PUBLIC success, PRIVATE failure

Sunday, August 03, 2014

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HE has the popularity, the power, and everybody respects his learned opinions. He is brilliant, a man often consulted for his views on current affairs. But as his wife told All Woman a few years ago, in private he was a woman beater, a deadbeat father who would not support his children, and an absentee spouse who peppered her with blows whenever he would come home. He was a public success and a private failure.

"The hitting [took]place at home, in the car, on the streets...," she said. "[Once] he literally dragged me on the floor to the bedroom and pushed me on the bed where he then sexually abused me. I have evidence of his abuse because both of my kids have seen him hit me. He has called me derogatory names like 'dutty gal', 'mongrel' and 'john crow'...

"I think he feels he has 'arrived' professionally so he doesn't need me. Ironically, [he receives] prestigious awards for his work..."

The list of powerful men who have been private failures is lengthy — it includes Tiger Woods, the world's greatest golfer who ruined his marriage with endless affairs, and locally, the businessmen, journalists, politicians, religious leaders and others who are admired on platforms, but who fail miserably at managing their families, finances, health and social relationships.

"My husband hardly comes home. In fact, at one point he was sleeping in his car at work because I kicked him out," one businessman's wife told All Woman.

"The only time my kids would see him during the week was when he was on TV. He was never at home, and even when he came, it was briefly, and he would snap at the children and at me."

"The wives of cops and soldiers probably have it hardest," the wife of a veteran police officer added. "They are out there saving the world, catching criminals and seeing the dead. They are praised for their work when they get the drugs and guns off the streets. But the wives get the men who are dead inside; the men who have no emotion because they have seen too many dead people and witnessed too much evil. The wives have to be chasing the demons and trying to run the homes, and many times that ruins marriages."

It would seem that public success many times can't be synonymous with success in one's private life, and some organisations, realising the issue, have been calling in experts like life coaches to teach employees how to balance work and life.

Cheryll Messam, life and corporate coach at said many of those affected do not feel that anything is wrong.

"They have the admiration of people, they are successful and their emotional needs are being met, so they wouldn't necessarily want to change," Messam told All Woman.

She explained that if these persons are getting rewards upfront it will be difficult for them to see the negative impact on their personal lives.

The purpose of a life coach, she said, is to help persons get clarity around significant issues in their lives and to try and help clients to see that something problematic or challenging exists, and that they might need to get help in setting particular goals, then work with the clients to develop strategies to get desired outcomes.

She said in some situations the individuals may need to seek the expertise of mental health professionals, as a life coach is only one dimension of the full solution.

"You want to assess how this person would see their life for the better if they changed, make sure they are sticking to goals they set, there is harmony between wants and motivation, meaning willingness to do things," she said.

She said the purpose of having the life coach is that they play the role of an accountability partner who provides encouragement and inspiration.

"Personally, I develop strategies for persons to use to work towards their goals, and every time we meet, we review and if it isn't working we try again with a different approach. I also make myself accessible outside of regular hours if a client wants to discuss something. I hold clients accountable to actions they decide to take on," she said.




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