The Stress Reducing Conversation

What happens when you are stressed or upset about something outside of your relationship and you turn to your partner to share? Is he or she able to relieve stress for you and be a true source of support? Or do you often feel even more alone after trying to vent and share?

Many couples seem to struggle with the difference between being supportive and helpful, and trying to “fix” things for each other. When our partner presents a problem to us, we often end up trying to fix it or solve it. We try to come up with advice or a solution. This approach on its own is as if we are saying, “You are not smart enough to solve this problem yourself, so let me do this for you.” We skip important steps by doing this.

Stress Reducing Conversation 1

 

The “Masters of Relationships”, as Drs John and Julie Gottman call couples who are successful at communicating and connecting, have a different approach when stress occurs in their partner’s life. Here are four steps to follow in the footsteps of the “Masters”.

  1. Ask Questions

First, you listen well and you show interest by asking your partner questions that allow you to get a better understanding what your partner’s subjective experience is.  For example, “how are you feeling about that?” or “what worries you most?” You are trying to understand WHAT your partner is feeling.

  1. Empathize With our Partner’s Feelings

Your second step is to empathize with your partner. Empathy sounds, for example, like this: “I can see why you feel upset / worried about that”, or “No wonder you are pretty angry”, or “It sounds like you had a really challenging day”. You are just making a statement about HOW your partner feels.

  1. Don’t side with the “enemy”

You always take your partner’s side in the matter. The goal of a stress reducing conversation is to help your partner feel less alone with what is stressing them out. One of the worst things to feel when you are stressed is that you are all by yourself. Even if you agree with the criticism or response your partner was experiencing from another, this is not the time to side with the other person. Postpone problem solving and refrain from pointing out that you agree with their opponent. Instead, just empathize with how your partner feels. That way you stay honest about your own thoughts, but at the same time you can show your partner support. You can be their ally and best friend and help relieve their stress by allowing them to share.

Stress Reducing Conversation 2.jpg

  1. Don’t problem solve for your partner

Before you offer solutions, ask your partner what their thoughts are in regards to shifting a situation or solving a problem. Trust your partner to have good insights and some ideas on what to do. If your partner asks you for your perspective or for solutions, you can offer to solve the problem together. Fixing is not helping, neither your partner, nor your relationship.

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika

Relationship Coaching and Belief Changes

905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Taking Care of Our Vulnerable Feelings and Needs

 

 

Easter-bunny-family

Easter is my favourite holiday. It is a time for family get-togethers, less commercialized and overloaded with expectations than Christmas, and I truly love the feeling that spring is in the air. I loved Easter when I was a child and even more so when my children were younger and excited about the more and more elaborate Easter Egg treasure hunts I would create for them each year. Easter is one of those occasions when our own Inner Child might come out, no matter how old we are.

little-boy-hiding

Our Inner Child is that vulnerable younger part in us which carries our playfulness, our imagination and creativity, our sensitivity, our fears and needs, and last but not least, the ability to be completely in the present moment. “This child inside of us which never grows up is of the uttermost importance because it carries our psychic fingerprint, the rhythm of our essential being and it’s presence determines the level of intimacy we are able to achieve in our relationships.” (Sidra Stone, The Child Within)

In our development of our personality, our move is towards power. We move away from the vulnerable child as we develop our personality structures, our sub-personalities, that protect us in the world. Some examples for sub-personalities are our Rational Self, our Perfectionist, our Pleaser Self, our Ambitious Self, our Smart Self, our Confident Self, our Intellectual Self, our Aggressive Self and so on. Those sub-personalities make us tough and able to cope. The purpose of this development is to protect the child, make life safe for it, and ensure it is appreciated and loved by other people.

easter-bunnies

The downside of this development is that without the child, we lose intimacy in personal relationships. “You can have marvelous contacts with people, exciting, exhilarating, intellectual contacts or power contacts but there is something missing; there is always something you are yearning for and you don’t know what it is and that’s the child being a part of things.”(Sidra Stone, The Child Within)

It’s the job of our Aware Ego to be responsible for the Inner Child. The Aware Ego has the job of parenting all the different selves but with the Inner Child, it is particularly important. If the Inner Child is not cared for by the Aware Ego, that child is going to emotionally reach out and bond into another person in our environment: our partner, our friend, or one of our real children. We then expect that other person, our spouse, friend or child to take care of our emotional needs.

Easter-hidden-eggs

With nature awakening, our Inner Children love the opportunity to be outside more. They adore the playfulness of searching for hidden Easter treats. The more you are in touch with your own more vulnerable feelings and needs, your child can come out to be playful and carefree.

Here are some ways of caring for your Inner Child now at Easter and at other times:

  1. Spend Time with Your Inner Child

Visualize the little girl or little boy and feel them. Find out what his or her feelings and needs are. What type of an Easter weekend does he or she want? Does he or she, for example, really want to spend hours on the road to drive to the in-laws to sit inside all weekend and eat, or does he or she want to be outside to connect with nature? How can that need be met in conjunction with your other Easter plans?

Spring-walk-path

 

  1. Honour Your Fears

Don’t be a slave to your Inner Child’s fears no more than you would let a small child dictate to you what you are doing with your life, but honour the fears which come up and see what you can do to make allowances or lessen them. For example, you are going to meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time on Easter and you are nervous. What can you request from your girlfriend to make this easier?

 

  1. Allow Time for Creative Activities

When you engage in creative non-demanding activities, child-like activities, like playing with clay, painting, drawing, or other craft activities, your Inner Child rejoices. It is important those activities are without the goal or aim of producing something marvelous. Also be aware that our Inner Critic likes to come in and criticize child-like activity because they don’t produce anything and are not necessarily of any kind of aesthetic value. The Inner Child part is not production oriented. The adult parts in us are. Now at Easter can you engage in some playful arts and crafts with your kids or by yourself, just for the fun of being creative?

 

  1. Learn How to Express Hurt

Learning how to take responsibility for hurt feelings and how to communicate the fact that your feelings are hurt helps the child inside. Do you remember the last time your spouse said something that hurt your feelings and you bit your tongue? How could you successfully and productively free of blame express a hurt next time?

Easter-hurt-feelings

 

  1. Learn What Hurts the Inner Child and Stay out of Toxic Situations

Ask what situations or relationships you are exposing your Inner Child to that are doing damage; and then make a conscious decision whether you want to continue those situations or relationships. There are some situations which are damaging but which—as sophisticated grown-ups—we feel we should be able to manage. That could be toxic work situations or relationships we feel we have to deal with.

For example, each time you go to a celebration or event of your partner’s children and grandchildren, your partner’s ex-wife and the mother of said children is also invited, and your partner doesn’t leave her side but serves on her and flirts with her. The proud grown-up part in you might feel you just need to handle this maturely and be fine. The revengeful part in you might feel it’s best to somehow show your partner how you feel by punishing him. Both parts are trying to protect your vulnerable feelings, but you are still exposing your child to unnecessary hurt and pain.

 

  1. Enough Food and Rest

Sometimes we forget that having enough food and rest is basic care for that child. We need to make sure we have healthy nutritious and regular meals and get enough sleep at night.

Easter-sleep

 

  1. Financial Security

Inner Children feel better when we are able to pay the bills. They don’t like debt and dependency on others. In a situation where a woman is financially totally dependent on a man, her Inner Child is never completely safe because she doesn’t have money of her own. Honour your Inner Child by planning ahead, paying bills on time, and doing what you can do to give yourself some financial security and independence.

 

  1. Allow for Some Predictability

Inner Children, like real children, like some predictability and schedules. They can be playful and spontaneous but too much unpredictability often frightens them. Make plans for the future and give your Inner Child some predictability.

 

  1. Treat Yourself

Sometimes Inner Children want particular things. We do not need to go broke over those wants but some physical objects make the Inner Child feel important and good. Does your Inner Child want something special for Easter?

Easter-table

 

  1. Be Conscious of Your Environment

The Inner Child is often sensitive to how comfortable, cozy and safe the environment feels. Is there something that needs to be changed in your home or office environment? Does your Inner Child right now maybe rejoice in Easter decoration, more plants, pleasing colours or some other elements that adds homeliness?

 

ENJOY A FABULOUS HOLIDAY!

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

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

Join Dhebi DeWitz and myself for our next bi-monthly FREE webinar to get in touch with the needs of your Inner Child.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 9 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST or 5:00-6:00 PST

TOPIC: “Are Your Essential Needs Being Met?”

DESCRIPTION: Uncommon knowledge on how to connect with your essential self and experience greater fulfillment and soul authenticity.

Click here to register and to receive the link to join us life. The webinar will also be posted on YouTube afterwards.

Once Upon a Time There Was An Evil Queen

“I’m still what’s inside of you. I’m all you’ll ever be,” says the Evil Queen, smirking at the woman in front of her.

Regina, the modern counterpart of the Evil Queen, is facing her darkness, about to kill her. Characteristic for this popular TV series, she ties the Queen up with a magic spell, reaches into the chest of the evil woman and rips out her heart.

“I hate you,” snarls the Evil Queen.

Regina is looking down at the black heart beating in her hand. She is about to kill her dark shadow side by squashing the heart, but then she hesitates.

She replies, “But I don’t. Not anymore… I am going to choose love over hate.”

She pulls out her own heart and melts the two for a moment. When she pulls them apart again, the dark heart has become lighter, and the light one now has traces of darkness. She puts both hearts back in their chests.

“I gave you some of my love… in return I am taking back some of your darkness, our darkness”, she explains.

The Evil queen looks stunned. “Why?” she inquires.

Regina answers calmly, “You are part of me and I am part of you.—And now I love myself!”

“Once Upon a Time” is a TV series about fairy tale characters who end up in our modern world and travel between realms, different magical realms and the contemporary world. One of the main characters is the Evil Queen from the fairy tale Snow White. At the beginning of this series, this Evil Queen, Regina, cast a curse which traps all the fairy tale characters, frozen in time, and brings them into our modern world. Different interactions between good and evil unfold throughout the six seasons.

Remarkable about this series is that no evil character is purely evil. Everybody demonstrates good and bad sides and even the antagonists change and develop. The viewer gets insights into how and why they have became so dark in the first place. There usually is some pain, hurt and lack of love behind their darkness.

Regina develops into a loving person in the contemporary world, yet her original character from fairy tale land remains dark. In the sixth season, it comes to the above described showdown between the modern Regina and her dark counterpart, the Queen. This showdown scene is the perfect example of how we are all facing our shadow selves and how we often hate that shadow. Instead of killing it and trying to get rid of everything that we have learned to believe is bad or wrong about us, we can embrace those shadow traits and end up actually loving ourselves the way we truly are.

Originally, the Evil Queen, who experienced a lot of personal pain and loss, trapped everybody in time to prevent all the fairly tale characters, especially Snow White, from getting their “happily ever after”. In the end, her modern counterpart, Regina, helps her to find her happy ending in Fairy Tale Land. The message being that everybody deserves to love him or herself and find that intimate connection with others.

IMG_7467

When we embrace our shadows we work towards a similar “happily ever after” in all our relationships. Integrating our shadows moves us into wholeness, into unconditional love of ourselves. We separate from the Inner Critic, the voice inside us that says there is something wrong with us for having a certain trait or behaving in a certain way. The more we separate from that judgemental voice, the easier it is to look into the mirror and say “I love myself.” By finding separation from the voice inside of us that says we need to hate our flaws and hide the way we truly are, we become gentle with ourselves and we can reconnect with our Inner Child. When we connect with that vulnerable part inside, we find our joy, our childlike wonder, our magic, our curiosity, our imagination, our creativity, our playfulness, and our intimacy.

As we accept all traits inside us, we can accept them in others. We release our judgments and projections. We develop a natural compassion towards others. We can accept other people more and more the way they are. When others feel our love and acceptance, it gives them permission to be their authentic selves. They feel safe because they will not be found wrong by us. Their protective walls come down and their masks come off. The result is the mutual ability to live loving and authentic relationships with each other.

couple, bike, love

Check the Upcoming Workshops schedule for the next four-day Shadow Energetics training or contact me for individual sessions.

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

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

Constructive Disagreements in Relationships – PART TWO Perpetual Problems

Whether we just had a new baby as I described in part one of this article, whether we have no children or older ones, an important aspect of constructive disagreements is processing our fights, acknowledging perpetual problems, and understanding the stories underneath our differences.

  1. Processing and Understanding Fights

We have to get outside of a fight in order to process it. Once you have calmed down, begin by describing the feelings you had during the fight. Just name them, don’t explain or elaborate. Let your partner do the same. For example, “I felt defensive / excluded / angry / misunderstood / criticized / treated unfairly / unappreciated / overwhelmed / afraid” and so on.

Then summarize your viewpoint. Then listen to your partner’s viewpoint. Don’t interrupt each other. Avoid blaming, disagreeing or getting back into the fight. Instead step into your partners shoes and try to see his or her perspective. Communicate your understanding of his or her view out loud to your partner.

taking-responsibility

Take responsibility for your part in the fight. For example, “I am sorry, I have been taking you for granted lately”, or “I have not been a very good listener lately”, or “I have not asked for what I need; I expected you to just know.”

Decide how you can make this better in the future by gently asking your partner to do one thing differently next time and vice versa.

  1. Deepening Your Understanding of Each Other

Every fight contains hidden conversations that lie dormant underground. Instead of the fight, what conversation do we actually need to have? The answer lies in our childhood experiences and current circumstances. We call out to each other from within our own vulnerabilities. Analyze what the triggers of your last fight were. For example, did you feel excluded / ignored / unimportant / rejected / unloved / powerless / helpless? Then, see if you can understand these feelings in connection with your past. Where and when in your past did you feel this way? Share with your partner.

behind-every-complaint

  1. Hear the Longing Behind a Complaint

Often our partner complains because he or she is longing for something that is hidden behind the complaint. Here are some examples put together by John and Julie Gottman in “10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage”:

Complaint: Why do you always let the garbage pile up like this?

Longing: I wish that we could feel more like teammates taking care of our house.

Complaint: You never call me during the day.

Longing: I wish we could feel close to each other, even when we’re apart.

Complaint: I’m tired of making dinner every night.

Longing: I’d like to go out for dinner with you, as we did when we were dating.

69-of-the-time

  1. Perpetual Problems and the Story Underneath

In each partnership, there are perpetual problems. In fact, according to John Gottman, 69% of problems couples have are repeats because they are based on fundamental differences in personality, lifestyle, or needs. “Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems” (Dan Wile). If you were with another partner, you would also have unsolvable problems, just different ones.

Some examples are:

– Differences in neatness and organization

– Differences in emotionality

– Differences in wanting time together versus time apart

– Differences in independence

– Differences in optimal sexual frequency

– Differences in preferred lovemaking style

– Differences in approaching finances

– Differences with respect to how much closeness to family partners want

– Differences in how to approach household chores

– Differences in how to raise and discipline children

– Differences in punctuality

– Differences in preferred activity level

– Differences in being people-oriented

– Differences in decision making

– Differences in ambition and opinions about the importance of work

– Differences with respect to religion or spirituality

– Differences with respect to drug and alcohol consumption

– Differences in excitement levels

– Differences in preferred lifestyle

– Differences in values

– Differences in marital fidelity

It is normal for a couple to trip up over those substantial differences. When we are stressed, overworked or exhausted, we gravitate towards our perpetual issues even more. The key to a happy relationship is not expecting to change the partner, but to learn to dialogue about those problems so we can make the best of it. If we can’t dialogue, we end up in gridlock conflict. This conflict takes over and robs us of all our happiness in the relationship.

We need to realize that with many of these perpetual problems, shadows come up for us. Our partner is mirroring to us what we have learned to disown. For example, I might be the planner and my partner is better at living in the moment. Or I am more concerned about neatness than my partner. Or my partner wants to save up most of our money and I like to have the freedom of spending it.

Underneath our conflicts is a hidden story tucked away safely: a dream, a fear, values or personal philosophies. For example, the wife doesn’t just want to save money in her second marriage, but she wants to avoid ever having to experience being poor again and having to go to the food bank with her children like in her first marriage. And the husband doesn’t just want to spend foolishly. He wants to travel and have a new car now rather than dropping dead at 50 like his own father, who never allowed himself any fun.

We don’t find out the dream or the fear underneath our difference if we never ask the questions, “What makes this so important to you?” and “Is there a story behind this for you, maybe in your childhood history?” Being curious about the story is beyond understanding just the thoughts and feelings. “It’s about also grasping what our partner holds sacred—our partner’s values, beliefs, experiences, symbols, and legacies.” (Gottman, And Baby Makes Three)

gottman-john-and-julie

Dr John & Dr Julie Gottman

We have to feel safe enough with our partner to pull our dreams out of the closet. The essential ingredients for a successful dialogue about a gridlock conflict are mutual acceptance of the differences and acknowledging the problem that results from those differences. With patient listening, laughter, and affection, the dialogue unfolds much better.

For example:

Dan: It upsets me that you spend money when you have so much debt. We should be lowering your debt and saving up for our own house. At this rate, it will take forever.

Abby: Why is it so important to you that we reach our goal soon?

Dan: Having a house together with you means for me that we are really committed to each other. It also makes me very nervous that you have debt.

Abby: Does this have to do with your family history?

Dan: Yes, in my family, financial safety has always been a high value. Being able to plan allows me to feel more in control. There is so much unpredictability in everyday life already. – But what about you? What does it mean to you to be able to spend money the way you do?

Abby: Money to me means the freedom to do what I want. You are looking for more predictability; I am looking for the opposite, for adventures and I suppose, unpredictability, when I can just take off on a trip and discover a new place. I also like to spend my money on workshops and trainings because this means stimulation for my mind and an interesting break from the everyday routine.

what-is-one-secret

Now Dan and Abby can either honour their partner’s position and the dream behind it, or not. It doesn’t mean surrendering their own. It means accepting the difference between them and establishing an initial compromise. They might decide to put a plan or budget in place that allows them to bring down the debt while still enjoying life. They also need to talk about what fears each of them might have about honouring their partner’s dream. What disaster scenarios are popping up in their minds?

Dan’s worst case scenario is to end up like his uncle, who lost all his money and his house when he and his wife split up. Abby’s worst case scenario is not to have the freedom anymore to make her own financial choices.

Compromising won’t eliminate the problem. It’s in the nature of a perpetual problem to come up again. However, it does not need to mean the death sentence for a relationship to have unsolvable problems when we can move from judgment into understanding, accepting and dialogue.

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika

Relationship Coaching and Belief Changes

905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Constructive Disagreements in Relationships – PART ONE And Baby Makes Three

We all know that life changing events like death, divorce, retirement, a job loss or major health issues cause stress. These major life changing events go hand in hand with loss and grief. What we often forget is that positive life changing events like getting married and having a baby can also bring on a crisis. According to a study by E.E. LeMasters in the 1950’s, 83% of couples go through a moderate to severe crisis when they become parents for the first time. Other studies in the 1980s have confirmed his findings.

Both parents go through major changes in their identities, which can be challenging and overwhelming. New fears might come up and our values and goals in life can change. Many parents want to be better at parenting in some way or another than their own parents. Mothers often become very involved with their babies. The energy which used to be solely directed towards their partner is now redirected towards the child. The dad can feel left out and depending on his own childhood experiences and wounds, feel unimportant, rejected and abandoned. Often both parents end up feeling unappreciated. Having a new baby brings lots of changes and challenges. When we are so busy, we forget to say “thank you” and “I am so proud of you”, and we forget to ask “How was your day?”

gottman-saying-thank-you

When we are sleep deprived for a long time, we feel stressed and can also get mildly depressed. Sleep deprivation also makes our daily hassles seem more intense. New parents tend to feel more emotional and more irritable. The frequency and intensity of relationship conflicts and fights increase.

The greatest gift parents can give their baby is a happy and strong relationship between the two of them. What the child needs most of all, is for their parents to feel supported by each other and safe in their relationship. It makes the child feel safe in return. The blood pressure of babies rises when they witness their parents fighting and signs of depression in parents also have effects on the babies. “In the first three years of life, fundamental neural processes are being laid down that have to do with the infant’s ability to self-soothe, focus attention, trust in love and nurturance of his parents, and emotionally attach to his mother and father.” (Gottman, And Baby Makes Three)

Keep your fights constructive and respectful. Be gentle with each other and take responsibility for your part without being defensive. Listen and acknowledge your partner’s view. Children need to learn how to communicate their needs and feelings successfully and that their emotions matter to others. When you work on how you communicate, you can model successful interactions for your child. Your child will then develop the neural network for school achievement, healthy relationships and a future happy life.

If you have been struggling with constructive disagreements so far, don’t blame yourself. Let the past go and focus on the now. It is never too late to shift and change and thus show your child how we can all interact differently.

 

  1. Softer Start Ups

The start up is how we bring up an issue with our partner. 96% of the time, the start-up of a conversation determines how a conflict conversation develops. When we introduce an issue with a harsh start up—for example with blame or criticism—the likelihood that the other partner gets defensive right away is much higher. We need to be aware of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stone-walling. They destroy our relationships. A complaint, on the other hand, starts with neutrally describing the situation, how we feel about it, what need we have, and ideally, it includes a request.

gottman-harsh-start-up-2

 

Here are some examples based on those by Julie Schwartz Gottman and John Gottman.

Harsh Start-Up: You don’t care about me (blame). You only care about yourself (criticism). You are just wrapped up in your own little world, with your face stuck in that newspaper (contempt and criticism).

Softened Start-Up: When you read the newspaper at dinner and you are not talking to me, I feel pretty upset. I miss talking to you and connecting with you. Can you ask me how my day was or tell me how yours was?

Harsh Start-Up: You think I’m ugly, don’t you? You want someone skinny, like the girl you were eyeing yesterday (blame and criticism). I know I am heavy, but so what? I just had a baby.

Softened Start-Up: I am worried that I am not sexy enough for you now that my body has changed. We are going to this party and I have put on this fancy dress and it is way too tight. I feel insecure and I would really like some compliments from you right now.

 

  1. Accept Your Partners Influence

In any argument, there is no objective truth. There are always two subjective realities, ours and our partner’s. When we insist that our perception is the only one that’s right and our partner’s perception is wrong, we end up in a power struggle in which we both lose. Instead of focusing on persuading your partner that you are right, acknowledge that there are two sides to every fight and strive to understand his or her point of view. Open-ended questions invite your partner to share more, for example “What makes this so important to you?” Step into your partner’s shoes for a moment and view the issue from your partner’s eyes to see why it makes some sense to have those feelings. Restate your partner’s point of view and validate it. When we accept our partner’s influence, we are honouring our partner as someone who is intelligent and well intentioned.

Gottman - understanding partner's position.jpg

 

  1. Calm Your Conflicts

When one or both partners get flooded and go into a state of DPA (diffuse physiological arousal), also known as “fight or flight”, it is time for a break. When we are in DPA, our hearing is compromised. Surges of adrenaline give us “tunnel vision”. We are not able to be compassionate or to be creative and problem solve. We see danger lurking and our partner feels like an enemy.

We need to request to halt the talk. When we tell our partner how long the break is going to last and when we intend to come back and resume talking, they will be more receptive. A break should last at least 25-30 minutes to give us adequate time for our heartbeat to slow down and for the adrenaline and cortisol levels in the body to decrease. At the very most, a break should last one day or otherwise it can feel to our partner as if we are avoiding the talk or are trying to passive-aggressively punish them.

gottman-30-min-break

 

During the break, anything that helps us physically soothe ourselves is a good idea: going for a walk, meditating, playing the piano, petting the dog, reading a book or anything else that is personally comforting to us. Ideally, you can combine deep breathing with a progressive muscle relaxation and with guided imagery. To learn how to do this, contact me.

 

  1. Compromise

When we are relaxed and able to express our feelings and needs, we can communicate successfully about problems. Part of successful problem solving is working out compromises. First, define the most minimal core area of need which each of you cannot give up on. What is your core need? Then define areas of greater flexibility, for example in regards to when and how you each get what you need. Third, come up with a temporary compromise.

 

Gottman - repair attempts.jpg

 

  1. Make Repairs

For a relationship to thrive the partners need to make and accept each other’s repair attempts. There is no right or wrong way to make a repair but it has to be made by one partner and heard by the other partner. Repairs can be words of apology, smiles, a joke or even a goofy face. Some examples of possible repair statements are:

  • I am sorry. I overreacted.
  • I might be wrong here.
  • I really blew this one.
  • Can we “rewind”? Let’s start over.
  • Let me try again.
  • I apologize. I got really triggered.
  • That must have really hurt your feelings.
  • I need to calm down. Can we please take a break and continue talking in 30 minutes?
  • That hurt my feelings.
  • Tell me you love me.
  • Can I have a kiss?
  • I am feeling unappreciated / sad / misunderstood.
  • I feel defensive. Can you perhaps rephrase that?
  • Please don’t withdraw.
  • I know this isn’t your fault.
  • Let’s compromise here.
  • I love you. Let’s work on this.

 

If you don’t want to miss part two of this article about perpetual problems in relationships, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika

Relationship Coaching and Belief Changes

905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

Haunted By the Past

“I don’t need to forgive”, Maria said. “I have moved on and built my own life. My father is the one who left us for this woman. He was always a selfish man. He doesn’t deserve to see me or meet his grandchildren. He will only hurt us again. Also, my mother would be so upset if I forgave him…”

Maria came to me with relationship issues with her husband and children and with depression. As much as Maria claimed that she had let go and moved on, she was still emotionally and energetically hooked into the past. She, understandably, was afraid to get hurt again. She felt the need to continue to punish her father for something that happened 25 years ago. She only had contempt for him and his second wife. She hadn’t ever grieved the loss of her father or forgiven him. She loved her mom and felt that she owed it to her mother to hang on to the hurt and anger.

Maria was looking at forgiveness from the traditional point of view, and was asking, “Why should I be the one to forgive? What he did was disloyal and wrong. My mother and I were the ones who were hurt.” She blamed him for her pain and for what he did to her mother. In her eyes, he abandoned and wronged them. They were the victims.

forgiving-lenard-l-quote

New Thought Forgiveness looks at forgiveness quite differently. When we forgive, we are not excusing what the other person did. However, when we know that we are always co-creators of our reality, we need to question the idea of perpetrator and victim. This view of forgiveness acknowledges that anger, hurt and shame of past events affect us emotionally, mentally and physically in the present, often on a daily basis. We can choose at any time to move from being a lifelong victim into freedom. In order to achieve that freedom, we need to drop into our hearts and ask our heart’s intuitive wisdom and guidance, “What is there for me to learn or overcome and what gift does this situation have for me? How can I take responsibility for my own feelings and beliefs?” And most importantly, “what do I need to do to be free and joyful again?”

forgiving-others-is-a-gift

When we forgive others, we free ourselves from allowing the experience to adversely affect our life in the present. When we truly forgive, we reclaim our power, the power to decide if and how that past event will affect each moment now. Forgiveness and letting go allows us to get on with living a joyful life, the life we were meant to live. “Until you forgive, you still have an energetic connection to the past person or event.” (Dhebi DeWitz)

Gregg Braden explains how forgiveness allows us to clear out our anger, judgments, and pain regarding specific events in our lives. And Dhebi DeWitz summarizes in “The Messenger Within”: “It does so without condoning the action, pardoning the behaviour, or absolving what has happened. It simply acknowledges that the event occurred. Forgiving does not mean the other person is no longer held accountable for his or her actions because those do have consequences. Nor does it relinquish responsibility.

It simply means that when we bless and forgive the people, circumstances, and events that hurt us in life, we are acknowledging their existence, and by doing so, it allows the hurt to move out of our being.”

forgivness-is-unlocking

Energetically, we have kept the people we have not forgiven imprisoned within us. As their prison guard, we have bound ourselves together with them, instead of letting them and the incident go. The others are unaware we have put them into this jail inside ourselves. The only ones who suffer are us by putting ourselves into that prison with them. No matter what they have done or didn’t do, people will always experience energetic consequences. The law of cause and effect always works.

forgiveness-is-the-gift-that-frees

Maria had to admit that a lot of her energy and her thoughts directly or indirectly revolved around what her father had done. Each time she visited her mother or spoke to her on the phone, Maria silently blamed her father for her mother’s depression. Whenever she had a fight with her own husband, Maria found herself calling him selfish and thinking “Typical men! They are all the same!” All this was pain she was giving herself based on the experiences she had and the beliefs she had learned growing up.

Forgiveness is a choice to release, to let go, freeing up the energy that binds us into the past and blinds us to any other perspective. We can choose to let go of the old emotions stored in our body and establish new, more supportive beliefs. Forgiveness is for our own healing. It releases us from energy patterns that contribute to emotional and physical pain, to illness or to energy drain. Hate, anger, hurt, sadness, shame and other suppressed emotions affect our overall health.

when-we-hate-our-enemies

The reason why it is usually not enough to simply decide to forgive is that forgiveness is not an intellectual process. The conscious decision to forgive is only the first step. Forgiveness happens at the level of the heart and includes our subconscious mind.

One such process of letting go is the “Blessing of Forgiveness Process”, developed by Dhebi DeWitz from The Heart And Soul Academy, which includes three parties:

One such process of letting go is the “Blessing of Forgiveness Process”, developed by Dhebi DeWitz, which includes three parties:

  1. Those who inflicted the suffering
  2. Those who suffer
  3. Those who witnessed the suffering

 

  1. Forgiveness of Others:

Forgiveness is not for the other person. The real reason we forgive is because we don’t want to suffer and feel hurt every time we remember what they said, did or didn’t do. Have you ever considered that nothing anyone ever does is because of you (Don Miguel Ruiz)? What somebody did to you has absolutely nothing to do with you, but only with them.

Maria’s father did not leave her because she was “not enough,” but because he was longing for love and his own happiness. The actions of the offending person are a result of the beliefs and learned behaviours of that person at that time. People are dealing with their own inner anguish and turmoil. Maria’s father did not know how to improve the relationship with her mother and did what many people do: he moved on to the next relationship. The actions that hurt Maria were a reaction to the suffering that played out in her father’s own mind, and that he acted upon while involving Maria and her mother. He simply acted based on his perceptions that his marriage was over, on the pain that he carried within him from his own childhood and on his longing for love and happiness.

Once we have this awareness, it helps us to not take what the other person did personally, and then—with the understanding that we are all human, and with compassion for the other person’s perception—it will lead us to true forgiveness. By forgiving others, we are still acknowledging the existence of their hurtful actions, but by doing so with heart-consciousness rather than the mind alone, we allow the hurt we have taken in so deeply to be released from our body. We can rationalize all we want, but until we forgive in our heart, the person, event, or circumstance has the power to haunt us. On the other hand, when we truly forgive, it frees us from the limitations we have placed upon ourselves, and allows us to live in greater joy and happiness.

  1. Forgiveness of Yourself:

Often, we forget that the people we most need to forgive are ourselves. We might have directly or indirectly contributed to the painful event, but even if we didn’t, we have to forgive ourselves for taking whatever happened to us in too deeply – so deep that it shut us down, kept us helpless and small, and paralyzed us from living fully in this present moment. (Debbie Ford). We also might need to forgive ourselves for judging ourselves. In which ways have you been unkind to yourself? What have you blamed yourself or judged yourself for?

Maria realized she never felt good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, loveable enough. She was usually critical with herself, beating herself up for not being a good daughter, a good wife or a good mother. She also had to forgive herself for taking in too deeply that her father left her mother, so deeply that she never wanted to see him again and that it made her afraid to trust men, including her own husband.

  1. Blessing of the Witnesses:

Her father left his first family when Maria was ten. Her mother refused to let her have contact with her paternal grandparents. Her grandparents were helpless witnesses to the suffering, feeling unable to do anything. Maria blamed them for not taking clear sides for her and her mother. Maria had learned from her mother that there were sides to take. Revisiting the situation as an adult and putting herself in her grandparents’ shoes, she realized their confusion and helplessness.

The people who were bystanders of the painful event, like Maria’s grandparents, carry a part of the energetic imprint of the event within them. They might have felt powerless or helpless to prevent the pain and suffering in the past and they might still suffer from their inability to comfort or help in the present. “When we bless those who have witnessed the suffering, it releases their energetic cords or connection to the situation.” (Dhebi DeWitz)

 

Forgiveness in all three cases means letting go of the past and cutting energetic chords which drain us. Not to forgive is a choice to remain in what is familiar, the emotional pain. “If we say, ‘I just can’t forgive’, then what we are really saying is, ‘I prefer to live with my emotional poison, with my pride and my anger. I prefer not to move from this place of suffering.’” (Dhebi DeWitz)

We might not always be able to forgive everything in one go and we might have to do a heart-centred forgiveness process or ritual several times, but the choice not to forgive at all is the choice to continue being a victim and to remain in anger and pain.

 

Are you interested to experience and learn Dhebi DeWitz’ Blessing of Forgiveness Process and other ways of forgiving from your heart?

Join me for this workshop:

Sunday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Topic: Forgiveness

LOCATION: Mississauga

Fee: EARLY BIRD $67 (by Feb. 14), $80 thereafter

BRING A (New) FRIEND SPECIAL $59 (each)

 

The Blessing of Forgiveness Process is also available in Dhebi DeWitz book “The Messenger Within”.

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

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

You can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

Relationship Coaching, Belief Change and Shadow Work

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

How About Love?

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure – measure a year?

In daylights – in sunsets

In midnights – in cups of coffee

In inches – in miles

In laughter – in strife

In – five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure

A year in the life

How about love?

(“Seasons Of Love” song from the musical “Rent”)

Love is a topic which occupies all of us. As a society, we are obsessed by it: books, movies, TV series, musicals, Valentine’s Day, talking with your girlfriend, seeing your therapist. Everything revolves around relationships and love. We long for it and we wonder how to “get love”. At the same time, there is hardly any other topic we have learned more myths about.

Science has revealed that love is vital to our existence. Love is a basic survival code for us as humans. Our brain is wired to read and respond to others. Feeling safe and loved by others makes us stronger. We all need the emotional and spiritual nourishment of human relationships. Human comfort is our natural remedy for fear, stress, and doubt. Rejection, abandonment and disconnection are cues for danger that plunge us into anxiety and cause us not just emotional but also physical pain.

“When your mind perceives the experience of love, it causes the brain to secrete neurochemicals, such as dopamine, oxytocin and growth hormone into the blood (…) you are generally healthier and more alive when you are in love (…) fear provokes the release of stress hormones and inflammatory agents such as cytokines into the blood (…)” (Bruce Lipton, The Honeymoon Effect)

Love is not something we “get” or “fall into” when we are lucky or happen to just be cute and lovable. Love is an energy to embrace; it is a consciousness. It doesn’t just happen to us. We are co-creating it based on our core beliefs about ourselves and the world. If we have learned that we are lovable and worthy of experiencing love and joy, it is easier to vibrate at the level of love. Love is an experience but it is an action first and foremost.

dhebi-love-2a

Dhebi DeWitz

dhebi-love-2

Dhebi DeWitz

If you are going through life, waiting to feel love when you meet others, you have misunderstood the true essence of love. Love is a discipline; it requires us to personify love and to practice being loving with yourself and others.

In fact, an essential aspect is learning to unconditionally love ourselves. Many of us have been taught to give to others, to love others and to under no circumstances be so vain as to love ourselves. In Bruce Lipton’s workshops, 90% of people fail the muscle test “I love myself”. I can certainly confirm that from my own sessions. “I love and accept myself the way I am” is a belief most of us do not hold in our subconscious mind.

Instead, we hold back on truly loving ourselves until a certain condition is met. “I’ll love myself and my body when I have lost weight”, “I’ll love myself when I have reached my goals”, “I’ll love myself when somebody else truly loves me”. That conditioning completely misunderstands the true nature of love.

We exist as love. Children come into this world open, loving and unguarded, until they learn to protect themselves and guard their heart. Reconnecting with our true essence simply means reopening our heart to love. It means the end of loneliness and separation. Instead it fosters unity with others, with other people, with nature, with the source of life with all there is.

dhebi-love-4

Dhebi De Witz

dhebi-love-5

Dhebi De Witz

Self-Love is as misunderstood a term as love. Self-love isn’t just a verb. Self-Love is beyond taking care of yourself and doing things for yourself. Self-Love is knowing who you are and knowing you are made of love. Love is your original energy, your true essence.

How do you open your heart, you might wonder? How do you start loving yourself and others more? You create love by creating an atmosphere of love in your life. Seeing the beauty in yourself is as necessary as seeing the beauty in others. Your thoughts determine who and what you attract into your world. Allow yourself to see more of the joy and beauty of life that is surrounding you daily. Allow yourself to be at peace with what is, instead of criticizing and focusing on the lack in yourself and others.

You create this love by speaking kindly to the people you meet. You consciously look for the good and the positive in everyone. You tell people why you appreciate them. You listen from your heart to the words that others speak. You give yourself permission to be truly present with them. You build bridges to connect with others. By being loving—by being considerate in your thoughts, your words, and your actions—you are attracting more love into your life.

We are conditioned to believe that happiness and love comes only after we have found our ideal lover. This attitude limits our personal growth. Instead, decide to be truly happy right now, today. And because your sincere joy makes you more attractive, others find you lovable and want to be around you. Soon you begin to feel the joy, the lightness, and the laughter, that comes with love. You realize that love is more than a lover adoring us. Love is an open heart for everybody, including yourself. That kind of love is healing.

There are two basic human emotions. One is fear, the other is love. One cancels out the other. Fear impacts our ability to love. Love, on the other hand, heals all fear and chaos. Love is the solution to disease and pain, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Love is not just inside all of us. Love is the actual essence we fundamentally are. Therefore we are our own and other people’s healers. “Love is a healer because it undoes the basic problem of separation and also the basic fear of not being loveable. It restores our awareness of our Unconditional Self and our true nature. Love is, I believe, the solution to every problem.” (Robert Holden, Loveability)

Join Dhebi DeWitz and myself for another

FREE webinar on

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

at 5:00 p.m. PST or 8:00 p.m. EST.

TOPIC “Love”

E-mail either one of us to receive the link to join us live. You can also send us questions on the topic “Love” prior to Feb. 8.

Angelika

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Watch Dhebi DeWitz beautiful video Love is your true nature

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Over-functioning

Have you ever found yourself feeling unappreciated? I have; quite recently, actually. For a couple of weeks, I found myself running programs about how much I do for some people and how little these things are acknowledged or appreciated. I sounded like one of our older female relatives who always complains about how much she does and how nobody ever thanks her. Yikes. That certainly was a rude awakening! I didn’t like that image in the mirror at all

On New Year’s Day, when I was talking to my best friend, who often seems to go through similar lessons as I am, I had an epiphany. The only one who is to blame here is myself. I made the choice to over-function because I perceived others as not functioning sufficiently. I made several things my responsibility that strictly speaking weren’t; and my friend had realized the same for herself. For the holidays, we had put self-care somewhere lower on the list of priorities and not at the top where it belonged.

over-functioning-self-care-is-possessing

 

What is the solution? It is very easy. Stop over-functioning! The house does not need to look like in an Ikea catalogue; making everybody feel happy and loved at Christmas is not your responsibility; and if other people miss their deadlines, remind yourself that they are their deadlines. If somebody takes you completely for granted, walk away.

over-functioning-when-someone-treats-you-like-an-option

 

Instead, make yourself first priority again. Don’t do anything unless you absolutely want to. Give only if you can give without expectations. Treat yourself to more “me time”, to all the things you like to do. Ask, “what makes me happy today?” and then do it.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May 2017 be filled with healthy priorities

and lots of rejuvenating “you time”!

 

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Turtles and Hailstorms

romantic-love

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt call the template or idealized image of positive and negative qualities of our primary caregivers our “Imago”. Through our subconscious programs, we are drawn to somebody who matches this template.

In other words, our partner carries some of our shadows. He or she displays to us what we are struggling with and are working on. They are a mirror of what we have learned to identify with or disown during childhood. They might not superficially appear to be like our primary caregiver but we will inevitably end up feeling the same feelings we did as a child. Partially, those could be positive feelings of belonging, being accepted, safe and loved. But the relationship also brings up painful feelings due to our more traumatic experiences, and activates our childhood hurts. Unconsciously, we seek out a partner with whom we can heal each other’s childhood wounds.

If you had a mother who abandoned you, you might unconsciously expect to be abandoned again while seeking out a partner who is like your mother in some ways, to relive and heal the old experience. If you had a father who never stood up for you, you might unconsciously seek a partner who is also afraid to stand up and protect you, in the unconscious hopes that somebody will finally stand-up for you.

Partnerships are meant to resurface feelings and experiences from our childhood. “About 90 percent of the frustrations your partner has with you are really about their issues from childhood.” (LaKelly Hunt) Even if we have convinced ourselves consciously that the person we are attracted to is a good match and not at all like our parents or caregivers, our subconscious meanwhile as a completely different agenda. It has already figured out early on who we can relive our childhood traumas with, hoping for a happier ending this time.

img_2504

If you are wondering whether your partner echoes shadows from the past for you and what they are, you can do the following exercise. Make a list of frustrations, problems and unmet needs in regards to your primary care giver(s), for example “she never listened to me and that made me feel…” or he “never had time for me and that made me feel…”. Once you have completed that list, make a list of issues you have with your partner and how they make you feel. Compare the lists and notice any similarities. Talk to your partner about the similarities. Once he or she understands that he or she triggers your childhood emotions, the work to keep each other safe and meet each others needs can begin.

You and your partner may have a lot in common but Hendrix and LaKelly Hunt have found that couples are often incompatible in how they handle stress and conflict. When it comes to handling stress and conflicts, people’s reactions fall into two categories: minimizers or maximizers. When minimizers are anxious, they contain their energy and go inside. Like a turtle, they retreat into their shell. When maximizers are anxious, they tend to express themselves loudly. Hendrix and LaKelly Hunt call this person a hailstorm. Their energy flows outward and they prefer to process their feelings with others.

Turtles process slowly and inwardly. From the outside, it looks like not much is happening and as if the person is avoiding rather than addressing the issue. However, the turtle processes his or her feelings and thoughts quietly on the inside, reflecting carefully before responding. Hailstorms visibly get things done; they usually have a to-do list and love being able to cross things off their list.

turtle-hailstorms-quote

When the Turtle feels flooded and becomes overloaded, he or she needs to withdraw. To the Hailstorm, it can feel like the Turtle disappeared. That makes the Hailstorm more anxious and he or she will start hailing to get the partner’s attention.

Both partners need to learn to accommodate each others differences in processing. The Hailstorm can learn to give the Turtle a little shell time and make them feel safe to come out again soon by letting them know how much they are appreciated and valued.

To coax out the turtle you can

  1. Ask them what they need right now. Sometimes they are not sure, but be curious about why they are hiding.
  2. Don’t do anything; give them space.
  3. Write a short note of appreciation and leave it somewhere for them to find.

turtle-hiding-in-shell

And the Turtle can learn to be more courageous when he or she sees the storm clouds gathering. “Hailstorms hail because they are overwhelmed. They often feel like they’re holding the weight of the world. And when you retreat, the Hailstorm feels even more alone. So the minute you hear a rumble, give them your full attention. Offer kindness and support.” (Hendrix) The fastest way to get the storm to stop is to assure the Hailstorm that you have got their back. Once they realize they rely on you and you will do your part to keep them safe, the sun will shine once again.

To calm the hailstorm

  1. Respond! Let them know you are not retreating. Respond with facial expressions, a kind note, a service or gesture that shows them you care how they feel.
  2. Listen and repeat back how the Hailstorm is feeling. They don’t feel heard. Show them you hear and understand.
  3. Ask “Is there something I can do for you?” They need to know you have their back.

sky-11

Partners can learn to not judge the other for how they are. As Hal and Sidra Stone point out, “what we judge in others is actually the medicine we need”.

Turtles and hailstorms can teach each other what they are each missing to become more whole. “Turtles need to learn how to push their energy out and how to ‘show up’. This means expressing themselves out loudly and clearly, like the Hailstorm does. And hailstorms need to learn the turtle’s wisdom of stepping back and containing their energy.” (Hendrix)

Ironically, both partners need to learn how to be more like each other. When we embrace the shadow sides which we have disowned, we take a step towards each other. “As the Turtle becomes more storm-like, and the Hailstorm becomes more turtle-like, balance is restored” (Hendrix) within the relationship, but also within ourselves. We have reclaimed a disowned part of ourselves.

Belief Change Coaching, Relationship Coaching and Workshops on various topics

Angelika, 905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.