5 Winning Strategies in Relationships

In one of my last articles, I outlined five interactions which are useless and damaging to your relationships, especially in our close loving partnerships. Here are five winning strategies, as Terry Real describes in his recording, “Fierce Intimacy”.

  1. Go After What You Want – Express Your Needs 

Express what you want and need and be assertive about getting it. Terry Real calls it “daring to rock the boat”, which is scary at times, especially when we seem to be cruising along smoothly. If we are overidentified with our Pleaser Part or our Peaceful Part, because we received the message during childhood that we will only be loved if we go along with everything, it can be terrifying to rock the boat. There are two things to consider. Firstly, it is your birthright to be in an equal cherishing relationship in which both partner’s needs are met. The second thing to realize is that if you do not find your voice and speak up for your needs and wants, resentment begins to grow, and resentment is a poison that slowly erodes the love between you and your partner. To stay with our metaphor, resentment drills little holes into your relationship boat.

Sometimes we have this idea that we should not have to ask for what we want and need and that our partner should just know what our needs are if he/she really loved us. Our partner is not a mind reader. We set them and ourselves up for failure with this attitude!

Furthermore, help your partner to succeed by telling him or her up front what you need or want instead of waiting for them to fail. Be encouraging and affirm your partner’s efforts by giving positive feedback. Terry Real calls this “celebrating the glass being 15% full”. If the glass was 5% full beforehand, this is a reason to celebrate and thus encourage your partner to keep going. With our children, we naturally do that. If your son or daughter made an improvement in school from a D to a C, you give them reinforcement to keep going and to eventually get to a B.

 

  1. Speak to Make Things Better 

Speak to your partner with love. Before you speak, drop down into your heart and speak from there. If you are too triggered to do that, take a time out until you are able to interact from a more centred place. Remind yourself that you want to speak to make repairs not to make things worse. Learn how to be assertive and loving at the same time. Make sure your partner knows that you love them but that you also need to respect yourself and your needs and feelings.

Make very clear requests using I-statements. There is nothing you need to say that cannot be phrased as a subjective I statement. This helps us to stay away from judgments or accusing the other person. One method for good communication is the five steps of the non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg as described in my article “Having Our Needs met in Relationships“.

Speak respectfully and be prepared that not all your requests will be met. You could say “I would like to talk to you about… Is this a good time?” We need to be able to also tolerate small disappointments. Your partner might reply, “I am tired right now. Can we talk about this tomorrow?” Terry Real even takes it so far as to say we need to “celebrate the no”. Celebrating the no means to be proud of your partner when they say “no” to take care of themselves and meet their own needs, and be proud of yourself for being adaptable and grow-up when you don’t get everything you want in the moment when you want it.

 

  1. Listen to understand 

Before we can respond, we need to really listen. Getting defensive, whether that is out loud or in our heads, is not true listening. We need to put our own feelings aside while we are listening. Listening is also not about arguing about the facts and wanting to be right. Wanting to be right is one of the 5 losing strategies. Listening means entering into your partner’s subjective experience. What do they feel and how do they see things? Be a friendly interviewer who really wants to understand the perspective of the other person.

Remember that as a couple, you are in each other’s care. Or keep Terry Real’s analogy in mind that you are at a customer service or support desk. When a customer complains that their new electric kettle does not work, they don’t want to hear from you that your toaster does not work. Your only concern is to listen to them and tend to their issue in that moment in time, until it is your turn at the customer service window. When your partner comes to you in a state of upset, you are in their service.

Remember that nobody thinks they are irrational. Their feelings and interpretations of reality make sense to them. It is your job to be curious about what makes sense to them. It is your job to help your distraught partner to get back into harmony and closeness with you because that is good for your relationship and therefore is also good for you. Terry Real calls this stance “Enlightened Self-Interest”.

 

  1. Respond with Generosity 

Our first impulse might be to deny that we have done something or to explain why we have done something. That way of responding was termed “leading with an argument” by Terry Real, because it usually is the beginning of an argument. Instead, acknowledge your partner’s experience or feelings and take responsibility for your part in the issue. You might need to lead with a sincere apology, or at least an honest acknowledgement of what you have done or not done.

Image by JenDigitalArt from Pixabay

That disarms your partner, deescalates the conflict, and allows you to make repairs. Terry Real calls this skill “relational jujitsu”. You don’t oppose the force. You yield to the energy coming at you and turn it into a more harmonic energy. Admittedly, that is not an easy feast to accomplish, because we have been taught to respond to power with equal or greater aggression. When we meet aggression and respond with generosity and gentleness, the aggression runs into emptiness.

On the side of the partner who receives an apology or an attempt to improve, “responding with generosity” means to gracefully accept the repair. This is not the moment to be picky. You might not get all you wanted, but if you get 70% of what you have been asking for, that is a sign that your partner wants to cooperate and make peace. Accept the peace offering! Respond with a “thank you” for listening to you and meeting your requests.

The next step is to ask what you can give your partner. Find out what they need from you to make the changes you have asked for. You are on the same team, so you want to help them come through for you. This is relational empowerment rather than personal empowerment. Our society tends to encourage personal empowerment at the expense of our relationships. I am of course not saying that our personal growth and empowerment is not important, but we need a balance in order to live well functioning relationships.

 

  1. Cherish what you have 

Cherishing is a powerful change agent. Terry Real believes “this one winning strategy is equal in potential to all of the other strategies combined”. The best way to get more of what you want in a relationship is by appreciating what you are already getting. Whatever we give energy to, or pay attention to, grows and becomes more. We have the choice to focus on the steps forward, on the progress.

Why is that sometimes so hard?

Real intimacy, closeness and vulnerability can be scary for many of us. Fights can serve as a distance regulator. Complaining about what we are not getting helps to keep the distance between us and our partner, instead of truly opening up our heart and acknowledging everything we are getting. Fights keep us tied into each other but at a certain distance. The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Fights are an opportunity to experience that the other one cares enough to be triggered by us and to feel close but not so close and enmeshed that it creates fear or panic. So what if, instead of starting a fight each time our inner child feels too vulnerable, we would express that we feel scared or that we need a bit of distance?

Terry Real calls the lack of gratitude towards our partner “having ADD, Appreciation Deficiency Disorder”. The ratio of negative feedback to positive appreciation is often out of balance in relationships. We need to engage in active appreciation several times each day.

Once our partner starts to give us more of what we have asked for, the challenge is to receive it gracefully and to cherish what we are getting. So if you hear yourself disqualifying what they are giving, e.g. “you are not doing it right”, or “you are only doing it because I asked for it”, or “you are doing it now but you didn’t do it then or you won’t do it in the future”, be curious about what is actually going on.

Sometimes we also have an attachment or belief system that keeps us from having happy and healthy relationships. We do something that Terry Real calls “keeping a parent spiritual company” by living in the same world they live in, e.g. being mistrustful like your father, or being passive aggressive like your mother, or overidentified with independence like your father, or overemotional like your mother, or too easygoing and disconnected from our own needs like your father and so on. When we try to move beyond that it might feel disloyal to the respective parent.

At other times, we might be invested in not wanting to be like one (or both) of our parents at all costs. For example, not wanting to take advantage of your spouse like you experienced your mother doing, or not wanting to abuse power like your father did and so on. When we identify with the opposite of an energy we are equally not whole and not able to create a balanced relationship. Moving into happiness in all those cases is synonymous with separating from our family. That’s were belief change techniques like PSYCH-K® and Shadow Energetics come in to change our subconscious programs.

If you dare to move beyond your parents and you dare to be happier, more vulnerable and more intimate than they were able to be, you are forging into new territory for your whole ancestral line. You are changing the future for your children and grandchildren, who will receive a different legacy because they now have new role models.

 

For individual sessions or couples sessions, please contact

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Listening to Our Gut Feelings

Con Artists and Other Untrustworthy People

Did a liar, manipulator or otherwise untrustworthy person cross your path lately? Sadly lying, manipulating or taking advantage of others is part of human nature. Everybody shows up in their shadows at times and that could mean lying, manipulating or acting in a way that is a betrayal. Why do our friends, family members or colleagues do this?

Usually, they act out of their own fear and neediness. It might be the need for love, attention, admiration, recognition, an addictive substance, money, or sex. That doesn’t make them a “bad person”. In another situation, this person might show up loving and kind, perhaps they are nursing a loved one through old age or an illness, or they are a wonderful caring mother or father, or they help the driver whose car broke down in the snow storm by the side of the road, even though it makes them late. Nobody is just good or just bad. However, we have the capability to choose in each given moment whether we show up with integrity, or out of integrity. And if somebody around us shows up in a shadow, let’s be very clear with what we observe and what it means to stand firmly in our own integrity. Having discernment is not judgment. It is taking good care of ourselves.

How often have I seen with others, and I include myself in this group, that we do not always listen to our gut feeling regarding other people, certain situations, or at least regarding a certain area in our life. Often the intuition is present but we then choose to ignore it, in favour of a left brain analysis of the facts. We do this even though we know that the left brain is less powerful than our right brain or intuitive mind. Why do we choose to disregard our gut? What happens inside of us that we ignore this powerful sense that we all have to guide us?

There is Jessica, who wanted to believe that the man she met online was truly looking for a committed long-term relationship and that he was not seeing anybody else, as he had repeatedly declared. Through a series of coincidences, she found out that he was simultaneously dating other women, just looking for a variety of sexual encounters. You could say that he was a talented actor. It took synchronicities for her to have her eyes opened to the manipulation and true character of this person. Yet, her gut feeling had told her in different instances that something was not right.

There is Mike, who repeatedly fell for the “damsel in distress” act of a much younger female friend who, as it turns out, just wanted his money. It took him being repeatedly taken advantage of financially for him to have his eyes opened. Having a very strong sense for other people in business, he completely disregarded his intuition when it came to this friend.

There is Ashley, who wanted to believe her boyfriend had stopped taking drugs and was loyal to her, when her gut told her otherwise each time he lied in her face.

And there is Jacob, who didn’t want to believe that his partner in business was dishonest, until he took off with their money and the business went bankrupt.

What happened in each of these situations?

Trust is the natural default setting of our human brain. As social beings, we need others and we tend to be trusting rather than mistrusting. Certain factors contribute to us trusting.

 

Familiarity Breeds Trust

The man Jessica dated quickly and purposefully created the illusion of familiarity by using loving tender nicknames, like “sweetie” and “darling”,  sending her love poems, telling her he loves her, and that he wants a future with her. That, as well as her own hope to have found someone to love, allowed him to deceive her for a while.

In Mike’s case, the younger female friend had helped him through a very traumatic and painful personal loss in the past and that created the illusion of familiarity between them. This made him more likely to help and trust her than as if this had not been the case.

Just like in Jessica’s and Mike’s cases, the familiarity factor was also present for Ashley and Jacob. Ashley’s boyfriend had just proposed to her. She was envisioning him as the future father of her children. She was also deeply enmeshed with his family, who saw her as his future wife and his saviour from addictions.

Jacob’s partner wasn’t just a business partner, but a close friend from primary school. Jacob felt that he knew him like his own brother. They had always dreamt of having a business together.

 

Oxytocin Is Involved

The bonding hormone oxytocin is responsible for how much trust we have when responding to others. When we are in a romantic love relationship with another person, oxytocin is produced. Most of us have probably experienced that the moment we engage sexually with another person, our critical faculties are reduced. Through physical touch and intimacy, oxytocin is increased, giving us the feeling of being bonded into the other person. The same applies for close friendships in which we bond with each other. Oxytocin increases our trust in the other person. We feel safe with them and are not on guard for a possible betrayal.

So, is there a way not to fall for con-artists, or lying, dishonest or manipulative people who take advantage of us?

There must be a healthy balance. We cannot go through life mistrusting everybody and assuming the worst. What we can all probably tune into more though, is our gut feeling. The more we learn to trust our intuition, the less likely it is that we are repeatedly conned or fall for people who do not deserve our trust.

There are different levels of utilizing our intuition, from simply sitting with and exploring a gut feeling to communicating with your Higher Self (the Superconscious Mind) through meditation or muscle testing. You can use self muscle testing or muscle test with and for others.

In general, when you feel peaceful, calm and confident, or you feel inspired and excited, or when the same opportunities seem to keep coming around, you are most likely in line with your inner guidance. If you feel pulled in different directions, anxious or experience some sense of heaviness in your gut that is not going away, you might be receiving a message that you are not on the right path.

If you would like to do a meditation on trusting your intuition and receiving guidance from your Higher Self, and/or an intuitive exercise to explore with a partner how to dial other people’s energy out, please join me on my Patreon.

In order to trust our intuition and to act on it, we need to have certain beliefs in place, for example:

  1. I am aware of my gut feelings and I listen to them.
  2. I easily and effortlessly communicate with my Higher Self / the Divine guidance.
  3. I take my time to assess others accurately, using my intuition.
  4. I make sound decisions when I enter into a business partnership and when I invest in a romantic relationship.
  5. It is okay for me to assess relationships when a gut feeling comes up and to act on that feeling.
  6. Even though somebody else might be acting out of integrity, I stand firmly in my own integrity.
  7. I live with integrity and I am honest with others.
  8. I deserve to take clear actions regarding people who act out of integrity.
  9. I let go of the need for revenge and I trust Karma to take care of it.
  10. I am clear about my deal breakers in a relationship.
  11. I completely forgive myself for falling for a dishonest person.
  12. Breaking up with a dishonest friend or partner frees me up to attract an honest person.

To clear out limiting beliefs and to learn to trust our intuitive mind more, we can use belief change techniques like PSYCH-K®. For a free phone consultation or to book an appointment, please contact me

Angelika
905-286-9466
greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Relationships Are Like Bicycles

“We’ve started taking each other for granted”, says my client ruefully. “We used to talk for hours, now we turn the TV on, fall asleep on the sofa and go to bed when we wake up. I used to shave even on the weekends, bring my wife flowers and look forward to the next weekend get-away with her. Now I wear sweatpants when we are alone, and we go on vacation with friends or family to avoid being bored with each other. What happened to us?”

Is this client alone with his experience? Far from it. Relationships are living, growing entities that change. Relationships want to be not just created but taken care of along the way. In fact, relationships are like bicycles in more than one way.

When you have a shiny new bike, the model you have longed for before you were able to buy it—or a shiny new car for those of you who are not bike lovers—you treat it with great care and attention. You make sure the tires are always full of air, it is clean and dry and doesn’t start to rust, you might buy new accessories for it, which make riding the bike more enjoyable, and you always lock it up securely when you leave it somewhere. Over time, the bike becomes older, less important, you get used to having it. And when spring arrives and you remember that it is sitting in the back of the garage, you realize that it has collected dust, has lost the air in the tires and the water bottle holder has broken off. It requires attention and maintenance. Part of you wants a new bike, but you do not throw this beloved old one out unless it is absolutely beyond repair.

Relationships are also like tandem bikes because when you fall off, you get back on. You don’t let your partner pedal alone for the rest of the ride, sulking how hard this riding a bike thing is, and you don’t leave the bike by the roadside for somebody else to find. You might vocally make your displeasure heard, but you grab the darn thing by the handle bars and you hop back on, to realize round the next corner that you do still enjoy the wind blowing in your face and the trees whizzing.  You gratefully ride into the sunset together, balancing along on this bike which you had so many adventures with already.

Is it time to pay more attention to your marriage or primary relationship again? Don’t just make New Year’s resolutions but follow through and book a session now.

NEW YEARS SPECIAL

Between December 15 and January 15 get 15% off your first couples’ session.

Contact me for individual coaching sessions or couples’ sessions.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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How To Get Most out of Couples Coaching

Couple's Coaching 1 - white letters

It takes courage to make changes in our life and in our relationships. Taking the step to work on your relationship means you believe your relationship is more important than any resistance or fear you are experiencing. Coming for a session to see a coach is the first step in initiating changes. Let’s make sure your experience is as beneficial and efficient as possible.

Before you come in for a couples session, I would like you to reflect on a few goal-oriented questions so that you and your partner are able to get the most out of the coaching session.

The first thing to acknowledge and to remember is that you cannot change your partner; you can only change yourself. Coaching gives you the best results if you take responsibility, and if you commit to learning to understand your partner at a deeper level. Focus on changing yourself and your responses to each other to create together what you both desire.

Couple's Coaching 2

In a couple’s session, we will assess the situation your relationship is in, look ahead to the future and to the relationship you want to have, and begin the work of interacting differently with your partner. A relationship is a team effort. Being a TEAM means “Together Each Accomplishes More”. Or in other words, what is good for your partner, is also good for you and your relationship.

To begin the work together as a team, we need a target, the motivation to work on the relationship, and the willingness to change. Ask yourself the following questions before you come in for a session.

  1. What kind of marriage or relationship do I want to be in?

Answering that question provides you and your partner with a target.

  1. Why is that kind of relationship important to me?

This is the motivation you have to do this work.

  1. What is going to be required of ME to create this?

This will help you shift from the natural tendency of wanting to change your partner to taking responsibility for your part of the relationship.

 

I look forward to hearing your answers to those questions during your first coaching session with me.

Angelika, Relationship Coaching

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

905-286-9466

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