Overcoming The Road Blocks To Effective Communication

By Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Communication is the life tool with which we may create and strengthen our relationships, and relationships are all about emotional safety and meaningful connections.

Communication is a tool like no other. Whether verbal or nonverbal, it is to your emotional and mental health, and relationships, what food and water are to your body. You may be wondering, if talking is such a “loving” activity why do you experience so much pain in your communications with one of the most important persons in your life, your partner?

Communication is not the problem; the real problem is allowing your subconscious minds to communicate in your defense, rather than communicating in conscious, deliberate ways that grow you personally because they energize life in your relationship. Just as we cannot not communicate, we cannot not relate. Therefore, it is not a question of whether or not communicate, rather a question of how you relate when you communicate.

How has to do with the emotional signals you are sending, distinct messages about how you feel about one another that either enhance or diminish the quality of your couple relationship. You may not be consciously aware of these signals, however, your subconscious mind is, and hypervigilantly so in situations where it thinks you perceive a threat or danger.

Alas, you are your partner are wired to seek fulfillment in the giving and receiving of your gifts of love. At the same time, you are also wired with a drive that propels you to seek to be known, recognized and valued as a unique individual. This is part of your quest for meaning and purpose in life.

Thus, the strivings for a deeper connection, on the one hand, and the strivings for being valued as unique being, on the other, create a natural tension in our relationships, seemingly pulling and pressing from opposite directions.
This tension, however, is critical to our well being. It is there, not to torment, rather to nudge us to learn what we need to know to find fulfillment, and realize all we can be as self-actualized beings. A healthy life is much like walking on a tightrope. The opposing pressures are actually invitations to learn how to live life in balance. Power struggles are inevitable in our relationship. They are the schools in which we learn both how to create and influence and make happen, as well as how to stand back, fully accept and let go. Both are essential capacities to cultivate, as we learn to manage our emotional states.

When we embrace painful emotions and fear as teachers, they help us learn how to protect our happiness, a task that is essential to us in order to realize the full richness of life. While this tension is uncomfortable and painful, it is not what produces the problems we face. In fact, suffering is a result of avoiding or not responding wisely to painful emotions we feel. Avoiding pain may be the primary culprit responsible for much of the suffering in couple and family relationships.

The real obstacles are certain meanings our brain has recorded and believes are true, in other words, a host of lies and illusions. What are the obstacles?

1. Fear of painful emotions and fear itself

One of our biggest obstacles is that your parents, like most all parents for many generations, did not know how to regard painful emotions, their own and their loved ones, as important teachers, opportunities to connect at deeper levels of meanings or action signals! Instead, you learned to go to one extreme or the other, either avoid, deny, reject painful emotions or fear—or wallow in them—in order to fulfill your needs to either connect or be recognized for your uniqueness. In either case, your sensory-self is hyper-vigilantly, to some degree, in charge. This means you are in survival mode, a state, where your “fight or flight” gets easily triggered, that you are not designed to be in for long periods of time. Your body burns enormous amounts of energy in survival mode. It is designed to do so to help you survive the occasional crisis. Afterwards, it needs time to repair! When the sensory-self is in charge, it is hyper-vigilantly guarding against enemy attacks in situations where, well, you are just at home with your loved ones!

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The Man Period IS NOT Pragmatic

You can try and figure it out if you want to…..but beware….the man period IS NOT pragmatic.  LOL.  It just happens yall….oftentimes for unrelated, insignificant, and irrelevant reasons.  Yes, we as men spazzz out and get into a funk sometimes that pollutes our whole environment.  The wife can see it and feel it.  The children can see and feel it.  It’s no secret.  It’s not logical. It is what it is.  Please don’t take offense….the man period IS NOT pragmatic.  Listen in and hear how my wife deals with me when I get into this stank space.

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My Man Wants Me To Call Him Master When I Talk To Him

My man of 2 years wants me to address him as master when i talk to him.  He also wants me to get permission for everything.  This has been his personal preference regardless of the fact that i told him how i feel about it.  I have also talked to some people about some things in our relationship and I regret it because of how it made him feel.  I asked other people because i needed the opinions of people who had done the marriage and relationship walk.  I was doing everything to make sure I treated him like a king and to show him i love him but he doesn’t see or feel it.  I love him and I want things to work for us but i no longer want to put down my emotions and beliefs to satisfy him.  How can you get this point across to him?

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The 7 Secret Ingredients To Forgiveness

Knowing that forgiveness is good for you doesn’t make it easy to put it in to practice. When you’re dealing with infidelity it’s not easy to forgive.  When you’re the victim of abuse..it’s not easy to forgive.  When you’re dealing with neglect it’s not easy to forgive.  Again forgiveness IS NOT EASY and maybe is not appropriate for all situations.  While there are no simple solutions to be better at forgiveness there are several principles we all can keep in mind.

The below excerpt is from PsychologyToday and written by Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D.

1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to forget, too. We don’t forgive and forget at all. People who have been terribly abused, neglected, and victimized don’t forget their traumas and they really don’t need to do so. They can learn to forgive, yet remember quite well.

2. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re minimizing your victimization experience. By engaging in forgiveness you aren’t saying “it’s okay…it wasn’t that bad.” Not at all! You can forgive yet still admit that the victimization and trauma was very real and very bad.

3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re a chump. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, naivete, or foolishness.

4. Forgiveness doesn’t depend upon the other person apologizing and accepting your offer of forgiveness. Sadly, you cannot expect that the person who wronged you can fully understand or appreciate that what he or she did was wrong. They may never admit that they did anything problematic at all. That’s okay, because you can engage in forgiveness for your own benefit, not theirs. You don’t need anything from them to forgive them.

5. Forgiveness is a process. Forgiveness isn’t an all-or-none, black-or-white kind of thing. It is a process. You may never be able to completely forgive another person but you can work to get closer to do so. You may never get to the 10 on my 10-point forgiveness scale, but you can turn a 6 into a 7 or to an 8.

6. Forgiveness is for your health and well being. Since research shows that holding onto anger is toxic for your health and well being, and since no one wants to be around those who are chronically angry, bitter, resentful, and unforgiving, then forgiveness is something that you do for you. It is in your best interest to forgive others for their transgressions, not necessarily theirs. You are not engaging in forgiveness to do them a favor, but to do one for yourself.

7. The secret sauce in forgiveness is letting go of anger. In my clinical practice I have treated many people who have been terribly victimized and traumatized by physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. I have also treated many who have been abused by those who should have treated them the most kindly, such as parents, siblings, close friends, and even clerics. Those who do well and cope best in life are those who have found some way to forgive themselves and others. They have worked hard to let go of the anger and resentment and moved on. They don’t forget and they don’t allow themselves to continue to be victimized. They let go of the anger and choose to forgive (deserved or not).

So, what do you think? Can you forgive more? Can you try?

BEWARE Of These 6 Dangerous Thoughts That Are Hurting Your Relationship

by Tiffany Anton

I made a comment recently saying, “No other person is a threat to us unless it’s violence.” Whether it’s your husband’s secretary, the cute guy working behind the reception counter at the gym, a the hot lady dancing near your husband on the dance floor and giving him the eye of interest, or a co-worker and so on, it seems that many women and men have moderate to high levels of jealousy regarding their spouses/partners.

Here are six examples of thinking patterns that support jealous thoughts and feelings:

  1. High-risk Thinking: If my partner finds another attractive, then my relationship is at risk, as they may steal them from me. All others are a risk to my relationship security.
  2. Fantasy Thinking: My partner will never find anyone more attractive than me, I will be his/her end all be all. He/she will never have interest in being with another sexually because they are completely fulfilled, aroused and satisfied by me; therefore, when he/she thinks differently than my fantasy, I am hurt, rejected and threatened.
  3. Fear/Self-Loathing Thinking: Oh, s/he is better looking than I, I am ugly/fat, of course my partner will want another, I know s/he’ll leave me for him/her. I hate her/him!
  4. All Men Thinking: All men lie and cheat, I should expect it. He looked over at her, I know he’ll cheat on me. A man would suck on a cows titty if the cow would let him.

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Verbal Intimacy Is A Key Ingredient In Healthy Relationships

There are hundreds of personality traits and tendencies that make someone “good material” for a successful long-term relationship. But according to relationship experts, there is one trait that is more important that all others. Mastering verbal intimacy is the most important indicator of whether a person is right for you and ready for a serious relationship. For the person who is dating and seeking a partner to pursue a successful relationship, there is no more important task than determining if your current date has the ability to share themselves verbally on a deep and intimate level.

Psychologists emphasize “verbal” intimacy, the sharing of our deepest fears, dreads, joys, and inner experiences as a great way to learn about the interior of our potential partners. They also share 3 things, which must be present for true verbal intimacy to begin and flourish.

#1 You must know who YOU are.
Many adults, and especially men, are complete strangers to themselves. When asked to describe their feelings on certain subjects, they are unable to answer, practically unable to even understand the question. This kind of numbness often starts in childhood when children are told to “act like a man” or to “stop crying” because “you’re not hurt.” These messages tell children to ignore their inner signals. Over many years, these individuals will become oblivious to what they are feeling. To be able to share yourself deeply you must know what you’re feeling. It is vital that you understand yourself before you have the capability to be an equal partner in a satisfying, verbally intimate relationship.

#2 You must have a desire to know each other.
We all know certain individuals that seem fixated on themselves. These narcissists may momentarily ask an inane question about you and your life, but they quickly direct the conversation back to their accomplishments. This tendency is also often a result of a childhood imbalance. If you grew up in a home where no one really seemed interested in you, you may have developed into an adult that loves to talk about yourself. When you meet someone who has a great desire to sit and actively listen to you talk about yourself, this is an excellent sign that this person is geared towards expressing verbal intimacy.

#3 You must make space for verbal intimacy.
Verbal intimacy is most likely to flourish when stress is low, relaxation is high and the phone is off. No one needs to be reminded about how cell phones, pagers, and computers have made it easier for us to carry work home and elsewhere. Time that used to be personal time by default can now be turned into work time. For verbal intimacy to grow, the frantic pace of our lives must be slowed. We must make time for long walks and quiet dinners. Sometimes we feel guilty for making this space in our schedules, but no relationship can become a brilliant one without a dedication to the verbal intimacy concept. A relationship can start without verbal intimacy. It can continue for months and sometimes years without either partner giving time or consideration to its benefits. However, over time almost every relationship will go flat, that is lose it spontaneous excitement, unless both partners commit to enhancing their verbal intimacy.

3 Truths That Will Transform Your Relationship TODAY!

 

These 3 Truths will transform your relationship today if you internalize them and operate as though they are your norm. The Mrs. and I have been happily married for a long ass time and these 3 truths are consistently present in our reality. If you’re struggling with this…I challenge you to release the need for it to make sense and simply receive. It has worked in our relationship and in the relationships of the thousands of couples we’ve worked with. As always…Stop Playing and Start Pushing.

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Relationship Drama 101: How To Argue And Win!

Conflict is a necessary and normal part of romantic relationships.

Conflict helps us to learn more about what is important to our partner and helps us to grow….if we deal with it the right way. Learn the art of abandoning your position and how this helps you to WIN in the end.

Allow us to help you gain a better understanding of what’s going on in your relationship so you can have the love you deserve and desire.

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5 Common Marriage Issues

Relationships are tough. Marriages, however, can be even tougher! Many fail for the most trivial of reasons, while others remain strong in the face of adversity. There is no mathematical formula or complex algorithm to determine which marriages will succeed, but the general consensus is that patience, trust and love are some of the key factors in long-lasting marriages. Don’t think that once you reach a certain point, however, that a marriage is plain sailing. Some couples have been known to go their separate ways even after decades of marriage. But why is this?

Let’s have a look at five common issues that married couples may face:

Money

Believe it or not, money is a major cause of arguments and misunderstandings between married couples. Who earns what, how are bills divided and what type of bank accounts are held can all be factors that create friction in a marriage. This is especially true if one half of the marriage conceals any financial activity from the other and it eventually comes to light. Issues such as this cause trust problems and can in-turn arouse more suspicion in other areas of the marriage.

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Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Intimacy

Years of marriage and the birth of children can take their toll on married couples. It is often the case that the sexual spark is weaker than it used to be and intimacy can become a real taboo issue for couples.  Furthermore, intimacy problems do not just stem from awkwardness or “Not tonight. I’ve got a headache” type conversations. They may be fuelled by one partner’s inability to perform in the bedroom. Fortunately, however, help nowadays is readily available with companies such as Prolong offering great solutions for restoring sexual confidence in men.

Communication

Despite years of marriage, communication is still very much a deciding factor in how successful a relationship is. If one partner is reluctant to talk about something, then it may be for a very good reason. It is up to their spouse to be supportive and not force the issue or persistently pry for information. Often, a heart-to-heart talk will ensue anyway, so better to let it occur naturally and be understanding when it does.

Children

Children are obviously a huge part of a marriage and bring much joy and happiness. However, they can also be the cause, through no fault of their own, for disagreements. Simple things like rules, rewards, punishments and activities can be common sources of tension. This is why having children should be a decision that is not considered lightly, as the effect they have on a marriage is enormous. It may even be the case that time spent with a child causes jealousy in a marriage and unhealthy feelings evolve.

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Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 In-Laws

Parents-in-law are a factor in every marriage and often the cause of many disagreements. When a person gets married, they should be prepared to move from their family to their spouse and not use the former as a retreat when things aren’t going smoothly. A fair and reasonable frequency of communication and visits with in-laws should be agreed upon and special occasions like Christmas should either be all or none affairs. Parents-in-law will always have their opinions on a marriage, but that’s all they are and so they should not be deciding factors when it comes to happiness.

 

How To Forgive, Forget, And Set Boundaries In Your Relationship

By Dr. Lisa Love

Is it really possible, or practical, to forgive and forget if someone is only going to repeat abusive and harmful behaviors? It is, but it requires a little more clarity on the entire process of boundary setting in conjunction with forgiveness.

In the past several years I have become even more savvy on the dynamics of abuse. I have also become aware of how abusers pretty much count on people forgiving them and forgetting about the harm they cause as a way to escape from the consequences of their destructive behaviors.

Which is why I want to draw upon the Christian teachings I was raised on. Because to me Jesus is a major example of forgiveness. Yet, when Jesus famously forgave those around him, at one point he also proclaimed, “Go and sin no more.” In other words, all of us, when we are given the blessing of forgiveness, have at the same time a responsibility to become more conscious of our destructive patterns. And, once aware of them, we need to actively move to change our behaviors so we sin (or harm ourselves and others) no more.

What about forgetting then? Though I have no idea what the roots are of the words forgiving and forgetting, it has not passed by me that the words can easily be broken into “for – giving” and “for – getting.” Looked at this way I can almost imagine acient folks looking at two people who have harmed each other, and then telling them to both step into the center of the room for the purpose of “giving” and “getting.” Or, to put it more simply for the sake of apologizing and making restitution with each other so the scales of justice (or karma) are set right.

Yet, sadly forgiving and forgetting has often turned into, “Ok, I’ll be a nice person and let you off the hook entirely. You don’t have to get conscious. You don’t have to change your behaviors. I’ll just let the whole thing go. And, you can go on being hurtful like you were before.” Quite frankly this is the fundamental reason why abusive relationships continue. Abusive people never have to suffer any consequences for their destructive behaviors. And, their forgiving spouses (who continue to ignore the abuse) end up getting hurt again and again and again.

So, what is the better way to forgive? First, it is true, when you don’t forgive you remain stuck in the past. Your thoughts spin negative. You are not able to create a more positive future for yourself. In many respects you continue the abuse cycle. Only this time instead of the other person harming you, you are harming yourself. That is why forgiveness primarily helps YOU. It helps you let go, move on, and move forward in your life free from the negative impact of the person who wounded you in the first place.

But, it is also true that forgiveness requires being able to stand in a place of spiritual power. As Jesus conveyed, now that the other person has been given a second chance, they now have a responsibility with that chance to become a better person. I am reminded of the famous play and film Les Miserables, which is a major story of forgiveness. In this tale Jean val jon steals silver from the home of the priest and is caught. Though the priest could have easily sent Jean val Jon back to the labor camps, he did not. Instead, he forgave Jean val jon. But, in forgiving him he also requested what he now wanted from Jean val jon (which was the priest’s way of saying what he would be “getting” in return). He said, “With this silver I have bought your soul for God.” Meaning he now held Jean val jon responsible for waking up, setting things right, and becoming a better human being from now on. Thank God, Jean val jon did.

As I see it then real forgiveness requires a great deal of spiritual power and spiritual perspective. To get to this point you do need to use forgiveness to heal enough to embrace more your own value and dignity as a human being. Letting go of your pain will help you get there, which is why forgiveness is a tool that mostly helps you. Once healed and free from the wounds of the past as a powerful and dignified human being, you then have the responsibility to learn about how to better protect yourself from such hurtful behavior. Then, you need to develop the capacity to set boundaries so you prevent that person from wounding you anymore. And, if you can manage it, you can even learn to develop enough spiritual power that with dignity and grace you are able to convey to the person who has harmed you, that in being forgiven, they have a responsibilty to wake up and become a better person.

With these steps everyone gives, everyone gets, and balance is restored for the good of all.

Dr. Lisa Love is the founder of LoveMovies! and also the best-selling author of BEYOND THE SECRET: Spiritual Power and the Law of Attraction; ATTRACTING REAL LOVE: 4 Steps for Finding the Love You Want; and SOUL SUCCESS: How to Create Joy & Prosperity in Good Times or Bad; MEDITATION: The Path to Peace.