Why You Can't Trust Your Relationship Instincts

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"Why You Can't Trust Your Relationship Instincts"
December, 2011

KIM:    Hi, I'm Kim.
STEVE:    And hi, I'm Steve.  And welcome to The Love Safety Net.
KIM:      On today's show, we want to show you a clear path forward in improving your relationships.
STEVE:    Even with the principles we have to offer, it's not always going to be easy.  That's why today's show is entitled, "Why You Can't Trust Your Instincts".  
KIM:    Because if you didn't grow up in a family with healthy role models, chances are you are going to find your instincts and your habits have been impaired and won't necessarily lead you to the healthy behaviors you need to develop good relationships.
STEVE:    And, Kim, today's radio show is free!
KIM:    Yes!  
STEVE:     The first free show we have done for a while.
KIM:      Yes! That's right.  A bit of a Christmas present.
STEVE:    Fabulous.  So let's get started.  Hey, look, when you are talking about instincts, there is a really good example I want to use here about getting into shape.  Kim and I have gotten terribly out of shape this year—well, not so bad.
KIM:      Oh, we have.
STEVE:    We have.  Because we have been working really hard.  We have been working indoors.  We have had pressure on and all sorts of things, and we have gotten out of shape.  But now we have gotten back into the gym, we are dieting again, we are really back onto it.  
KIM:     Doing P.A.C.E..
STEVE:      Doing the P.A.C.E. Program.  So our instincts at the moment are still kind of we still want to eat pizza and eat chocolate cake, right?
KIM:    (laughing)  Yeah, that's right.   I think that's a really great example of what we are talking about here.  We know that you can't use your instincts to guide you to getting a better body if you want to get in shape.  You know, your instincts are always going to lead you the wrong way.  They are going to tell you there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating that piece of chocolate cake, that it's just an absolutely great idea.  But, you know, luckily we have fitness coaches and we have science and research to know the chocolate cake is actually what's going to put pounds on our waistline.  We can hold to those principles even when we are tempted and say, "I want to get in shape, so I am not going to go there."
STEVE:    So really, it's counterintuitive about what our instincts are telling us. Our instincts are saying, "Hey, there is lots of energy in that cake." 
KIM:    Mmm, yeah.
STEVE:    And we need energy to survive and we need energy to feel like we can get through the day.
KIM:    Yep.  And my instincts certainly don't tell me I should be doing interval training, you know?  
STEVE:  Yeah, sure.  
KIM:   That's something I still have to really push myself to do. But am really happy I understand those principles, because I know now that we will get in shape.  It is going to be hard work, but it will only take a month or so.  It's Christmas time here in Australia, but that is summer for us.  So we are a little bit slow.  We probably should have started on this a little earlier.  But hey, we have been working too hard.  
STEVE:   Our instincts have been guiding us toward chocolate cake too much.  But anyway, we are getting away from that.  
KIM:    Well, just sitting on our bums for too long in front of the computer, I think.  
STEVE:    Yeah, it hasn't been easy for us, has it.
KIM:   Yeah, financial pressures, the realities of work, supporting kids.
STEVE:   That's right, that's right.  And cooking for all those kids too.  Wow, we are always cooking.  There is always food around us!  When you are cooking for a big family, there is always food in front of you.
KIM:      Yeah.
STEVE:    So that example is from a very similar perspective, okay?  We instinctively want to eat the wrong things because it looks nice and we know it tastes nice.  So from a relationship point of view, Kim, how does that translate?  How can we use that kind of example as a bit of a metaphor for how we relate to each other emotionally and verbally and the whole gamut of what a relationship means.  
KIM:  Yeah, well, I think it's a  really, really good metaphor.  Because if people are experiencing relationship problems—maybe they have had multiple love relationships in their life, or maybe their relationship with their parents is strained, or maybe their friendships don't last as long as they would like them to, there is a tendency with people to say, "Oh, it was the other person's fault.  You just had a bad spin on the chocolate wheel or bad roll of the dice."
STEVE:   Mmm.  Or fell in with the wrong crowds.  
KIM:      Yeah.  "And next time, it will go better."  They are always looking for the next relationship that is going to be better and that is going to help heal all of that.  I think there is a lot of danger in that.  If you have grown up not understanding the principles of healthy relationships, your instincts are really always going to lead you the wrong way—just like in the case of diet and exercise is not instinctively what a lot of us feel like doing.  If we didn't grow up in a family with good habits around that—if we grew up in families that had good habits such as a healthy diet and exercise and that was what was normal—then maybe we will grow up with the right instincts.  
STEVE:    Sure.
KIM:   It's just a similar situation.  I think a really good example of this is from one of our You Tube movies, which I won't tell you all about it as you can go and watch it if you like.  It's titled, "Stop Dealing with Narcissism Like This" 
 In that, I give three distinct behaviors that it is really important that people learn to stop doing if their partner is pulling away from them, if their partner is being cold and arrogant toward them. I only mention this because out of all the movies we have made, that one probably get the most negative feedback.  (laughing)  
There is just a lot of people that come on saying this is so sad because these things are just healthy and normal.
STEVE:  You've copped a lot of flack for that, haven't you, Kim.
KIM:    I have.  (laughing)  So if you want to see some of our harshest critics, you will find them on that movie. 
But I am bringing that up and I want to discuss it with you Steve, because I think it just really shows how clearly that society really doesn't understand the principles of healthy relationships, and how far off track we have gotten, that by me saying, hey, these things are unhealthy and these are things you should really stop doing, it really upsets people because people's instincts tell them that these are the right things for them to do.  So I understand they get upset at the movie.  
STEVE:   Sure.  So let's just give one example.  
KIM:    Mmm-hmm.
STEVE:    One suggestion you recommend people stop doing in the movie, Kim, is to encourage your partner to talk about their feelings or try and evoke an emotional conversation.
KIM:    Yep.
STEVE:  So that has got a lot of negative feedback.  
KIM:   From a few people; a lot of people liked the movie too (laughing).  
STEVE:    Sure, sorry. I should qualify.  But that has caused a bit of a stir with people who do feel that instinctively that's the right thing to do. Is that a fair thing to say?
KIM:    Yeah!  Absolutely.  And I think what might help here is just really sharing a little bit about what the heart of codependence is about.  You know, we talk about narcissism a lot, but I think that both narcissism and codependence at their heart are immaturity.  And particularly codependence is about emotional immaturity.  So even deeper than wanting their partner to share their feelings, I think the codependent usually wants their pattern to share their feelings so then it will be their turn next and they can talk about their feelings—their sadness, their negativity, their wounds they are still nursing, and their partner will care for that and their partner will help heal that for them.  
STEVE:    Mmm.
KIM:   And this is a really big desire inside the codependent.  And we hear this in a lot of popular music. It's a common theme in probably 80% of the songs we hear on the radio.  
STEVE:   Yeah, for sure.
KIM:     You know, we talk about "my baby" when we want to talk about our lover.  There is this sort of unhealthy idea (it really is) that love is actually about having somebody come along and soothe or nurture or take care of our negative emotions.  
STEVE:    Right.
KIM:  And I would suggest that those emotions and that part of us is usually quite immature.  It's like we want somebody to baby us.  We want someone to treat us like a baby.
STEVE:   You know, there is some kind of wound there that somebody feeling those feelings is not quite sure how to move past it and hasn't matured past that terrible—be it trauma related or it might not be.  But there has been a slowing down of development in some way.  
KIM:      Or it may be them just avoiding growing up, because growing up is painful.  
STEVE:    It sure is.
KIM:   So people understandably get quite upset when I suggest that this isn't what love is, and that that it is really a very immature form of love. I  mean, you see it really clearly in people in relationships, where they are intimate with each other and the baby talk starts.  
STEVE:  Mmm.
KIM:    They have sort of goo-goo, gaga names for each other.
STEVE:   Yeah, cute and fuzzy names, like honey-bunny and stuff.
KIM:    Yeah and the intimacy level between them really goes down to this level of maybe even being under 5 years old.
STEVE:    (laughing)
KIM:    (laughing)  That's the level they are relating at, in terms of intimacy.  And I only mention this because I am hinting that there really is more than this.  There is something a lot better.  As hard as it can be to get past those ideas of wanting that kind of babying or feeling that you really need that, if you think about it logically for a minute, is that the depth that you really want  your intimate relationships to stay at?  
STEVE:    Sure.
KIM:      You know, yes, it's difficult accepting the truth for a lot of people that a lot of the principles in our program offer—that you really do need to become emotionally a lot more independent and a lot less dependent than you probably are at the moment.  And  I know that's really scary.  That's tough.  It's like working out at the gym.  It is going to take some principled effort for you to grow -- but you are only going to be able to do that if you can let go of the idea of wanting to be taken care of like you are a baby.  
STEVE:    Sure.
KIM:    But, you know, there is a  lot more to look forward to.  A true adult level of intimacy and intimate exchange offers so much more dynamics, possibility and potential.  
STEVE:   That's right, Kim and we have been together nearly 20 years now, so it's fair to say our honeymoon period is over. (laughing) 
KIM:    (laughing)
STEVE:      Do you think?
KIM:      Yeah, I think so.  It ended pretty quick!  
STEVE:    It did, rather.  But the thing about that initial honeymoon period you do get all those feelings that you really can't grapple immediately.  You don't want to jump into that analytic kind of mode in that honeymoon period.  You are enjoying the great feelings it is bringing back, the love and the connection, and there is something magical about that.  But when you do move past that honeymoon period, that is a really important part of everybody's growth.  Everybody that has been in a relationship—men, women, anyone that has been in any kind of relationship.  So when that honeymoon period starts to falter, it is a danger time of course, but it is also at that moment, Kim, when that question mark we are raising about instincts and about principles really becomes clearer in the picture.  If you can take a moment and think, "Wow, I am really going to need to start thinking about how I soothe myself", and I know we have some ideas on that and we wont talk about that straight away Kim, but those ideas of how we are going to start taking care of our own emotions is about learning to catch them right in the moment.  
Now of course there are various different times, it is not just as the honeymoon period is finishing, Kim.  As I said, we have been together nearly 20 years now.
KIM:      Yep. 
STEVE:    But we are still working on those roles of being able to depend on each other when we need each other, and that's not always easy but that is becoming adult.  That is requiring principles when all sorts of emotional stuff comes up, but we are committed to each other in that sense.  
KIM:     Yep.
STEVE:      We are committed to being able to depend on each other, because we need to.  
KIM:      Yep.
STEVE:    And instincts, like we have talked about in previous shows, where I just wanted everybody to love me and that was the whole narcissistic problem or wound I was carrying. I just wanted to impress everybody.  
KIM:      You were pretty good at it.  
STEVE:    Yeah, well…thanks for that. (laughing)
KIM:    (laughing)
STEVE:   I just wanted to bring up that there are different stages and different challenges come up in those different changes.
KIM:    Yep.  And we put the principles together that we did in our workbook and in our books, our material and radio shows—I put that set of principles together for myself, and for you, and now we are sharing them with our children because my instincts had been impaired. I realized that doing the same things over and over again that felt normal and natural to me was actually damaging my relationships.  It was damaging my reputation and pushing people away from me, and I didn't want that to continue.  
I don't think there is a day that goes by nearly, or certainly not two days that goes by, that situations don't come up in our life where I have to call on those principles—especially now that we have teenagers and they are starting to have boyfriends and girlfriends and our family is growing.  It is really important, and I can't honestly say that my instincts are all completely healthy now.  Maybe that will never happen, but I am so grateful that I do have principles to turn to, and even when sometimes I am feeling like doing this, I know that isn't the right thing for me to do and I really should be doing this.  
And this is sometimes tough.  You know, just like the gym.  This is sometimes the really tough decision, not necessarily the easy decision.  That is where I really do want to promote our books and the principles we offer, because I feel kind of a little bit uncomfortable, I guess, when people come onto the blog and they read this and they say, "Oh, I have tried all of that and it doesn't work." Or, "Oh I understand it all now, and I know everything will be better because I can see what I have been doing wrong."  In both cases, I kind of go – “ugh”.  I hope I have put this across truthfully for how it really is, because really to make our program effective you do need to see it as principles that you are going to have to keep using over and over, but that you can learn to turn to help guide you through.  Just like the same principles we started out saying, that to help you get in shape or help you not get too out of shape.  
STEVE:  Mmm.
KIM:  So at least if you are doing the wrong thing, you know you are doing the wrong thing and you have some guidance. 
STEVE:    Mmm.  So Kim, on the topic of emotional immaturity, we have kind of touched on that on the show already.  But that emotional immaturity is not always easy to see in yourself, is it?  
KIM: No...No, it certainly isn't!  (laughing)   
STEVE:    (laughing) It's always easier to see when somebody else is being emotionally immature, not so easy to see when you are perhaps acting that way.  So I think that's also something that people are using as an excuse sometimes, you know?  "Oh, I wasn't thinking, I'm sorry."  "I didn't mean to call that person a name, I just wasn't thinking straight", when really getting back to the subject at hand, Kim, it's that lack of principles that have maybe allowed that emotional immaturity to sneak up and in the heat of the moment call somebody that name or perhaps make a wrong choice.
KIM:   Overreact.
STEVE:   Overreact, yeah, which can be terrible and have terrible consequences.  
KIM:      Yeah.
STEVE:    So emotional immaturity is really something we need to be able to perhaps balance out with our principles.  
KIM:  Yeah.
STEVE:   And in the example of when we do call somebody that name or we react badly, that is an example of what is instinctively what you wanted to say.
KIM:      Yeah, yeah, that's right.
STEVE:    You wanted to call that person a name.  
KIM:   That's right.
STEVE:  In the heat of the moment, your instincts say--  
KIM:    And you don't have to give yourself a hard time or criticize yourself that because it's normal to get angry if we feel disrespected.  But we have to then have a set of principles of how are we going to act that out, or when is it appropriate to act that out, or what is going to be effective at setting boundaries with that person so they don't disrespect us in the future.  And, you know, we are all going to make mistakes.  We are all still going to act out when we are emotional.  When we are emotional, we are going to say and do the wrong things sometimes.  We are not going to remember to take time out to calm down before we can think things through better.  But really the principles we offer also help with damage control.  
STEVE:   Right.
KIM:    So that you do know how to repair that as quickly as possible if it does happen.  But sometimes that isn't always what needs to happen, is it?  You know, sometimes one of the biggest points of healing for somebody who is codependent is actually learning that they need to deal with people being angry with them sometimes.  I know that has certainly been the hardest lesson for me.  That is just a natural part of boundary setting, isn't it?
STEVE:    Sure.  Let's talk about that as an example.  
KIM:    Mmm.
STEVE:  So, if somebody who has acted in a codependent way their whole life, has been the codependent "role player" in a certain relationship, how would they normally deal with somebody being angry at them, Kim?  What is the likely scenario?
KIM:   Oh, they would be really anxious and distressed by it.  They would feel that maintaining and keeping the status quo is really important, no matter how unjust they may feel that situation, inside they would still really feel a lot of shame and a lot of guilt that somebody was upset with them and somebody was unhappy with them.  They would really find it quite difficult to continue functioning.
STEVE:    Right.
KIM:    It would really unbalance them.  
STEVE:    So what is the likely steps they are going to take in that scene.  Are they going to feel like they have to take the hit on this one or like they are going to try and maintain the status quo by reinforcing that scenario where people are getting angry at them.  Is that right?
KIM:   OK, say you try and set a boundary.  Let's use an example.  Say you have a child who has specific dietary needs and it's a holiday season function and your parents or one of your in-laws insists on giving your child the wrong food, and blames you for being too controlling or a hypochondriac or, you know, basically they cross your boundaries in some way.  This causes some kind of argument or confrontation.  You go away from that with your feelings very hurt because you've had a boundary crossed.  You tried to set a boundary, you should be the one with authority over your children and their diet, you really haven't done the wrong thing, but somebody who is codependent in this situation will be easily led into feeling they have done the wrong thing and feeling like they actually need to have it out with that person because they need to resolve it.  It needs to be resolved and we need to get everything back to being happy, because everybody needs to be happy.  
This is the codependent's real inner driver, that everybody should be happy with me and what I am doing.  The reality, I think, is really quite different.  The reality is that not everybody is going to be happy with your choices you make for yourself or your children, and that is just the truth.  
STEVE:   Right.  
KIM:    And a much more healthy response is to actually realize that.  If somebody is crossing your boundaries and you try and reinforce those boundaries with them, you will sometimes make them even more upset with you. 
STEVE:    Sure.
KIM:  And sometimes that is just how it is going to be.  
STEVE:   Sure.
KIM:      You know, sometimes you actually have to just be able to get on with your life and not let that unbalance you, not let that distract you from your own goals, and that actually confronting that person about the situation, if your intention is to resolve it, is actually going to be counterproductive because that is only really inevitably going to lead to an argument.  
STEVE:    Sure.  So in families we always have these disagreements and problems like this pop up all the time, so it just goes to reinforce when you are setting boundaries for yourself, or for your children, or whatever you are doing, you are setting a boundary that you are setting them with principles.  You are not relying on your instincts to set boundaries, because it's almost an oxymoron.  
KIM:   Mmm.
STEVE:  It doesn't have anything reinforcing behind it, the boundary, if you are using your instincts.  
KIM:    Or your emotions.  
STEVE:   Or your emotions.  
KIM:    Yeah, that you are not using your emotions to set boundaries.  You know, staying angry at somebody isn't effective at setting a boundary.  It is actually going to usually make it easier for them to continue crossing that boundary.
STEVE:    Well, that's right.  When they are not backed up by principles, it just opens up so many more opportunity for arguments, right, Kim?
KIM:    That's right.  
STEVE:    And you are not looking for that.  You don't need to those arguments with family, extended family or your partner, dragging on in that way.  If you are basing them on principles, you know where each other is at a bit more. 
I just wanted to clarify something here too, Kim.  When we talk about instincts and we are saying you don't rely on your instincts, of course, if you get a bad feeling about something or somebody—that always happens, doesn't it?  You get a bad feeling about somebody—that you can sort of put that into the category of that was an instint dislike I had for that person.  And that's fine, but underneath that lies the principles.  If you don't get a good feeling about somebody, you might be sensing that this person was a little bit too emotional or was a little bit too forward, or was a little bit disrespectful.  Those instincts you have about people, there is underneath that some principle you have set down for yourself, that you want to surround yourself with people who are emotionally stable.  You want to surround yourself with people who are respectful and understand basic manners.  
KIM:      Yeah, and you still do need to listen to those instincts, certainly. But maybe just learn different ways of acting on them.  
STEVE:    Absolutely.  
KIM:    That you are not acting on them in reactionary ways.  Getting back to the example of the child with the special dietary needs, in that situation, where say you have an in-law or parents who are ignoring your authority on that, becoming angry about that or feeling that you need to confront that parent or in-law about that situation because you need to have it resolved might seem kind of noble, but when you are thinking more clearly and are not so emotional you really need to stop and think. How likely is it that this is going to be resolved?  How likely is it that they are going to actually respect you on that one?  Because often the case is that this isn't very likely. You really have to stop and think about  it.  You have to say, "Is me getting all emotional, upset and confrontational about this going to make that boundary any firmer?"  Because it usually is actually going to make it easier for them to cross that boundary because they are going to be able to point at you and say, "Look how emotional and hysterical this person is about this.  Look at how unbalanced they are."  And it's really going to give them excuses to actually point the finger at you and your behavior as you being the problem.  
STEVE:    That's so important, Kim, so important to watch out for that one.  
KIM:    Yeah, where if you are able to just handle it, just going, "Oh well, okay.  You don't like the rules I have for my kids, well that's a shame and I'm sorry about that, but they are the rules.  If you are not going to respect them, we just won't be visiting" or whatever—or we are going to have some fairly strict boundaries and restrict ideas around where and when we are going to visit you.  And if they get their noses out of joint about that or they are angry, just let them be.  In terms of relationship fitness training, that has probably been definitely the hardest one for me.  It applies with your children as well—all the time.  
If I can talk about that for a minute, Steve?  
STEVE:   Sure.   
KIM:    About rules. I think  in this day and age there are many parents who are really very frightened of having rules for their kids.  We have this culture now that, you know, children should be allowed to explore every little thing that they want to do, and that there is something sort of right and good about that.  Well, you know, I don't think that we are as strict as a lot of families, but to me the sign of how good a parent you are is really about how wise and just the rules you choose are, and for what reason those rules are there.  It's very important that children have rules whether they like it or not.  And if people come along and call you controlling or want to come between your authority with your children, I think that really is a point where a decision needs to made of what is more important—my children or my relationship with my parents or my in-laws.  Because just because somebody is older than you doesn't necessarily mean they have matured.  (laughing)
STEVE:    (laughing)  That's right.
KIM:      And what they are suggesting and what they may be wanting to allow may not be what is healthy.  In the long run, as difficult as that can be, really standing firm to your principles and not allowing people to let you become overemotional or unbalanced about that, even if they are upset with you that you can still stay balanced and grounded and get on with your life.  In the long run, they really are going to respect you more for that, you know?
STEVE:    100%, Kim.  Absolutely. 
KIM:     And it may be the conflict goes on for a long time.  It may take a year for them to come around, or longer.
STEVE:      Sure.  
KIM:      But if they can't come around to the fact that you are the one with authority over your kids—I mean this is just an example. I know we don't all have kids—but if a person can't come around to the idea that you have the right to set boundaries for yourself about how you expect to be treated and how you wish to live, well, that really isn't a relationship you should be putting too much work into maintaining anyhow.  
STEVE:    Absolutely.  Absolutely.  And, Kim, you mentioned that not everyone is in a family—and that similar kinds of things are involved when you are setting boundaries for yourself as when you set boundaries for your kids, you are really making a statement for yourself and you are using your imagination as much as anything.  It's a very creative process, Kim, setting boundaries.  You are using your imagination, you are using your ethics, you are drawing on a lot of really fantastic philosophical/spiritual stuff you really need to dive deeply into and say, "OK, this is where the boundary is".  
KIM:  Yep.
STEVE:  And even if you are not setting boundaries with kids, you can use this with your partner, extended family, neighbors, colleagues—any kind of social group you are involved in.  If you are able to use those kind of principles and set those boundaries, it is a personally-defining activity for you to undertake as soon as possible.  If you are feeling like you have troubles with this—and maybe some of our listeners won't—they might be  feeling we are talking about stuff they did years ago. (laughing)
KIM:      I remember a class we were working with at one stage, Steve and one of the women in it was a nurse.  She felt  like she had fairly good skills at setting boundaries.  When I asked everyone how do you go about setting boundaries if somebody is putting you down or being rude or abusive, she said, "Oh, I'm fine with that.  I know how to do that completely."  I thought, "OK, this will be interesting."  I didn't doubt her, but it certainly didn't come easily to me. But I remember her response, as she said, "Oh, I say to them 'I am not going to stand here listening to you abusing me'; and I just walk away."  And I thought okay.  As we worked through the class with her, her ideas on this changed but I remember thinking, hmm, I wonder how effective that is her saying that?  I wonder how you end up feeling about yourself and how the other person ends up feeling about themselves.  Because if your boundary setting is always reactive and in the moment, it is going to lead to some very uncomfortable and confrontational situations like that.  I just think that it's really important style wise that people understand that is really not what we are suggesting.  
As you were saying, Steve, it is a creative process. It's a process you want to become mature at just like you want your relationships to deepen into something more mature than baby talk and having somebody fulfill some infantile expectations that you may have.  Boundary setting can become something that helps build your self-respect so that in that moment when you want to say, "Hey, I'm not going to sit around and listen to you abusing me", which if you think about it is very accusational and very confrontational and creating a confrontation that will probably never be resolved with that person.  But you are able to sort of bite your lip in the moment and maybe find a polite excuse to end that conversation, but still end it with some kind of authority that isn't pointing the finger at or blaming that person, but that you are just saying, "I don't see this conversation going anywhere constructive and I really need to get back to my chores".  Then later spending some time thinking about that situation with that person and how you can avoid those problems in the future in a way that keeps your own self-respect a little better in tact.  So we work a lot on people having scripts and come back lines and ways to deal with other people's disrespect without losing their own self-respect.  
STEVE:     That's right, Kim.  So using these principles, we are learning to set better boundaries, to perhaps present those types of conflicts from happening in the first place.
KIM:    Yep.
STEVE:    If you are feeling like somebody is disrespecting you and being confrontational in that example you just gave, well there is obviously a boundary being crossed and that boundary needs working on too.  
KIM:    And it has probably happened before.  
STEVE:  That's true, there will be a pattern.
KIM:   There will be a pattern.  So you actually do have time to prepare. 
STEVE:    So if you do want to improve your relationships, Kim, you do need strong principles.  
KIM:    Yeah, and not to be trusting your instincts in the heat of the moment.  This is something that is going to take work and it's going to take practice, and there is going to be temptation.  There is going to be temptation that when somebody is upset with you because you have tried to set a boundary that you want to get on Facebook, you want to get on the phone like it's a big emergency, it's a fire that needs putting out, and just go --ahhhh, how can I live with it that he is so upset with me?  And you are going to have those temptations.  That is where we really hope you will check out our material and learn some of the principles so they can become a really solid mast that you can turn to just like they have become for us.  That even when you are swayed by your emotions and you want to do the wrong thing, that you actually know what the right thing is to do.  And that really takes a lot of faith and a lot of trust sometimes.  
STEVE:    Absolutely.  
KIM:   I tell you, still it's really tough for me. I have to hold on.  You know, my mum was really upset with me recently for quite a few days and I had to hang on. I had to really hold on because I don't enjoy that, but I still stayed focused on my own work and my own goals and what I needed to do for you and the kids, and, you know, she has come around now and it's good.  
STEVE:   That's great.  And there is one more negative thing there we should touch on, Kim, before we move on and finish up the show.  That is that there is a temptation, of course, to manipulate your way into setting a boundary.  
KIM:      Mmm.  
STEVE:    We know we were quite critical a few years ago of a particular book called The Rules and it was written by a couple of well-connected, attractive women from New York.
KIM:  Socialites.
STEVE:   Socialites who were very good and had dated a lot and learned a whole bunch of rules.  
KIM:      Married well.
STEVE:    They married well in the end and considered themselves to be quite successful in knowing how to get men to respond and react the way they wanted them to.  We read the book and we were very interested in what they had to say, but we felt overall it was a very manipulative process.  And there was some positive sides of it like we just talked about in this radio show, Kim, about setting boundaries and saying, "This is not what is going to be acceptable for me", and that's positive.  But to manipulate other people into a position where they won't cross that boundary is quite abusive and could be regarded as bullying in many ways.
KIM:   And it's certainly not going to create depth in your relationship long term. 
STEVE:  That's right.  So it's a different game if you are manipulating the people around you into obeying your boundaries or obeying your rules—that' s a game of manipulation and a game of strategy you are playing.  What we are talking about and what our whole product  range is based on, is about playing a different game.  That game is to build really strong connections with the people around you, being honest, having firm convictions and being okay within yourself.  
KIM:    Yes - built on your own self-respect and your own ability to set strong boundaries for yourself and also have goals for yourself and emotional maturity.  I think it's good you bring that up at this point, because this is a really clear demonstration of how what we offer isn't manipulation.  Because the truth is a lot of the things we recommend are going to make people really upset with you at times.  
STEVE:   Mmm-hmm.
KIM:    We teach people how to stand up for themselves, and not everybody around you is going to like that.  
STEVE:    That's right.
KIM:    But we also teach you how to deal with that when they don't necessarily like it. In the long run, however, that's what really builds deep and lasting relationships that are built on mutual respect, honesty and truth and anybody who is out there who is teaching things otherwise, who are saying here is a bag full of tricks that is going to get people reacting how you want them to; tricks that are going to make people love you or make people beholden to you—I  really have severe doubts about how well that is going to work in the long term toward longer lasting, deeper maturity in people's ability to be intimate with each other.
STEVE:  Sure and things become revealed over time, so if you have approached the relationship in a manipulative way, that is going to be revealed at some stage. 
KIM:  Yeah.
STEVE:  You can't hide that forever.  Even if you have good intentions later, it's really going to be a lot of doubt there.  You have left the boundary open, in many ways.  
KIM:   Like Elvis said, "You said you were high class, but that was a lie".  
STEVE:    That's right and you know how the rest of the song goes!
KIM:    Because if that little crying baby is still in there that wants to be fed and taken care of, it's going to come out and show it's ugly self sooner or later.  And I have to be honest about it because it is ugly.  Nobody wants to take care of the immature needs of another adult.  It's not attractive.  It's hard work learning to grow beyond that, but it's work that is really very well worth it.  
STEVE:  And to support you with that, we have a bit of a holiday package we would like to share with you now. Kim, let's just talk about it a little bit.  Our book is in print and this is item #1 in the package.
KIM:   Yep.  Our first e book is now in print, and the rest will be in print soon.  In the meantime, I have put together a bit of a holiday package which means you will get Back From the Looking Glass in print, which is right here.  This is a guide if you are in an abusive relationship, so that may not be appropriate for everybody who is watching.  But what I have done is sort of rolled together a little bit of the best of everything for a Holiday Emergency Package.  Our holiday special includes Back From the Looking Glass.  It includes a couple of the most important limiting abuse exercises from The Love Safety Net Workbook and it also includes some of our best self-soothing tools from 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence, so it's a little bit of everything rolled together into a crash course that can really help you through these difficult  times. It can be difficult when there is a lot of pressure on people financially and in a lot of other ways.  
Besides that, what I would really recommend to anyone who really wants to get into the whole get fit and get your relationships fit and back on track program  -- and you are not in an abusive relationship -- because maybe you are still dating and have had failed relationships in the past and you don't want that to happen again, is The Love Safety Net Workbook.  That really is our comprehensive exercise manual. I don't have one here to show you, but it really goes through step-by-step.  It gives you exercises and a chance to chart your progress and to really see what you need to be working on.  A lot of the principles you need to work on are things that won't come instinctively to you and they won't be things you naturally want to turn to.  
STEVE:   That's right.  Now our workbook, for people who are not familiar with it, our workbook gives a platform of how to build the relationship you want.  It's not a whole series of dogma we have set down for you.  Kim and I don't know what kind of relationship you are looking for.  We do know you need this basic platform.  It's called The Love Safety Net Workbook because it is giving you those basic principles to work off where it strips it back down.  We are not leading you in any particular path other than getting yourself emotionally stable and on track.  
KIM:      It will help in all your relationships.  The principles involved will help in your relationships with your kids, with your parents, with your in-laws, with your partner, with your boss, with your friends. It really is the bare bones principles of what creates attraction, what are the effective ways of setting limits on other people disrespecting you, and on what it is to become emotionally intelligent and emotionally mature.  
STEVE:    All right. Kim, it's been great doing a radio show with you again. I'm glad we could do this one for free. The next one probably won't be.  Thanks, Kim.  Thanks for coming in.  Again, this is The Love Safety Net.  A lot of fun, isn't it?
KIM:  Yep, it certainly is.  And Happy Holidays everyone!  Bye!

Please see our holiday special here;  

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  1. Sorry guys but after a few minutes of the chocolate cake 'example', I'd completely forgotten and/or lost interest in the supposed topic at hand. A bit of editing here. No offence intended

  2. Ha ha ha - Yes I agree! Unfortunately we don't have a ton of time to give free shows (this one took a couple of days to film and get out as it is even without editing). So I hope you can be a little patient and persevere as the message is really a very important one if somewhat controversial!

    Kim Cooper

  3. Maybe you can offer some advice. Even here. Because i seem to be stumbling on old rocks --. I have separated from my partner. he is actually supportive and kind at the moment but not living with me. But a lot of circumstances have conspired and so my mother is living with me. It has not been long and is because its the best financila situation tho we were both anxious. My mother and I can be very close. She is 90 and has had to come to terms with some difficult family isues and the faxcct she is still very alert but physically much more dependent than she want to be. I should be incredibly kind and gentle but am finding that I am not. I am rebellious and afraid of being co-dependent -- wanting to figure out a sipport network for her so she does not rely on me -- and it is very difficult as it is but more difficult as my mother feels she needs no one or that I am fine by myself. She is kind and considerate and often understanding but my fear of something is making our relationship very tough at moment. And I find a lot of the problems are the same ones as when my ex lived with me so it must be what I am doing. My mother in a fit of anger said to me that I was a victim and had been all my life ( a quote of my brothers when he was resenting me because I was helping my mother) -- and was my exes victim and now was hers and that was a terrible way to be and I should think about it. So I am. Clearly -- whatever I am attempting to do in this situation it is going very wrong. And I am failing to make my mother feel she is useful and that I will stand by her etc so she is reacting in a way my ex sometimes did -- . I am self soothing. I am telling myself i have to think through all these. I am aware that I need to be the adult -- I am very unsure how to make th right boundaries. Any wisdoM?

  4. Hi anon,

    It is hard to give advice from what you have offered in your letter but I would highly recommend you check out 10 steps to Overcome codependence while making sure you have some very clear goals.

    If your mother will not accept that you need a support network to help you care for her maybe she needs to start considering moving into an old peoples home?

    I don't care how independent she is there are things a 90 year old just can't do on their own and you are not playing victim in needing her to acknowledge she cannot put the whole responsibility for her care on your shoulders.

    Calling some support people may help as it is very common for older people to not want to admit they need help.

    Kim Cooper

  5. that helps. But the place my mother and I have reached is she feels rejected and also she feels that she does not want me to be a carer. And I do not want to be a carer and yet I want to care. An old people's home is what I think of when feelings in me flare up which are angry and unkind and I say unkind things. What seems similar to when i lived with an NPD is my flight response -- I think the situation needs to end when really I want it to be more human and to meet both our needs. But I do not know how to seek compassion and gentleness and I suspect this is because I am still seeking to be a little girl and feel looked after. Some of what gets said is so similar to what wrong with my ex that I feel sure it is me. My psychologist at that time said my partner and I were in a sado-masochistic relationship and I constantly made him feel inadequate and so he got very angry. And I think I do this to my mother by not being patient enough to empower her where she can be empowered -- she makes wonderful little objects and she loves it but I sometimes want to admire them less and have admiration instead and then blame her for my failure to make more of myself. What do you want to do she asks. I try to tell her and then feel she dispaages what I think are my goals. She says I am being very ugly when I tell her that is how I feel. She does the right thing by leaving the room and going to bed. i do the right thing by not trying to placate her and finishing off a few things I need to do. But I feel bleak inside and I feel that I should be able to operate from more compassion and create a warmerr feeling between us and achieve what the better part of me wants -- which is to give her the care she needs and yet not dispaapear into the role of caregiver. If she went to a home it would be near where my sister lives as that is near her home. So far away. My sister would not visit her much. Maybe that is the best solution. My mother is very haughty at the momment and says it is. But she is very disappointed that her strength and health do not allow her to sahre with housework etc and she is very proud and does not want to be a burden. And I am going through childish flurries that I will not cope and hence feel angerr at ehr which I visit on her when I should self sooth and do better. Sometimes I do better -- but these days things feel bleak. I have no one I could ask to give me a break for a few days. And my other would accept no one. She woud say go away and I will be fine. She would read and eat crackers.
    My motherr is most definitely not an NPD but something in me is operating with the same lack of success if a harmonious loving life is what is sought.

  6. It sounds very much like you are focusing on your mother rather than facing things that you know you need to work on in yourself.

    You do not need to get away to start setting some goals for yourself and working on your gaps. A balanced approach is best anyway.

    Perhaps you need to make a list of what your mother really needs help with and just stick to that. The rest of the time you need to start working on your own life and goals while refraining from blaming anyone for where you are. Where you are is where you are and it is the only place to start from. Blaming other people for you being there is just s distraction that will keep you stuck.

    Starting work on new goals is always a bit scary. That is normal and you can handle that if you accept that. Looking for reassurance form others is usually counter productive anyway. I suffer from anxiety so I really have to be disciplined about that. Other people cannot help with my anxiety - it is something I have to be aware of and take time to soothe myself while not letting myself give up.

    You may also enjoy my article on this site (check the index) titled identity is key.

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper

  7. Thanks kim and steve , not too appropriate for me , but thanks anyway ! . I've now been separated from my partner now for 3 years , she doesn't provide The echo to my sentiments , you know the " I love you " . Have busted my butt working at reconciliation :(. Now I have friends that provide The echo :) , Her loss , please also be mindful of extroverted people they are show offs and like a bit of public love , not too much to ask in my opinion , we all have the god given gift to love and be loved , her loss

  8. This was exactly what I needed today! So relatable and well thought out! You are helping so many of us struggling with your words of wisdom!! Please keep doing what youre doing... And thank u thank u thank u!!! God Bless and happy holidays to you both!!

  9. I am struggling with an on and off partner with his Narcissism and his anger towards me.
    I don't know what to do or where to go, I'm left in an emotional state of turmoil. My Narc is about to start his Hep C treatment with Interferon and Riberveron and this compounded with his Narcissistic disorder is going to be too much for me.
    To go on this program you need to see a psychiatrist and I am getting the feeling that this psych will not be able to measure up to his displays of Narcissism.
    There is an empty void and that void is becoming greater as the date is coming closer to his treatment.
    Reason for this is that he is not listening to me or value what I have to say, yet he say I am his closest but yet he treats me as his worse enemy.

  10. Hi SOS,

    I think you have to be very honest upfront about whether you plan on sticking with him through this or not. I have seen interferon treatment age people tremendously. Can you talk to his psych and express your fears? It may not be in his best interest (if this is only preventative) for this treatment plan to proceed, especially if the stress of it means he will lose your support through the journey. I am not implying that you have any responsibility to stand by him through this - only that I do think you have a responsibility to be honest. No one is at there best facing the kind of fear he is probably feeling right now.

    Kim Cooper

  11. Hi - 'How do I talk to him when he is ignoring me?' - I am sorry that I haven't published your post -- but we don't really allow swearing on comments on this blog and I also don't publish links to counseling services I am not familiar with.

    You need to really decide if it is worth it for you to take on standing by this man. I had three children to Steve and everything invested in my relationship with him and I was also not ill as you are.

    You need to focus on taking care of yourself right now. You do not need him at the hospital with you - as you have learned from the last time that happened. You need to love and care for yourself now. If you cannot do that for yourself how can you expect anyone else to?

    Remember a time when you were happy and felt good about yourself and decide that you want to feel that way again. Hang onto that decision and that happiness will eventually find you.

    Loving and caring for yourself is about self respect and self respect is very attractive.

    He might not love and care about you as he should but what about you? How you love and take care of yourself now is what really matters.

    Kim Cooper

  12. Hi ,Thank you for that and are you saying that really I should walk away from this guy? Yes you are right I need to focus on myself and the next 2 weeks. I am going to find it hard to walk away from him as we have so many mutual friends etc. The question I ask is how can I reach out to him? how can I make him believe that I am not going to walk away and abandon him? He loves and cares for me in a way but it is not fairy tale like. He has a strange way of showing love etc. I have seriously invested myself in his life and for me to walk away would not be right. But at the same token I need him to come to me as this is where I give him space and time to think. As we know when a Narc is alone they do not like to think as reality does hit them. I am going in for a minor operation to enable me to be pregnant in the future. So far I had support from him except that time when he had a total narcissistic meltdown in front of everyone. He has been arrested recently for assault and has to go to court, I now have to go to court as I was the witness etc. The hardest thing is that my Narc is hell bent on bringing the system down. I have to calm him down, at this stage I am the only one that can calm him down and deep down at times he does listen to me. At the end of the day life can be hard and he has said to me a few times that I am his calming influence in his life. I am not too sure if that is a good or bad thing. Part 1

  13. Part 2
    But lately he has shut down and wont allow me into his world and when I do it is verbal abuse from all direction. I am more than happy to stand by him during his Interferon treatment and it is not going to be an easy ride in the park. I know that he will turn to me once this is on the road. At this stage he is milking other sources and using his facebook as his how many likes and comment can I get and how good am I? I see right through that and him. Funny when he starts posting on certain people facebook that I do not like or think it is good for him, all because I stood up to myself and said calmly you need to calm down and take stock while he was having an outburst at the restaurant. I got up and said calmly I think it is time that I went and apologise to the waiter and left. It was the first time I have spoken calmly and stood up for myself. I think that shocks him that I will not conform to his way of thinking.To me I think he knows that at the end of the day despite everything I will stand by him thick and thin in the flesh. At the end of the day we need to compromised as I am human too and have needs and desires. I was shocked when he started making plans with out me to head overseas, this is during his Hep C and Interferon treatment. You cannot up and leave during this treatment. At this stage my patience is running out and I need new strategies to cope and work with. Yes you are right respect and self respect is the number one thing at the moment. I need to love myself first in order to give love to others. I have told my Narc that I have my operation to think about and that comes first in the next few weeks. Funny my narc has wiped out his schedule and created a special google event for this operation so he could attend and take me etc. I do not have the heart to tell him no as he has never done this to anyone before. With everything that is going on at the moment I know he is scared and scared of the outcome. Kimco I need to obtain other strategies and from everyone else how to communicate without him blowing up and blaming me for everything. With Narc it is baby steps and after a few years I need those baby steps to become children step and then teenage steps and last into adult steps. I don't have his mother around as she passed away 2010 and from what my Narc has told me the relationship was always fraught. His mother could not understand him or deal with him. He has always gotten his way and spoilt to a degree, he has made a lot of mistake in his life one becoming a heroin addict for 5 years and then addicted to Marijuana and lastly an alcholic. Thank god he has given up the drinking in Dec 2009 it was due to having Liver Chirrosis and Hep C, now we are staring down the barrel of life and death. Yes he is scared and so am I at the thought of losing my best friend and soul mate. So if anyone can help me it would be great. SOS flying the peace flag x

    1. I know it is hard to stay grounded when someone you love has shut you out, but this really is the challenge you face now. I don't know if you have purchased our ebooks yet but you really are going to need them (you may wear out the first copy and have to print another just from referring to it!) .

      You cannot be a stabilizing influence if you are not grounded.

      Take some time out for yourself and do something that brings you back to your center. I know American Indian flute music sometimes helps me.

      Kim Cooper

    2. I highly recommend you check out my ebook 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence.

  14. I am curious when you say self respect is attractive in what way? i do suffer from co dependancey by the way thank you for your advice so far much appreciate it.
    But in your reply you are saying it has to start with me? I paint but I have lost the art of it at the moment I feel lost in the motion with all this. Narc has always says get back into painting.

    1. Focusing on ourself and our own goals is what makes us stable and attractive. I know when you are feeling rejected it is easy to feel that you are drowning and that you need to grasp at something that will bring him back - but really now is the time when you most need to find your inner stability and get focused again on taking care of yourself and working on your own goals. I know that is tough and that you will need to dig really deep to find that place of inner calm -- but that always needs to start from you.

  15. I have just purchase the online book Co dependency and I am blown away by this. This makes sense and now I have to build my inner self again and this will be challenging but rewarding. Now I understand the dance between Narcissism and Co dependency which can be quite toxic. Above all now I understand the strain it has on both parties and our friends.
    I can't thank you enough for this and this may save me a bit of money with the psychology sessions. I think V (his name, I will not refer him as Narc again) will appreciate this more and our friends. But furthermore I will get the most out of this.
    Again thank you. I will keep you posted to where i am at these days. My name is not SOS but I will use 303 for now on.


    1. Hi 303! - Thanks for that! Yes we do think our ideas are much cheaper than councelling and that most people find them easier to actually make work! 10 steps to Overcome Codependence is a great place to start. It is very practical and right to the heart of ending the 'dance'!

  16. hi Kimco, my wife has left, and it has been about two months and she says she's not coming back, we have been together for 20 years, this happened after i found your information, i started to do some of the points, and had begun a life with friends of my own, this has caused her to say of course it is all my fault, we have been doing this all these years. i tried to get back together, but she says we don't "connect" any more, i don't love her as she needs, i have tried my best to. So i am giving up and starting a new life, we have two children and they are very hurt, but somehow i stay with them, i don't know what else to do, i need to get well, and learn to be loved!!!! thank you , for everything!!!

    1. I am so sorry to hear that sad news - but I am also so glad to hear that you are feeling stronger and ready to start a new and better life. Your children need you right now and will return all the love that you give them. They are hurt sure but as you take steps towards healthy interactions with people they will also learn this from you.

      The Love Safety Net Workbook will help you form strong and healthy relationships with your kids.

  17. Hi, I am very new to this website and have been overloading myself with information for the last couple of days. But in short I am a little lost when it comes to setting boundaries and what to do when they have been crossed.
    I have been together with my partner for 4 years and I am just now really seeing his true self. He is a nightmare when things do not go his way. he becomes verbally abusive and threatens me constantly with a solicitor to have me removed from our house. he has crossed this boundary (one of several) countless times. he knows this upsets me but there is nothing I can do to stop him from saying or doing the things he does. If I walk away he follows and becomes violent towards himself (self harming) banging his head on the wall for example... if there are no consequences to him crossing these boundaries i.e. I cannot threaten him back (which I very rarely do anyway) then what is to stop him next time from saying and doing the same thing?? And what should I do when he does? I have said before now, please don’t threaten me like that etc in a calm pleasant way but it doesn’t make a difference. He has a complete lack of empathy for anyone around him.
    I have already put in place quite a few of your points.. i.e. putting myself first following my own goals etc before joining this website.. he sees this as a threat. I have also told him that our money will remain separate until he/we can start working together to have a 'normal' relationship without the threats and violence. this is all he can talk about and accuses me of trying to rib him off!
    He has agreed to read your 'Love safety net' book this evening and watch the videos that I have received from Steve. I only hope he sees himself in there and wants to work at making our relationship better as I have reached the end of the line with him and this is now my last attempt. He told me this evening before leaving to visit his parent that I can expect a letter from his solicitor in the next day or two because he had had engh after the last argument (saturday) He disappeared for 2 days… came back in tears with another set of problems for me to deal with
    I hope I am making sense! Nothing really makes sense any more least of all why I am still here with him…….
    so again in case I missed my point in my ramblings what consequences should there be when he crosses my boundaries again???

    1. Hi Lap, Sorry you had to email this to me - I have had some problems answering people here that I only just now got sorted out. I hope my email response helped and that you will come back and comment sometime and let us know how things go.

  18. I don't see myself as a full blown Narc, or full blown co-dep, however I do see traits of each in my behavior. I had been married a long time to someone who exhibited just as many symptoms for a control narc. When I wasn't useful anymore I was thrown away, like a tool. I've found hope in a new marriage with someone who has been there before. I've come to a place where I can stop thinking about the past, let go, forgive and forget, and move on. I read the Bible, and I find if I focus on what the apostle Paul says about two things it really helps out with both sets of tendencies. That is to practice self control and to take every thought captive, before it becomes an action, then a behaviour, then a trait, and then another negative part of our character, if this makes any sense, and helps anybody. I wish to find someone I could be transpartent with, to be accountable to, to keep myself in check. We all exhibits some traits of both disorders, we are all only human. My thing is to never focus to much on myself, to make that mental effort for consideration to others. I love my current wife, and am so very grateful for another chance at marriage. Thank you for your resources. I will take your advice into consideration.

    1. Yes I believe most people have a bit of each of this in us. I developed the resources I did for myself before anyone else. I read so many books that were too many words and so I started pulling out the useful stuff and making shorter reference notes for myself. I didn't know then that this would become the beginnings of my books! I am happy to share them with everyone here and hope they bring you as much happiness in your new life as they brought me!

  19. Thank you so much for existing, Kim and Steve! I believe my parents had N/ Co-dep probs due to *their* backgrounds ... they knew no better for very good and horrible reasons. I am now married to an N who has similar background - so much for the excuses! After a horrible depression, I have 'woken up' to think seriously of divorce which has actually make me feel more positive ... but after seeing your site, I think I want to see whether a change in my reactions to protect myself and stand up for myself could lead to my hus respecting my boundaries and me.

    Please could you advise which publication to buy - I don't have loads of cash as I am unemployed but since you seem to be providing such good commonsense that I never got anywhere else including counselling/therapy, I would like to get going on the hard work as soon as pos!

    Look forward to hearing from you - thanks once again for the good advice you have already provided ... which I think might help the difficult relationships I still have with my mum and bro.

    Lotsa love

  20. Back From the Looking Glass will give you all the basic steps and it will also give you advice in case you do decide to leave. If you purchase the download option it is less than $20 and you can be reading it right away. We are here if you need us.

  21. Kim, I just started reading the books and am trying to work on myself. My husband of 20yrs told me he has been seeing prostitutes on business trips for many years. He just got diagnosed with NPD, but I have already filed for a divorce and moved out of our house. I made the big mistake last night of calling him and basically shouting at him for 30 min about his cruel callous behaviour to me, then I gave him the ultimatum of getting a job with no travel, or I will be done with this marriage. Of course I had to listen to a list of financial reasons as to why he could not quit his job. We have joint counselling this week and I am filled with anxiety as to what to say or do now.

    1. Hey I am sorry to hear what you are going through and I understand your actions completely. Keep working through the exercises and be very careful that he doesn't get the counselor onside against you. Even have a script prepared in your head to leave (and keep your self respect) in case that happens. If he is truly sorry he needs to be prepared to make some big changes now but you won't keep the upper hand if you resort to yelling.

    2. I really have to keep my emotions under control when I have to deal with him, I really want to try to save my marriage but I do not want to be a doormat. I am working to overcome my co dependance, but if he will not change his job and stop going out of town, is there any hope.

  22. Bless you, Kim and Steve. Your work is really, really helping me. You two are Earth Angels.

  23. Dear Kim,
    I have followed your advice and the steps in your beautiful and life changing book "Back From the Looking Glass. My husband treats me much much better now and I have learned how to love and stand up for myself at the same time. However, we have grown children he still does not treat as well as he should. Can you direct me with some advice for that.? Thanks!

  24. Thank you!! Just what I needed! Looking forward to learning more from you two.

  25. You need to break someone's password because you dont have trust?
    We are here for you!!
    You just have to sayand we Will do all the work.
    I am waiting to help you!!

  26. Not sure if this is still open to comments, but I've been reading some other info on this subject, and wanted to share that if anyone needs anymore convincing of this, Steven Stosny and I think also John Gottman (who are both acclaimed authors and therapists and write about relationship issues) both talk about why 'talking about your feelings' can actually make relationships worse. They explain it very clearly and back it up with research. And I believe them because that has certainly been my experience!

    Specifically they talk about the fear-shame dynamic. Not to be sexist, but on the whole when a man talks about negative feelings this activates a woman's fears that she will be abandoned or harmed, and when a woman talks about negative feelings this activates a man's shame that he's not being a good 'provider' etc. So then they are feeling fearful/ashamed and disconnected, and then this is how fights or stonewalling can start.

    It can be difficult though as if you get support from places like CODA (and many other sources of help) they will encourage you to talk about feelings. Maybe the idea is only to talk about feelings with safe people.


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