I Don’t Trust You – PART TWO – Deciding Whether to Go or Stay

Listen to all three parts of the article as an extended version on my podcast, or read part two below!

When there are trust issues in a relationship, the question arises if the trust can be restored. Mistrust can provide an excuse to leave a relationship if we had already been thinking about ending the relationship. It all depends on what the relationship was like before the betrayal happened. “Most people who leave a relationship right after the betrayal have regrets if the relationship had been good before that point.” (Kirshenbaum, 39)

Before deciding to heal and restore the broken trust, the author Mira Kirshenbaum recommends that you ask yourself several questions.

1. Would you want this relationship if the trust could be restored?

You need to examine what the other areas of the relationship are like. What has your sex life been like before the loss of trust? Can you still have fun together? Do you still enjoy co-parenting?

2. Does the fact that this betrayal happened ruin everything for you?

If the betrayal has changed how you see the other person at such a fundamental level that you cannot imagine wanting to be with them after your anger has died down, then you are better off ending the relationship.

3. Can you imagine the possibility of forgiveness?

Forgiveness isn’t just the cherry on top of the sundae of reconciliation. Forgiveness is essential for our relationships. You cannot trust somebody whom you haven’t forgiven and just as importantly, you cannot trust somebody who hasn’t forgiven you. Forgiveness is a life-affirming act. It is not an intellectual process; it is a softening and opening in the heart. Instead of our heart feeling closed and hard because of anger or fear, it opens and relaxes when we forgive and let go.

4. Does the person you mistrust care about how you feel?

Has he or she gone out of their way to show that they care? If not, then he or she will not be able to work with you during the trust-recovering process. You are better off leaving.

5. Can the other person work on the relationship with you?

Rebuilding trust can only happen when the two people work on it together. The partners need to talk to each other, share information about hurt feelings, and talk about things that are difficult to say or hear. If one or both people are conflict-avoidant and just want the relationship to be easy and trouble free, the process of rebuilding trust cannot unfold successfully.

Kirshenbaum names two main reasons why we are afraid to talk to our partners. One is the fear of being attacked or blamed. So you need to commit to not attacking, blaming, or yelling and instead focus on making each other feel safe. The second reason is that we might feel that we won’t get a chance to express ourselves. So the second commitment is to listen and give each other equal talking time.

You need to discover together what the mistakes were, how you both contributed to them happening, and how to avoid them in the future.

6. What do I have to lose?

If you can get to the point where you can honestly say, “I don’t have anything to lose; the worst that can happen is that the person who has betrayed me will show that he or she hasn’t changed”. If this is the case, then it’s worth staying to work on the relationship. If he or she ultimately can’t or won’t do what is needed to deserve your trust and make you feel safe, you can see it as his or her way of letting you go, and move on at that point.

Often the betrayed partner does not need to hear how sorry the other person is and how bad they feel. Instead, they need the betraying partner to really understand how their life has changed through their choices. After the betrayed person has shared the impact the break of trust had on them and their life, the offending partner repeats this impact back to her or him. That allows the betrayed spouse to feel seen, heard and truly understood. That is much more valuable for the healing process than an apology.

Mistrust can heal. What prevents it from healing is excessive anger. The angry part inside of us is naturally trying to protect us. Often yelling does make us feel stronger and therefore safer. It can be somewhat of a test to see if the other person cares enough to hang in there while you are furious about their betrayal. At the same time, it is unfortunately a test of the other person’s ability to withstand discouragement.

The less anger we engage in, the faster the healing happens. Kirshenbaum’s guidelines are: if the betrayal was a major betrayal, there is most likely still unlimited anger by the end of the first month, but by the end of three months, you should be able to have a sane, productive conversation for the purpose of accomplishing joint goals. By the end of six months, there might still be flashes of anger, but it should no longer be your operating mode. By the end of the first year, you are ideally no longer angry. Trust might not be completely restored, but you feel you are on your way. By the end of the second year, trust has been restored and you can now talk about the betrayal without getting angry and upset.

The things we do to make us feel safer, like yelling, cruel words, coldness or distancing ourselves, won’t restore trust. If you find it hard to not express your anger to your partner, you can keep an anger journal, vent about the betrayal to a coach or give yourself a “time out” if it gets too much. I also like two other suggestions Kirshenbaum makes. She suggests to vent in emails and give your partner the choice whether they want to read the e-mails or not. She also talks about “having a Vesuvius”, which entails setting a timer for two minutes (or however long your partner can listen) and using that limited time to get your anger off your chest.

In PART THREE we will explore the steps to healing the broken trust. Click here to read part three.

If you would like to work on a trust issue by yourself or with your partner,

contact me for a free phone consultation

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you reading my blog. If you are enjoying my articles, you can subscribe to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to enter your email address in the field in the left sidebar. Thank you for your support!

I Don’t Trust You – PART ONE – How Mistrust Enters Our Relationships

Listen to all three parts of the article as an extended version on my podcast, or read part one below!

Why are trust issues such a common topic for relationships? The answer is simply that we are all human; we are imperfect people who make mistakes. And other imperfect people with whom we are in relationships will too often hurt us, or disappoint us, or even betray us. A betrayal happens when one person does not take the feelings of another person into account. Every time we do not consider our partner’s feelings or fundamental needs, he or she is bound to feel disappointment and the trust in the relationship diminishes.

Kirshenbaum states in her book “I love you but I don’t trust you” that between 40% and 70% of couples know they have significant problems with trust, and at least 90% of couples will have a crisis of trust at some point.

Any upsetting surprise or discovery that makes us feel vulnerable, hurt or unsafe can be experienced as a betrayal. When we have a reasonable expectation and the other person violates it through their choices, we feel disappointed or betrayed. Mayor betrayals are of course gambling away the couple’s entire savings, having an emotional or physical affair, or tricking your partner into having a baby he or she didn’t want. Betrayals also happen when someone we trust doesn’t stand up for us, says bad things behind our back, takes advantage of us, exposes us to a situation we experience as dangerous, keeps important things from the past or present secret, pulls us into financial difficulties, or breaks other major promises or unspoken agreements.

Betrayal is a reliability breakdown. One big betrayal is painful but often easier to recover from than an endless series of little disappointments or little betrayals. The latter occurs when we are in a relationship with an unreliable partner who makes promises and keeps breaking them. In the second case, you cannot count on anything. Such little betrayals are ongoing lies, or repeated situations where the other person keeps getting into trouble, or keeps failing at something that is expected of an adult, for example their job or managing their money.

Differences Between the Partners

One way in which trust issues enter a relationship is when there are significant differences between the partners in background, personality or preferences. “For example, if you like to plan and your partner likes to just wing it, your partner’s way of doing things will seem wrong to you and you’ll feel that you can’t trust him” (Mira Kirshenbaum, 27). You will both be mistrustful of each other. The planner might feel they cannot count on anything and the more spontaneous person will potentially feel trapped, controlled or stifled, and therefore also experience mistrust.

Unequal Power

Another risk factor for mistrust is a situation of unequal power, for example when one person has more money than the other, or more personal power. Having more power can play out as not needing to consult the other partner when decisions are made, or can occur if the priorities of the more powerful partner trump their partner’s wishes. The partner with less power experiences that they are not treated equally and that their wishes and needs matter less. On the other hand, the person with more money can never be sure that the other likes him or her for who he or she is. That erodes the trust on their end.

Hidden People

The worst trust killer is when one partner does not know where they stand with the other because that person is hiding. “He just plays his cards close to his chest. He’s not even open enough to tell you he doesn’t know where he stands on the subject of making a commitment. He keeps saying ‘I don’t know’ to your questions. He changes the subject when you try to press him a little on any personal topic.” (Kirshenbaum, 30)

Because two people are never identical, one will ultimately be more open than the other. The person who is less open will inevitably begin to seem hidden to their partner. And we all fear that when something is hidden it cannot be anything good. We start to feel insecure and afraid. So the more open partner begins to ask questions, to push, to probe or to invade. And the other partner will resist, close up more and put up more barriers. So in most relationships, there is one person hungry for more openness and the other one who is defending their closeness.

If you need to be with somebody who is open and you are with a hidden person, then you have a compatibility problem. However, a simple agreement can help to shift the dynamics of mistrust. That commitment is, “I will open up if you do not slam me” and “I won’t slam you if you open up.” This means that the person who is hidden has to swallow their fears and take a risk. And the other person has to be okay with hearing upsetting news and not freaking out about it.

According to Kirshenbaum, we make two mistakes. “We get upset at what the other person has revealed. And we give the other person the third degree about when they first knew this and why they didn’t tell us sooner and what else are they hiding” (Kirshenbaum 264). Or as Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson call it, we become lie invitees. When we get angry, attack or act like martyrs and make the other person feel guilty, we are not helping our partner to be truthful.

Unfortunately, we cannot command openness, we can only encourage or reward it. Instead of responding with anger, our first goal needs to be to welcome the honesty. We might want to say something like, “I really welcome your openness, and I am grateful, even though I am struggling to hear this information.”

Dr. Alexandra Solomon, who teaches an undergraduate course at Northwestern University called “Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101”, talks about asking constraint questions to invite the other person to dialogue. For example, if our partner lies to us, we can ask, “Why did you lie to me?” Or we can phrase a constraint question and ask, “What kept you from being truthful with me?” The first question triggers defensiveness, and we are coming from a victim place, where the other person is the perpetrator. The second question is coming from a place of curiosity and invites a conversation in which we share responsibility. Perhaps, it did not feel safe to tell the truth, or perhaps it is something our partner has learned growing up and that fear or limiting belief needs to be healed. We are interested in our partner’s history to understand and we are invested in working on changing this pattern together.

While you can’t have relationships without disappointments because it is part of human nature to hurt others, you cannot have a solid love relationship without trust. Trust nourishes the relationship. Only when you trust each other can you fully relax, be open and feel safe enough to let the other one see your true self.

According to Kirshenbaum, the trust healing process consists of “finding ways to radically take the other person into account”. Often right after a betrayal or broken trust we want to understand why it happened. Oddly enough that has us more invested in the relationship than we were in a long time.

By nature we are designed as trusting creatures. Our ancestors could only survive because they trusted each other and worked together. According to Kirshenbaum, there is a “trust-hungry part” and a “betrayal vulnerable part” in all of us. Trust is our default mode. Unless we have a reason not to trust, we will default to trusting. But when something happens that triggers our fears of betrayal, that betrayal vulnerable part will awaken and can cause destruction.

In PART TWO of this three part article we will address how to decide whether to go or stay in the relationship. Click here to read part two.  

In PART THREE we will explore the steps to healing the broken trustClick here to read part three.

If you would like to work on a trust issue by yourself or with your partner, contact me for a free phone consultation

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you reading my blog. If you are enjoying my articles, you can subscribe to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to enter your email address in the field in the left sidebar. Thank you for your support!

Why We Judge Our Parents

Listen to this blog as a podcast here, or read it below!

Do your children seem judgmental of some of the things you do? Or do you feel triggered into judgment and lack of compassion in regards to your own parents?

When I teach the Shadow Energetics Workshop, I give examples for how couples carry each other’s shadow traits, how siblings are often functioning from opposites, and how children trigger our own shadows. When I was teaching day one of the training last weekend, it occurred to me that I don’t highlight as much that children are also triggered by the shadows their parents mirror to them. Our parents reflect to us what we have disowned in ourselves and we do the same for our kids.

Henry Ward Beecher points out that we don’t really know the extent of the love our parents felt for us as children until we have become a mother or father ourselves. I would like to add that we also don’t know what it feels like to be judged by our children until it happens to us. The experience of walking in the parental shoes gives us a different perspective on our own parents and their struggles. Being the parent means that we are mirroring shadow traits for our teenage or young adult children as well. It is uncomfortable to be at the receiving end of those projections but we need to keep in mind that this is not about us, as much as it feels that way, but it is about what our children have learned to disown; and we may even have taught them to disown that particular trait or energy.

When it comes to technology or other modern day problems that need solving, I am quick to throw my hands up in the air, going into helplessness. My daughters will help, but lately there has been some impatience from their side. They pride themselves on being independent and able to problem solve well. At their age, they have disowned their own neediness for outside support a bit. It appears to them as a quality that is not desirable, a shadow they have renounced.

Ironically, raising my daughters, I always affirmed their independence and encouraged them to put their mind to problem solving because my own mother mirrored helplessness to me. Independence is a very useful quality. At the same time, we are naturally interdependent as human beings.

Helping others with an open heart and gracefully accepting help from them in return connects us on a heart-to-heart level and fosters greater compassion and understanding for one another. What would society look like if everybody just took care of themselves without extending a helping hand? No energy is “bad” or “wrong”. Being able to ask for help is as useful and beneficial as being independent.

As a parent, it is my job not to take the response of the younger generation personally and to keep mirroring this shadow to them until they are ready to embrace it. We need to learn from each other in this situation. Their independence encourages me to problem solve more myself before turning to somebody for help. At the same time, they also need to be connected with that energy of “neediness”. As humans, we are all needy for emotional support and practical help from each other.

According to author James Gilliland, who has written about the seven essence mirrors, the fifth mirror reflects our parents to us: “It is often said we marry our father or mother. We often also become them, acting out the same healthy and unhealthy patterns we learned as a child.”

I used to see my mother as overly fearful and helpless, especially when something unforeseen occurred, and I also judged her for what I perceived from the outside as “settling” for a situation she was not happy with. Once my sister and I had grown up, she was clearly bored. I used to question why she didn’t find something new, something that was challenging and fulfilling.

Today, I certainly have more fears than I had when I was twenty. My daughters’ courage sometimes leaves me breathless. When the older one travels all over the world by herself or the younger one charges forward without fear of rejection, I have to remind myself that they are safe and to trust them to be okay. In some ways, I have become my mother. The horizon of the next generation is always a bit broader; it is a different world.

I also notice that the lure of what is familiar is strong. Starting something new can require a lot of positive self-talk and belief changes. It has a scary element to it. I did not have that empathy when I was younger. I lacked the understanding that what my mother was mirroring to me was what I had disowned within myself.

Sometimes we realize that we have become somewhat like our parents, other times we wake up to the fact that we are married to our father or mother. In an older blog, I wrote about Benjamin who grew up with a stepfather who was a raging alcoholic. Ben learned that anger is nothing but destructive and that he is weak and helpless when confronted with it. Before Ben realizes it, he is married to Grete, a partner who in that one important way is a replica of his stepfather. She didn’t appear to be angry when they first married, but their interactions bring this energy to the surface. When she is frustrated, she hides her vulnerability behind anger and she yells. Ben, however, has learned to be afraid of anger and aggression. When somebody only slightly raises their voice, not to mention starts yelling, his reptilian brain instantly goes into the fight, flight or freeze response. The more Ben freezes and avoids her instead of communicating what is going on for him, the more disconnected and invisible Grete feels and the louder she becomes, desperately trying to get through to him. They are caught in a cycle of frustration. Ben feels unsafe and unloved just as he felt during childhood. He judges Grete for being too angry. Grete feels invisible and unimportant, which is her childhood experience. She perceives his stone-walling as a danger cue and, if you so like, a counter-attack.

Ben shuts down because he feels controlled and powerless just as he did when he was growing up. As a child, he felt terrified of his stepfather’s anger. By the time he was a teenager, this fear had turned into stubborn resistance. Ben perfected the non-response, a completely still-face and quiet defiance of the man he hated. Grete mirrors his stepfather to him and he cannot help himself; he flips either into the helpless little boy or the stubborn teenager. In that quiet defiance and non-response lies Ben’s power. He is unaware how this dynamic perpetuates the problems they have. Even though Grete seems to be the stronger one on the surface, underneath the tip of the anger iceberg is always a more vulnerable experience.

Anger lives in Ben’s shadow and because it is an energy he is disconnected from and fears, he is bound to attract it into his life through other people, like his wife, until he integrates this shadow quality. Grete judges Ben for being weak and passive. The only way out for Ben and Grete is to embrace the opposite energy more. Ben needs to get in touch with his own anger and stand up calmly and assertively. That will allow Grete to be in her female energy more, be softer and gentler, allowing him to be more masculine and strong. By taking steps towards each other, they are both becoming more whole and are able to communicate and interact more productively.

Are you stuck in a parent-child interaction with your partner? In which ways do other people mirror your mother or father to you? And in which ways are you mirroring a disowned part for one of your children?

If you want to  work on your own triggers and shadows to live more conscious relationships contact me for a free phone consultation on either individual sessions or couple’s coaching.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you reading my blog. If you are enjoying my articles, you can subscribe to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to enter your email address in the field in the left sidebar. Thank you for your support!

Sitting on the Anger Iceberg With You

angry screaming child

Listen to this blog as a podcast here, or read it below!

The door slams shut with a loud BANG. Marcia feels the frustration and anger rising in her. Here we go again! She can hear her 11-year-old daughter slam drawers and scream at her sister to get out of her room. “That is really taking it to too far”, she thinks. “How dare she behave this way? If I had ever acted like this, I would have been grounded for life!”

Marcia has different voices in her. The outraged voice is one of them. Then there is the sad voice that feels frustrated and helpless to guide her daughter through this time in her life. Then there is the voice which says she has failed as a mother; she somewhere must have gone wrong in raising her children.

Marcia has not failed. Most of us have just never been given the tools to cope with anger in a healthy way. We learn it is wrong to be angry and that showing anger or even rage is inappropriate. Yet, this response is literally evolutionarily ingrained into our brains for protection. The sub-cortical areas of our brain are wired for fight or flight. Stan Tatkin calls those more instinctive parts of our brain our “primitives”. When we feel overwhelmed, stressed, threatened or unsafe in some way, anger instinctively kicks in for us to be able to fight and keep ourselves safe.

Gottman Anger Iceberg

In November, The Gottman Institute posted an interesting article about anger by Kyle Benson. He uses the analogy of an iceberg to describe how anger is only the tip of that iceberg. More important than the anger visible above the surface is what is underneath the water. Anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is our protection from more vulnerable feelings, like helplessness, sadness, grief, loneliness and shame, just to name a few.

Anger is our internal GPS and guidance system that we are somehow off track in regards to our needs. When we accept anger as a feedback mechanism rather than a problem, which needs to be fixed or suppressed, we can investigate why it is there. It’s easy to see your partner’s or child’s anger but it can be more difficult to see the underlying feelings the anger is protecting. We need to listen closely to what is going on at a deeper level. Underneath anger there is a longing for something else. Marcia will need to sit on the anger iceberg with her daughter to help her figure out what she is really feeling.

Your partner or child’s anger is not a personal attack. It’s about their underlying primary feelings and unmet needs. Rather than judging her daughter’s outburst as wrong or taking it personally, Marcia needs to become curious as to why she is angry. Is her daughter perceiving something as unfair, is she sad about a recent loss, is she confused, is she experiencing helplessness, is she feeling like a disappointment, is she carrying responsibility too heavy for her age and therefore feeling overwhelmed, are her human needs met, and so on?

Dhebi Essential Human Needs

As Dhebi DeWitz’s chart from her book “The Messenger Within” illustrates, our needs can be grouped into physical nurturance, autonomy, interdependence, celebration/play, integrity and spiritual communication. As a child transitioning from childhood to adolescence, Marcia’s daughter, for example, wants and needs to feel physically safe and taken care of, loved and accepted, able to play and laugh, able to experience a sense of achievement and independence while being reassured she can reach out to others, develop a sense of purpose as well as beliefs of a benevolent universe.

Anger often lives in our shadow. We have learned to disown our own anger as “bad” or “wrong”. The more Marcia has embraced her own anger, the easier it will be not to be triggered by other people’s anger. She can then let her daughter know that it’s okay to feel angry. She can invite her to connect with the more vulnerable emotions and the possibly unfulfilled needs that the anger or rage is protecting. When her daughter feels heard and accepted with all her emotions, pleasant and unpleasant ones, her primary emotions can rise to the surface and steps can be taken to address the underlying needs.

Join Dhebi DeWitz and myself for our next bi-monthly FREE webinar. Our topic on Tuesday, May 7 is “Are Your Essential Needs Being Met?”. How to discover your essential human needs that are not being met in your life and to honour them. Click here to receive the link to join us life from 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST or 5:00-6:00 PST. The webinar will also be posted here for you to access it at any time.

If you are enjoying my articles, you can subscribe to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to enter your email address in the field on the left side of the bar. Thank you for your support!

Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

In a Relationship With a Narcissist – PART THREE Narcissists at Home and in Politics

Narcissists show up in our private life and on the stage of politics. It is a more and more common psychopathology. Under the ever-present public media scrutiny, people who enjoy having the spotlight brightly pointed at them are often narcissistic to one degree or another.

The Narcissist is self-absorbed, entitled, demeaning, demanding, unremorseful, unable to feel empathy, and prone to anger, rage, lies and manipulation. For narcissistic people, only black and white exists, no grey tones. As far as they are concerned, you are either on their side or against them. That perspective has the power to split families or entire nations. It is a huge test of and call for the power of true love and peace.

I was watching a video clip of a Trump supporter shouting angrily while walking through a crowd of protestors at the Women’s March. This group was walking for equality of all genders and races, tolerance and respect. Some people, despite walking for love and respect, started getting angry themselves and cursing him, while others were able to guide this angry man out of their midst to his own group of supporters, recognizing how dangerous it is when the fires of anger are being fueled by our own anger.

anger-1-letter-short

An interesting thing happens when the energetic vibration of anger hits a group of people. We all have some anger inside of us and when somebody comes into our field with that vibration, we often either get angry with them or at them. Anger is a primitive survival mechanism. If we feel threatened, we instinctively go into fight or flight mode. Our primitive brain responds faster than our more advanced and evolutionary younger part of our brain. The instinctive response is hard to control unless we have embraced our own anger and are generally vibrating at the higher level of love, joy and peace.

We all have the traits of a narcissist inside of us. For children it is normal to be self-centred and driven by their needs and feelings. Ideally we have learned by the time we grow up to postpone gratification and to be empathetic with others, yet we all at times lie, manipulate, are controlling, or get angry. If we are unaware of our own anger, or our own inner entitlement, or own inner liar and so on, we find ourselves judging this person and vibrating at the same frequency with them. We are being drawn into their anger and drama.

What do we do when we have a narcissist in our environment, whether in the family or in the government? What do you do when your narcissistic ex-husband is calling your new partner names in front of the kids, your narcissistic mother is using every opportunity to put your wife down, your narcissistic boyfriend is having rage attacks, your narcissistic president is making antagonistic, racist and discriminating remarks?

anger-phone

  1. Do not make excuses for him or her.

Inappropriate and destructive behaviour is inexcusable, no matter what the intentions or explanations are, or what other nice or positive things this person is saying or doing. That your ex-husband who is generally a good dad is feeling threatened, that your mother-in-law who says she wants the best is jealous, that your boyfriend who says he loves you is stressed, or that your president who was elected democratically has also promised good changes. All of those are explanations but never excuses.

 

  1. Do not allow him or her to pull you into the same energy of anger or fear.

Do not allow them to intimidate you or destroy your peace. Stand up to your ex-husband and tell him very calmly but strongly that his behaviour is inappropriate and will be recorded. Then go back to enjoying your new love. Tell your mother very clearly that you will not stand for any negative talk about your wife and that she is not welcome in your home until she stops talking that way. Then go back to enjoying every moment with your family. Let your boyfriend know that he has to get help in regards to his temper or you cannot be in the relationship. Then focus on what you deserve and need no matter what his choice is. Have a clear political opinion and if you are called to do so, speak or demonstrate it in some way. Then go back to focusing on what you are grateful for and in how many ways your life is full of tolerant and loving people.

for-every-minute

 

  1. Do not waste time trying to pacify or convince the narcissist.

Your ex-husband will most likely never admit he was out of line, your mother in law will most likely never sincerely apologize, your boyfriend will most likely not admit he has a problem until you are very clear about leaving, and your president will certainly not morph into a tolerant and respectful man.

 

  1. Do not get distracted by their tactics.

Narcissists are experts at creating triangles, splitting people, and blowing smoke, trying to hide what is truly going on. Your ex-husband might try to accuse you and your new partner of a whole list of things partially made up to distract from his inappropriate behaviour. Your mother in law might suddenly turn and tell you she is now convinced your wife loves you. Your boyfriend might enlist his mother to advocate for him and beg you not to leave him because he needs you.

Your narcissistic family member thrives on words or actions that are intended to shock you. Your ex-husband is trying to provoke your new partner with his shocking words, your mother might try to shock you by hinting at or revealing a secret she has found out about you or your wife, or your boyfriend might suddenly propose out of the blue. Last but not least, your government representatives might use shocking words or a shocking decision like a magician uses distraction, which is well planned out. The ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is such a shock event, an event which is unexpected, confusing, aggressive, fear inducing and throws society into chaos.

Heather Richardson, professor of history at Boston College says: “Unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like… But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.”

 

  1. Do your inner work so you can be in a loving peaceful heart-centred energy while you stand up.

We can then reorganize into a different pattern, respond differently than the narcissist had planned. The trouble with narcissistic behaviour is that we lose the game when we are playing by their rules. We lose the inner peace and love we are capable of holding. Stay as grounded with earth, aligned with spirit and centred in your heart as you can. Take an honest look at your own shadows and embrace them inside yourself. What we have accepted in us, we don’t need to fear in others anymore. Once you have befriended all energy inside of you, you have the choice to continue to co-create a loving peaceful world.

The outer action of standing up looks the same whether we come from fear and anger or from peace, inner strength and true authority. Because the inner energy is completely different when our mind and heart are in congruence, instead of being in judgement, we can have discernment. Instead of fighting against something we fear, we stand up for what we know to be the truth, being able to come from a loving place of power instead of aggression, destruction and revenge.

be-the-change

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Relationship Coaching, Belief Change and Shadow Work

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Huge Waves

A couple of days ago, when I got to the swimming pool for my morning workout, there was a lady in the change room I had never met before. She commented, “You just missed thunder guy!” I was puzzled, “Who or what is thunder guy?” “There is this guy who sounds like thunder when he swims.” she replied. Then she continued. “But Rachel (name changed) is still in the pool. You can enjoy all the waves she makes. She has been told by several of us but she still makes huge waves.” Then the lady continued to grumble about having to go out into the cold and snow.

A little confused about the “wave problem” I entered the pool area. There were two men and two women in the pool. I wondered which was Rachel as I could not see that either one of the ladies was creating an unreasonable amount of waves. One of them I had seen many times before. She always ambitiously swims laps for 30-40 minutes. Was that supposed to be her?

I eyed her waves. It had never before occurred to me to feel disturbed by her swimming style. Admittedly, her crawl wasn’t the smoothest but I wish I had her stamina. As I was suspiciously focusing on the waviness of the water, it suddenly dawned on me. I had almost fallen for one of these “naysayers”, one of those people who seem to be unhappy, dissatisfied, or even angry most of the time and cast gloom and disharmony over every situation.

people-who-always-seem-angry

It is easy to walk away when the negative person is a stranger at the pool or even a friend. We can minimize the contact or choose no contact at all. It is so much more challenging when the discontent or angry person is a family member. We might not be able to completely walk out on them; yet, we need to manage our energy around them carefully.

Anger is an interesting vibration; it is—under certain conditions—catching, like any other energy. A person’s big and happy laugh can be catching, so is anger. It all depends on our own frequency at a given time. It’s like two tuning forks. If an A tuning fork, vibrating at 440 Hz, comes close to another A tuning fork, the second A tuning fork begins to vibrate with it. If the A tuning fork comes close to another tuning fork which is tuned to a different frequency, nothing happens.

When someone comes into our field and vibrates at the level of anger, and we have some anger in us as well, we tend to respond like the A tuning fork. We either get angry at the person or angry with the person.

In general it feels much better to be angry with somebody instead of having somebody be angry at us, or us be angry at them. That’s how angry people manage to get others all riled up and on their side. Anger unites two or more people while it destroys the relationship with an outsider who has become the black sheep everybody is angry at. Knowing this, we have a third choice. We can choose to let go of our anger and not participate any longer in someone’s angry behaviour.

you-may-not-be-able-to-control

I have certainly had different moments of frustration in my life that made me feel angry. The more primitive parts of our brain, which have the function to keep us safe and which respond faster than the more advanced parts of our brain, sense danger—or in other words feel attacked—and we instinctively and instantly responded with anger.

Usually, there is something else underneath the anger, for example feeling unappreciated, sad, afraid or vulnerable. Our initial response is automatic. However, if we continue to feel angry beyond that initial response, we have made a choice; the choice to stay in this low vibration. We can get out of that vibration by examining what is really going on for us, making amends and apologizing to others who took the brunt of our anger, but most importantly by ensuring our needs are met in the future and our more vulnerable emotions are taken care of.

The same applies when the anger is brought to us. If we choose to listen to the angry person who is trying to get us to feel as angry as they are, the waves in the pool begin to seem huge. The world suddenly is filled with Thunder Guys and Rude Rachels. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather focus on how fortunate I am to even be swimming in the pool rather than how big the waves are and how rude the rest of the world seems to be.

 

Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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The See-Saw Effect – What You Suppress Your Partner Will Express

Have you ever felt surprised by your mood unexpectedly shifting and an emotion suddenly boiling up?

Maybe you felt a bit annoyed about something that happened during the day and when your partner comes home, you share with him or her, and suddenly you feel really angry?

Or you felt a bit concerned about your mother’s health and you talk to your father who is apparently not worried but quite calm. Yet, you suddenly feel really scared and worried about her?

What has happened in those two situations? You felt a bit annoyed respectively a bit worried and suddenly the emotions boiled over into anger and fear. Why? Who pushed the button for that eruption?

John Gray cartoon fear

John Gray: What You Feel You Can Heal

Your partner and your father pushed the button without knowing they did. Both of them where disconnected to their own emotions and had suppressed their anger and their fear. We disown certain energies because we have learned it is “bad” to feel or be a certain way. However, whenever one person is trying to bury an emotion, somebody else will express it for them. The more closely connected these two people are, the more they are able to feel and experience each other’s emotions.

In our example, you were feeling and expressing the anger and fear for both of you, yourself and the partner in your interaction. This happens unconsciously and automatically. Suppressed energy has to go somewhere. A vacuum of energy draws that energy in from somewhere else. John Gray illustrates with great humour how our emotional “tank” work when we are in a relationship:

John Gray cartoon anger

John Gray: What You Feel You Can Heal

Wilma is starting to feel anger but pushes it down because she has learned that nice girls don’t get angry. The more she pushes it down, the more Fred feels it and the anger rises in his side of the tank. All of a sudden, Fred starts to feel irritable and angry. Wilma might try to also repress his feeling of anger by attempting to calm him down. This continues until Fred explodes. If this happens on a regular basis, Fred might even be labelled as an angry person. Both remain clueless why the anger explodes.

When we push down a feeling, it comes up in our partner. John Grey calls this the see-saw effect. One example John Grey gives for the see-saw effect is the emotion of “need”. Fred falls in love with Wilma. He starts to feel his need for her but that feeling frightens him because he might lose her. So he pushes that feeling down, telling himself he does not want to get too committed. The feeling of need goes over to Wilma’s side of the “tank” adding to her own feelings of need. Wilma becomes insecure and desperate, and starts to feel what is commonly called “needy”. Some people go from one partner to another, wondering why their partners all become so “needy” around them. Who is the common denominator? The person who is out of touch with his feelings of need and fear.

A friend of mine who is generally seen as a peaceful and calm person always seems to end up in relationships with angry women. When he first meets them, they are quite pleasant. Yet, the longer their relationship lasts, the more annoyed and angry the women seem to all become. They yell at him more and more frequently, more and more loudly, while he shuts down more and more, unable to feel his own emotions. Eventually, he leaves them because he can’t stand being yelled at anymore. Until he embraces his own anger and learns to acknowledge and express it appropriately, he will always attract somebody who expresses this deeply buried emotion for him.

Are you tired of having all these invisible buttons on your chest that others can just push?

Would you like to stop triggering others and stop being triggered yourself?

Would you like to learn more about how we disown certain energies because we have learned it is “bad” to feel or be a certain way and how we can live more conscious relationships as whole human beings who love themselves and others?

I offer individual coaching sessions and workshops.

Angelika wide picture for blogs

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Upcoming Workshop:

“Shadow Energetics” training with Darryl Gurney, June 18-21, 2015

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“You are mad-sad”

 movie Home 1

Have you ever been mad-sad? Then you are a typical human being as the alien character “Oh” discovers when he makes friends with the human girl, Tip, in the animated movie “Home”.

What is mad-sad? Mad-sad is when you get angry but deep underneath you are sad. Tip is sad that her mother was relocated and separated from her by the aliens when they invaded the planet earth. She is ready to fight the world. Her angry part has stepped forward to protect her vulnerability. When Oh discovers what is underneath her anger, he says with surprise, “You are mad-sad”. What appears to be anger is really sadness and grief for her loss.

 movie Home 2

Sometimes we are mad-sad, other times we are mad-scared. A parent might be mad-scared because their child is failing in school and they are worried about their future, or because their teenager has made a decision which has put them in danger. We might get mad scared when we are in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle and the driver has a different driving style which makes us feel unsafe. How much more successful would our communication be if we could express our fear rather than our anger? Yet, anger is an automatic response triggered by fear. It takes practice to communicate differently.

When we feel overwhelmed, we also sometimes snap faster and respond with anger. Have you ever felt really bogged down by everything you had to do and as you were busy focussing on getting some work done, another person needed something and you replied with impatience or even anger? That could be called mad-stressed.

In all these cases of mad-sad, mad-scared or mad-stressed, the anger serves the purpose to protect the vulnerable part of us deep inside. Anger is a driving force. In Tip’s case, it drives her to search for her mom. Anger also feels better than helplessness and is an intuitive response when we feel unsafe or afraid for somebody else.

 Movie Home Gorg

The evil character of the movie from another alien race, called the Gorg, turns out to be mad-sad, mad-scared and most likely also mad-stressed. Without being aware, Oh’s alien race has stolen his babies, the entire next generation, which means extinction for the Gorg. When Oh is brave enough to face the Gorg, he realizes that this intimidating monster is really deeply vulnerable and just trying to save and protect himself and his family.

Have you heard of people who get “hangry”? When they are hungry they become grouchy or angry. To stay with our pattern, that would be called mad-hungry. There also is mad-tired. Have you ever been so tired and found that your protective defences were coming up when others are interacting with you in this state. My daughter, who works mainly overnight shifts, is not a happy camper when approached in a tired state. She gets mad-tired. Everybody in our family knows she has just reached her limit and her irritation is a feedback for us.

Next time you or somebody else shows up as angry, remember that there is usually some other emotion underneath the anger. That deeper emotion or need has to be addressed. Just as we know we need to feed ourselves when we are hangry, we also need to feed the other emotions or needs.

When we feel angry the question usually is, what exactly is underneath the anger? It might be Sadness? Loneliness? Fear or insecurity? Frustration? Overwhelm?

  • Sadness gives us the feedback that we perceive the loss of a person, an experience or a feeling. What needs to be done to make up for that loss, to replace the experience we have lost?
  • Loneliness gives us the message that we have a healthy longing for companionship and love. How can we enjoy our own company more, love ourselves more and also draw in other people as companions?
  • Fear or insecurity means that our subconscious is convinced something is not safe, and/or that we are not good enough in some way. What beliefs can be changed to alter how we see ourselves and the world?
  • Frustration gives us the feedback that something that we have been doing is not working. What do we need to do differently, so that the frustration does not tip over into depression?
  • Overwhelm is a signal to do a reality check, to limit, to organize, to prioritize, to say “no” and to delegate.

Anger also sometimes gives us the feedback that we perceive something as unfair. The first question is: Is or was it really unfair? If not, change your perspective. If the answer is yes, find a way to make fair if the event is in the present, or let go and forgive if you are angry at something which lies in the past.

movie Home 4

All feelings are good! Our emotions are our guidance system. All feelings and emotions give us feedback on what is going on. They are a call to action. Anger is good. It is like an indicator light that something needs to be looked at, but it also serves as a driving force to make changes.

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching, Forgiveness Work, Shadow Work

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 Wearing Angela's T-shirt

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Carrying Your Partner’s Disowned Shadow

shadow two people at beach

Partners very often carry each other’s opposite energy and have polarized into the two. My parents carried each other’s disowned energy. My mother was the emotional one, the one with all the passion and the one making and keeping all the social contacts. She was also the one who liked to spend money and the one who could be impulsive. My father was the one who was always rational, unable to show any emotions, not as skilful at connecting with people; he was thrifty and always striving to provide for a safe financial future.

Only since my mom passed on, has he begun to reclaim all the energy she carried for him. He has surprised us with how good he is at connecting with others and really caring about other people. My children are hearing for the first time in their life an, “I love you,” from their grandfather. He shows emotions more comfortably and has embraced enjoying life.

Why is that possible? Has he suddenly learned to be social and emotional and able to spend some money on himself without guilt? No. That energy was always part of him, but my parents had an unspoken contract, that they would carry each other’s unwanted energy. This contract is not conscious, so as long as my mother was alive they were not able to shift out of this polarization and to reclaim their lost parts.

 

shadow parents and children

One of the energies my ex-husband and I had split up between us was being a parent. His attitude towards parenting was very different from my mine. He was more relaxed about being a parent, going with the flow, sometimes flying by the seeds of his pants. Being a teacher, I looked at parenting as a series of opportunities to provide educational moments. I planned ahead and made sure we always had something educational, creative or active to do. I was also—and that’s where the problem was—invested in being the better parent. I would take care of all the school-related situations, after school activities, play dates etc. He didn’t have a chance to step up and be the parent he was capable of being. When we split up, I suddenly saw a man who wanted to be involved, who stepped up to the task.

At first, I was outraged. Why hadn’t he parented like this before? Why hadn’t he shown more interest when we were still married and had supported me more? I felt really unappreciated in everything I had done all those years. I felt like he took advantage of me and left me alone with something he should have helped me with. Initially, I wasn’t able to see how the children would benefit from this.

It took me quite a while to realize that he was always an invested parent but had not seen a chance to display it until the situation changed. Who has gained from this are our children who have been able to grow up with two very different parents, two different views of the world and the freedom to choose which one works better for them. He is the best dad my girls could possibly have, not because he has learned to be like me but because he had an opportunity to claim his own parenting energy and be a fabulous co-parent for me.

anger

A very common polarization between partners is splitting up the energy of being angry and peaceful. When one person is afraid of anger, the anger goes “underground”. One possible result is that they can draw an angry partner into their life. This angry partner might be mirroring one of the subject’s parents or another person from their past. As a child, they have learned that it is not good to be angry as anger can be abused to suppress and hurt others. The subconscious decision then is never to feel angry; thus this part is being pushed away.

Benjamin has grown up with a step-father who was an angry alcoholic. In his childhood home, it was either his step-father’s way or the highway. At age 16, he ran away from home and never came back. He learned that anger is destructive and that he is weak and helpless when confronted with it. His choice at age 16 was to run away, instead of addressing the situation in a more productive way.

The vacuum which exists when we deny energy activates a certain frequency and we draw in another person with exactly the same frequency. Before Ben realizes it, he is married to Grete, a partner who displays anger frequently. When she is frustrated, she yells, believing that it is better to express your frustration loudly. Ben, however, has learned to be afraid of anger and aggression. When somebody yells at him the fight, flight or freeze responses are activated. Usually he flees or freezes.The Little Boy inside of him cannot help himself.

freezing

The more Ben shuts down and does not communicate, the angrier Grete becomes. They are caught in a cycle of frustration. Ben feels unloved and is judging Grete as too angry, and Grete feels unheard and unappreciated and views Ben as weak and too soft.

We always have to remember that NO energy is bad! Every energy is useful and serves us when used with consciousness. Anger energy is very helpful when someone threatens us. It is also useful as a forward-moving force. Anger gives us feedback that we perceive something as unfair and that we need to step up to make a situation fairer in some way. Anger helps us to be more assertive and to stand up for ourselves and others. The key to using anger productively is awareness that it exists and needs to be fed and used consciously.

The only way out for Ben and Grete is to embrace the opposite energy more. Ben needs to get in touch with his own anger and stand up calmly and assertively. Grete needs to understand that softness and gentleness can be a very useful and persuasive energy as well. By taking steps towards each other, they are both becoming more complete and are able to communicate and interact more productively.

jung-quote2

What energy is your partner carrying for you? What are you carrying for your partner? Give yourself and your partner the gift to become more whole by doing some shadow work.

Angelika 905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

Who is the Black Sheep of Your Family?

In families and in relationships, we carry each other’s shadow sides, usually without being aware that this is happening. We are convinced that the other person is what we are not. Meanwhile ALL energy is in all of us, we have just disowned and pushed away a certain part of us. The energy we push away is the one we are uncomfortable with, or afraid of, or have learned is “bad” to be. However, energy has to go somewhere. If I push it away, it might either “go underground” and wait inside of me to take over when I am not paying attention; otherwise, another person takes it on for me.

Children carry our disowned shadow parts beautifully. My children have certainly been great mirrors for myself over the years. A parent might for example be punctual and responsible and the child is always late and seemingly irresponsible. The more the parent harps on the child for being irresponsible because they hate that energy potential in themselves, the more the child will be polarized into it.

messy child's room

This week, I have come across parents who are very neat and have made their daughter and her room the joke for every guest coming for a visit because she is “just so messy”. They have disowned their own sloppiness and the daughter has taken it on. They are so afraid of that energy potential in themselves that they feel the need to clearly distance themselves from it. Outside themselves they can laugh at it and make it clear to anybody who wants to hear it, or not, that their daughter does not take after them. They don’t just rob her from living in a tidier environment by labelling her as “unbelievably messy” and “incapable of being tidy” but they also deny themselves to be more relaxed and to live in the moment.

 

black sheep

Many families have a “black sheep”. The Black Sheep is the person who is carrying all the shadow characteristics for the other family members. The Black Sheep has taken on the energy that all the others are pushing away and don’t want. The Black Sheep might be rude and outspoken, or perhaps unreliable and self-centred, or messy and constantly late, or addicted and a “failure”, or perhaps all of the above and more; the list goes on and on. The Black Sheep of the family is the one who displays everything that everybody else judges and suppresses without being aware that all energy is in all of us.

Are you the Black Sheep of your family? Or do you have a Black Sheep in your family? You have the ability to change these dynamics at any time by doing some shadow work to reclaim your disowned selves.

If you want to integrate the parts you have disowned to live more conscious non-judgmental relationships contact me for a free phone consultation.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca 

I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you reading my blog. If you are enjoying my articles, you can subscribe to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to enter your email address in the field on the left side of the bar. Thank you for your support!