communication patterns that hurt relationship

7 Stop TALKING! Make your Communication work for you.

How you talk matters as much as what you say.

Is all that talking doing you any good at all? Wonder why your communication breaks down in your intimate and close relationships? Beth explains it in the podcast episode below.

Learn how the common text and subtext of so much of human talking makes it hard, if not impossible, to establish and maintain a sense of empathy and closeness. Beth presents her trademarked formula: Clean, Non-Blaming communication or CNBC, explaining how this four-step process helps you strengthen your limbic brain and parasympathetic nervous system. It can shift relationship, invite both participants into responsibility, and does it with respect and value for each.

Overview, Rules, and Demo

This is an overview of the rules, guidelines for the process of talking using CNBC, and a demonstration using a common conflict between people who live together. Not in a relationship? You can use this in ALL kinds of connections and even with friends and your children! Just you getting good at going through the steps will have major benefits! This really does have the power to change the depth and quality of all your relationships. And that is definitely going to change your life.

Want a little support as you experiment and grow?

Give me a call. I’d love to join you in applying this in your own life. 513-530-5888

healthy sexuality midlife love bytes podcast

21 Healthy Sexuality 101

Wondering if you’re experiencing normal sexuality?

Dr. Nazanin Moali, licensed psychologist practicing in southern California talks about the tenets of healthy sexuality, what is at the root of many sexual issues, changes in libido as we age, and knowing when it’s time to get professional help.


Burning question comes from a 52-year old woman with grown sons in their early 20’s who was suddenly widowed about a year ago. She wants to know how to approach her desire for sex after a long, frequent, satisfying sex life in her marriage. You’ll love what Dr. Naz has to say about this situation. Dr. Naz defines sexual addiction, explores polyamorous connections, and underscores cultural influences.

From a sex-positive perspective,

Dr Naz and Beth explore the tenets of healthy sexuality, this very important aspect of life, love, and relationship.

1. Healthy sexual behavior is not emotionally destructive to the individual or the partner.
2. It’s relational. Participants are engaged emotionally.
3. It’s important to perceive sexuality as an important part of life, not devaluing it or compartmentalizing. It is physical, emotional, spiritual.
4. Discover what is fulfilling to you and your partner and brings you closer together emotionally.

Remember: it might take a while to tune into a new partner and discover what he or she likes and enjoys and create the way you two fit together.

The Good News about Sexuality

Good news: people are capable of engaging in fulfilling sexual behaviors at all ages. What predicts sexual satisfaction later in life is experiences in younger life. There ARE differences in arousal and navigating this honestly in sexual relationship is possible!

More good news: Some say sex life improves immensely with age due to comfort with one’s self.

Underlying cause of many sexual issues:

1. lack of good education
2. unrealistic presentation of sex (heavily influenced by pornography-an idealized representation and misrepresentation of what is attractive and stimulating)
3. imposition of a narrow beauty and body standard.

Time for professional help with sexuality issues?

If it is a problem for you, it’s a good time to reach out for help. Time with a trained professional can ease your mind, give you perspective, and help you understand yourself. That’s just the start of getting you to the goals you have in mind right now. No matter what you’re facing, there are solutions and you are not alone. We can find them together based on your unique make-up.

Ready to talk? Give me a CALL: 513-530-588 and let’s make a plan for you to enjoy a healthy, whole, positive experience of sexuality.

Resources: The Sex-Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner Davis and Passionate Marriage, David Schnarch, PhD.
Learn more about Dr. Naz and find her podcast “Sexology” at www.oasis2care.com.

Your work in relationship

It can be really hard to do your work in relationship when you’re so bothered by someone else NOT doing theirs.

My mother used to say

“you are one hundred percent responsible for your actions and reactions.”

Gosh, I hated my mother sometimes. I rolled my eyes and knew she was right even as a young rascally little girl (with ten siblings!) intent on getting her own way at least some of the time.

It felt unjust to me. I got punished for “acting or reacting.” I got punished for “provoking.” The gist: I got punished.

The weight of being one hundred percent responsible as a child felt scary. Impossible. So burdensome. Too much.

And in fact, it is. There seemed no way to win except to somehow NOT FEEL.

I needed to know a healthy thing to do with my feelings.

Without acknowledgement for the very real thing I was experiencing (aka that feeling I didn’t like) I had no idea what to do with it except stuff it. We were told children should be seen and not heard, unless performing, which I was allowed to do for guests from time to time.

I needed someone in my life to reflect that the thing I was experiencing was real, valid, understandable, human. In short, I needed empathy. I didn’t need anyone to agree that I should feel that way or that I was right to feel that way or that my ensuing desire, hope, or fantasy about how someone else might fix my feeling was justified.

I needed to know I was not wrong or bad or crazy to feel the way I felt.

Instead I got the message not to feel.

It wasn’t common, respected, important, or expedient in my family to have feelings, much less act on them. It was okay to think stuff and do stuff, but talking about feelings… not so much. Displaying a feeling?! Good heavens! Moving an emotion from the rumble of our bodies to actually acting on it with movement or words?! Uh, that’s just not nice. That was punishable by OTHER activity (like running around the barn 20 times) or extra chores. From time to time, the assignment was to “go to your room and THINK about what you’ve done.”

So, we were allowed to “appropriately sublimate” our anger or rage or hurt.  We were allowed to think our feelings or run them out or work them out. And occasionally we were allowed to think our feelings.

Makes for some pretty intense resistance to being one hundred percent responsible…

for my own actions and reactions. I think this approach was very well-intended but what I learned was this: I should just get over it. And if that was hard for me I was being “too sensitive.”

Could have been part of the stoic German/Scandanavian culture and mindset so solidly part of my childhood. Could be that additional German/Protestant work ethic.

Of course, I would be doing my own work! Work is what we do.

And that meant all my own emotional and psychic work as well.

I’ve spent my life DOING just that very thing. And leading others into it as well. So, obviously, I agreed with and wrestled with this mandate in big ways.

Sometimes it meant I did TOO MUCH work in relationship.

I carried too much responsibility for the thing that needed fixing. I picked up other people’s work and tried to do their stuff too or, even better, I tried to do their work instead.

That’s a lovely recipe for disastrous results for everyone.

Maybe you can relate.

Now, I don’t know what are your cultural or family-of-origin contributions to this whole puzzle but they MATTER. They make a difference in how you approach this and how comfortable you are with “feeling your feelings, thinking your thoughts, and doing stuff” versus what you might do as a default: think your feelings, be your thoughts, and act out.

Those early influences also matter in relation to how well you can distinguish your real responsibilities for growth from someone else’s work in relationship.

You might have similar hurdles to mine. Maybe not.

What we know for sure:

We know relationships are healthiest when people are separate and whole individuals deliberately choosing connection.

We know each individual person has human challenges, pretty unique to the way (s)he is made. Lots of these challenges are made worse by the seemingly most-possibly-aggravating pairing of mates in love relationships.

And when that happens, it’s either an invitation to quit or a challenge to rise to the occasion.

Just be sure it’s the right occasion and not just a repeat of familiar, old patterns.

You can’t fix someone else.

And you can’t get someone else or a relationship to fix you. No one else can do your work for you.

Let me say one more thing about this. So often I see people trying to fill the void in their own lives with their primary love relationship. I see people going from relationship to relationship looking for the right person who is going to treat them the way they deserve.

This is a mighty tricky concept because there is a difference between having standards for healthy treatment within a relationship and having expectations that someone else will behave in a way that keeps you comfortable.

News flash: even among quite healthy individuals, you each have your own growth to attend to. You’re not going to get everything you want. And that other person is not going to make you happy, keep you happy, or secure your happiness once and for all.

Life is not a fairytale.

Life is good and love can be good. And you’ve heard me say before that love is not hard, it’s not a lot of work. And I stand by that. But there is no happily ever after. There’s just now.

Love is not a lot of work.

But doing your own work can feel mighty hard and it is still your responsibility. And sometimes doing that work is the most challenging piece of all. Most of us can’t do it all by ourselves. That’s partly because it’s tough to see our way around those common blind spots.

It’s also because it takes real courage to face ourselves, to be vulnerable, to tell the truth and see the truth and then do something truly constructive with the information.

Relationship is good.

We need it. Could be the best relationship you can have with anyone right now is the one with a therapist or coach who has been down the road ahead of you and knows how to gently illuminate the path for you to choose. One thing is sure: that relationship you have with yourself will be stronger for all the work you do that is truly your work to do.

I guarantee that.

And the relationships you have with others will get healthier and healthier the more you can see what is truly your work to do. Fun thing in the whole deal? You’ll be able to stop working so hard at the wrong things and get on with the work that actually makes life better.

It’s not so scary.

Give me a call if you want to talk about how I can support you in the work that matters.

 

 

Taming Required

The fox says, “tame me” in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s famous children’s tale titled The Little Prince.

If you haven’t read it, you must. It’s full of those not-really-just-for-children moments when it so gracefully teaches us how to live as adults. I’ve never gotten through it without a lump in my throat, outright anguish sometimes. Tears? Why yes, of course. (Because I am that kind of reader. Not everyone is or needs to be to get the benefit. Don’t judge my soft heart.)

You’ll find the fox and his system of taming in the final third of the book, just when the Little Prince is ready to understand the utter value of his one true love, a rose he’s cared for on his little home planet. On his travels all throughout the book, he misses his rose. He worries about her. He ruffles at the thought of her vanity, her ego. He struggles to understand her.

Enter the fox. He shyly invites the Little Prince into a process of “taming.” That process and their relationship become a rich metaphor for us to understand both the great value in loving and the great risk of loss inherent in the process. It emphasizes the necessity of taming, returning at an anticipated time, getting a little closer each time, maintaining a safe experience for both, and celebrating together.

Given my sensibilities, I cry every time when the two- after sweet taming, connection, sharing, play, and joy – must “lose” one another. Yet, it’s still my favorite part. Is it any wonder I work in the specialties of Love and Loss?

You can’t have one without the other, try as we might. No matter what.

The acknowledgement that love and loss are married seems a prerequisite to ALL willingness toward taming. And what is taming, after all, if not those tender steps forward and back which we all experience in our lives and in every type of relationship? Even so, some of us want to skip the process. We want to know. We want a guarantee. We want security. We want to insulate ourselves against the inevitable. We want, essentially, to avoid the loss.

And that’s just not possible.

In fact, it’s not even good or healthy.

Know what is healthy? Realizing that life is both beautiful and short. Plus realizing that, while life is short, love is not. The Little Prince comes to realize he is carrying his love for his rose with him and that he will carry it forever even though she will not last forever. Though she is unique in all the world, she’s a rose, after all. And she’s special to him because he loves her and he has taken the time to tame her even though he did not understand what he was doing. It took his experience with that sly, lovely fox to teach him all about taming and love and loss. It’s a beautiful story.

I suppose I’ve ruined all the embedded themes, but trust me, the book is still a beautiful read.

Much like the cherry blossoms symbolize in Japanese culture, remembering the brevity of life and the inherent danger in taming can serve to enrich our experience. Of life. Of love. Of taming and connection. And being mindful of this can inspire us to love well in each moment.

It can make us brave in our quest to step out and venture into the process of taming.

And it is that process, not its result, that serves us. If we are willing to engage it.

So, for all of you scared to connect, wondering about how you’ll guard yourself against future loss, those of you who want a secure relationship, to not risk heartache, or betrayal, or hurt feelings, or risk losing an intimate relationship again… you are not alone. For those of you hoping to skip ahead, wanting to launch suddenly into an instant relationship or puzzled that the person you thought was just right for you turned out not to be the one you’re going to ride off into the sunset and old age with… hold on.

Breathe.

As long as there is life, there is time for love, for taming, for this moment, for connection, for goodness.

Don’t let fear of loss keep you from truly living and loving.

Most of us fear the loss because we don’t understand out own natural capacity to withstand it. Or, for some of us, we’ve done a very poor job of it in the past so that fear intensifies. Some of us were forced to handle loss at such an early age without much wise guidance in making sense of it that we forged unhealthy ways of processing our own pain.

I know the fear is real and the fear comes from somewhere and it has a different flavor for each one of us. That’s okay. We’ve kept it around for very good reasons.

Want help managing that or learning more about it?

We can make it work for you instead of against you. And we can explore together the ways you naturally move through loss and figure out if it’s helping or getting in your way.

Give me a call: 513-530-5888.

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 Dating NOW Basics

Episode 27 is a follow-up from the Midlife Dating 101 Seminar, January 12, 2017. Attraction, Communication rules and progression, Dating in midlife for optimum health (and avoiding pain,) the communion of love and loss, and seven fabulous dating tips that will serve you well!

PREFER to READ? Hit the high points with the notes below:

Attraction: top two are kindness and intelligence. Everyone values these two qualities. Also attractive: playfulness, “youthful” (an energy and optimism about life resulting from a positive midlife transition), good-looking,(someone we consider good looking and would be proud to introduce to our friends, someone interested in you, and that secret “it” something: chemistry.

Behavioral stuff: Confidence, know what they want (in life and in a partner.)responsible for one’s own emotions. In other words, healthy.

How you show up is much more important than where you show up.
Are you showing up wounded?
How about “all together?”
Just hoping he or she will like YOU.

Communication Guidelines:
texting rules:
only positive topics
never argue (about anything!) over texting
don’t rely on it for talking about important things
YES, flirting, probably NOT sexting.

Topics to NOT talk about before you meet in person:
your resume, history, children, past relationships, health challenges EXCEPT things you want to be sure will not be a visible surprise (like being in a wheelchair, for example.)

Once you’ve made an early connection in real life (you’ve met!) someone you want to spend MORE time with:
About past relationships-
only after meeting
only by putting a positive spin on it (talking about what you learned after peace with your own part and an acceptance of the truth of it.)
Can’t be positive? You’re not ready to talk about it.

HOW to know if you are ready to DATE
So many people asked questions about this topic and it’s a GREAT question!

Here’s a healthy guideline for dating again:
Know what are your objectives for dating now? Be very clear on them.
Know what is your long term goal is and ask the right driving question.
Got a crazy dating history? Ask yourself the gentle question: How do I avoid codependency or cheaters etc? Ask the right question for your subconscious to go to work on.

Dealing with our Grief
How do I deal with my grief? Let it go before moving on?

Know how to move through it and not make it worse. Now is a great time to allow the processing of grief to HEAL. Time does not heal all wounds, but engaging the process of healing certainly does.
There are no rules about when you can date. Realize you are going through a process of loss and your heart is mending. It’s not just a matter of time, it’s a functional process.

Even when you’re IN relationship YOU WILL STILL HAVE LOSSES. Learning how to process loss is a human skill. Get some help if you need it.
resources: the blog here. Search for “loss” or “grief”

TIPS:

  1. Remember all of us have busy lives. If you want a relationship, start making time and space in your life for one. Right now the time and space is for dating.
  2. Meet date?  Flip it so you are hoping you like him or her. Find three things you like or respect about this person. That way, your time is never wasted.
  3. It’s all NO until one glorious YES.. and that yes is just the decision you want to spend more time together.
  4. Abandon the job interview format. BOring. You have to talk about your self and you also have to LISTEN.
  5. Get a little activity in. MOVE.
  6. Do something new for both of you!
  7. Remember: it is practice, not perfection. Be gentle with yourself AND all the people you encounter. Kindness matters always.

Good luck in your endeavors. Let me know how it’s going. And if you need support or help with any aspect of this, check out the coaching packages.

infidelity recovery

25 After Infidelity

Infidelity can rock your world like nothing else.

Saving the relationship after infidelity IS possible. Creating a better relationship than you’ve ever had before is even better. In this episode, Beth talks with Dr. Anne Goshen, LCSW,  psychotherapist practicing in San Diego, California. Anne outline’s the Gottman Institute’s phases of recovery.

How this issue gets addressed can truly be the make or break in your healing. Beth brings a Burning Question at about 17:00 regarding when things get mighty messy and some form of retaliation enters the situation. Join us!

 

26 Healing Heartache

Men and Women (and different personality types) deal with heartache in various ways. Beth shares the best answers for how long it takes to heal after divorce or a break-up. She covers a list of sure-fire ways to make it worse. Of course, she finishes with a list of 13 specific ways to heal as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Don’t spend time asking the hard Why and What questions. Substitute instead the questions you can actually get helpful information on. How do I get through this? How do I make sense of this?
Check out this episode!