏||I’m concerned we will go around in circles and get nowhere.|
|❏||I’ve almost given up.|
|❏||I will end up feeling like a kid and I hate that.|
|❏||I dread the thought of talking about my feelings.|
|❏||I’m afraid I will feel overwhelmed.|
|❏||I’m concerned I won’t verbalize in a way s/he understands.|
|❏||I’m concerned that what I say will not be important.|
|❏||I’m concerned I will not be able to understand him/her.|
|❏||I’m afraid to rock the boat.|
|❏||It might lead to sex and I don’t want that.|
|❏||I’m afraid it will end with me feeling like a bad person.|
|❏||It will hasten the end of our marriage.|
|❏||There will be nothing positive for me to find.|
|❏||Our differences will drive us apart.|
|❏||I’m afraid the honesty will be scary.|
|❏||I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings.|
|❏||Can’t put into words what I want to say.|
|❏||I don’t want to talk about the past.|
|❏||I’m fearful others will find out what we talk about.|
The exercises in the Members area move you slowly and confidently toward each other. There is no rush. Engagement is on your terms, terms that insure your feeling of safety.
As you shift your focal point away from your spouse and toward yourself and your internal personal power, your comfort level of safety will increase.
You become more adept as speaking your voice, setting boundaries and managing the flow of healing and health.
Feeling safe (trusting) will result bring about:
- You will feel less tightness and anxiety.
- There will be a degree of acceptance of what you express.
- You will have a curiosity about each other.
- You will feel personally responsible for getting the response you want from him/her.
- It will feel ok to look into his/her eyes.
- You will respond to his/her passion and strong feelings with understanding and compassion.
- You will know it’s ok to express your hurt and confusion. You will be heard.
- You will know your conversations are an unfolding and will continue for a long time.
With a safe space, the desperation and neediness is erased or at least lessened to a point. The healing and building process can effectively begin.
Please consider these factors, if the affair is over and there’s a mutual commitment to “work on” the relationship:
- If there is a high tension level in the relationship it is best for each to move through the modules alone. Allow each to absorb the material. It might be appropriate and helpful some point in the future to share responses to the materials.
- Is one of you actively pursuing and the other pulling away? If this is obvious and you are the pursuer, bite your tongue and do not suggest or persuade your other to go through the modules with you.
- If there is abuse in the relationship – before you do anything – read, absorb, reflect and take action on the “Am I safe?” Module.
- Feel free to complete the Modules jointly if there is a limited level of tension, you have both verbally committed to the Modules and both of you can interrupt your negative cycles.