Relationships, Self-Care, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Watch Your Words

Improving your Connection

Last week, we looked at this idea that the partner/mate we choose, resembles both the positive and negative traits in our caregivers when we were children. We identified that we are attracted to our partners when it comes to them having both the positive and negative traits of our childhood caregivers, because our old brain is seeking reparation from our childhood wounds. We choose someone that has the ability to help heal our childhood wounds or hurt/worsen these wounds.
According to Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, authors of Getting the Love you Want, the following are tactful tools to help you heal childhood wounds, optimize communication and connection with your partner, and to be in a loving, safe relationship.

  • Narrowing your Exits – often times partners tend to fall into a habit of “avoiding each other.” Whether it be through staying late at the office, scrolling social media, watching tv, reading romance novels etc., these habits are considered “exits.” And often times have become a typical scene for a couple because of anger and fear. Anger because of wish fulfillment – you’ve set up an expectation that your partner will fill the void of your childhood wound and fear because you see them, subconsciously as an enemy – “any person…who is perceived by the old brain to be a source of need gratification and then appears to be withholding that gratification is cataloged as a source of pain, and pain raises the specter of death.” The recommendation is this: narrow your exits gradually. Eliminate one of your exits, the easiest to eliminate and use that extra time to work on putting your feelings/emotions into words and communicating with your partner.

  • Imago Dialogue – developing a new way of communicating with your partner, knowing your partner, connecting with your partner and developing a conscious partnership broken down into three steps. First and foremost, before entering into this type of conversation, ensure that it’s an appropriate time for both individuals.
    •  Mirroring – a sender will make a statement. The receiver of the statement with restate the sentence word-for-word or paraphrase and then ask if the message was received correctly. Then the receiver of the message can state, “is there more about that?” This gives the sender an opportunity to elaborate, if needed.
    • Validating – this is an opportunity to affirm the internal logic of each other’s remark, “what you’re saying makes sense to me. I can see how you were thinking and why you would think that way.”
    • Empathizing – “’ to feel as one with.’ When you and your partner are empathic with each other, you are as emotionally close as two people can be.

  • Caring Behaviors – this concept takes into account each partner writing down lists of ways their partners can please them. Not only does this eliminate the idea that our partners can read our minds, but it also allows your partner to know exactly what you want. When developing the list and setting number goals for the day/week, this takes out the tit-for-tat mentality. “Most relationships are run like a commodities market, with loving behaviors the coin in trade. But this kind of “love” does not sit well with the old brain. If John rubs Martha’s shoulders in the hope that she will let him spend the day going fishing, a built-in sensor in Martha’s head goes: Look out! Price tag attached. There is no reason to feel good about this gift, because I’ll have to pay for it later.’ Unconsciously, she rejects John’s attentions, because she knows that they were designed for his benefit, not hers.”

These are just some of the useful ways you can develop a compassionate and exceptional relationship. 
When it comes to watching our words, the things we say, the way in which we say them and the impact our words can have on others, can be detrimental. And the thing about our words, especially the hurtful ones, typically come from a place of our own hurt; our own wound. Watch your words, you and your partner are worthy of healing.

Check out the book: Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt

Mental Health, Relationships, Self-Care, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Watch Your Words

Partner Edition – Part 1

I want to preface this email by saying this: if you are a parent to a young child, don’t freak out, my assumption is that you’re doing the best that you can; just keep doing that. If you are a parent to an adult child, don’t freak out, my assumption is that you did the best that you could; they will heal. 
If you are reading this, I want you to read it with your childhood in mind. This is not about blame, this is about allowing space between your actions and reactions today and assessing why you act and do the things you do, especially when it comes to your partner. 
Research shows that the person you are most likely to fall in love with is someone who has both the positive and negative traits of your parents. Your old brain is seeking reparation from someone who resembles the very people who were the source of most of your childhood challenges. The reason the unconscious is trying to resurrect the past is not a matter of habit or blind compulsion, but of a compelling need to heal old childhood wounds. (Take a minute to think of your partner and how this person could be similar to your parents).
Many children experience a rupture in their connection with their caregivers. For whatever reason, their caregiver failed to satisfy their basic needs for safety, affection and/or stability. 
Being raised, we were taught, told and shown that there were certain thoughts and feelings that were appropriate, certain natural behaviors that we had to extinguish and certain talents and aptitudes we had to deny. We observed the choices our “parents made, the freedoms and pleasures they allowed themselves, the talents they develop, the abilities they ignored and the rules they followed…’This is how we live. This is how to get through life.’” These early childhood observations and teachings play a significant role in mate selection and is often a hidden source of tension in married life. 
When you choose a partner or a mate and decide to get married, the primary expectation (subconsciously/unconsciously) is that your partner is going to love and care for you the way your parents never did. We enter our love relationship with emotional scars from our childhood and we unknowingly choose partners who resemble our caregivers. The unconscious selection process has brought together two people who can either hurt each other or heal each other, depending on their willingness to grow and change. 
Fraud says that when we start to receive the love we long for from our partner, we experience pleasure and fear. We enjoy the way our partner is expressing love, while simultaneously feeling undeserving of it. Subconsciously, we feel we don’t deserve it; a part of us believes that in accepting the positive behavior, we are violating a powerful taboo. We are violating a limiting belief that we’ve held on to most of our life.
When we receive the love we so deeply desire, we eventually find a way to deny it: picking a fight, shutting down, expressing criticism etc.. We deny it because of these subconscious feelings and thoughts that we don’t deserve it. It is in this moment that we have the opportunity to start to heal our childhood wounds or enhance and strengthen them.
With that being said, many of our repetitious, emotional criticisms of our partner are disguised statements of our own unmet needs! Those criticisms of our partner may actually help us identify our lost self.
I am breaking this email into two weeks because there’s so much depth to it and a lot to unpack. Most of this information is from the classic book: Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix. Next week we’ll explore ways to heal your childhood wound through your relationship with your partner. 
Stay tuned!