And now a word about October.

(One of those rare occasions when I bring my work-work into my personal writing.)

We’ll start here:

This is the third and last time I’ll post the recipe link, in case anyone hasn’t taken the bait in the last two days: Here’s the official recipe, according to the folks at Food52, who got the recipe from the folks at Apple TV, for those Ted Lasso biscuits. I made a batch last night, and they proved every bit as delicious as I expected them to be. (I’ll confess a general weakness for Scottish shortbread, so my love of these particular biscuits should come as no surprise.)

Do I need to eat an entire 8×8 tin of buttery biscuits? I do not. So I did what any self-respecting baker would do: I took that tin of buttery biscuits to my office, where I got to talk to colleagues, who are actual therapists, about the therapist on Ted Lasso (“Love her!”), about baking as stress relief, about the whole “positive vibes” thing, and about how what we love most about the show is that it’s like a master class in relationships.

And that’s the segue into this little work-work insert.

In addition to the now familiar pink month of breast cancer awareness, October is also domestic violence awareness month.

Way back in 2019, before the pandemic changed everything (including home dynamics, for so many couples and families), we at Kindred Place decided to take a different approach to this purple October spotlight, focusing on what healthy relationships look like. We asked our corporate and community partners to help share information about relationships using the Relationship Spectrum, a free tool that is available on our website.

Why this approach, instead of focusing more specifically on intervention for domestic violence incidents?

One of the things we kept hearing — and that I heard (still hear) from friends and neighbors, as soon as I started in this work — went something like this: “We’re a fighting couple. We yell all the time, but it never gets physical, so that’s not really a problem, right?”

So the counseling team and I thought it would be helpful to make a simple, easy-to-read flyer and poster about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, with the idea of helping people who might be struggling with relationship challenges get back on the right track before things escalated. The content is not exclusively ours; if you want to search “relationship spectrum,” you can find other graphics and materials that are essentially the same.

Since I know how you all are about clicking links, so I’ll give you a little preview of the content:

  • In healthy, supportive relationships, adults talk openly and respectfully about problems. They apologize, compromise, and work toward resolution.
  • In healthy, supportive relationships, adults enjoy spending time together and respect the need for time apart. (Cue Ted Lasso fans remembering that episode with Roy and Keely…).
  • Unhealthy relationships are not necessarily abusive relationships, but once abusive behavior begins it often escalates and rarely ends without outside intervention.

So, do me a solid: Grab that Relationship Spectrum (or search and find another one that you like), and do a self-check. Go the extra step, maybe, and share that resource with a friend or colleague. Extra credit: Ask if you can post it in your break room at work.

Find yourself in deeper water than you expected? Great time to call in a professional and book an appointment with an actual therapist. If Ted Lasso can talk about relationships, then you can too. You can. Biscuits might make it easier.

If you have children in your home, think of this little exercise as one of the most important things you can do for your children’s future. Not kidding. Children who grow up with adults who respect, support, and nurture one another — in other words, adults in healthy relationships — do better in school, better at work, better in life, for the rest of their lives. If you won’t give yourself a relationship tune-up for yourself, then do it for your kiddos.

One last, very serious note: In the U.S., 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. If you broach the subject of relationships with someone you know, even someone you think you know very well, you may find yourself in a very different conversation from what you’d expected. If that happens, then here, courtesy of my clinical team at Kindred Place, are tips for how to handle the situation:

What to Do If Someone Discloses Intimate Partner Violence

  • Take it seriously. Don’t diminish or ignore what your friend is telling you.
  • Listen without judgment and without trying to solve the problem.
  • Listen without asking too many questions or probing.
  • Be supportive and offer resources, including a hotline number, but don’t press if your friend seems reluctant to call. One of the worst things you can do in this situation is cut off open dialogue.
  • Understand mandatory reporting requirements. If you learn that children are being harmed, then you are required to report it if you are in the state of Tennessee.
  • Keep it confidential. Understand the potential danger for your friend if you talk about the situation with other people.

Some phone numbers that I hope you won’t ever need, but that I want you to have in case you ever do need them:

  • TN Child Abuse Hotline: 877-237-0004
  • Desoto County, MS: 662-429-1480
  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Family Safety Center: 901-222-4400
  • YWCA Greater Memphis: 901-725-4277

Tomorrow we’ll be to our (ir)regularly scheduled meandering musings, and maybe some recipes beyond the magic combination of butter, flour, sugar, and salt. So you’re prepared, though, relationships will be an ongoing theme. And cookie recipes, too.

4 thoughts on “And now a word about October.

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