Gridlock: Finding the Courage to Move On in Love, Work and Life with Jane Greer

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, stuck in an unfulfilling situation or relationship? Dr. Jane Greer shares her views on how to overcome emotional gridlock.

Event Date: 05/24/2000.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live's Mind and Body Auditorium. Today we are discussing Gridlock: Finding the Courage to Move On in Love, Work and Life with Jane Greer, PhD. Dr. Greer is a nationally renowned marriage therapist who has been in private practice in Manhattan for over twenty years. She lectures across the country on marital, sexual, and family problems as well as on women's and sibling issues.

The opinions provided by Dr. Greer are hers and hers alone. If you have any medical questions about your health, you should consult with your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Dr. Greer, welcome to WebMD Live.

Dr. Greer: Thank you, it's nice to be here.

Moderator: Would you like to mention your web site?

Dr. Greer: It's

Moderator: What is gridlock?

Dr. Greer: Gridlock is the utter helplessness, feeling trapped, stuck, defeated, and having no control over the direction your life is moving in. Emotional Gridlock

Moderator: What should you do when you sense you're becoming overwhelmed? What is the first step?

Dr. Greer: Well, I think the first step is to try and check -- ask themselves where in their life they're feeling overwhelmed. In a personal relationship? With a boss on the job? A sister they can't get along with? The first pulse you want to take is "where is the gridlock coming up?"

Moderator: What is the best method to identify the source of gridlock?

Dr. Greer: Well, you really take a look at how unhappy you're feeling, how negative you're experiencing the relationship or experience you're in, how long have you been feeling this way? For instance in a job, have you been feeling bad for two months since you got a new boss? et cetera. Or, have you been really feeling unhappy and dissatisfied for a longer period of time, a year or two, and you've been saying you'll find a new job but keep putting it off? All of which points you back to the culprit.

Moderator: What exactly is the comfort zone?

Dr. Greer: Comfort zone is where you feel most safe, least threatened by change. Even though you're unhappy or even miserable with the guy you're dating, for example, you've been seeing him for three years, he keeps promising marriage but puts it off. You say you'll end it and start over with someone new, but you don't move out of your comfort zone for fear of starting over, or the unknown. Same thing in a job. Your comfort zone is a product of all the people with whom you feel comfortable, around the water cooler, out for lunch. Maybe you can take time off, you're not challenged, but you're comfortable. Even though you feel like you're not living up to your potential, it's easier than facing up to the reality of reaching out and seeking out something new.

Moderator: So challenge is a good thing?

Dr. Greer: Challenge is a great thing! Challenge is the energy that keeps life interesting, keeps us feeling alive and dynamic, keeps us feeling hopeful and encouraged, but also makes us frightened!! (laughs) The key is to meet challenge and embrace the excitement, and not get clobbered by the excitement that goes hand in hand with change. What I said in the book goes back to a phase called "practicing." Margaret Muller observed mothers and their children, how they responded in this early development period, kids going into the world on their own -- this is kids learning to walk, to actually explore without their mother. They eventually return to their mother, their sense of comfort and security. She called it refueling, refueling their batteries before they venture out again. The task is to go with the excitement of discovery, experience the mastery of finally being able to stand as a toddler, and not be helpless and dependent crawling on your knees. If mom was able to support and encourage the child, we learn to feel secure doing new things and being alone, on our own. If mom got anxious herself that you'd trip, and she pulled you back or discouraged you, you learn early on to feel scared and stay anxious. Part of being able to do new things is learning how to turn your anxiety into excitement. It's the difference between learning how to go to a party if you're anxious, or being all excited to talk to new people. Going to a party is often putting yourself in a new situation with new people.

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