How crazy is your family? Families aren’t meant to be easy, and sometimes they even seem to be the ultimate challenge for frustration. Question is, how do you handle this frustration in a climate of self-imposed and self-created subculture? And how can you approach your family without judgement, so that you can better understand and refine their emotions? Where are the hidden costs and benefits?

“Too much work and too much going on,” I complain as I pace around the room in front of my webcam. I am obviously and visibly stressed out. “The au-pair comes on 31st of May.” I stop in my tracks and turn to ask him: “Your bread didn’t rise?” But without waiting for an answer I continue pacing around the room again: “The video training is flopping. BNP isn’t coming with a solid deal or proposal.”

“Sounds like you need patience,” the Doctor looks on calmly.

“Looking at a house tomorrow,” I go on rambling. “Does love at first sight exist?”

“Yes,” the Doctor answers coolly.

“So maybe this house is for me?” I sound desperate for reassurance now.

“Are you asking me to agree?” the Doctor riles me.

“I love playing hockey. Great for weight loss and feel good,” I go on ignoring his sarcastic comment. “Francis’ blog is brill.” When I jump around in my conversations, it is clear that my mind needs to be sussed. “Why did your bread flop?” I ask him again, impatient I didn’t get an answer the first time. “Yes, yes agree!” I smirk. “No just tell me what you think and feel.”

“Too much talk and no action,” the Doctor yawns broadly. “So I am trying it on my own.”

“Ok how will that be better?” I want to know. “On your own is hard. But teaching English now are you, not baking bread?”

“Both,” the Doctor answers shortly. I can tell he wants to stick to the subject.

“Feed them English,” I intend some subpar pun.

“Sure,” the Doctor smiles politely.

“Are you happy even if it didn’t work?” I am curious how he is dealing with this failure. “I really want to move house.”

“Where is this house?” the Doctor inquires.

“Google recruitment is still very strange,” I can feel more structure coming into my thoughts. “Oude Putsebaan in Keerbergen. Central. Close to school. No pool.”

“Near your mother,” the Doctor points out nonchalantly.

“Nooo,” I pull big eyes at him now. “Oude Putsebaan, at the traffic lights.”

“Ah,” the Doctor nods knowingly. “Nice area.”

“Yes,” I smile. “Dangerous crossroads though.”

“Enough space for everyone?” the Doctor is getting a feel of my new find.

“Google is now talking about another position. Is that to check if I really want the other one?” I am hoping the Doctor can make sense of what is going on. I sure cannot. “Enough space for my bunch.”

“Ask Google,” the Doctor answers pointedly.

“I will,” I nod and he is right. The only one who can give me that answer is Google. I will of course go about this question too subtle which will leave me without an answer. “Should I continue the video training? Feels like a waste of time. 4 days of unpaid recording and now a month later the guy wants to review it all. Says it’s not usable. What about blogging about dating advice? Men about men. They have an e-book to sell. How much percent could I ask for the blogging? And how can I get BNP to commit at higher price? Questions questions.”

“I have no idea,” the Doctor puffs at me. “What advice can you give to men? Prove to BNP your added value.”

“What women think?” I throw the question around another way. “What advice would you like to hear?”

“I think it’s more like what one woman thinks,” the Doctor immediately points out the flaw in my new plan. “I don’t need advice.”

“No you don’t,” I snort for the Doctor is a wise guy and an insufferable know-it-all. “You know it all. Is it possible to surprise you?”

“Yes,” the Doctor smiles pleasantly.

“Me and Heleen and Nathalie,” I point out to him. “3 women.”

“It’s not that I know it all,” the Doctor corrects me. “I have no need at the moment.”

“Give me an example when you were surprised,” I demand to know the concrete facts, not the absolute theory. “Oh yes I see.”

“All in good relationships?” the Doctor inquires about the background of the bloggers. “You should blog about how to catch and keep a man.”

“Nathalie likes to play around. She is beautiful and young,” I explain the details of our little trio. “Heleen is pregnant and has just bought a house. Sounds pretty successful to me. And me, well what’s my story? I need to prove my added value… how?”

“Experts on how to find and keep a successful relationship. Or you could blog about sleeping with everyone as new relationships are so exciting why settle down at all into boring routines?” the Doctor teases my brain into knowledge hunger. “Easy. Why do you deserve more money?”

“Because I’m an expert,” I retort.

“So what?” the Doctor puffs at me again. “You are being paid now as an expert.”

“Kind of… 630 per day is not very high at all,” I tell him as I fumble around with my hands at invisible specks of dust. “And haven’t had a raise in 2 years. And I have learned a lot. And I’m the only senior on the team.”

“So tell me why you want them to increase your rate,” the Doctor asks me again. His question infuriates me as I believe I have just answered it.

“And I am fun to work with,” I go on demonstrating all viable reasons to want to keep me happily on the team. “I motivate the rest of the team.”

“Are you self employed?” the Doctor raises an eyebrow at me;

“Yes,” I snap back. “Well okay then, no raise then I will look at other offers. Pffff.”

“So then what is with the bullshit you are telling me?” the Doctor concludes annoyed.

“I don’t get it!” I wail in frustration at not being able to convince him one bit.

“You are self employed. You can be terminated,” the Doctor points out to me. “So what makes you different from the other million specialists earning the same rates?”

“I have 15 years of experience, worked with many large corporations and financial institutions,” I am really hot and bothered now and want to get my point across. “And from all the experts, Google is interested in me. I am a speaker at analytics events. I write analytics articles. I look good too. And I am funny.”

“Write a book and then you can demand more money if you get published,” the Doctor shrugs his shoulders. “You have the skill.”

“A book about analytics?” I ask in disbelief. There are so many already. What a waste of time it seems to me.

“Yes,” the Doctor insists. “About your speciality.”

“My speciality is talking about silly stuff with you,” I wink at him for I have had enough of having to prove my worth. “I love talking and chatting with you, and then blogging about it. It’s like goal setting and committing to it because it’s written and published. So I need to be consistent and live up to it. Read that in that psychology of persuasion book.”

“I see,” the Doctor nods encouragingly. “Ok.”

“What about you? How do you make your stuff work for you?” I haven’t given up on getting some information out of him. “You did bread and English, you are teaching, you have found the love of your life, new country again… I should make sure my goals are good then. Who is Georgia?”

“I don’t know,” the Doctor evades my question expertly.

“Ah okay then. Who is your best friend?” I try a different approach. “We’re friends, aren’t we? What would make a best friend? Does BFF have to reciprocate?”

“Yes we are friends,” the Doctor smiles warmly.

“What would make a best friend?” I insist.

“Yes BFF is a two way street based on trust,” the Doctor tells me wisely. “You need to be interested in your friend,  supportive and interested. Giving without getting sometimes. No motives no manipulation. Just straight talk and love. No BFFWB.”

“Hahaha. I m not very good at reciprocity am I?” I throw my head back in pure amusement. “Is that a genetic fault of mine do you think? Can I learn it? Or am I fine?”

“You can learn it by making an effort,” the Doctor nods. “Instead of looking for an easy way out learning how to manipulate people, learn how to be charismatic. Keven Hogan might help.”

“A football player?” I look at him bewildered having quickly searched for that name on the internet.

“No a power conversationalist,” the Doctor throws me a puzzled eye.

“A hypnotherapist?” I ask him incredulously having found a second name match online.

“Yes,” the Doctor smiles. “Kevin Hogan.”

“YouTube is all I found on him,” I say as I scrutinize the search results in Google.

“Yes,” the Doctor beams warmly.

“How do you know him?” I interrogate him again.

“Read up on law of attraction. There might be something in it for you,” the Doctor continues. “Long time ago. Old story.”

“Oh there s a story… do tell!” my eyes are popping now. I need to know more.

“No,” the Doctor shrugs me off again. “I learnt from him a long time ago.”

“For the house tonight… I don’t know if it is a good idea to buy this house,” I decide to try out immediately what I have found on Kevin Hogan. “You don’t have to decide to buy this house now. And poof, wim says yes. I can hear he talks a bit like you.”

“Well go see it,” the Doctor replies amused. “You can make an offer anytime.”

“Should I use that too?” I am excited at having discovered persuasive speech. “Okay.”

“Let me know your thoughts on the house,” the Doctor throws in another persuasive line. “Am off to bake now.” And he throws me a kiss through the webcam.

“Saw my mom tonight,” I throw him a kiss back, suddenly remembering why I was in such a state earlier on. “She wanted to negotiate her dates again. I said no. But I am upset with myself. Why can’t I be nice and graceful around her? I always start shaking and stuttering, and generally feel awful. Why? Why can’t I get a grip? What’s wrong with me?”

How can you change a war zone back into a place of peace?

Love & peace,




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