When we are in a relationship, we often give up certain parts of us which seem to be threatening to the relationship. David loves motorcycles but Lisa is afraid of him having an accident. Lisa on the other hand loves dogs but David dislikes them. In order to be together, David has exiled his freedom loving part that wants to ride a bike, and Lisa has exiled her pet loving part that wants to get a dog. If there continues to be no room in their life for these parts, this can sabotage the relationship.
Category: Couples Coaching
Experiencing Shame: Women vs Men
“Will you stop guilt tripping me?!” exclaims Peter. His wife is surprised: “I am not trying to make you feel guilty. I am just trying to get through to you…” but Peter has shut down. His body language indicates that what he is actually feeling right now is not guilt but shame. Shame is one of the most destructive emotions in a relationship. It corrodes the parts in us that believe that we can do better.
You Are My Valued Tor-Mentor
Our partner can be an invaluable “Tor-Mentor”, a person who mentors us by tormenting us. Inevitably, our partner will act like an early caretaker who hurt us, and we will have a strong emotional reaction and experience what Richard Schwartz calls an attachment re-injury. These triggers are an opportunity to heal our wounds and create more empowered and truly supportive relationships.
Sue frantically tries to reach John through words, emotions and body language. One moment, she reaches out to him lovingly and patiently, the next she gets angry. Nothing seems to penetrate his stoic and unemotional wall. Neither touch, nor loving words, nor angry ones, nor tears, make a difference. Sue and John are caught in a pattern, a vicious cycle.
A Missing Piece in Couples Therapy
Within each of us is a family of sub-personalities, which in Internal Family Systems Therapy are called “parts”. How does working with our protective parts and our wounded younger child parts, help us to show up differently in relationships?
What if we would not just strive to consciously create fulfilling and well functioning relationships, but also create break-ups “where neither party was blamed or shamed yet where both people were left valued and appreciated for all that they’d given one another” (Katherine Woodward Thomas)?
I Don’t Trust You – PART THREE – How to Heal the Trust
Once we have decided to stay in a relationship after a betrayal, how do we rebuild the broken trust? Whenever there’s been a betrayal there are problems on both sides and both people need to take responsibility for the part they’ve played. That is not a fault finding mission but a team effort of unpacking unexpressed feelings and uncovering unmet needs. If we are able to work through a betrayal together and have made the necessary changes, the relationship usually ends up being stronger than before.
I Don’t Trust You – PART TWO – Deciding Whether to Go or Stay
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. Before deciding to heal and restore the broken trust, the author Mira Kirshenbaum recommends that you ask yourself several questions.
I Don’t Trust You – PART ONE – How Mistrust Enters Our Relationships
While you can’t have relationships without disappointments, you cannot have a solid love relationship without trust. Any upsetting surprise or discovery that makes us feel vulnerable, hurt or unsafe can be experienced as a betrayal and break of trust. One way in which trust issues enter a relationship is when there are significant differences between the partners in background, personality or preferences. Another risk factor for mistrust is a situation of unequal power. The worst trust killer is when one partner is less open than the other.
How Do I Ask My Partner to Attend a Coaching Session with Me?
How do you express a need or wish most successfully to your partner? Saying “I need you to…”, will most likely result in your partner feeling he or she has no choice. They might feel cornered, resistant and get defensive as there is no room to move. Read how you can communicate your needs, for example the wish for them to attend couples sessions with you, more successfully. And what can you do when he or she still refuses?
How Limiting Relationship Beliefs and Skills Affect Us
Once, there are conflicts, that’s the beginning of the end of a relationship—or is it? The former assumption is a misconception. Conflicts are necessary and healthy in relationships, especially when we have learned how to work through them successfully. What determines whether we can create a safe and happy long-term relationship with our partner? How do our subconscious beliefs and missing relationship skills affect our partnerships?
The Nothing Box
Have you ever asked your male partner, “What are you thinking?” and the answer was, “nothing”? It seems women cannot fathom the concept that one could not be thinking anything at a given point in time—unless you are asleep or dead. Men, so we are told, have a “nothing box” in their brain. What is going on with that nothing box and how can we navigate the different needs men and women have in regards to communication.