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The Danger of Reframing

Reframing is a staple of psychological, emotional and spiritual work. Why? Because reframing is when we identify the way we view a thought, an emotion, a belief, an event, an experience or a situation etc. And from there, we change the way we view that thing. A person’s reality is the relationship between themselves and the world. It’s the way they view and relate to the world. If we change how we view and relate to the world, that changes our reality. Because of this, reframing quite literally changes our reality. I don’t need to sell you on the merits of reframing. Why? Because every single one of you watching this has had a personal experience where something or someone changed the way to viewed a situation for the better, and as a result, your life experience improved. But as with everything, there is a shadow side to reframing. Let’s look at this shadow side, so you can prevent the potential damage that can be caused by reframing. 
So many things that are good for us, can be used as a coping mechanism. This is also the case with re-framing. A coping mechanism is a specific procedure, process or technique, which manages stress or creates adaptation to stress. A coping mechanism is the opposite of change. Rather than creating a change to ourselves or our lives that makes it so we are not under the weight of a specific stressor, we adapt to the stressor, so that we can stay in it and around it. Doing this, puts us at risk for keeping ourselves stuck, but feeling better about being stuck. The danger of re-framing is the danger of immediately indulging in our reframing in order to make the situation we are in, ok. Instead of actually making necessary positive changes to our life. To give you an example, let’s look at Melanie. Melanie does not feel capable of leaving her miserable job. She feels she cannot face the idea of financial instability. So, she takes to re-framing to feel better about staying in the situation, rather than rocking the boat. When she feels rage towards her coworkers and boss, she looks at a zodiac chart which says that she needs to learn constructive ways of dealing with her anger. And she reframes the situation to “I think this job is here to teach me how to stop relying on everything outside of me to make me feel good. Because of this job, I am going to master my own anger, so I can feel good no matter what situation I am in and no matter what other people do or don’t do.” 
To give you another example, Zoey had a therapist who was big on re-framing.  Zoey’s therapist encouraged her for years to “reframe” the pain of the deep neglect and verbal and emotional abuse she was subjecting herself to with her primary partner. Zoey’s therapist especially hated the idea of victim mentality. Her therapist would say “if you stop thinking of yourself as a victim, what would you be instead?” For example, instead of complaining that her partner was stonewalling and withdrawing during conversations, her therapist encouraged her to see her partner as the person who was training her to learn the art of self-care, rather than dependence on others. When Zoey’s partner started up a romantic fling with one of Zoey’s other friends, her therapist said “The fact that jealousy is coming up now, is a beautiful opportunity. You get to work through all of your insecurities.” And “This is an opportunity to test the strength of your friendship with your friend. You could see your partner as a welcome test to the strength of the relationship.” What she was actually doing for years was encouraging Zoey to enable the abuse in her partnership while making herself responsible for 100 percent of the relationship. The real way to help Zoey with self-care was to encourage her to stand up for herself and say NO to how terribly she was being treated. The result of Zoey’s therapist teaching Zoey to re-frame everything, was that she stayed in a relationship that was actively destroying who she was, destroying her hope for the future, and her ambition to create the life she wanted for herself. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: How to Let Go of a Comping Mechanism.     Re-framing can be a form of denial. Denial is refusing to accept or admit to the truth of the reality of something unpleasant. And denial is in fact a detrimental form of reframing. You might think that denial is a good tool. After all, if someone can ignore proof in a universe managed by the law of mirroring, and focus on what they want to have be true, they will manifest that into reality instead right? Wrong. Denial is a state of avoidance, resistance and suppression. It is a pushing against what is unwanted. It is a refusal to accept something. It is a war with what is. And resistance to a thing brings about an escalation of that thing. Denial does not work because unless you know where you actually are, you cannot know where you want to be and you can’t take the appropriate step between here and there. For the sake of understanding the difference between denial/suppression and genuine improvement, imagine getting in an airplane and flying out across the ocean. Imagine that a low oil pressure warning light comes on in your cockpit. Now imagine that instead of actually addressing it, you take a piece of duct tape and put it over the light so you don’t see it anymore. Can you see how that coping mechanism would get you into a whole lot of trouble? 
Denial is not just about denying that there is a problem, some people see there is a problem but their denial based reframing comes in the form of invalidation of the experience, dismissing it, minimizing the impact it has on our lives, excusing it, or rationalizing it. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: How To Call Bullshit on Denial.      Reframing can put you in an overlay. To understand overlays, I want you to imagine that a person is in a prison cell. They think there is no way of getting out of that prison cell. They cannot cope with the reality of the prison cell and so they begin to escape from it with their mind. They start to play a game of pretend where the prison is a palace instead. To them, the person who brings food to the cell every day is a servant. The walls are not the stone of a prison; they are the stone of a medieval castle. The bars are pillars. The mind has the capacity to play pretend to such a degree that every element of reality can be seen as a different element in our game of pretend. But this game is not really a game because your mental and emotional ok-ness depends on it. This pretend reality sits over actual reality like an overlay. When we are in an overlay, we lose touch with reality and we start to feel the overlay is more real than the reality we don’t want to admit to underneath it. An overlay is a very dangerous thing because it makes it so we do not even see reality in the first place. We could be headed towards a cliff but because we are not looking at reality, we are looking at our overlay; we are convinced it is a beautiful horizon line. An overlay is a form of detrimental reframing. Reframing with the use of an overlay can get you in serious trouble in any situation you find yourself in. And it is especially a problem when it comes to relationships, because it prevents you from having a real relationship full stop. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Overlay (What Prevents You from Having a Real Relationship). Reframing can really, really hurt the people around you. If you are too threatened by the reality of someone else (such as a situation they are going through, how they feel or thoughts they are thinking), reframing can be a way to make yourself (or even potentially them) feel better about what is going on with them. But in doing so, you run the risk of failing to see their reality. And therefore, failing to respond correctly. It can cause you to say and do the wrong thing for them, as well as cause them to feel more alone in their pain, thereby making matters worse. Reframing can cause you to become stuck in your own reality about the other person, making it so that you and them are essentially in two different realities and acting according to two different realities, condemning them to be alone and in pain. To give you an example of this, let’s look at Brianna. Brianna has a really bad relationship with her mother. Her mother spent her mothering years invalidating everything there was to invalidate about Brianna, competing with her, putting her down and making excuses for an abusive step father she brought onto the scene. Recently, Brianna’s mother sent her a passive aggressive meme that said “Forgive your parents for not being perfect, they did the best they could”. This threw off Brianna’s entire day. Why? Because instead of actually changing the painful behaviors that Brianna has begged her to change, and instead of apologizing or making amends, she made Brianna’s lack of forgiveness the problem. She put the pressure on Brianna, rather than herself and insinuated that the problem was not her, it was an unrealistic expectation that Brianna holds for her to be perfect. Brianna went to a coffee shop to talk to her friend Avery. Avery is a very spiritual person. In fact, she just got back from a trip to Peru, where she was doing San Pedro medicine. Avery also comes from a dysfunctional family. In Peru, Avery went through a huge forgiveness experience that involved her whole family. And ever since, Avery has been feeling transcendent. Talking to Brianna about her mother feels really “dense” to her. She does not like the feeling of being pulled back into the feeling of family drama. She doesn’t want Brianna to be stuck there either. So, Avery offers thoughts that qualify as a re-frame to Brianna. Avery tells her “Your mother really doesn’t know any better. You came down as her daughter to show her how to love. And the first step, is to forgive. Believe me, that is a decision that you just have to make whenever you are ready.” To Avery, this is an empowering idea. But this re-frame, does nothing whatsoever for Brianna, other than to make things worse. It further invalidates the pain she experienced with her mother. It is experienced as siding with the mother in favor of Brianna yet again taking all the pressure and responsibility in the relationship by being the one who has to do all the work. And it further wounded Brianna because the reframe insinuates that indeed, Brianna is the problem in the situation, because her mother doesn’t know any better. It excuses emotionally abusive behavior. This causes Brianna to feel even worse. And to learn to never, ever tell Avery about the painful things going on with her. Aside from this, Brianna feels like crap around Avery’s air of spiritually transcendent superiority. Avery is committed to her drama free reality caused by her own spiritually re-framed thoughts. Their friendship is damaged by the lack of attunement that re-framing has caused. To understand more about this, you can watch two of my videos. The first titled: The Most Dangerous Parallel Reality. And the second titled: Attunement (The Key to a Good Relationship)   Reframing can be a form of toxic positivity. Toxic positivity rejects all difficult thoughts and emotions in favor of a cheerful and usually falsely-positive façade. This is a recipe for future melt down because you cannot do this long term. You cannot do this and act according to your actual personal truth. Therefore, you cannot do this and live an authentic life or create a life that actually works for you. Nor can you address your actual needs. The reality is, life isn’t always positive. This “good vibes only” approach to life is a form of avoidance and suppression. Toxic positivity prevents you from seeing the full reality of any situation, person, place or thing. It also damages every relationship in your life and prevents your own personal growth.  Reframing can be a form of bypassing. Bypassing (or whitewashing) is the act of using thoughts to avoid facing or healing one’s painful feelings, unresolved wounds and unmet needs. It is a sidestep. It is a state of avoidance. Because it is a state of avoidance, it is a state of resistance. Bypassing enables us to avoid our feelings by detouring into the land of changing our ideas and beliefs. And bypassing operates under the false assumption that every trauma and emotion can be fixed mentally and can be fixed by changing the thoughts you are thinking. Because of this, bypassing actually prevents true healing. Bypassing is ESPECIALLY prevalent in spiritual circles. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Spiritual Bypassing.    Reframing can be a form of gaslighting. And you can use it to gaslight yourself and to gaslight others. To gaslight someone is to sow seeds of doubt in their mind that makes them question their own sense of personal truth and reality (things like memory, judgement, perception, feelings etc). It is to try to convince someone that what they see, they didn’t see, what they hear they didn’t hear and what they feel they have no reason to feel. Gaslighting can be consciously done. We could consider this conscious gaslighting. Conscious in the sense that a person is aware they are doing it and choosing to do it. But by far, the most common type of gaslighting is unconscious. Meaning that a person is not aware of what they are doing and therefore are not doing it deliberately but are doing it none the less. It is critical to practice profound compassion and radical acceptance for your own inner experiences and then to work on seeing things from a different angle. Re-framing can very easily be a tool for the negation of one’s personal truth and reality. Questioning your perception is about questioning whether and where your perception is limited, not invalid. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Gaslighting (What is Gaslighting and How to Deal With it).  Reframing can cause you to oversimplify complex things and complex situations. In this same vein, it can really serve black and white, either or thinking. Many situations in life are not simple. They are full of nuance and contradictory truths. Re-framing often seeks to eradicate cognitive dissonance and the discomfort of complexity, but by doing so, the actual full truth of a situation is lost.  The reality is, it would take the length of a book to write a comprehensive list of all of the potential shadows of reframing. We need to first deeply experience our initial perspective. Another way of saying this is, we need to deeply acknowledge, feel, see, hear and understand the frame which we are currently or initially experiencing. The opposite of avoidance of what is. We do this with the awareness that we can never know whether we are perceiving the full truth. Our perspective may be limited in ways that do not benefit us. There may be a different or more objective perspective that is more beneficial to us. We then need to ask ourselves why we want to re-frame the experience. What is the intention. And we need to check in with ourselves regarding whether we are actually in alignment with the answer we give to that question. Or, if we are indeed using re-framing as a coping mechanism or as an avoidance tactic. If we are in alignment with the answer we give to the motivation for re-framing, we can begin to consciously seek out different frames to view the situation through. We can begin to look for different perspectives. But, when we do this, with each re-frame, we need to ask ourselves: How might this re-frame benefit me/someone in my position? How might this re-frame not benefit me/someone in my position? This allows us to be aware of the potential shadows we are at risk of falling into. 
The thoughts and perceptions we operate with, should be helpful. It is beneficial to change thoughts and perceptions into ones that are helpful. But you will find that over the course of your path of healing and expanding, there are plenty of helpful thoughts and perceptions that don’t exactly feel good.       

The Worst Habit Women Have in Relationships

To generalize, the goal of a romantic relationship is to establish a secure, feel-good partnership with someone who is truly compatible. But there are some behaviors that make this virtually impossible. Let’s take a look at the worst, unfortunately common, behavior that women have in romantic relationships.
In today’s world, the process of socialization in childhood is not exactly the same for girls as it is for boys. In the process of socialization, both boys and girls learn what about people in general and what about them is bad, wrong, unacceptable, unwanted and unlovable. They learn that in order to stay safe in the social group and get their needs met, they must alienate themselves from and hide those aspects of themselves. And to the opposite, they must identify with and put forward whatever is seen as right, good, acceptable, desired and lovable. 
Well, as it just so happens, in most societies, what is seen as right, good, acceptable, desired and lovable in a girl/woman is different from what is seen as right, good, acceptable, desires and lovable in a boy/man. Different things are expected from boys and men than are expected from girls and women. Gender bias studies prove again and again that gender bias is an absolute reality of our world. To give you an idea of what I mean, many societies today value things like strength, bravery, task orientation, activeness, confidence, success drive, independence, assertiveness, competence and intelligence in males. On the other hand, many societies today value nurturing, supportiveness, sensitivity, passiveness, beauty and kindness, in females. On top of this, within global society, for thousands of years, most human societies have been patriarchal. Men held all of the power and women were treated as property. Even in the United States, it was only in 1974 that a woman could have access to credit without a man, such as a husband, father or brother co-signing on a loan or credit card. Many of you watching this were already born when that happened. Some societies are very gradually transitioning out of this, but a society does not transition overnight. This means, female disadvantage and female powerlessness is not actually a thing of the past. And most societies still expect girls to be oriented towards others and serving what other people want and need, rather than themselves and what they want and need.  
Why all of this is important is because this cocktail of societal realities makes it so that girls often find themselves in societies that oppose who they naturally are and what they really want. Girls face negative consequences for going directly for what they want and need, as well as for the list of character traits that enable a person to do so. All of this makes it very hard for a girl to take ownership over her life. So, a girl very quickly has to find a way to get control over her life and get what she wants and needs, but without going directly for it and without displaying any of the character traits that would be considered undesirable. And the way they do this, is by manipulating. 
They employ creative ways of influencing and controlling other people’s behavior and actions, especially those who they believe have more power than they do. They take to behaviors and strategies which are designed to elicit a wanted thing from others, such whoever they are in a romantic relationship with. And this becomes a chronic behavior up into their adulthood.  
As a result, the worst habit that women have when it comes to romantic relationships, is manipulation of their partner. And the biggest problem of all, is that most women don’t even see what they are doing AS manipulation. In other words, they aren’t even aware that they are manipulating. The thing is, there is no possible way for a relationship to actually be a healthy relationship when manipulation is going on for several reasons. Let me share some of them with you. 
The decision to manipulate someone, whether it is subconscious or conscious, is a decision to gain power over them. When power disparity is unilaterally forced like this, it means you are not seeing your partner as an ally in life and an ally regarding the bringing about of what you want and need. You are seeing them as an enemy in life and an oppositional force to the bringing about of what you want and need. The opposite of a working relationship.  Manipulation is not done with the best interests of the person being manipulated in mind. When someone manipulates, they only have one thing in mind, their own wants and needs; no matter the negative impact on anyone else. And this, is a recipe for relationship disaster. Why? Because it destroys trust. Manipulation destroys trust in a relationship which is the most sacred element of a relationship. And when the manipulation is seen, it immediately leads to the person who is manipulated feeling unfairly treated and resentful.       The many tactics of manipulation, such as using a person’s insecurities for your own benefit, using someone’s needs against them, deception, fake friendliness, insincere flattery, guilting, inauthenticity, lying, strategically giving and withholding a person’s needs, strategic nice-ness, false promises, feigning ignorance, playing weak or helpless strategically, bullying, temper tantrums, veiled threats, playing mind games, passive aggression, silent treatment, gaslighting, love bombing, denial, blackmailing, putting people in terrible lose-lose scenarios etc. Are abusive. They do damage to others, which is not a recipe for a healthy relationship.  When someone manipulates chronically, it is usually because they were raised in a highly competitive environment, in which people (family members, classmates, coworkers, social groups, societal affiliations, economic interests) jockeyed for things like power, resources, advantage and influence. And that in that environment, they felt a lack of direct power and control over their situation. Because they felt this sense of being at the disadvantage, being powerless, being inadequate and lacking what they want and need, they resort to indirect, underhanded strategies to attain what they want and need. When manipulation is employed, it not only keeps you stuck in this worldview of negative competition (including with your own partner) it prevents you from actually seeing the power you do have and from actualizing your own genuine empowerment. It keeps you trapped in a position of having to get what you want and need through others and against their will.  While the most skilled manipulators are able to manipulate someone without them even realizing that they are being manipulated, at some level, most people can feel when they are being manipulated. Most people can feel when someone else is trying to control them. At the very least, they can feel that something is “off”. And this creates a negative emotional tone in a relationship, invites all kinds of protest behaviors and causes a cascade of conflict. Manipulation causes an overall lack of emotional safety in a relationship. It is a recipe for an insecure relationship. This goes hand in hand with the fact that manipulation destroys trust. For a relationship to work, the other person needs to be a place of safety and security for you. When a person manipulates, they have demonstrated that they cannot be considered safe or secure. They have demonstrated they are emotionally unsafe.  Meet Megan. Megan is in a relationship with Noah. Megan comes from a background in a Southern Baptist family. She is not an easy-going woman, even though she knows that being easy going is what is expected of her. Noah has recently decided that he needs to switch to a different medical college. This would mean moving and not just anywhere. Because of the college that Noah has decided on, it would mean moving back home, to the town where Noah’s mother lives. Megan does not want this to happen. But she is convinced that if she is honest and direct about the fact that she does not like his mother and abhors the idea of living near her and also that she cannot manage a long-distance relationship, that Noah will simply end the relationship. So, Megan is convinced she has to find an indirect way of getting what she wants, which is for Noah to change his mind. 
Megan decides upon several different methods of achieving this aim. The first method, is sending him articles about the downsides of living in the city that he wants to move to and feigning fear about the things written in the article. The second method is coming up with excuses for why she can’t move for a while, such as a friend who is going through cancer and then guilting Noah for his willingness to simply abandon the friend in their time of need. The third method is to triangulate Noah against his mother. 
Megan knows that Noah doesn’t like how suffocating his mother is. She calls him several times a day and loves to tell him what he should and shouldn’t be doing. So, Megan decides to fan the flames of discord between them. When she sees any sign of frustration in Noah after a phone call with his mom, she jumps in to not only validate his frustration, but to increase it. She says things like “Babe, it’s so sad that your mom doesn’t see that you’re a man, it must be hard to feel so disrespected by someone who you love so much.” And “What do you think your mom would want you to do, if she could have everything her way?  I think she would have you move in with her and for you to be kind of like her husband… what if your mom is never ok with anyone you marry, because she wants you for herself?” Despite it not actually being the case, Megan is careful to frame everything that Noah’s mother does, through the lens of her controlling him, disrespecting him and trying to get between them. After all, she knows these are triggers for Noah. 
The tactic works. One day, Noah says “God… I’m really starting to re-think this whole thing about moving back home.” Megan jumps on the opportunity to support his new idea not to move, showering him with nurturing physical affection while she does it. Noah feels a new found sense of resolve NOT to go. All the while, feeling a sick feeling in his stomach that he can’t quite understand about Megan. He dismisses the feeling though. She’s so obviously supportive of him and his own masculinity, unlike his mother.          
Manipulation is a way of indirectly meeting your needs. It is as simple as that. So, the way to break the habit of manipulating, is to be upfront and to go directly for what you want and need. Yes, doing this will bring you face to face with everything that caused you to start manipulating in the first place. Things like your personal sense of inadequacy and the belief that no one actually cares about what you want and need enough to be an advocate for those things and the fear of being seen as a bad person etc. But facing and resolving these things will drastically transform your life for the better. Not only that, it will make a healthy, mutually feel-good relationship possible.         

Debunking The Myth: You Must Love Yourself First to Find Someone Who Loves You

Just because you keep hearing the same thing from different people over and over again, doesn’t make it true. This is especially true when it comes to beliefs. Today, I’m going to de-bunk a commonly held belief that is causing a lot of damage to people, especially those who are struggling when it comes to self-love.
You’ve heard it all over the place: “You’ve got to love yourself first to find someone who loves you.” And “if you want to be loved, you’ve got to love yourself first.” And “you’ve got to love yourself first… You’ve got to be ok on your own before you can be ok with someone else.” And “you’ve got to love yourself first, because until you love yourself, you will never have a loving relationship.” And “you cannot expect someone else to love you, if you don’t love yourself.” This relationship cliche that you need to love yourself first before anyone else can love you is now treated as an unquestionable sacred truth. And not only is it not true, it causes people extreme pain and causes them to approach self-love from a totally wrong angle. 
In order to shoot this concept to the ground, I’m going to go point by point.
No truly self-loving person would ever say this. Why? Because a self-loving person recognizes that the need for other people and the need to be loved by them is an important need. One they cannot put on pause. They would never expect themselves to be an independent island unto themselves, where they shut down their need to be loved by others in order to try to do that independently. They would never put that need for others on pause (as if that were even possible) so as to require themselves to accomplish a feat first. A self-loving person realizes that a crucial part of loving yourself, is to directly meet your needs, including the needs that involve others, such as specifically seeking out the experience of being loved by others.  A much more objective truth than this one, is that fundamentally there is no self and other. Self is a distinction that is either useful or not useful, depending on the situation. If the ultimate truth is that we are all one, because we are all made of the same conscious energy, there is no difference between loving yourself and loving something else, at the end of the day, every form of love is self-love.  When it comes to the law of mirroring, often called the law of attraction, people love to oversimplify things. They don’t understand the complexity of a person’s overall vibration. Because of this, they logically deduce that if someone does not love themselves, they cannot be a match to someone who loves them. But this is not true. It is far more nuanced. For example, a person’s desire is a part of their vibration and so, if a person desires to be loved, this desire is also serving as a point of attraction. Or for example, if a person pours a lot of love into something else or someone else in their life, this frequency of love serves as a point of attraction where love will be reflected back at them through others. Or for example, a person does not hate all of themselves, only parts of themselves. They are likely to experience rejection from others for these parts of themselves, while being valued for the parts they, themselves are not in rejection of.
On top of this, we learn to love ourselves, or not, by virtue of the mirroring we received in our childhood and by virtue of the nature of the relationships other people had with us and each other growing up. Children are not born hating themselves or acting against themselves. They build a negative self-concept and detrimental relationship patterns through unloving relationships. If the law of mirroring were as simple as we like to make it, a child would not be a match to anything but loving relationships.      A person cannot exist in a vacuum. But when we say that you have to love yourself first, we act as if it is possible to live in a vacuum. You can’t press pause on relationships because all life is, is a series of relationships. Throughout the whole process of developing self-love, you will be in a relationship with a plethora of different people. Remember that a romantic monogamous partnership is not the only relationship there is. It’s just your biggest mirror for what you reject, suppress and deny and what you own, identify with and like about yourself. Your process of developing self-love, will be taking place while other people either love you and value you or reject you and abuse you or anything in-between. It isn’t a one-two step process. As a human, you are a social species. You cannot exist as an island. 
So much of this belief is a smokescreen for relational trauma. When people go through very specific relational trauma, believing that they can be an island unto themselves (and never be powerless or in pain again due to needing something from someone else) feels empowering and safer. So, believing they have all the power in their hands regarding love or that they only really need love from themselves, is a feel-good thought for them. It is a feel-good thought because it prevents them from having to face their past wounding and also the vulnerability inherent to relationships. The process of developing self-love is a process and it’s a process that is lifelong. Self-love is not something that you do and then it is done. Acting as if there is some end point to self-love, after which your accomplishment of self-love will make it so you can be loved, means you don’t understand what self-love is. To love yourself, is to take all parts of yourself, especially those parts that you are in rejection of, and see, hear, feel and understand them. To take positive ownership of them, so that you can value and appreciate them and do the right thing by them, thereby building an internal system built on love and trust, rather than going against yourself. This is a practice that does not end all the days of your life and is not simple to master. Just take one thing you really dislike about yourself. How easy is it for you to see, hear, feel, understand, value and appreciate that thing so as to positively own it? What if I told you that you will never have someone who loves you, until you do that? Self-love is not easy. And just like a scientist is likely to keep honing their experiments and theories until they die, the vast majority of people, even those who make self-love the focused practice of their life, will still be trying to master self-love on their death beds. You are not going to show up in any relationship as a perfected being. You cannot deny that a great many times, a person learns to love themselves BY someone else loving them. Sometimes a person learns to value something they reject in themselves BY someone else valuing it. For example, a person may have grown up in a culture where their hair type was considered terrible. Then they move to a different culture, one that loves and even prefers their hair the way it is naturally, and because of this, they come to love their hair, the very thing about them they once hated. Or for example, a person may have learned a pattern of abusive self-talk and only realize this once they are around someone who speaks to them positively and lovingly and as a result, they change their abusive self-talk. If it were only ever possible for someone to love you, if you already love you, or value something in you if you already value it, none of these stories would exist. They simply could not occur. Never underestimate this universe’s ability to bring you the healing element, and the healing element may just be someone who loves you. Other people loving us DOES play a role in us learning to love ourselves. If it didn’t, we would not have ended up in this self-hating place to begin with. When people are desperate to be loved, it means they are starving of an actual resource that people actually need in order to be able to survive and thrive. This means they are depleted. When you tell them that they need to go figure out how to love themselves first, this is the emotional equivalent of telling someone who is desperate to be touched (another human need) to go sit in the corner and learn how to touch themselves. Or telling someone who is severely undernourished that they need to learn how to grow food themselves first before someone else will give them food. This belief is actually a form of cruelty. Most people only really understand how cruel this is if they think about a child standing in front of them, emotionally starving for love. And them imagine telling this child, “I can only love you if you go figure out how to love yourself first!” Your ability to love yourself or even to take love in, does not determine other people’s ability or lack thereof to do so. The choice to love is something that is in each one of our hands. If you don’t believe me, think of a time you may have loved a pet, no matter what they did or didn’t do. No matter how young or old they were. No matter how well behaved or ill behaved. Have you ever had a person in your life who you know didn’t love themselves? Did that make it so you could not love them? The responsibility in a relationship is not all on your shoulders. Other people are not sitting around powerless to love until suddenly, you loving yourself makes them able to love.      Loving others and being loved by others and practicing the art of self-love, are all things that will be taking place simultaneously. So now I’m going to tell you where the idea that self-love makes for better relationships with others does hold water. If you are in rejection of aspects of you, the law of mirroring will reflect that to you, most likely by other people rejecting that aspect of you. Probably not all the people in your life, but enough to make you conscious of the part of you that you are in rejection of. If you do not love yourself, you are going to make all kinds of choices for your life that are not the best choices for you, this includes choosing people and staying in relationship with people who are not the best for you. And endlessly trying to make the people who remind you of the people who hurt you and didn’t love you, be the very ones to value and love you. And maintaining the adaptations that you made to unloving relationships in the past, which bends you towards only being able to fit into or create unloving relationship dynamics… People who do not practice love towards you. Self-love drastically improves your point of attraction relative to loving relationships. And it causes you to make drastically better choices for yourself, including choices that cause you to end up in better, more loving relationships. If you want to learn more about self-love, you can pick up a copy of my book that is quite literally titled How to Love Yourself, it is also available as an audio book. I also offer an e-course specifically on self-love if that would interest you.
Don’t go down the unnecessary rabbit hole of hopelessness that pops open the minute you hear you have to love yourself first for someone to love you. There are plenty of people who have a long way to go when it comes to self-love, and whom are in loving and healing relationships. Loving, feel good relationships are not reserved for perfect people, as if only being in a state of self-love makes you worthy of or a match to a good relationship. The fact that you do not love yourself, which is already painful enough, does not mean that you are incapable of finding love, period. The End!

How Your Adaptations Save Your Life, Only to Doom It!

Human beings are incredibly adaptable. They adjust and modify themselves according to the environment they find themselves in, as well as the other people around them. This adaptability bends people towards success. But it also tends to doom them, especially when it comes to the things they want most.
Each and every one of us adapts to our surroundings. This begins when we are children. We adapt to our parent’s personalities, beliefs, wants and needs, likes and dislikes. We adapt to our culture. We adapt to the language we are taught to speak. We adapt to the schools we are educated in. We adapt to the peers we play with and are bullied by. We adapt to society at large. We adapt to traumatic situations we may find ourselves in. And this list just keeps going on and on. We adapt so as to keep ourself safe and give ourselves the highest chance of meeting our needs and succeeding at whatever it is we have our sights on, consciously or subconsciously. If we didn’t adapt, we would be in real trouble in many ways. So, adaptation is a survival strategy, if not at times a strategy we use in order to thrive. But what happens when we need to move to a different environment than the one we have adapted ourselves to? What happens when we want to experience a different relationship than the one we customized ourselves to? The answer is, either we adapt again, or we doom ourselves to only being able to be in the very environments that we previously adapted ourselves to. And this, can spell doom for us. 
So that you understand this concept, I’ll give you three examples. 
Amara’s father was diagnosed bipolar before she was born, and was in and out of psychiatric facilities. Frequently, he drive drunk and gravitate towards other risk taking behaviors. He would catastrophize and self-medicate with prescription opioids. Amara’s mother coped with this through denial and false optimism. In truth, the entire house revolved around the father’s mental and emotional state. Amara had to adapt to this to be ok in her childhood home. She figured out how to co-exist with her father. She became hyper attuned, so she could tell where he was emotionally and mentally at all times. She let go of the need for predictability and learned to roll with anything that came, rather than be attached to any outcome. She learned how to get her needs met by figuring out how to manipulate her father’s behavior rather than being straightforward because life could never be about her, when it was about him all the time. Amara’s father leaned on her for all of his needs and so, she was parentified. But she learned to gain security from how badly she is needed by someone because of their dysfunction. 
After several failed relationships, Amara is really, really wanting a healthy relationship where she doesn’t find herself in a relationship with another addict. She doesn’t want her life to revolve around things like bailing a man out of jail and caretaking him after a drug binge and having to pay his rent to prevent him from ending up on the street. Amara doesn’t realize that her adaptations, the very ones she made in order to be ok in her childhood home, are the reason she keeps ending up in these situations with men in her adult life. When she dates a man who is not drowning in mental and emotional problems, she feels they can stand on their own two feet and do not lean on her or need her. Because of this, she feels no pull or grip and decides there is no real bond there. She has learned to never make conversations about her or her needs, so she is incredibly appealing for men who are looking for a one-way relationship that revolves around them. Because trying to make things predictable went so badly for her in her youth, she feels safer when she just rolls with whatever happens. Because of this, she has not made any effort to be in the driver’s seat of her own life. If she meets a man on Tuesday who lives in another state, she can abandon whatever she is doing and wherever she lives and move in with him by Friday. This appeals to men who are looking for rescue. She learned how to parent men through her relationship with her father. And this adaptation makes it so that the only relationship she feels confident in, is one where she needs to caretake and parent a man. Amara’s adaptations have made it so that she only works and her behavior only makes sense in one kind of relationship. A relationship that mirrors her relationship with her father growing up, despite the fact that this keeps ruining her life. The last boyfriend she had, didn’t tell her that he had taken a sleeping pill when he offered to drive her and her daughter to a concert and all three of them ended up in critical care.  Kyle is very confused about why nothing in his life ever works out for him. Things don’t seem to happen for him the way they do for other people. Looking back at Kyle’s past, what we find is that he grew up in a religious environment that was obsessed with the afterlife. In fact, not much about this life mattered, except doing what was necessary to get to the afterlife. His family and culture did not care about worldly successes. They found earthly ambition to be a fool’s errand. As a result of this, they did not care to encourage Kyle or enable or empower him relative to whatever he was ambitious about or interested in. In fact, they often acted as an antagonistic, oppositional force to it. He did not have any support. He had opposition. The way he adapted to that opposition, was to stop putting his full effort into things, since he had learned his efforts were not going to come to anything anyway. And he adapted by making excuses about why things didn’t work out. These adaptations may have made it more tolerable to live in the culture around him. But now, as an adult, he is sick of being broke and having no accomplishments to his name and getting random injuries any time he tries to succeed at a sport. He doesn’t understand why he is so unlucky. 
The problem is, Kyle doesn’t consciously see his own adaptations and how they are sabotaging him now. Everyone else around him sees it. They talk about how easily he gives up and they see how much more time and energy he could be putting into the goals he says he has. Kyle has adapted to a situation where he will never achieve anything he wants in life. And because of those adaptations, which he doesn’t see and therefore isn’t facing and changing, he never will achieve anything he wants in life. Jim joined the military. In the military, he was put through intense training. Suddenly, the world he had joined was harsh. Perfection was expected and there was no space for vulnerability at all. Jim adapted. He adapted by learning the pattern of suppression. He suppressed anything about himself that he or anyone else judged as vulnerable or weak. He adapted by learning to never divulge anything private about himself. He adapted by becoming rigidly disciplined. He adapted by finding safety through control. He adapted by feeling a sense of power and security through putting himself through intense discomfort so he could prove to himself he would not break down, no matter how much pressure was put on his system. He adapted by re-framing every single challenge into an opportunity. 
Now, Jim is a father. He has a son who is a young teen. The behavior that Jim needs to be a good father to his son is lacking severely because of the adaptations Jim made to the military. When his son needs his vulnerability to be heard and needs to be supported, Jim gets triggered because he sees this as weakness in his son, a big liability. So, Jim negates his son’s feelings and deliberately does not help him, so his son can see he can do it himself. There can be no closeness between them because Jim does not like to divulge anything about himself, even to his own son. His son wants to be loved by Jim for who he is. But Jim is not doing this. Jim is busy trying to turn his son into a miniature version of himself. Including imposing his own strategy for success on his son, which is intense discipline and uncomfortable challenges. His son is afraid of him and so, he goes along with these intense exercises, such as cold plunges and weight lifting extreme objects and severe fasting. And he never, ever feels good enough for Jim. Jim wants to be a good father. But he cannot be. He has a terrible relationship with his son because of the adaptations he made to belong in the military. He needs to let go of those adaptations and develop different patterns in himself in order to parent well and have a good relationship with his son.  The big problem with the adaptations we make to things, most especially to traumatic and dysfunctional environments, is that those adaptations form and forge us to fit into those things we adapt to. This includes traumatic and dysfunctional environment and relationships. And so, we start to only make sense in those environments and only feel a sense of personal power in those environments. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage. We feel like a fish out of water in different, even far more functional and healthy environments and relationships. And when we really, really want something different, these adaptations work against us. They act as resistant forces to the very thing we want and need.   
If we want a different experience, we need to change the adaptive patterns within US that make us a perfect match to that experience.  

Are You a Parent Who Is Being Alienated?

Parental alienation is a strategy of a parent destroying their child’s relationship with the other parent by turning the child against the other parent because it serves that parent’s personal agenda to do so. In today’s world, it is a poorly understood dynamic, even by professionals. And it is a superbly abusive family dynamic. In order to understand this dynamic in depth, I suggest that you watch my video titled: The Truth About Parental Alienation. Today, I’m going to give you some insight as to what to know and what to do if you are a parent who is being alienated. 
It is very tempting to feel like it is all your fault and to take what is happening deeply personally. Because it seems personal. But here is the reality. It isn’t actually personal. You have stepped into a transgenerational abuse pattern. As well as a subconscious attempt to resolve the trauma experienced in that abuse dynamic. All kinds of things are being projected onto both you and your child. And because your child was born into this transgenerational abuse pattern before it was changed or resolved, they are not in a safe situation. A child who does not feel safe in a situation, is a child in survival mode. They will adapt to that situation in self-preserving ways. Such as suppressing their authenticity, aligning with whomever their survival is better served by aligning with and going against whoever they need to go against. It isn’t actually about you. It’s about the other parent being caught up in an experience with you that is triggering their original trauma, and the whole host of defensive responses that they are having to that. It’s about your child being put in such a terrible position by the other parent that they are doing what they are doing, in order to stay safe FROM the other parent. This is why the child is often not motivated to make things better with you, and may resist seeing you at all. And while you need to do everything within your power to correct any actual issues between you and your child that are being exploited by the other parent, there is literally no way to build a good relationship with your child, when the other person upon whom their life depends, is actively and intentionally destroying it. It’s like trying to build a sandcastle with a playground bully. Don’t ever forget that in a healthy parenting or coparenting situation, two people should be trying to help each other to have a better relationship with their child, this situation is exactly the opposite.  Due to enmeshment, you are not actually interacting with your child. You are interacting with a puppet/reflection of the other parent. And therefore, the person you are actually interacting with when you interact with your child, is the other parent. You can think of it like talking to a ventriloquist puppet on stage. The child’s authenticity is deeply suppressed… inaccessible. Just because you see your child’s physical body, that does not mean your actual child is present. They are no longer present. Stop trying to talk to your child as if your child is there. They are not there. They are in a fused state with the other parent. They are experiencing what the other parent feels and thinks, as if it is their own thoughts and feelings. You are not actually being rejected by them. You are being rejected by the other parent through the shell of them. Take a look at how the child feels towards you… that you are mean, awful, that you hurt them, that they are superior to you, that you deserve to suffer. They keep judging you from a place of moral righteousness, etc. It is simply how the other parent feels about you and your relationship. All the insecurities and core sense of inadequacy that is inherent in the other parent is being projected onto you via the child. Your actual child is like a pearl that has been buried deep beneath a shell. And that shell is a replica of the other parent and what the other parent wants.   Your child does not feel safe. And is not in a safe situation. You cannot expect your child to expose vulnerable things that are deeply suppressed within them, such as their love for you and desire to be close with you or their authentic thoughts, feelings, needs, wants and fragile subjective experience when doing so absolutely WILL lead to HUGE consequences from the other parent. There will be retaliation towards them. They will be treated as if they are betraying the other parent. Your child is essentially an emotional and mental hostage of the other parent. Look at what you are expecting from your child to risk and what danger you are putting them in or asking them to put themselves in, regarding anything you are asking from them. This is the real reason why so many children of alienated parents don’t “change their tune” or restore their relationship with the alienated parent until they get far enough into adulthood that they are no longer in the same situation and therefore can break free from the hostage dynamic that a relationship with an alienating parent ultimately is. Unless you can actually protect them and put them in a safe situation, their actual, authentic self cannot come out and neither can their love for you. It’s too dangerous for them. But keep in mind that doing whatever it takes to get them into a safe situation is not the same as engaging in a power struggle against the other parent. Nor is it a straightforward process, especially in today’s world, where because of the ignorance of the mental health field and legal field, trying to get an alienated child safe, may just make them more unsafe and harm them more. Your child does not have the capacity to understand or process the severe level of manipulation or abuse that is happening to them. It can feel like they are under a spell. And trying to break the spell by trying to reason and logic your child out of it will not work. They are deeply engaged in a coping mechanism designed to deal with a very, very unsafe situation. Taking up the strategy of defensively trying to set the record straight, trying to get them to see the truth and trying to get them to see what the other parent is doing, because you thinking that your child will be able to see through the whole game and not only stop playing into it, but stand up to it, will not work. Why? Because you are not in a normal situation. This child is not in a normal situation. They are a hostage, navigating a very dangerous situation for themselves emotionally and mentally.  Parental alienation is a control tactic. You have been put in a lose, lose, lose scenario. Take a moment and pause this video and think about what you would have to do to make all the problems with your child and the other parent go away. Hopefully you can see that you’d have to give into everything so they are in complete power and control and could have everything their way. Some parents choose to do this out of the desperation to have a relationship with their child. But if you do this, you must know that everything will not be ok. To avoid the horrible consequences that you are now facing and the ones you deeply fear, you are in fact agreeing to other consequences. You will be agreeing to put yourself and your child in an emotionally and mentally unsafe dynamic at the very least, where you will be controlled, none of you can be authentic and where placation will be the name of the game. As you’ve now seen, your child is the leverage that will be used against you. And you will be signing yourself and them up to maintaining a dysfunctional social system. Damage will be done both ways.  The situation must change for there to be any change. Most people who are facing alienation dynamics severely, and I mean severely underestimate the situation they are in. This situation is much, much more complex than a normal divorce situation with a child involved. It is much more complex than simply trying to find ways to have a positive relationship with your child. Or trying to logic your way out of the situation you are in with your kids. This is going to be a methodical fight. And you are up against something so much bigger than you realize. Do not minimize the problem. If you decide to fight this fight, step one of changing the situation is to gain support from mental health professionals. Step two is to use those mental health professionals in a legal fight. If you do not go down that road of fighting to get your child into a different situation, one where they are not an emotional and psychological hostage to the alienating parent, what you are choosing is to let your child go to the alienating parent, and to let them deal with that unsafe situation in any adaptive way they can, including a continuation of many of the behaviors you have already seen them display, with the hope that things will change in the future. While you are going through this process, and without expecting for it to improve their behavior at all, it is critical to behave and communicate with your child in consistent, caring and loving ways. This means send them consistent messages of your love. Offer support, even if it isn’t taken. You can think of this like leaving bread crumbs for them to find their way home. These things exist as proof of your presence, love and support. Keep offering this no matter if they reject it. The child also needs to see this kind of proof that contradicts the vilifying narrative being fed to them by the alienating parent. Even if the worst happens and they only break free from the psychological hostage situation as adults, they need to know that you are always available to them, wanting that connection with them should they ever want it. They need to know that you will not abandon them. Do so knowing that the alienating parent will see every single thing you say or do and will use it against you. The other parent will be doing their best to negatively re-frame everything for the child. 
It is important to know that you cannot be nice enough that suddenly, everyone will see through the dynamic and the problem will go away because the kids will see through their other parent. Remember that even in the worst-case scenario, you are a parent for the totality of a child’s life, not just their first 18 years. The job simply changes. Consistent demonstrations of love, have a way of eventually breaking spells.         Your child is already and will be emotionally and mentally damaged by this experience. This is important to accept because many alienated parents harbor a self-comforting illusion that a child can somehow escape this damage. They can’t. This situation will alter the structure of their personality. They are learning how to have dysfunctional and unsafe relationships. They too will need to overcome a core self-concept of inadequacy. They have been systematically trained into inauthenticity. They have lost a relationship with you, who deeply, deeply matters to them. And so, so much more. On top of this, the burden of the other parent’s transgenerational trauma, which has been passed on to them, is now on their shoulders to repeat or heal from. This will be a core foundational experience in their life. And they will have A LOT of healing to do. The good news is, children heal very quickly. And in a safe environment, their authentic truth comes to the surface quite easily. Given that the situation wasn’t prevented, prepare yourself to be an advocate and ally to a healing process that is likely to reach far into their adulthood. The more on board you are with that reality and process, the better.          At its root, parental alienation is not about the child. It is about a conflict between you and the other parent. The child is simply being used as a pawn in that game. Usually everyone involved, including professionals, are effectively fooled by this and keep focused on the children. Do your very best to get out of this game. You do need to focus on getting your child safe. But keeping the child the focus of the conflict, keeps the strategy alive and distracts from the actual issue. What’s going on with the kids is a way of the other parent avoiding the vulnerable feelings they harbor regarding what happened in their relationship with you. That conflict, as well as the deep childhood wounds that surfaced as a result of it, is the actual issue. This doesn’t mean that you can get them to go there. A person has to be willing to face reality, including their own vulnerabilities and insecurities, to do that work. And with an alienating parent, this is the last thing they want to do. Parental alienation is not recognized or understood by the very systems that would enable you to protect them and cause them to be safe enough to drop their shell and bring their actual authentic self out to be seen and be in a relationship with you. The mental health system and the legal system most especially. And alienating parents are able to exploit this ignorance to no end. This means, the alienating parent will likely be able to manipulate these systems and use them better than you can. Without their support, you don’t have the power to protect your child from the other parent. And so, you cannot “get your child back”. As a side note, this serious failing in the field of mental health is why I am focused on parental alienation as an important dynamic for all mental health professionals to recognize and deeply understand; especially those that work with children, families and with court systems.
If you can’t protect your child, so they are in a safe situation to be authentic, they must do what they have to do in order to stay as safe as possible in the situation they are stuck in. For this reason, the most important thing to do is twofold. 1. Find people to support you in the mental health system and legal system who understand the complex abusive dynamics of parental alienation and who can see through the elaborate deception game.
If you are involving professionals in the alienation dynamic you are in, you must know that not any professional will do. The vast (and I mean really vast) majority of professionals do not understand the processes and patterns involved in parental alienation. They aren’t good at seeing through smokescreens, deception and veneers. They don’t recognize a child’s “one parent being all good vs one parent being all bad” as a huge red flag. They are easily manipulated. Any professional you involve must demonstrate that they deal with alienation dynamics specifically. As a special awareness, therapists who are trained specifically to work with children as a class of therapists, often lack the training for and experience of working with the kinds of severe adult issues (a therapist would call them pathologies or disorders) involved in parental alienation. So, they don’t even recognize what they are looking at. In essence, they are not sensitized to these behavioral patterns and processes and how they affect the behavior of the child. This means, they miss a great deal. 2. Be part of the game of changing the system itself so that it becomes one that recognizes and understands the complex abusive dynamics of parental alienation and who can see through the elaborate deception game. Right now, you are in the dark ages relative to parental alienation. And that, is one of the saddest realities and also the hardest things to accept as an alienated parent. If you cannot protect your children with the help of the mental health system and legal system, then you are playing a long-term game regarding getting your relationship with your child back.   Because parental alienation is a game of deception, the name of the game for you, is to be very sure that your behavior contradicts the narrative that is being spun. To not fall into the trap of appearing to be the way that the other parent wants you to appear to everyone involved. This is not about arguing with everyone for yourself and against the other parent, especially when it comes to your child. Remember your child cannot wake up out of the spell of this kind of psychological manipulation while they are still in the situation. And making sure your behavior contradicts the narrative being spun is way, way easier said than done because parental alienation is enough to make even the most composed parent lose it. And this is way easier said than done because of how good the alienating parent is at spinning things, negatively reframing things and putting you in soul boggling lose-loses where a self-supportive choice you make, or a genuine need you have, may just condemn you. You need to make sure to keep a record of literally every single thing related to your ex and kids. Receipts, records of communications. Anything that can serve as proof to contradict the narrative. And you need to keep that proof. And should you need to present that proof, as impossible as it feels to do so, you need to do so in a non-defensive way, like someone simply presenting counter-proof. Not only will this help you in your battle now, when your kids are adults and should they start trying to weed through all the deception, it will benefit them to have the open opportunity to see these things. You need to be the one who takes the high road and displays no ill will at all times. And other adults involved in the situation need to see proof that this is the case. Remember that in perfectly disgusting fashion, any angry or upset reaction that you have will be used against you.     As I said earlier, one of the most important things for alienated parents to see is that parental alienation is a triangulation dynamic. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: Are You Being Triangulated? A Common Manipulation Technique in Relationships. And a skilled triangulator, which an alienating parent is, will use what is REAL to disguise themselves. They will capitalize on actual issues or weaknesses. This means, they will target any real issues that you may have, including issues with your child. Your job, if possible, is to resolve those things as quickly as possible so they are not issues anymore and therefore can’t be used by the alienator against the child anymore. In this way, alienation can be a real fire under your butt to fix issues and positively change relationship patterns and repair ruptures. For example, say that you are a workaholic who spends so much time at the office that you never have time for the kids and have come to learn that this is a source of pain for your child. In order for the alienating parent to not be able to use that as a means of triangulating your child against you, you need to actually change this pattern with your child. Perhaps acknowledge the pain you’ve caused through this dynamic and make it so that the child does not make it mean anything about them. And make a real dedicated effort to spend more quality time with them. Parental alienation will fan the flames of any real problem that does exist in you or in the relationship you have with your child and you have power when it comes to this, which is a big deal because when it comes to parental alienation, you have very little power to do anything. No matter what, do not play the same game of debasement. The alienating parent is using the child as a pawn in their own game against you. They have in essence, just sacrificed their own child. If you grab onto that child and use them as a pawn back, trying to get them to see the other parent as bad, you’ve just done the same thing. Remember that it is intensely tormenting and deeply damaging for a child as well as their development to be caught between their parents and to feel like it is a problem for them to be close with the other parent. This means, don’t fall into the trap of trying to get your child to see the other parent as bad. Do not triangulate back. On top of this, part of this game is to try not to activate the alienating parent’s deep feelings of inadequacy, shame and poor self-esteem. Remember that they are covering up a deep self-esteem wound, which has been there since childhood and was added to in their relationship with you. They are covering it up with the exact opposite… A personal narrative of themselves being amazing and good. You are a huge threat to this inflated positive personal narrative that is protecting them from this deeper insecurity. And the more this deep sense of poor self-esteem is touched and challenged, the more they will fight like hell to preserve it and they will employ all kinds of defensive processes against you.    In order to go through this horrific experience, you are going to need support. You are going to need multiple people and professionals, who are helping you through the experience emotionally, mentally, physically and legally. But here is a huge warning. All of them need to be able to support you in playing this horrific game (that you are now in whether you like it or not). Believe me, no one involved, including the alienating parent is playing this game for fun. Remember that they are caught up in a re-play of their own trauma. This game, is a game of emotional and mental survival for everyone involved. And it is a social attachment nightmare. The people involved will have to be able to play this game too. This alienation game will put incredible pressure on and stress on any other relationship you have, most especially your relationship with a significant other. Your significant other is likely to be targeted by the alienating parent because they are the biggest trigger for the deep self-esteem trauma they experienced in childhood. They are in essence, a source of re-traumatization for them. In truth, a significant other can even be the trigger for the entire parental alienation dynamic to occur. So, they will be enrolled in this game whether they like it or not. Some people that I have helped through alienation dynamics have gone so far as to settled on the opinion that a parent who is being alienated should not be in a partnership dynamic when they take on an alienation fight. Or should do everything to keep the relationship secret. The alienating parent is likely to make any harmony or happiness between you and a significant other, which is a source of suffering for them, impossible. They want to stir up conflict between you. What I will say is that your significant other must be not even willing, but able to do so. 
It's very important to not expect that if a significant other loves you, they will support you through such an ordeal. Because this will be much more than supporting you to have a good relationship with your child. This will be signing up to be targeted on a daily basis by someone bent on not only punishment but also debasement. Not only debasement, but alienation. And not only of you, but of them too. It will feel superbly unfair that you have been put in this position. But now, being in this position, you are also putting them in an unfair position. You are asking them to choose pain and danger for your sake and for the sake of your child. Some couples do manage it. But it is like trying to build a sand castle in a hurricane. This would be impossible for a great many partners who have a secure attachment. But anyone who has an insecure attachment, or even worse, trauma from their own childhoods (which the alienating parent will hone in on and use to their advantage) will be re-traumatized and damaged by this experience and you could quickly find yourself dealing not only with being alienated from your kids and so many other people, but consistent conflicts with and the breakdown of your relationship with your significant other. Commit to the process of facing yourself and resolve unresolved traumas in your own past. Do your own deep, healing work, most especially shadow work. As tempting as it is for every one of us to think of ourselves as having ended up in such a situation by accident. Believe me, it is no accident. I have never, and I mean ever, met an alienated parent whose alienation experience was not directly related to a childhood trauma or many. And the many patterns they developed as a result of it. These traumas are at the root of why a person even ends up in a relationship with a person like an alienator. Doing this work is very different than blaming yourself or taking the responsibility for what is the responsibility of the alienator. Instead, it is freeing yourself from the very patterns that feed into the painful dynamic you are now in. Doing this work is difficult. But it will keep you sane through this process. It will enable you to make much better decisions in this alienation situation itself. It also has the potential to put you in the position to have a better and more authentic relationship with your children than you even could have if you stayed in all of your patterns because none of this ever happened.
On top of all of this, nightmares happen in parental alienation dynamics when the alienated parent is understandably so emotionally and mentally damaged by this experience that the entire fight to stay connected with their child becomes about their own needs. When this happens, the child is effectively ripped in half by two parents who are both stuck in a state of narcissism. Your job is to be the safe parent for this child. And a big part of this is to genuinely evaluate what is best for that child in all steps of this process, completely separate from what you want and need on an emotional level. As hellish as it is, the need you have for your children, a need which is about your emotional needs, cannot mean more to you than what your child needs.     A final note is that when it comes to parental alienation, which is a deception game, your best ally is knowledge and information. This means, research, research, research about it. Connect with professionals who are aware of parental alienation and with parents and adult children who have gone through the experience themselves. The more you learn, the better. And the more you research, the more resources you will find to assist you.  Parental alienation is one of the single most painful things that a person can experience. And there is nothing I could say to make the pain you are in go away. But I will tell you that in this universe, three very powerful things prevail. Those things are love, truth and the drive to heal. And so, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, you have three very powerful allies working against everything that the other parent is doing. You also have professionals like myself across various fields who are dedicated to blowing the lid right off of this whole dynamic, so that our society and the systems that are a part of it, are no longer unknowingly enabling parental alienation to take place.

How to Open your Earth Star Chakra

There is a very dramatic trend since 2020 of people’s Earth Star Chakras being profoundly out of alignment. For a great many people lately, their Earth Star Chakra is so closed, it appears dime size. Or in some cases, much smaller. This is also a growing epidemic I’m seeing in more and more children today. So, just like we’ve done for the other chakras, I’m going to teach you about this little known chakra (such as where it is and what it does) as well as teach you how to make sure it is in a state of alignment, both emitting and absorbing energy. 
At the most basic level, your body is made up of energy.  That energy organizes itself into the physical body. But before that energy organizes itself into physical body parts, it organizes itself into meridians and chakras. These chakras are centers of energy that lie along energy channels and each one holds a very specific vibration and has a specific purpose.  Each chakra is a specific expression of Prana (otherwise known as life force or source energy).  The chakras look a bit like funnels of energy or vortices.  They both absorb and emit energy.    
When a chakra is out of alignment, meaning it is not letting life force in or is out for any number of reasons, it starts to affect your equilibrium. It becomes a serious imbalance within the system. When chakras are out of alignment, they appear small and do not absorb or emit much energy. They also change in their color, patterning, texture and sound. 
The Earth Star Chakra, sometimes referred to as chakra zero or Vasundhara is located in a person’s energy field, about half a foot to a foot below the feet. It is traditionally associated with the color amber-brown. It can be compared to the color of coca cola when it is held to the light. 
The earth star chakra is in fact an anchor for the entire energy body/chakra system. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the “super root”. It governs a person’s connection with and commitment to engaging in their external, physical environment. For a physical human, this has meant physical existence specifically on earth. Because of this, you can think of this chakra as the bond between a person and the external, physical environment. At this point, the bond between a person and Earth. The Earth Star Chakra is even more important for grounding than the root chakra is. It excretes unneeded energies from the rest of the chakra system out to the external world, including to planet earth. And it pulls in energy from the external world, including the planet earth itself. The Earth Star Chakra is also very deeply linked to cause and effect, which includes Karma.   
When it is open and in alignment, this chakra brings deep levels of attunement to your environment, brings energy from the environment (including from earth itself) into the whole of the chakra system. It helps you to stay present with your day-to-day physical tasks. It causes you to feel grounded and stable. It causes you to be reliable. It causes a feeling of connectedness with your environment and life on earth, as well as a sense of being an integral part of it. And it makes it so you can recognize resources that exist as well as take in needs from your environment (the external world). You will feel ready to take on the challenges of life. You will feel committed to engaging in and with all elements of physical existence. It brings a zest for life. And it compels you to take your place and role within the bigger picture of physical existence. 
When it is closed and out of alignment, you will be out of touch with your surroundings, struggle to be present, unattuned to your environment, ungrounded and unstable, disconnected from all things external (be it other people, places and things). You will feel uncommitted to physical life and struggle to take in needs from your environment (the external world). The lack of intake of energy from one’s environment can leave you fatigued, undernourished and frail. There will also be a build-up of unneeded and even toxic energies within a person’s energy system that are not being released. The disconnection as well as pent-up negative energies can cause constant agitation, eating disorders, leg issues, severe phobias, what people are calling autism spectrum disorders, mood swings, circulation issues, vestibular system disorders, depression, anxiety and a whole plethora of long-term illnesses. 
To give you some ideas of what can cause the Earth Star Chakra to go out of alignment? It could happen as the result of any traumatic experience that causes you to fear or de-commit to life as a physical person on earth. The decision to disconnect from others. The refusal to engage in physical sensory experiences or the deprivation of physical sensory experiences. Resistance to being a human. Dissociation. Being too lost in the realm of thought and emotions rather than being embodied in the here and now. Inserting too much of your consciousness into alternative nonphysical worlds, such as out of body work, medicine work, video games, online worlds, movies or virtual reality etc and not spending enough time in nature.           
  Knowing that, here is what you can do to open your Earth Star Chakra and bring it into alignment:
Deciding to really engage in physicality with all of your focused attention is by far the best way to connect to your Earth Star Chakra and bring it into alignment. This means, whatever task you are doing, be completely present in it with all of your senses. Rather than allowing thought to pull you away from what is happening in the here and now, let thoughts arise and fade as you engage in the experience fully. For example, if you are doing the dishes, feel every little sensation against your skin. Such as the weight of the dish, the slipperiness of the surface, the rush of water against your hands and the temperature of the water. Take note of every scent, such as the smell of the soap. Notice the sounds, such as background noises, the sound of the water rushing from the faucet, the clank of ceramic etc. Let yourself soak in and be impacted by the sights that are in front of you, notice how the colors make you feel emotionally. Notice the various textures, like the holes in the sponge and the shine of the metal. Make the whole goal to be completely present with all of your sensory faculties in the here and now, engaged entirely in whatever you are doing or whatever is happening in the here and now.  Sensory experiences. Seek out and design sensory experiences for yourself. Imagine the kinds of experiences that would not be available to you in the non-physical and do those things. This can be things like seeking out the G-force experience of riding in a roller coaster to sticking your hands in a bucket of un-cooked rice to smelling all the spices in your spice rack one by one or all the essential oils in your essential oil collection. To having your lover go over your skin with a dry brush. To blasting the music and letting your body move to it.       Mindfulness mediations that center around awareness of the here and now. Any meditation that causes you to have awareness of the environment/the external world works wonders for the Earth Star Chakra.  Exercise and body work. Physical exercise commits more of your energy to the physical. So does body work of any kind such as yoga, breathwork, kinesiology, acupuncture, massage and somatic healing etc. Physical movement and sports can go a long way towards the health of the Earth Star Chakra. Consciously put energy into recognizing and resolving any trauma(s) that may have weakened your commitment to living life as a physical person on earth. The goal here is to re-establish your commitment to being present in life, committed to life and engaging in your external, physical environment. Grounding exercises and immersion in nature. The very same grounding exercises that benefit the Root Chakra, benefit the Earth Star Chakra. This can include grounding meditations, cold plunges and walking barefoot on the earth. Spending time immersed in natural environments and surrounded by nature, is one of the best ways to bring the Earth Star Chakra into alignment.        Clear your Karma. The super simplified idea of karma is that your actions in this incarnation, as well as previous incarnations, decide your fate in this life as well as in future incarnations. To witness karma is simply to witness that in this universe, there is cause and there is effect. And it is to recognize that we will be a match to a reflection (external experience) of whatever we ‘are’. For example, if we hold a pattern of creating transaction in relationships, we will be a match to people who also hold this pattern and who are transactional with us. Or, if we push people away, we end up alone. And when we make decisions and take actions, in our life in the here and now, it affects everyone in the past and everyone in the future. The word karma is a Sanskrit word that means “act” or “deed.” In Hinduism and Buddhism, the word has come to mean any decision or action that brings you good or bad results, either in this lifetime or in a reincarnation. It has also come to mean “fate” or “destiny.” Therefore, to clear up Karma, you are going to identify a decision that you made or an action that you took. Specifically, one that brought about bad results. And you are going to “clear some karma” by making a different decision, taking a different action or righting the wrong… Pulling yourself in a different and, corrective direction. For example, imagine that you know you were unkind to someone in high school. Seeking them out to apologize and make amends for what you did or volunteering as a mentor for high school kids that are being bullied or are bullies themselves are some simple ways of clearing that Karma.   Use mineral energies. In my opinion, the very best for the Earth Star Chakra are: Dravite, Bronzite, Enstatite, Lodestone, Picture Jasper, Staurolite, Sandstone, Hilutite, Rhodonite, Petrified wood, Petalite, Botswana Agate, Jasper Hematite, Obsidian (especially Mahogany Obsidian), Andalusite, Citrine, Amber, Smokey Quartz and Tiger Iron. Use sounds and frequencies. This could be as simple as going out into nature and bathing in the sounds that are happening there. The planet earth itself has a sound. By going into nature, this sound is able to vibrate more purely through your whole being. Aside from this, the sounds which I notice have the greatest positive impact on the Earth Star Chakra are: The pure frequency of 68.05 Hz and 432 Hz, Stone drums, Forest Sounds, Desert Sounds, Cave Sounds, hand pan music, Birdsong in general, but especially the low-tone birdsong birds such as the Ring Dove, Kiwi, American Bittern and Cassowary bird song. Also the sound of a cat’s purr.  Practice attunement with what is external to you. The best way to imagine attunement is to imagine sitting in your car and reaching out for the radio dial.  If you want to hear the music being played at a specific frequency, like 98.2 FM, you need to tune your radio dial to 98.2 FM.  And then you will hear the music.  Your own radio dial needs to be brought into harmony with or become one with the radio channel you want to receive in order to perceive that radio channel. It’s no different with other beings, including people and it’s no different with the environment you are in. To be able to perceive other people and to feel and see and hear them and understand them and communicate with them, you need to attune to them. You need to tune into them as if you are them so as to be able to feel or imagine the other person’s emotional experience and to understand what they are feeling. You need to be able to fully perceive what is about any person, place or thing or environment you encounter in the external world. This is what allows you to know what to do in any given situation. To learn more about attunement and how to practice it, you can watch my video titled: Attunement (The Key to a Good Relationship).     The lesson that the Earth Star Chakra teaches us is that it is possible to be here living a human life on earth without being truly committed to being here, living a human life on earth. And to be that un-committed to physicality is to abandon, reject and disown a big part of yourself. To be that disengaged is to not make the most of the incredible opportunity and exceptional experience of physical life on earth.            

The Worst Habit Men Have in Romantic Relationships

For most people, the goal of a romantic relationship is to establish a secure, feel-good partnership with someone who is truly compatible. But there are some behaviors that make this virtually impossible. Let’s take a look at the worst, unfortunately common, behavior that men have in romantic relationships. A behavior that gives a relationship 0% chance of working. 
The process of socialization that the vast majority of us were put through as children was a painful experience that laid the foundation for our social interactions as adults. Why?  Because it is a process in which we learn what about people in general and what about us is bad, wrong, unacceptable, unwanted and unlovable. We learned that in order to stay safe in our social group and get our needs met, we must alienate ourselves from and hide those aspects of ourselves. To the opposite, we must identify with and put forward whatever is seen as right, good, acceptable, desired and lovable.
In our adult relationships, this means that whether we are male or female, we spend our time trying to employ a strategy for how to get someone we want, rather than spending our time advertising who we genuinely are so that a person who would value us can actually recognize us. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Great Dupe of Dating. 
But the worst habit that men have when it comes to romantic relationships, is that they take this thing to a whole other level. The worst habit that men have in romantic relationships is that they become one man during the hunting phase of pursuing a relationship, and then switch to a whole other man when that hunting phase is over and they have actually achieved that relationship. 
When a man spots a woman that he wants to pursue a romantic relationship with, it can easily be compared to a man who is hunting. Just like a hunter has his mind on one goal, getting the kill, he has one goal in mind, get the girl. But a lot of men don’t play it out further than that. And he employs many of the same behaviors that a man does when he is hunting. He learns everything about her, so as to increase his odds of being able to achieve his aim. He uses deception such as camouflage to disguise anything about himself that might scare off the object of his affection. And bait, such as the woman’s affinities, needs and desires to lure her in. He becomes one track minded and obsessively focused on her. What all this amounts to, is that he is simply doing and being whatever it takes to get the girl. And it is very likely to work because he is behaving in a way that indicates to her that he is what she wants. But then, once he has the girl, he feels he can relax and drop the act he put on in order to get her. But low and behold, this is a bait and switch. This is a dupe. The man he is without those hunting behaviors, is not the man she wants. But she has only figured this out after she has already committed to him. 
Don’t think this dynamic only applies to heterosexual relationships. This behavior that is embedded in male psychology is rampant when homosexual males are pursuing other men as well. And men have different “goals” when it comes to hunting the object of their fancy. And a different definition of “getting the girl” or “getting the guy”. For example, for some men the goal is sex. So, they will put on this hunting act until they achieve intercourse. For others, it is for the woman to commit to them exclusively. So, they will put on this hunting act until they feel the woman is committed to them. For others, it is marriage. So, they will put on this hunting act until the days following the wedding day. And a big warning here. Some men perceive that they get more out of the pursuit and win than they do out of the relationship itself. So, some men are habitual and perpetual chasers.  
The thing is, there is no possible way for a relationship to actually be secure, actually please both people, actually be compatible and actually last if this is how the relationship was achieved for two glaring reasons. 
1. When a man does this, the woman is not actually signing up for him. She is signing up for the character he is playing in order to get her. So, when he shows his real character, she will reject him. The same is true in homosexual relationships.  
2. Men hunt down the object of their fancy because they are after something they think they will get as a result of getting that person. The person is a means to an end. Because of this, men have a nasty little habit of not actually caring or evaluating whether they actually are or are not compatible to the object of their fancy. When they have their eye on a prize, they tend to re-frame or ignore things about the other person that are not in fact a yes for him. And this sets things up for him to shower the other person with approval first, only to reject them later, even for the very things he initially showed approval for. In other words, the hunting behavior in a relationship usually also means he is not signing up for her (or if it is a homosexual relationship, he is not signing up for him). He is signing up for something he thinks he will get by virtue of being with her or him. 
Meet Julian. Julian has his eye on Brooke. Brooke is just about the prettiest girl he has seen. She also happens to be a dancer, which Julian loves. Julian feels very attracted to Brooke and subconsciously imagines that by getting into a relationship with her, it will be a huge self-esteem boost. It will increase his status, which he imagines will make all his other life goals easier to achieve. He wants to get her to commit to him as her boyfriend. So, Julian begins the hunt. He knows that girls like flowers, so he anonymously sends some to her dance studio. To peak her interest and let her know she has a secret admirer. He spends hours online, figuring out everything he can figure out about her. Because he found a picture that she volunteered for a dolphin rescue organization, he knows she likes sea life. So, on their first date, he takes her to an aquarium. On that date, he listens to every word she says and watches every reaction so as to build a profile on what is a yes and what is a no for her. So that he can become more of what is a yes for her and less of what is a no for her. He finds out she is a vegetarian, so he does not order meat at any meal they eat. He notices her scoff at a man who doesn’t help his wife carry the diaper bags, when she is visibly struggling to do that and to deal with their three kids at the same time. So, he makes sure to act as helpful as possible. He makes sure that he is the one to carry their food tray to the trash cans and open doors for her and also take the trash out to the curb when he drops her off at her house. Julian knows that in general, women don’t like it when they feel they have competition with other women for a man’s attention or feel insecure about themselves. And so, he makes sure to hide his porn addiction from her. Over time, he learns more and more about her and makes sure to mirror himself in the image of exactly what she wants and needs. An uber present man, whose number one priority is the woman in his life. A man who likes animals. A man whom fluently speaks the love language of service. 
It takes Brooke two months to decide to tell Julian “I love you”. And they slip into the land of exclusivity. Brooke is now Julian’s girlfriend. Now that the hunt is over, Julian begins to change. One night, he gets irritated at Brooke’s French bulldog snoring and demands that the dog sleep in another room, or he will go sleep on the couch. With Brooke now secured, his attentions go back to his work and his new method of hunting for status, which is to break records on his sales team. He is less and less focused on Brooke and she finds herself feeling lonely and not prioritized. He complains about feeling protein deprived and suddenly, there is more and more meat appearing in the fridge. When he comes home from work, it is obvious that what Julian wants out of a relationship, is a woman who is there to support his success, not a woman whom he has to serve. So, all the things he used to do to help her out, he no longer does. In fact, it becomes obvious that he expects her to do them for him instead. And she becomes aware that Julian has a serious porn addiction, which makes Brooke feel a deep sense of inadequacy. Brooke is superbly confused. How could this man she is now with be so different than the man she committed to? When she confronts Julian about this, he seems to always have excuses that pertain to the surface behaviors she doesn’t like, rather than the underlying issue, which is that he is acting like a totally different man. A man who wants a totally different kind of woman, but for Brooke to be that kind of woman. How did they go from being so compatible to it seeming like they are actually so incompatible? Needless to say, after months of tears and fights and complete confusion, Brooke ends the relationship in favor of another man.                    
It goes without saying that this problem amongst men is made much, much worse by the entire genre of material out there that is made for men about how to get a girl. Rather than realizing the entire dysfunction in this dynamic and encouraging men to attract a female with what is real about him, “experts” have made an absolute fortune teaching men how to have game, psychological tricks to use to make a woman fall in love with you, how to make any woman want you, how to get a girl’s attention, how to be a player, the secret to getting any woman into bed, seduction techniques, how to convince your girlfriend to marry you etc. etc. etc. 
Here is the critical truth that all men need to accept. That feel good sensation of having found a strategy that causes you to be wanted by someone, isn’t actually the result of you being wanted. In reality, they don’t want you. They want whatever you put forth so that they would think you are what they want. And you can’t keep an act up forever. Even if all you are after is to get someone to have sex with you, it’s not you they are having sex with, it’s the character you played. So, you are using them and you are actually alone because you have carefully crafted an overlay for them to sleep with rather than you. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Overlay (What Prevents You From Having a Real Relationship). 
         When we are interested in a relationship with someone, we want them to approve of us and to want us. That is our goal. But we cannot go about securing relationships by figuring out what it is that will guarantee that we will be approved of and wanted by them and then putting that foot forward. Or by figuring out what it is that will cause them to reject and not want us and then hiding those things. We are not showing them all of who we are. We are hunting, rather than accurately representing our truth. And when it comes to a relationship, just because you have spotted something that you want to hunt, doesn’t mean that the relationship you are setting up is the one you actually want. If you are presenting only what allows you to “get the object of your fancy”, you are prone to changing the truth of who you are as well as changing the truth of what you want. And when you do this, you have effectively carried out a ‘bait and switch’. You are likely to dupe the very person you profess to have fallen in love with. This spells pain for both them and you. For this reason, what men need to keep in mind when it comes to relationships is this: Start as you intend to continue - forever. Why forever? Because imagining doing the things you are doing to “get the girl”, but forever, will show you very quickly what you do and don’t actually want to do and what is and isn’t actually true for you. The areas where the incompatibility between you and them may actually exist. It is those areas that will turn into fights and pain later. 
If the goal is actually to have a working relationship, you should definitely not give your all, in order to get into a relationship, only to drop the effort once you are in one. The behaviors you displayed in order to get into a relationship, are the very behaviors that will keep that relationship good once you are in it, those are the behaviors to which they said “yes, I want to be in a relationship with this” specifically by getting into that relationship with you. Another way of putting this is: To make a romantic relationship work, never stop courting the person you are with. And doing that makes it very important to make sure that whatever you are doing to get into a relationship is actually intrinsic and authentic.”                

Are You Fueled By What You Do?

So many people do what they do in life as a means to getting something else that they want. They do things in a relationship to get something they want from the other person. They do a specific job to get something they want that pertains to lifestyle. They act in a certain way as a means to getting what they want within society. And rather than this being a recipe for success, it is a recipe for misery. It is so important to make sure that the things you do in life, aren’t just a means to an end. And that you are in fact fed by the very doing of them. Especially in a relationship.  
To illustrate this point, let’s look at an example. Diedrich pours a lot of energy into two things. The first is perfecting his golf game for competitions and the second is caretaking his girlfriend. When it comes to golf, he trains every day to be the best at all phases of the game. He puts almost all his money into it. He makes sure to attend every event where he is bumping arms with the people who operate and compete in the pro circuit. When it comes to his girlfriend, he makes sure to send her text messages throughout the day. He asks her questions about herself; he brings her thoughtful little gifts from wherever he goes. He gives her foot massages and watches chick flicks with her, cuddled up on the couch. But when it comes to golf, it slowly becomes obvious to him that no matter how high he places in golf competitions and no matter how much status he accrues within the golf world, his father (who only ever showed investment in him when it came to golf) will never approve of him enough for Diedrich to feel truly wanted and valued and loved. On top of this, Diedrich realizes that nothing he does in the world of sports will cause his father to favor him equally to or more than his older brother. As a result, Diedrich starts putting less and less energy into golf. He seems to mysteriously keep pulling muscles as well. And he seems to always have an excuse for skipping tournaments. 
When his girlfriend takes a nursing job and sets a boundary about how available she can be during the day to answer to his text messages, Diedrich gets angry and shames her for thinking that he should make his life about her, if she is unwilling to make her life about him. Diedrich realizes that he isn’t going to get the level of investment and availability he wanted from his girlfriend. And just like that, the caretaking behavior stops. He doesn’t bring her gifts. He goes to the kitchen when she is visiting his place and makes himself food, but not her. He doesn’t initiate physical affection. And the text messaging during the day stops. 
What Diedrich is unaware of is that playing competitive golf is not something that he intrinsically likes doing. The doing of it does not give him anything. It does not give him energy. He is in an extrinsic relationship with it. He does it so that he gets his father’s approval. And he also is not fed energy by caretaking his girlfriend. It is something that he does so that he gets her investment and availability. This is why the minute he doesn’t get those things he wants; he drops what he was doing to get them. 
Diedrich’s life is not a feel-good life because he does not get anything out of the doing of what he is doing. Rather, he is always extending effort (often times doing things he doesn’t intrinsically enjoy) for the extrinsic reward he is after. He is living on the paltry motivation of the idea of his positive expectations being fulfilled. And his life is painfully transactional. Rather than there being energy exchange in his relationships, he gives what he gives only to get something else. He gives what he gives, not because he likes to give it and experiences getting other things as well for giving it, but purely because he expects a certain thing in return. 
When a person has a childhood where they are taught that they will only be given what they need in exchange for doing what they don’t intrinsically want to do, they learn that this is the way to get what they need, be it in a career or a relationship or anything else for that matter. This childhood experience creates the belief that you will never get what you want, by virtue of being your authentic self. And this can go much further if a person was taught in their childhood that they will only be given what they need in exchange for doing what is painful to them. When this is the case, they learn that the way to get what they need, is to do things that cause them pain. They often also expect the same thing in return from others in relationships. And see things like the other person doing what they don’t intrinsically love doing or are even harmed by doing, as proof that they are loved by that person. To understand this pattern, you can watch my video titled: The ‘Suffer So I Can Feel Loved’ Relationship Dynamic. 
Let’s look at a different example, Greg puts a lot of time and energy into basketball. He does so, because he loves doing it. His father has never been to watch a single game. This doesn’t stop Greg from trying to gain his father’s approval by bringing his achievements to his father’s attention. When his father does not react, it doesn’t cause Greg to start getting injuries and stop playing ball and find excuses to sit out games. He is intrinsically fed by the playing of basketball. He loves the doing of it. There are so many things that playing basketball gives him directly, and can’t not give him. The physical exercise makes him feel regulated. The feeling of being part of a team that depends on him, makes him feel a sense of contribution. He loves how focused his mind has to be in order to spot the right strategy on the court. He loves the feeling of challenging and testing himself with competition. He loves the feeling of loud rap music booming through his system, feeding him with confidence and making him feel really cool. It is awesome when he also gets things like trophies and respect from other people and money as a result of playing basketball. But even if you took away all those things that he may get as a result of playing basketball, he would still play basketball.
Just like Diedrich, Greg has a girlfriend he spends time caretaking. Recently, Greg’s girlfriend has been dealing with the loss of her mother to cancer. In this grieving process, she has been more distant, has had no interest in sex and it seems like nothing Greg does, makes her feel happy. But Greg does not caretake his girlfriend as a “so that”. So, he keeps ordering her food to eat and rubbing her back and talking her through her feelings and texting her throughout the day, if they are apart. He is intrinsically fed by the caretaking of her. He loves the doing of it. There are many things that the caretaking gives him directly. The fact that his girlfriend lets herself be taken care of by him, makes him feel received and wanted. He feels a sense of pride when he knows that he is doing everything in his capacity to ensure that his girlfriend is in a good state. Being able to improve or add to the wellbeing of someone else makes him feel powerful and like he can have control over the state of the relationship. He feels good about himself because he knows that by adding to her wellbeing, he has value as a person. And he loves the soothing, calming feeling in his body when he is giving physical affection to someone. Greg really likes it when his girlfriend wants to have sex with him and acts happy and is super present and intimate with him. But even when she doesn’t do that with him, he doesn’t drop his caretaking behavior towards her because he is intrinsically motivated to do it and is fed by the doing of it.                
Doing something is only sustainable if you are intrinsically motivated to do that thing… If the doing of it, in and of itself, gives something to you or feeds you energy in some way. If the things you do in life are a “so that” for something else, you have a recipe for an effortful, disappointing and drastically undernourished life experience. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: If You Want To Be Happy, Don’t Do This!  
If the things you do in life are a “so that” for something else, there is a feeling of emptiness and wrongness that you have learned to bulldoze through. What you have to do to get what you want, is not something that you want to do. And so, the vast majority of your time is spent going against yourself, including your own innate nature. There is always an element of giving up yourself and your best interests so as to get something that you want or need, which makes it a codependent behavior. You will not feel valued or loved because of this. It is an inherently self-opposing behavior. It makes anything you do, as well as your life in general, unfulfilling. It is also manipulation because you are constantly trying to get someone to do something or give you something in a dishonest and roundabout way. No person can thrive swimming upstream in this way. And no person can thrive when they try to live on the gas fumes of hope that they will get what they expect to get in return for whatever it is that they are doing. So, ask yourself: “Am I fed by what I am doing? Or is there an expectation of return in it?”. Am I fed by what I am doing? Or do I simply tell myself that I am, because of the promise of the extrinsic reward I expect to get as a result of doing it?

The Smoke Screen of Right and Wrong

No matter where you go in the world, people tend to have a very rigid idea of right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, good and bad. The only thing is, people don’t agree on those ideas. Different cultures and families and individuals hold very different ideas about what is right and wrong. And most people refuse to question those ideas. But what most people don’t know is that rigid ideas of right and wrong tend to serve as a smokescreen for a specific pain or fear that a person is trying to prevent or avoid. Which is why people tend to be so unwilling to question them. 
Let’s dive into an example. First, let’s look at Devin. Devin has a very rigid idea of right and wrong regarding sharing information of a sensitive or personal nature. He believes that the right thing to do is to keep anything that might make people see someone in a negative light, private and secret. To share it, is wrong and bad. Anytime Devin sees a quote or meme about this, he posts it with a sense of righteous aggression. Last week, he posted three in a row. “Normalize not telling everybody everything.” “Privacy is not about something to hide, it’s about something to protect.” And “In a world where everyone is over exposed, the coolest thing you can do is maintain your mystery.”
The thing is, hiding underneath this rigid idea that privacy is right and divulgence is wrong, is a deep wound that Devin has not faced or healed. His avoidance of this deep pain is what is fueling the rigid nature of his idea as well as the intensity with which he defends that idea. Devin was raised by a mother who did not recognize any of his boundaries. For example, if he said no to food, he was force fed and later given a consequence for not eating. He was expected to meet his mother’s needs for affection as well as be affectionate with others, regardless of whether or not it made him uncomfortable. She decided he would play piano, despite the fact that he hated it with a passion. And she would tell Devin all kinds of terrible things about his father to triangulate him. In his teens, Devin’s mother read through his journal and found out that he had become interested in other boys. She immediately flipped out, made herself the victim to it and drug him to the church bishop for conversion therapy. This experience felt like such an intense violation and such an intense betrayal. There was no one around to help him to work through what happened. So, it became a huge trauma. He connected the very idea of divulgence/sharing/openness with the pain of not only this event, but also the pain of growing up with a boundary violator. He developed a serious aversion because of this. He saw privacy as the way to avoid this pain. This unresolved trauma of his often gets triggered by things like raw, open conversations or by reality TV shows where someone’s confessions are being broadcast to the world or by social media influencers who he is convinced are oversharing about themselves with the public. And if someone reveals anything about him to someone else behind his back, he considers them an enemy instantaneously. 
By deciding that divulgence is wrong and privacy is right in such a rigid way, Devin accomplishes many things. 
It keeps him from touching into the pain beneath his fervency. The idea that divulgence is wrong… period the end… makes it not questionable. This means, he can leave it beneath the floor boards. And rather than focus on it, he can project a big NO outward toward the world. When people decide fervently that something is wrong and bad, it is like a huge “Nope. Decided. Not going there!” There is a resistance to exploring around that subject and an even bigger resistance to considering opposing opinions because it dredges up the fear and pain that they are avoiding with their rigid stance. In other words, it is a protection strategy. It makes the world feel stable and predictable and safe. If things are “right” and “good”, people are more likely to do it and if things are “wrong” and “bad”, people are less likely to do it, because people really want to be right and good and really don’t want to be wrong and bad.      It allows him to hold everyone else to the conduct that he, himself needs from others, without having to ask them. Instead, he can avoid having that direct conversation and simply guilt them if they fail to conduct themselves in that way. And even better, he can feel like he is right to have that expectation.  Making it a general rule for people, is a way of preventing other people from experiencing the pain he experienced. He runs the risk of globalized projection by doing this though.  It helps him to avoid his shame and instead feel relief in being the one who is in the right and therefore good.  Of course, his rigidity is causing him problems as well as other people problems. For example, he lacks intimacy in his relationships and justifies keeping people at a distance. He does not communicate when he should. He refuses to be vulnerable enough for his therapist to be able to really help him break through. Other people who are friends with him feel like they are walking on broken glass around what they can and can’t talk about, which causes a lot of pain for them, especially for one of his friends who was the victim of incest that was kept secret, and who only feels safe when everything is out in the open for everyone to see. Devin is deeply lonely and everyone feels kept at arm’s length by him. And whenever someone shares something intimate or vulnerable on their social media accounts, they can look forward to being looked down on by Devin at the very least, assuming they don’t get a passive aggressive meme sent to them about privacy.
If Devin were to really, intentionally face his resistance to whatever he has judged as wrong and bad (in this case divulgence), he would end up smack dab in the middle of what was never resolved. The pain and fear residing in his being still that he is guarding and that keeps getting triggered or activated by anything that feels like divulgence or exposure. If he actually managed to do healing work around this pain and fear, the rigidness of his idea of right and wrong on this subject would dissipate, as would the emotional charge around it. And he would no longer be enforcing it as a rule on everyone in existence.  
Whenever you become aware of a charged idea of right and wrong, as an exercise, use that in the opposite way that it has been used before. Use it to alert you to the fact that there is a fear or pain that you are trying to avoid and go towards that fear and pain instead of away from it. Ask yourself “What am I using my ‘NO, this is wrong and bad’ to prevent or avoid?” And rather than prevent and avoid that thing, go there deliberately and consciously. Let the fear and pain arise. And work on healing what needs to be healed in whatever way you feel called to. If you want to try out two really amazing healing processes that will work on this, try emotional experiencing, which I explain in my video titled “How To Do The Emotional Experiencing Process.” Or/and The Completion Process, which you can learn how to do by reading my book quite literally titled: The Completion Process. You don’t have to panic about this exercise because this exercise is not about getting yourself to approve of something that is harmful or saying “Yes” to something that is a “No” for you or becoming something that you don’t want to become. Or losing a sense of conscience. It is about resolving your own resistance, fear and pain. It’s about healing what needs to be healed, so that you can approach the world in a better way.   
Humanity will be limited, approach things from the wrong angle, respond in the wrong ways, and cause themselves as well as other beings harm so long as rigid ideas of right and wrong remain a strategy for avoiding pain and avoiding fear. But you can step out of that cycle by diving into, exploring and resolving the fear and pain being smoke screened by your rigid ideas of wrong and right. And by doing so, set yourself free, approach things from a better angle, respond in the right ways, and benefit yourself as well as the other beings that share this earth with you.         

The Truth About Parental Alienation

One of the most traumatizing experiences that a parent can go through is parental alienation. However, most people and even more frighteningly, most experts, don’t even know what it is; much less understand the complex dynamics involved. Let’s unpack parental alienation so that you can understand this form of relational abuse. 
Parental Alienation is a strategy of a parent destroying their child’s relationship with the other parent by turning the child against the other parent because it serves that parent’s personal agenda to do so. 
As insanely difficult as it can be, when two parents have a child together, what you want to strive for is each parent supporting the child’s relationship with the other parent. It is terrible for a child to feel caught in the middle of two parents. If you are a parent, talking negatively about the other parent to the child or withholding the child from the other parent is extremely damaging to a child. The child is half one person and half the other. Because of this, it puts the child at war with themselves, it rips them in half emotionally and throws poison into a relationship that is very important for them in so many ways. That being said, these kinds of unconscious dynamics such as complaining about the other parent or contention over custody time, or power struggles though detrimental, is something that you see in a great many family system dynamics. But this is not parental alienation. Parental alienation is a whole other ball of wax. Parental alienation is a highly sophisticated abuse process. Remember that the intention, (and believe me it will be a carefully disguised intention) is to turn the child against the other parent so that the child picks their side and then rejects and abandons their relationship with the other parent.  
So, here is a list of things that all people need to know about parental alienation. 
Parental Alienation is a form of abuse. It is nothing less than this. Parental alienation is the Stockholm Syndrome of the family systems world. And the level of damage that it will do to all the people involved, most especially the children involved, is acute, let me assure you. In order for a person to engage in this level of abuse, they must be in a state of narcissism. Essentially, the alienating parent is a parent who is playing a zero-sum game. They are going for their own best interests to the exclusion of anyone and everyone else’s best interests, including their child’s. And they are not connected enough to anyone else in the situation so as to perceive the negative impact of what they are doing. They lack empathy. This is true even with regards to their own children. Do not be fooled by them because they will take great performative care to make it look like they are the only one who is thinking about the best interests of their child. And due to their own projected traumas, may actually believe this. They will make their self-gratifying aims seem self-sacrificing. But the reality underneath that carefully crafted veneer, is that they are perfectly willing to destroy their own child’s wellbeing for their own vendetta. The child has become a pawn in a game that is scary, dangerous and damaging for the child. Because the alienating parent has no true sense of “other”, being that they exhibit a narcissistic relational style, the child will be in an extreme form of enmeshment with the alienating parent and that child’s feelings and desires and needs and perspective and thoughts and boundaries and truths will be invalidated to the point that they will simply become a reflection of the alienating parent’s. They become like a puppet in a ventriloquist act. Their authenticity is being suppressed. This is a child who for the sake of their own safety, has had to give themselves up to stay safe from the alienating parent and to get their needs met by the alienating parent. This is a child who regardless of what you may see on the outside, does not feel safe. And is not in a safe situation. This child has had to suppress their love for the alienated parent as well as the desire to be close with them. This child has had to suppress their fragile subjective experience because not doing so would lead to HUGE consequences from the alienating parent. There would be retaliation towards them. They would be treated as if they were betraying the alienator and therefore, as an enemy. This child is essentially an emotional and mental hostage of the alienating parent.
Because of all of this, there will be no differentiation between themselves and the alienating parent. And this deep level of alliance as well as sense of belonging, which is actually enmeshment, will feel good and safe to the child. The kicker is that this enmeshed relationship will usually be mistaken, even by professionals, as evidence of a good relationship. Rather than what it is, which is dysfunction and evidence that differentiation or development of a sense of self with the alienating parent is unsafe. This is a child who is developing a co-dependent relational style as a means of staying safe with the alienating parent. To understand more about this, you can watch two of my videos titled: The Truth about Narcissism and Codependency as well as Exposing The Codependency Mind Trick.
It is very important to get that when you are interacting with a child that is in an alienation dynamic, you are not actually interacting with the child. You are interacting with a puppet/reflection of the other parent. This means the person you are actually interacting with when you interact with this child, is the alienating parent. You can think of it like talking to the puppet that is part of a ventriloquist act. The child’s authenticity is deeply suppressed… inaccessible. Just because you see your child’s physical body, that does not mean the actual child is present. They are no longer present. This means that you need to stop trying to talk to this child as if the child is actually there. They are not there. They are in a fused state with the other parent. And let me remind you again, they are in fact in a complex hostage situation.  The parent who is doing the alienating is not a safe individual. Most especially for the child. The child feels this at a deep, visceral level, even though it is too threatening to be aware of this on a conscious level. The child learns very quickly that there are consequences… big ones, for staying aligned with and connected to the other parent. And so, turning against the other parent is actually something they are doing for the sake of their own survival. To do this, they must sever all sense of affinity, allegiance and connection with the parent being alienated. To be in confluence with and therefore safe with the alienating parent, they must adopt the narrative belonging to that parent… that the other parent is an inadequate, horrible and abusive person. As well as the secret agenda of the alienating parent… that the child wants to punish the other parent and wants nothing whatsoever to do with the other parent. Something that is very hard for people to understand, but must understand when it comes to this dynamic is that children will align with the abusive parent to stay safe.  Parental alienation is a game of deception. And this game is a process. And unfortunately, almost everyone involved in the parental alienation dynamic (relatives, kids, friends, coworkers) and yes… even professionals such as lawyers, mediators, judges, therapists, counselors, social workers and the like will be fooled by that deception. This is the main reason why, if you are a parent who is being alienated, it will feel like either you, or everyone else has lost their minds. It is a particular breed of hell. One of the most gaslighting situations a person can ever find themselves in.  
The parent who is doing the alienating has a primary goal. That goal is to be seen by everyone around them as “The Good Guy”. This means, they must get everyone around them to see the other parent as the bad guy so as to manipulate them into participating in their aim… to alienate that parent from the child and even potentially from everyone else in their life. This means that every strategy they come up with to achieve this negative aim, must not look like it! Everything they do must be disguised, hidden, explained away and smoke screened, even from the other parent who they are in the process of alienating. And they take great care to make sure this will happen. To make it look like they are the good person and good parent and make sure the other looks like the bad person and bad parent. The alienating parent will convince themselves and everyone else that the parent being alienated is a truly inadequate, horrible and abusive person and that they need to protect the child from that parent. They will then enroll everyone in the game of doing so. And as a society, we play into this game of deception with our own ignorance to this dynamic. As well as our reluctance to accept that parents can do things like this or set up hostage situations with their own children. Now that you know deception is the name of the game when it comes to the process of parental alienation, you must understand that parental alienation is an Olympic level triangulation game. The subconscious intention when it comes to triangulation is to divide. When a person triangulates, they are using one person against the other. But listen up here… Most people have no idea that they are being triangulated and for one glaring reason. People who are skilled at triangulation as a means of manipulation will never make it obvious that they are trying to turn someone against someone else so as to get their own needs met. Instead, they will gaslight and lie and do and say anything that makes it look otherwise so as to never have their tactic be seen. And the most common camouflage that they use is two things: 1. Other people’s triggers. 2. Any actual issues that may be there. Let’ look at the first form of camouflage. The parent who is doing the alienating will sense the motivations and values, needs, insecurities and pain points of the person in front of them and play those in their favor. An example is they will keenly ascertain that a professional they are dealing with has a real personal trigger around absenteeism and has dedicated their life to bringing families together. The alienator will then highlight any hint of absenteeism in the other parent and even set up scenarios like giving the other parent wrong information (such as the wrong time to be somewhere) so that absenteeism is what that professional sees. This will strike such a cord with the professional, they are likely to develop an issue with that parent without realizing that the fire between them and that parent was in fact created by the other one. 
Now for the second form of camouflage. They will hone in on any actual flaw that does exist in the other parent or in the other parent’s relationship with the child and place all the focus on that, so as to distract everyone from their game. For example, let’s imagine that a father is not very good at dealing with his child’s emotions. This is an actual and real problem he has as a parent that does negatively affect his relationship with his kids. An alienator would make sure to make everyone aware that him being bad at dealing with his child’s emotions is the problem and is the reason the kids are turning against him. Seeing as how the thing they’ve decided to hide their strategy behind is real, no one recognizes any deception occurring. They fail to realize that something real could just be the best form of disguise tool that a parent could use to disguise their own game.
Because we are not very good at seeing more than what is obvious at a surface level, we very rarely recognize triangulation when it occurs. To understand more about this, I suggest you watch my video titled: Are You Being Triangulated? A Common Manipulation Technique in Relationships). It is not normal at all for a child to turn against or reject a parent. This goes against their biology and everything else within them for that matter. This is sadly the case even when a parent is abusive. And this right here should tell you that something fishy is going on. We are a relationally dependent species. Children form extremely deep bonds with their parents. In a genuine conflict between a parent and a child what you will see is that a child is hurt by something the parent did or does, they will then get mad at the parent and react back at the parent back but all because the child wants a close relationship with the parent and feels like they can’t achieve that. Essentially, the parent hurt the child because the child loves the parent. They want a relationship with the parent and they can’t have the relationship they want and so they are angry and oppositional. When it comes to parental alienation, you will see a total absence of “you hurt me, because I love you.” What you will see is simply a full-blown rejection of the parent. An issue with who they are, more than with what they do. At the same time, they will also adopt the other side of the story line, which is that the alienating parent is wonderful, loving and deeply approved of and wanted. 
Often, when it comes to parental alienation dynamics (and this should raise huge red flags for you) even if you offer to the child the potential of being able to fix all the problems between them and the parent who is being alienated, they will reject the offer. Again, tipping you off to the fact that the rejection isn’t really happening because “I love you and want a relationship but we need to resolve something first, because you hurt me”. It’s coming from somewhere else. Their motivation for rejecting the parent is not coming from a normal relationship process.
Well, as it just so happens, the thing that could make a child go against their own nature by turning against a parent is if the child perceives themselves to be more unsafe if they do not go against them. This is the ultimate lose-lose for a child. And knowing that children perceive their security to depend on their bond, even with abusive parents, this means that it takes something truly unnatural and unusual to get a child to do that.  When it comes to parental alienation, because the child has become a pawn in the game of triangulation against one of their parents, the child will become an accessory to attack. It’s not as straightforward as the child simply rejecting and withdrawing from the parent to stay safe. The child will gain safety and security with the alienating parent by going against the parent being alienated. By proving their allegiance. By carrying out the agenda of the alienating parent. They will start to behave in oppositional ways, hostile ways, defiant ways, even abusive ways towards the parent. And when that parent reacts to that, even in perfectly reasonable ways, the child as well as the alienating parent uses that as proof that the alienated parent is horrible. The response that parent has to their poor behavior will become the justification for the anger the child has towards the alienated parent. To understand more about this dynamic, but in this case, in the context of dealing with children and an alienating parent, you should watch my video titled: The Sickest Game you Can Play.  Essentially, any response that the alienated parent has, will ensure that the child’s narrative as well as the alienating parent’s narrative will be that they deserve that treatment by the child. It is as if the child is punishing the parent for their inadequacy. The alienated parent will be out of control of their child’s behavior, in contrast to the alienating parent or even everyone else, for whom the child will behave perfectly. The child provokes negative patterns of interaction between themselves and the alienated parent. The child is not only a pawn, he or she is also a weapon. The child, in essence becomes an external reflection or manifestation of the alienating parent’s psychology.   Parental alienation is also about power and control. The function of all the processes involved in parental alienation are designed to grant the alienating parent all the power in the relationship and all the control in the situation, this includes the ability to inflict suffering on the other parent. This dynamic happens when the alienating parent experiences something in the relationship that causes them to feel hurt (abandoned, taken for granted, narcissistically wounded) and therefore out of control of what happens to them and what happens in their relationship with the other person. They decide to take back control by setting up a situation where no matter what the alienated parent does, they will suffer. They have decided that the other parent deserves punishment for whatever they perceive the other parent did. So, they decide to inflict that punishment through the worst means possible… their child. If the alienated parent submits to the child’s behavior (that the alienating parent is in fact creating in them) such as the rejection or the hostility or the abuse or the negativity, then the alienating parent has succeeded in using the child as a weapon and has made them suffer for a perceived hurt caused to them. So, they get their way and are therefore in power and in control. On the other hand, if the alienated parent does not accept the behavior and does not allow themselves to be controlled by the alienating parent, they become the scapegoat and therefore are seen as the cause of everything, thus justifying the child’s rejection of them. And this also means the alienating parent is in power and is in total control. If the alienated parent simply accepts the rejection from their kids and allows the kids not to have a relationship with their child, then they lose their child. And so, the alienator wins in that way too. It is one of the least workable situations that a person can find themselves in. The alienating parent is in power and in control. Parental alienation will feel like a lose, lose, lose, lose, because that is how it is set up. The alienating parent is not interested in a working relationship. They are interested in punishment as a behavioral control tactic when it comes to the other parent. And the tool for that is their own child. They are using their own child as leverage, just like what happens in a typical situation where a person has taken another person hostage. Given that this dynamic is such an abusive dynamic, and I have presented it as such, it is tempting to completely vilify the alienating parent. But it is also important to understand the why behind their behavior. Much of the behavior that you see in the alienating parent, is an externalized trauma re-creation or re-expression. There is a repetition compulsion when it comes to trauma. The reality is that the alienating parent was a victim of trauma in their relationship with the adults in their childhood. It is very common for a person who is alienating to not admit this to themselves. So, don’t be surprised if they report having a good relationship with their own parents. This is part of their false positive personal narrative that helps them to avoid low self-esteem. That abuse is what made them the way they are today. At a deep subconscious level, those old feelings of being the victim to a parent, are very much alive. So, unknowingly, the parent who is being alienated has stepped into the acting out of a traumatic transgenerational relationship pattern from parent to child. The alienating parent, who is in an enmeshed state with the child, will project themselves onto the child completely. And see the other parent as the abuser of them, and therefore the abuser of the child. But this repetition compulsion is a drive to heal. Unlike the alienating parent, who was a helpless victim with no one there to protect them, they can be there for their child (vicariously themselves) to violently protect them against the perceived abuser. They are trying to resolve their post-traumatic relational stress by violently protecting their child as a means of trying to resolve this externalized protection/rescue of the helpless child experience. Keep in mind that the alienated parent is being projected onto. He or she usually poses no actual risk to the child. The alienating parent is trapped in a kind of persistent triggered state and the delusional reality that triggered state has given rise to. In a parental alienation dynamic, the alienating parent will go to work enrolling people to their side and will discard or even vilify anyone who does not play directly into their deceptive game so as to be manipulated by them. And this makes things even worse because a therapist who catches wind of what is actually happening is likely to be fired. A lawyer who agrees to any kind of cooperation or compromise or family system reconciliation is likely to be let go. They will work to get any information that could threaten their narrative stricken from the record or prevent it from being seen by any party involved. They won’t engage with anyone who challenges their narrative or their aim. Therefore, the alienated parent is likely to find themselves in a situation where they are caught in a web of the only people involved being ones that are allied to the alienator. This is yet again a part of the power and control dynamic that the alienating parent is trying to set up. And the alienating parent will go on a crusade, turning everyone that they possibly can against the alienated parent and enrolling them in the attempt to control the alienated parent. Their mutual and even non mutual friends, boss, coworkers, siblings, parents, support figures, professionals. Because of this, the alienated parent’s child is only one of the many relationships they will be alienated from as a part of this process.      The damage that is done by parental alienation is truly severe. And the damage that is done by people not recognizing it and not understanding it and not knowing how to deal with it, especially when those people are professionals, is also truly severe. With this in mind, please share this video with anyone who you feel needs to know about this dynamic. Most especially professionals in the mental health field and legal field. Make sure you stay tuned for part two of this conversation about parental alienation, where I will talk about what to know and what to do if you are a parent who is being alienated. 

The Hidden Truth About Sexuality

Most people assume that sexuality is just one part of life… Albeit a part that is a bigger or smaller part of someone’s life depending on the level of importance they place on it. But this is not the truth about sexuality. Sexuality plays a much, much bigger role in the picture of someone’s life and a much, much bigger role in the picture of compatibility in relationships than most people have any idea of. Sexuality paints a much bigger picture than the act of sex in and of itself. Today, I’m going to reveal the deeper truth about sexuality and explain why, given that truth, sexuality is one of the most important elements of life and relationships. 
Sexuality is what creates life. At its very core essence, sexuality is a root creative and manifestational force. And it does not matter how aware or unaware you are of it. It should not come as a surprise then that your sexuality and your deepest desires (especially the ones you had to deny, suppress and disown) are linked. And I’m not just talking about desires in the bedroom. I’m talking about desires for your life experience. Especially the ones you aren’t consciously admitting to. No matter how subconscious your desires may be, they are still connected to your sexuality. Indeed, they play a major role in shaping your sexuality. Beneath every person’s sexuality is a life experience or many that shaped that person’s desires and needs and those desires and needs reflect in their sexuality.  
Many people think that sexual incompatibility is a small item of incompatibility that can easily be worked on and improved in a relationship. But in reality, incompatible sexuality is one of the hardest things to work on and improve in a relationship. Not because it is hard to improve things regarding the act of sex itself. But because incompatible sexuality points to deeper oppositional desires and needs between two people. And these incompatibilities (which incompatible sexuality will point to) will not just limit themselves to the bedroom. They will ripple out across so many other aspects of a person’s life and their relationships. Most people simply don’t do the consciousness work necessary to decode their own sexuality, and what it means about their deep needs and desires for life and relationships.  
So that you can understand this better, I’m going to give you a couple of examples. Simon is in a relationship with Allie. They really care about each other and make a good team. But the sex was never great. Simon feels like Allie is never really there with him, embodied and emotionally connected when they have sex. Allie feels like Simon is not initiative and dominant enough. They consistently cause each other displeasure, especially on an emotional level when they engage in sex. But let’s take you back into their childhoods. Back to the origin of each of their sexualities. When Simon was young, he lived with his mentally ill mother, who was always in her own reality. He was bitterly alone in life, despite the fact that he lived in a safe society where all basic needs were covered. This created the strong desire to merge with someone on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. One day, while looking through a text book, he stumbled across the medical image of a penis inside of a vagina. And he immediately became captivated and aroused. Though he was not consciously aware of it at the time, this image held the promise of merging with someone. And his budding sexuality naturally evolved from there. Simon is intensely focused on having just one person who is his match and whom he can merge with. He likes to spend hours just feeling every sensation of being physically close to that person. He loves deep eye contact. He wants to orgasm together. He doesn’t want to talk, especially during sex. Instead, he wants to feel so merged, that the connection between him and the other person is telepathic. He wants to feel like his body and soul and the other person’s is one. This sexuality reflects out into his life in ways that no one would at face value think were linked to sexuality at all. In his life, he adores privacy because this increases the sense of specialness and connection that only he and this other person share. He is an exclusive person, who has a high need for exclusivity as well. He fails to communicate because having to communicate, makes him feel separate from the other person. He wants to make every decision together and share responsibility with the other person because that makes him feel a greater sense of togetherness. 
Allie on the other hand was also very alone as a child. Her father was disengaged and failed to protect her from her mother, who took a disliking to her. Unlike Simon, she lived in a very unsafe situation where basic needs were a struggle. This created a very strong desire for caretaking and containment. One day, while watching a tv show, she became enamored with the relationship between a dinosaur and its owner. Though she was not consciously aware of it at the time, this image held the promise of being positively owned and contained by someone who would fend for her and take care of her best interests, like her father never did. And her budding sexuality evolved from there. Allie loves power play when it comes to sex. She loves to feel like a man’s cherished pet. She likes to fantasize about being an animal, who is being bred and has no say in the matter. She wants to be able to let go completely and let the other person take the lead and take responsibility for her. What’s more, Allie responds to any signs of ownership, regardless of what man that ownership is coming from or if she is in a relationship or not. And she dislikes anything during sex that reminds her of herself.  This sexuality reflects out into her life in ways that no one would at face value think were linked to sexuality at all. In her life, Allie is not an exclusive person at all. In fact, she subconsciously operates with the motto the more people the better, because the lower likelihood she will ever have to fend for herself. Because of this, she makes sure multiple people live with her. She is flirtatious and super open. She loves talking for hours on end. She puts tons of effort into her appearance, so as to increase her odds of being wanted and therefore kept by someone. She commits to sexual monogamy not because it is natural for her. But only because it tends to be the condition upon which a man will take responsibility for her as his. Her best-case scenario is to be shared by multiple men. She stops driving her car once she gets into a relationship because autonomy often makes her feel like she is fending for herself. Her best relationship is with her personal assistant because her personal assistant is constantly taking care of her needs. 
Because of this baseline incompatibility, their sex life is not the only thing that isn’t satisfying. Simon is constantly feeling insecure and like he can never have the closeness he wants with her and like he is always in competition with other people, including her assistant and other men. Allie is constantly feeling like her nature isn’t ok and like she is being isolated and like she carries too much pressure because Simon wants to do everything in life (including handle responsibilities) together, rather than taking care of her by taking responsibilities off of her. On a subconscious level, they are always pulling in opposite directions. The creative, manifestational force of their sexuality is manifesting against each other. No amount of counseling to help them improve the practicalities of their sex life is going to fix this issue that is made so obvious by none other than their sexual incompatibility. At the very most, they can hope for taking turns accommodating each other; which may pull them into the land of compromise. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Difference Between Compromise and Workability.
Nick and Tanner used to think they had a super compatible sexuality. In fact, they used to think they were compatible all around. But lately, things haven’t been going so well and neither of them can figure out why. Nick feels increasingly frustrated and angry and has been wanting to take it out on Tanner during intercourse. He feels guilty afterwards and withdraws. Tanner feels like too much of his time is spent operating within the confines of Nick’s various comfort zones in order to keep the relationship secure. If we go way back, we find that Nick was born into a family with a sister that was terminally ill. The entire family revolved around this sister that was sick. Nick was never considered important enough to be the main focus or to receive any support, because that support always had somewhere or someone “more important” to go to. Nick feels like he can’t function or feel calm and secure without sex every day. When he sits down to really explore what it is specifically about sex that he needs, he realizes that through sex, he is able to put the other person, in this case Tanner, in the position to have to focus on him. He becomes the most important thing in the room. He admits that when he is engaging in intercourse, he doesn’t really care about the other person’s pleasure. He likes it to be all about him and his pleasure. Because he had to suppress his need for importance in his life, it comes out in a strong way regarding his sexuality. Including the fact that he loves to dominate in bed, and tell his partner what to do to pleasure him. He has found a set and setting where he gets to demand their full attention. Tanner is actually fine with this. He likes being dominated. Which is why everything went so well in the beginning. The problems started to arise regarding Tanner’s sexuality. 
Tanner is an artist with a natural curiosity. He is full of zest for life experiences and personal expression. But he was not allowed to express himself growing up. His authenticity was squashed under a very strict regime imposed by both his parents and his society. He was not allowed to explore who he really was and what he really liked an didn’t. There was no freedom. There was one thing to be and one way to act and he was expected to abandon his authenticity and conform to what was expected of him. So far, Tanner has done this in adult relationships too. He has conformed to whatever would please the other person so as to establish security in the relationship, only to try to push the envelope from there. But due to his nature and life experiences, Tanner’s true sexuality is one of extreme experimentation. He wants to try everything and to have a partner that is on board with that wild experimentation. The list is endless. He wants to try every form of bondage, food sex, touchless orgasm, tantra for spiritual awakening, swinging, orgies, public sex, cuckolding and the list goes on and on and on. Lately, Tanner has been pressing Nick to try swinging. And suddenly, there was a huge clash. Nick doesn’t feel he can get his need met to be the focus and most important thing when Tanner has an interest to be with anyone but him sexually. And the fact that Tanner feels this way, makes him really, really angry.             
This is not just a problem in the bedroom. Imbedded in each of their sexualities, is their deepest root desires for life and relationships. Tanner does not want his life to revolve around the person he is with. He wants to be free to experience whatever he finds to be most captivating at any given time. He wants to jump on opportunities. He is often distracted with whatever interests him in any given moment, and has not made Nick the most important thing. This triggers the hell out of Nick, who is too unconscious of his true needs and too afraid to admit that what he really wants is to have a partner that makes him the center of their life and the most important thing and prioritizes him and supports his endeavors. And Tanner feels limited by Nick. He feels like to keep the relationship good; he has to dedicate himself to Nick’s needs. Every time Tanner prioritizes something other than being with Nick, Nick becomes passive aggressive and pushes Tanner away. Tanner is sick of feeling like instead of being a partner who will explore the world’s many wonders with him, Nick is constantly pulling him into being some version of an “always available, doting househusband”. 
Hopefully what these examples highlight for you is how a person’s sexuality is shaped in large part by their early life experiences… The very same thing that shapes personality and needs and desires and therefore a person’s personal expansion path. And how contrary to popular opinion, a person’s sexuality is not limited to the bedroom or even relationships. It bleeds out into the rest of their lives. Sexuality is the realm of a person’s deepest core desires in life. Your sexuality remains connected to it, even if you actively try to deny, suppress and oppose it. Sexuality never lies.
For people to really de-code their own sexuality, they have to become super conscious about what causes them to feel turned on and aroused and most especially, WHY. This exploration must especially include the emotional elements involved. They have to ask themselves, what is it about this that I like? And really dig deeper and deeper to unpack it. For example, a person may know that what gets them aroused is pissplay, meaning that they are excited or turned on by the thought, sight, taste or feel of urine. When they slow everything down to dissect the why behind liking the experience, they might notice that they get a feeling in their body of crossing a line of what is taboo. This makes them feel defiantly empowered. Also, they might notice that they feel like the spirit or essence of the person is in their bodily fluids and like the idea that they can catch and keep it. Also, they might feel aroused at the humiliation factor of urination being forced and realize that they are under the pressure of putting up an image for themselves due to societal positions and expectations. They might see that they have the desire to stop hiding these deep layers of shame that are covered over by the pretense and instead let go of that pressure and feel vulnerable and have their own shame exposed and wanted. Don’t be afraid of really looking deep and hard at every element and aspect of the unique picture of your own arousal. Including the first time you ever remember being sexually turned on. Not only because it will improve your sex life. But also, because it will help you to decode what you are really wanting to experience in your life, but may not be allowing yourself to admit to.     
So, the bad news is because of this, sexual incompatibility is not just about sex. Rather, it points to much deeper core incompatibilities. The good news is, because sexuality originates from strong needs and desires, finding someone with a compatible sexuality greatly increases your chances of finding someone who is more compatible to you in your broader life.

Dysfunction is How People make their Relationship Last!

People want their relationships to last the test of time. Because of this, longevity is currently the measuring stick for whether a relationship is successful or not. People automatically think that if a relationship lasts, the people in that relationship must be doing something right. But the sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of long-term relationships don’t last because the individuals in those relationships are doing something right. Rather, they last because of dysfunction. 
Humanity is in the dark ages regarding relationships. This is a sad reality to swallow, especially given that humans are a social species and relationship was not only central to our life experience, it was and is the key to our very survival. We are headed from unconscious relationships to conscious relationships and we are deep in the middle of navigating that journey. Currently, most people live in enough of an unconscious state that they don’t even spot dysfunction in their relationships. Instead, they tend to celebrate it. For now that is. This can be compared to so many things throughout human history. The female clitoris was not even fully mapped until 2005 and female sexuality is completely in the dark ages today, meaning that most of the information you have taken to be true regarding female sexuality is completely and totally wrong. The people of the 1940s and 50s used to believe that a really great treatment for psychiatric illness was to drill holes into a person’s skull and perform a lobotomy. The people of the sixteenth century used to think a perfectly healthy source entertainment for themselves and their children was to take them to see public executions. Numerous reasons were given as to why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Ready for some of the most prevalent ones? 1. The mental exertion of voting would cause infertility in women.2. Women’s brains were inferior to men’s, and so women were incapable of participating in politics.3. Women would neglect their home and family, causing society to unravel.4. Women were too good for the dirty nature of politics.
Human slavery used to be totally normal. People thought nothing more of it than they think of how they treat cows or pigs today. And because of this lack of recognition of dysfunction, how do you think they experienced the QUALITY of their relationships? The answer depends partially on what they have been trained to expect and what they have to compare it to doesn’t it? Welcome to the danger of normalization. If you’d like to understand more about normalization, you can watch my video titled: How Normalization is Hurting You and Hurting Society.  
The mistake that every generation makes is that they point to the past as an example of dysfunction and wrongness without realizing that the people of the future will be pointing a finger back at them in the same way. The real work of a conscious life is to recognize and change that dysfunction as it exists in the here and now. Those of us that study relationships across history often look at relationships across history with disbelief and horror. But what if that is how the people of the future will view our relationships today? The things you currently think are normal and fine. 
I’m going to hit you with a reality that people of the future see about us, but that the people of today don’t see about themselves… The current way that people make their relationship last is by adopting dysfunction and adapting to dysfunction. Are there some people whose relationships last because they have a truly mutually beneficial dynamic? Yes. But they are by far the few and far between. 
So that you can see this picture of human relationships clearly, let’s first define dysfunction as it applies to relationships. Dysfunction in a relationship is when the way a person functions (what they are thinking, saying and doing) is detrimental to themselves and/or to others. Usually to one or both people in the relationship. When a person uses dysfunction as a way to create longevity in a relationship, what it means is that they have adopted detrimental strategies to maintain that relationship. So that you can understand this, I will give you some examples. 
A woman is married to an emotionally unavailable man who is not there for her. So, she leans on her oldest son to meet the needs that her husband should have met. Things like comfort, encouragement, love, advice, support and companionship. This is covert incest. And the result is her husband gets to continue his dysfunctional behavior by being disengaged from the marriage. And her son is now threatened by intimacy and expectations in his adult relationships to the degree that he ruins every relationship he gets into with passive aggressive behavior, is a people pleaser, has no sense of personal identity, and has an eating disorder. But last month this mother and this father had their 40th wedding anniversary. And everyone congratulated them on how many years they’ve “made it work”. Both gave a little speech about how they did it. Ben and Oliver have been in a relationship for over 20 years. They have built an impressive real estate investment portfolio, own several places around the world and have traveled extensively. The thing is, they rarely ever see each other. Ben is always taking care of remodel projects in one place while Oliver is taking care of them in another. When they get together, they exchange surface conversation and go out to clubs to pick up younger guys. Oliver feels lonely. For a while, he tried to get Ben to engage in a more emotionally intimate relationship, to see a therapist and go to couple’s retreats. But Ben was not interested. He refuses to expose any vulnerability to others, which is one reason why he loves wining and dining much younger men. Oliver is so afraid that his financial security depends on his relationship with Ben, that he simply chose to adapt. He gave up on trying to have emotional connection with Ben and simply made himself busy with projects and travel. He uses distraction as a way to be able to live with his relationship the way it is. Now, whenever he doesn’t have a project, he panics and has to create a new one for himself. People often congratulate Ben and Oliver on how rare it is, especially in the gay community, to have a long-term life partner. And Oliver’s best friend, who has an insecure attachment, is envious of their ability to be away from each other for months on end and act like everything is ok with each other. She mistakes this for a secure attachment.  Howard is a tyrannical dictator in his home. Everything is his way or the highway. He wants everything predictable and the same. This is how he manages his anxiety. His wife, Barbara has a very different personality. She is easy going, loves different ideas and has always dreamed of travel. But Howard flies into a rage fit when anything disrupts his routine. Barbara is conflict avoidant. So, she adapted to Howard’s dysfunction and enabled it. She has given herself up for the sake of the relationship. She cooks him a predictable meal on every day of the week. She makes sure the kids behave the way that will keep Howard placated. When he is busy reading the paper, she sneaks to watch national geographic channel. When he disowns his youngest daughter for joining a political party that opposes his own, Barbara does not oppose Howard. Instead, she sneaks out to call her daughter sometimes in secret. Barbara had a heart attack one day while she was sitting in her arm chair. The furthest she ever traveled in her life, was to Florida. Her obituary reads: Howard and Barbara were able to share a wonderful 53-year marriage.  Khloe has been in a relationship with Kenneth for 13 years now. At first, everything in the relationship went really good. But after Kenneth was fired from his job, the polarity in the relationship started to flip. Kenneth became consumed by self-doubt, started acting passive and he dropped more and more household responsibilities on Khloe. He seemed to need more and more time to relax and be left alone. In turn, Khloe found that all her time in the relationship was spent prodding Kenneth into action. Her ambition and anxiety ramped up. And the resentment she feels towards him makes it so that he disgusts her sexually. Their relationship is clouded by a feeling that something isn’t right. But both of them have no one else to live their live with. They are terrified of ending the relationship and ending up truly alone in life. So, Khloe and Kenneth have adopted a pattern. Every month or so, When Kenneth inevitably breaks his word regarding a responsibility he agreed to take on, she kicks him out of the house. She feels amazing for a day or so. And then, she starts to miss the things she does like about him. The same thing happens with Kenneth. He goes camping or sleeps in his car. Rather than changing his behavior or realizing that he is at the mercy of her wanting him around or not, and seeing how unhealthy the relationship is, he starts to miss her too and resolve that he will come back and act differently. So, Kenneth asks to come back home. When he does, he behaves active and responsible for a week or two. They make passionate love every day. After all, they both love makeup sex. Then, he slips right back into his previous behavior. And the cycle repeats. They have been doing this for eleven years now. But they both take pride in the fact that almost everyone else they know has broken up or is divorced.       Gwen is married to Hilton. They have been together for 19 years now and they have four children. Well, Gwen might be married to Hilton. But Hilton is married to his job. He imports chemicals from India to sell to pharmaceutical companies. He is a superbly wealthy man. He has given his family unlimited credit cards so they can help themselves to every luxury they could ever want. Hilton is not present in his wife’s life or in his children’s lives. He has extremely high standards regarding his son’s conduct and achievements because he sees them as extensions of himself. Gwen often has to deal with their meltdowns when Hilton is around, because they feel so ‘not good enough’ in his eyes. Gwen feels enormous pressure to keep herself looking good because it is clear that she is expected to be an example of a perfect, successful family. Gwen copes with what truly doesn’t work about her relationship and life with denial. If you confront her on her unhappiness in her life, she will look at you like you are crazy. Her truth is that she is genuinely blessed and genuinely happy. Gwen’s friend from college feels like either she or Gwen is going insane because she has personally watched Hilton berate one of their sons to tears and storm out of the house in his Porcha, only to watch Gwen talk about how good of a father he is and how lucky she feels about his dedication to family a half an hour later. She tells herself the story that Hilton is hard on his kids because he cares so much. She tells herself that the reason he is never at home is because he cares so much about her security, that he is working hard for her and the kids. Everything that causes her pain about her relationship with Hilton gets explained away and turned into something else and everyone around her feels gaslit because of it.  She goes out into society and to church as the example of a perfect wife with the perfect husband and perfect kids.  Bonnie has serious insecurity issues, especially regarding other women. When she first got into a relationship with Landon, she acted super open minded and presented herself like she was not a jealous type. But over time, that changed. She felt like their relationship was so insecure that she deliberately tried to get pregnant by Landon. Subconsciously, she saw this as her ticket to his commitment. But when that didn’t happen, and he still put his attention on other women, she flipped out. She even enrolled her doctor in the game by having the obstetrician confront him on how important it was to not do things that elicit stress in her during the pregnancy. Codependently, Landon stopped attending parties. When the baby was born, and Landon unexpectedly found himself attached to his unexpected son, Bonnie used the child as leverage. She threatened that if Landon didn’t cut off his relationship with a few women who Bonnie felt insecurity around, women that meant a great deal to Landon, that she would fight for full custody and move away with their son. Terrified by the idea of losing his son, he did exactly what Bonnie wanted and cut himself off from every person she was threatened by. He became socially isolated to only Bonnie and her friends and family. Down deep, he has a nagging feeling of being controlled and consumed by Bonnie. He feels empowered when he does things like come home a half an hour late or eat things in secret that he knows she would not approve of. But Landon just wrote a Christmas card that said “I was lost before I found you. You were the best thing that ever happened to me.” This month is their 8-year anniversary.  If you want to learn more about this concept, you can watch my video titled: Longevity is Not Necessarily a Measure of Success or Health in a Relationship. But before you do that, I want you to consider the following: You may be able to recognize how these relationships are dysfunctional. But guess who can’t? The people who are in them. And this has serious implication because it means that if you are in a dysfunctional dynamic in a relationship, the likelihood is that you do not see it. 
When you are looking at someone else’s relationship, the first thing to know is that there is a whole lot that you don’t see. On top of this, we are often not brave enough to see the reality of relationships because of what it would mean for us to acknowledge the dysfunction. Many of you who know your parents have a horribly dysfunctional relationship may have experienced this with siblings of yours idolizing their relationship and defending it. Many of you know that when a Hollywood relationship breaks up, fans go into crisis. If we are dedicated to a conscious life, we need to be brave enough to look at what does work in a relationship and what doesn’t work in a relationship. And believe me, this is a serious topic of debate. 
But it is critical that you accept that as of right now, the vast majority of people achieve longevity in relationships via dysfunctional strategy. They keep the relationship together and maintain it with behavior that is detrimental to themselves, detrimental to the other person, detrimental to other people involved in their social system or to all of the above. And we will only be able to change that fact, if we are willing to see this reality in the first place. Creating conscious, beneficial relationships will only be possible if we are willing to face the current state of dysfunction that we currently label as a working relationship.            

Do Shadow Work FOR Yourself, Not AGAINST Yourself

There is an interesting saying that goes: “Everything that poisons can also heal and everything that heals can also poison.” Regarding how this very wise concept applies to what we will be talking about today, it is important to know that nearly everything in existence can be misused. And this includes shadow work. When shadow work is misused, rather than serving as a tool for integration, life improvement and alignment, it can become a tool of separation, self-hate and misalignment. There is a big difference between using shadow work FOR yourself and using shadow work AGAINST yourself. 
First, let’s define shadow work. Many years ago, the revolutionary psychologist Carl Jung (while studying with Freud), realized that there were parts of his patients that they, themselves were aware of and to the contrary, there were parts that they, themselves were unaware of.  Consciousness has long been referred to as a light. To become conscious of something is to be able to see it in the same way that we see something that is exposed to light. When something is unconscious, we cannot see it. It is as if we are trying to see it in the dark. And so, Carl Jung began to refer to the unconscious aspects within a person that they, themselves are unaware of or could not see as their ‘shadow’. And this term caught on. Now a days, what we mean when we say “shadow” is any aspect of a person that is not exposed to the light of consciousness. It is what they don’t know that they don’t know. And shadow work is now a term used often in spiritual and psychology circles to describe any process (of which there are thousands) that makes the subconscious conscious and work directly with those things you become aware of. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch three of my videos. The first tiled: What Is Shadow Work? The second titled: Shadow Work Vs. Positive Focus and the third titled: What Are the Benefits of Shadow Work?
A very large percentage of the human shadow is made up of what we reject or deny or suppress or disown about ourselves. The aspects of our personality that we have decided are least desirable, most of which we have very little awareness of. Because of this, “shadow” also became the term that people now use to describe the aspects of a person that are judged as negative. For example, a person may have a real competitive streak. They may have no conscious awareness of how this competitive nature came to be and what the part of them that is competitive thinks and feels and is afraid of and wants and needs. They are likely to refer to their competitive side as their “shadow”.
In an ideal situation, shadow work would be something that a person would do, not with the attitude that anything about them is bad and wrong and must be dealt with. But rather with the attitude that the doing of the shadow work is a caring gesture towards the self. For example, doing shadow work against yourself might look like doing shadow work so as to try to eradicate a trait about yourself that you don’t like. Or doing it because you are so resistant to the ego that you want to totally disidentify from it. Or doing it to convince a part of you that it is bad and wrong and should therefore, not be the way it is. Or doing it because you want to fight an aspect of yourself and win. Or doing it to please someone else in your life, who disapproves of an aspect of yourself. Or doing it because you think if you don’t, you’ll never be good enough or enlightened enough. Etc.   
  Whereas doing shadow work for yourself might look like doing shadow work so as to understand yourself better so that you can make more authentic decisions and take actions that are more in alignment with your best interests. Or because you intend to have better health. Or because you want to feel more internal peace. Or because you want to find more effective and beneficial ways to operate in life. Or because you want to discover your needs and better meet them. Or because you don’t want to live in rejection of yourself anymore. Or because you want to be more aware. Or because you want for all of yourself to move from determinism to conscious choice. Or because you want to increase a sense of empowerment for all parts of you. Or because you want to re-own the parts of yourself that you denied, suppressed and disowned. Or because you want to help yourself to get un-stuck so you aren’t suffering anymore. Or because you want all of yourself to be aligned when you make a decision or take an action, rather than bulldozing yourself etc.  
A great many people use shadow work in a way that is resistant to or against themselves, especially the parts about themselves that they have judged as negative and thus, would label as their shadow. So that you understand the difference, I’m going to give you two examples. One being an example of someone who is using shadow work against themselves. And one being an example of someone who is using shadow work for themselves.
Nathan has a weed addiction. He doesn’t understand what it is that makes him feel like he can only function in life when he is smoking daily. He doesn’t understand what it is that makes quitting weed so hard. Nathan feels a lot of shame about this. He judges himself as weak and undisciplined and pathetic. Everything he does to try to quit smoking weed, is done in resistance to himself. This includes shadow work. The reason he is doing shadow work about his weed addiction is that he wants the aspect of him that keeps engaging in the addiction to vanish from his life or at the very least to stop. He sees this part of himself as his enemy. He sees shadow work as the way he is going to gain control over this part. He is at war with this aspect of himself. And now, shadow work has become his weapon of choice. When he does parts work, he does not go into it with curiosity or caring. He has already decided what the “right” thing is. Because of this, he doesn’t use parts work to try to understand the aspect of himself that he doesn’t understand. Rather, he goes into it looking to debate this aspect of himself into submission. And because of this, he reinforces the internal zero-sum game being played. When he does journeywork breathwork, he does so with the intention of not being so weak anymore. When he does hypnosis, he does so with the hope that the therapist will simply manipulate his mind so he no longer has the need for weed anymore. When he does core belief work, he does so with the intention of shutting up his negative internal voice. Because of all of this, Nathan is in fact adding to the wound that caused the addiction in the first place and because of this, if anything, his shame is getting worse, and so is his addictive behavior. What he has managed to do, is to intensify splits within himself (the opposite of integration) because he has managed to inflate the protector part of himself that judges him and punishes him from the inside in the hopes that doing so will cause him to stop doing the things that will get Nathan rejected and start doing the things that will get him approved of. This part of him is now louder and more abusive than ever. 
Tony has a weed addiction. He doesn’t understand what it is that makes him feel like he can only function in life when he is smoking daily. He doesn’t understand what it is that makes quitting weed so hard. Tony feels a lot of shame about this. But he realizes that he doesn’t have enough information about himself to fully understand this behavior of his. Tony recognizes that in his life, people have not shown him much attunement or caring so as to understand him. He doesn’t want to keep harming himself in the same way that people have so badly wounded him. He decides that the way to be a genuine advocate and ally for himself is to do shadow work so he can understand himself. He knows that you cannot make the right choices without the information. Because of this, tony does shadow work from the space of curiosity. He spends a long time diving into the perspective and fears and needs of the part of himself that feels it can’t live without weed, that he now understand exactly what he is using weed to avoid. And because of it, he is able to clearly define steps to take which caretake this part’s pain and empower him to solve the problems he is facing in different ways. When Tony does journey work breathwork, he does it with the intention of soaking in the prana to give him strength. When he does hypnosis, he does so with the intention of being able to find and caretake his inner child, which he knows was hurt so badly that he just wanted to escape life. When he does core belief work, he does so as a loving measure to himself, to let go of ideas that no longer serve him and to replace them with ideas that truly do serve him. Because of all of this, Tony is building a framework of internal self-trust. His anxiety is going down. He has developed both understanding and compassion for himself. And he only smokes weed now when he is in distress rather than every single day. The best part so far is that now, Tony is never confused about why he smokes weed when he does it. He understands exactly what is going on with him and can take steps to get himself out of distress so that the dependency on the weed is rapidly decreasing. 
Whenever you do shadow work, it is important to become clear about the real, honest WHY behind it. Why? Because the motivation for doing something changes what you do and the way you do it. Your feelings don’t lie. How do you feel towards whatever you are wanting to do shadow work on? Are you in resistance to it? Have you already decided that it needs to change or go away? If so, you need to do shadow work on your resistance first. You need to become more aware of the part of you that is interested in using shadow work AGAINST that aspect of yourself. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Parts Work, What Is Parts Work and How To Do It.    
I will warn you that anytime you feel shame about something, you run the risk of using shadow work against yourself, rather than for yourself. You run the risk of trying to use it to manipulate yourself or force yourself into changing to become what you have decided you must be or to do what you have decided you must do. When this is the case, outside of working directly with the aspect(s) of you that are using shadow work against other aspects of you, it helps a great deal to externalize your attitude towards yourself. The way you do this, is to imagine that someone else is feeling towards you the way you are feeling towards you and is saying the things to you that you are saying to yourself, and is approaching “working on you” using shadow work in the same way that you are approaching working on yourself with shadow work. Are you doing shadow work in resistance to yourself, or are you doing it to help yourself to feel better? Are you doing shadow work to control yourself or are you doing it to understand yourself? Are you doing shadow work to make yourself change to be the way you think you should be, or are you doing shadow work to uncover who you authentically are and are not? Are you doing shadow work to eradicate or change things about you that you hate, or are you doing shadow work to understand yourself so that you can figure out the right thing to do for yourself, which might mean embracing things about yourself that you spent your life rejecting? 
Never forget that you can do anything, including shadow work, FOR yourself, or AGAINST yourself. The difference between them might sound subtle, like the splitting of hairs. But in reality, the difference between them is the difference between two roads headed in opposite directions. And each of those roads leads to drastically different results and to drastically different destinations.

The Hilarious Personal Ad Exercise

Today, we’re gonna make things lighter and funnier and I’m gonna show you a cringy yet playful and humorous self-awareness exercise. This exercise challenges you to admit to and be honest about your negative relationship patterns as well as the dysfunction in your relationships; while at the same time, bringing some humor to the whole situation. I will tell you in advance that doing this exercise as a kind of game in groups, makes this exercise SO much better.      
Back in the day, people used to post want ads for relationships in the newspaper and later on posting sites like craigslist. They were called a personal ad or a contact ad. And they are actually the very thing that evolved into the profiles on dating sites and dating aps you know today. I’ll give you some actual, real life examples of what I mean. Here is one from the 1920s that reads: I am 27 employed by the government. Have small but reasonable salary. Will make some poor working girl from 18 to 25 a good husband and a happy home. Must be protestant. No dancers, flirts or streetwalkers need answer. My object is matrimony. Write P71 Allegny Press Office. 
And here is one from the 1980s. Forever Single! Phooey! Says this very attractive, slim, successful male professional, 50, who is more sensitive than mother Theresa, lore loveable that E.T, wiser than Yoda and more modest than a presidential candidate. Seeking a pretty, slim, warm female who yearns for a serious relationship that is more fun than human beings should be allowed to have. 
And here is one from the year 2016. Is anyone out there? This 32 year old vivacious thrill seeker is seeking her hero who knows how to treat a lady. Why is she still single you ask? Because she isn’t one to settle! I can cook like the best of them. And I love a good sports game. Not looking for anyone with a checkered past or a wandering eye. If you’re ready to be someone’s prince charming, send me a note and a photo to (her e-mail). 
The thing about these personal ads is that they don’t really represent the truth about what being in a relationship with the person is like. They are super short, super sweet and salesy in that they do not represent the full reality. So, in this exercise, you do something a little different. Here is what you do. 
You write a lengthy personal ad that represents the harsh reality of you in relationships, your dysfunction and negative patterns, but in a humorous way. And if you’re playing with a group of people, which hopefully you are, you read your personal ads out loud to each other. You can include positive traits as well if you’d like. The objective is to sell the harsh reality of yourself in relationships. 
So that you can understand this, I’ll give you two examples. The first, was submitted by a man named Daniel.
Who out there is looking to be swept off their feet by a duper? I’m a fifty something who has such big identity issues that you can be sure I’m just the man for you. My mommy taught me exactly how to please. And you have her to thank for the fact that I love me a dominating, control freak of a woman. We’ll watch all your favorite shows, listen to all your kinds of music, live in your house, play everything by your rules. I will fit into your life like a custom-made glove. But all that goodness is just too boring. So, surprise surprise, I’m a man who will always spice it up with a good old fashioned identity crisis. I’ll wake you up one morning with breakfast in bed and tell you that I don’t know who I am or what I want anymore. You’ll be tickled pink by watching everything about me change. I loved your music, not anymore! I was fine with watching your shows, not anymore! I agreed to your rules, nope… I take that back. We were perfect for each other… Nope, I think we’re actually pretty incompatible, I was just doing what it took to make you like me. 
And just like that, you will feel the excitement return to your life because I have mastered the art of plunging a woman into the passionate throws of complete uncertainty. If you’re a lady who is scared of ending up with a cocky narcissist, look no further, because I am an insecure codependent who is looking for a lady who wants to dance. Dance back and forth that is between push and pull because unlike all those other men who know exactly who they are and what they want (how un-original) my terror of enmeshment and yet terror of aloneness will ensure that this relationship is never gonna get boring. It’s never gonna get stable either. I’m seeking that special woman who knows deep down that she will accept the exact opposite of the original premise upon which our relationship was formed. A woman who is ready to set up her life so it depends on me, only to realize she’s built her life on quicksand. Love is about being willing to give up our truth and hurt for the other person’s needs. And I’ve spent my lifetime searching for a woman who is ready to do that for me, just like I did it for my mommy. 
Also, are you sick of how sex obsessed men tend to be? My mommy raised me up different. She taught me to never initiate sex at all. This way, everything gets to be on your terms. And this means, I’m every woman’s dream because if you don’t initiate, we won’t ever have sex, I can even go years without it just the same. We can even sleep in separate bedrooms if that’s what you prefer. I snore anyway. 
If you’re that lucky lady who is ready to be the next person I start off pleasing and then rebel against, send me a text message at (phone number). I’ll respond just as soon as I don’t feel like my autonomy is threatened by having to respond to you in order to please you.  
And here is a second example:  
         Are you looking for a high-maintenance woman with a little dose of crazy? Look no further because I’m your gal. At first glance, you’ll be enchanted by my warm and elegant seeming charm. I will have countless deep conversations with you to the point where your concept of time will be lost. In a few weeks, even days, you’ll feel like no one else in the world knows you as well as I do. This is because I am studying you like you’re my next science experiment, partially because I do really want to know you. Also because now that I have effectively psychologically analyzed you, I can keep myself safe by becoming the perfect woman for you.
After all, I’m doing exactly what my parents taught me to do - become whatever I need to be to get their love, attention, and approval. It’s not like I ever learned that I could get love by being authentic and real.
If you need a housewife, I’m your gal. If you need arm candy, I’m your gal. If you need a CEO businesswoman, I’m also your gal. If you need a book worm, I’m your gal. If you want an athletic woman, I can also be that for you, no problem at all. I’m down to be whoever you want, as long as you meet my needs.
Warning though, if you don’t meet my needs, I’ll flip on you! All my real truths and personalities will come out and I will expect you to love me anyway. If you don’t, you’re the bad guy. At that point though, my intense grip and depth of intimacy in our relationship has you hooked and you just can’t get yourself to leave!
So buckle your seatbelt in for a wild ride... you are now officially stuck in this cat and mouse game with me. I will push and pull and push and pull, all to get you to fixate your attention on me. Ultimately, the men who are interested me care more about excitement than they do stability and I am one to please.
Oh, another thing! Me believing I need to change myself for love has led me to have crippling self-worth issues and an anxious attachment style so I will need reassurance 24/7. If you planned a thoughtful date for us, by the end of it, I’ll still ask you if you love me. And again when we wake up in the morning. And again the next day. And again and again and again. It is something I conveniently like to forget. What can I say?
Remember when I said I’m just a little dose of crazy? Well, I lied! I just say a little bit so you’d still be willing to get into a relationship with me. I’m the whole package of crazy! It’s at this point in the relationship where I feel secure enough to really show you what I’m really made of.. If you act in a way that upsets me enough, I will go full Kung Fu Panda on you your ass. We’ll be lucky if there are no broken plates at the end of our fight. But I know you have a fetish for fire and I know how to turn a camp fire into a forest fire.
This will perfectly feed into your dysfunction because if you’re interested in me, you must be the kind of guy that likes to let the woman in your life take up so much of your life that you can avoid yourself and your own personal truths. You will keep yourself nicely occupied and entertained by my chaos, that you forget who you are and let me lead the relationship. In turn, I will gladly take all the responsibility just like my parents taught me to, only for me to end up bitter and resentful.
So if you’re the type of guy who dreams of dating multiple women, I’m perfect for you. You can have a relationship with all of my personalities. The only cost is your sanity. 
When you are writing this personal ad, consider things like: What is a funny way of selling people on something that isn’t appealing? Are there any marketing gimmicks that you have seen that you could include? Would you be placing the article yourself or would someone else be posting it for you and about you? And how would that impact how it is written? What are the things about you that you receive the most negative feedback about? What have multiple people objected to about you? What are your worst habits? What are the most damaging patterns you display in your relationships? What are the awesome things about you and how you are in a relationship that keep a person stuck on you, no matter how bad the bad stuff is? Would your personal ad be about a romantic relationship or a different kind of relationship, like a friendship or a work relationship? What are the unwanted or dysfunctional traits in the people you keep being attracted to or choosing? And what makes you keep choosing them over other people? What would make someone suffer about your behavior or the details of your life, and how might you highlight those things in a sales pitchy way?       
This exercise will sting. But practicing adaptive humor by developing the ability to laugh at yourself and accepting that every person and every relationship comes with contrast, is a very useful tool on the road of self-awareness and self-development, where we all have the habit of taking ourselves and our problems a little too seriously all the time. 

The Hidden Link Between Anger and Vulnerability

A person who is angry does not give the impression that they are vulnerable. Rather, they give them impression that they are exerting strength and power, even if they seem out of control of their anger. And a great many people fear anger, along with the many reactions and actions that can accompany anger. Because of this, people fail to see the pain that anger covers up. Even the people who are angry themselves fail to see the pain (such as hurt, fear, powerlessness and vulnerability) beneath their own anger. Because of this, we fail to do the right thing with people who are angry. And we fail to do the right thing with ourselves when we are angry. Today, it’s time to look at anger from a totally different angle, recognize the link between anger and vulnerability, so that you can never again un-see it. And learn what to do with anger, should it arise.
But first, like usual, we need to go back to the beginning. When we are very young (really no matter our age), we need to feel as though we live in a social environment where our pain matters. We need to feel like the people around us are ‘moved’ by our pain and are intrinsically motivated by virtue of their connectedness with us, to alleviate that pain; especially if they themselves are contributing to it. But this is not the reality for anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional family dynamic. This need goes un-met because in a dysfunctional family situation, all members of the family are simply employing strategies to meet their own needs, regardless of the negative impacts on each other. It is by definition an anti-trust building environment. The lesson the children in this environment learn is: “No one is moved by my pain.” “No one will caretake my vulnerability”. In this social environment, vulnerability is a liability. And each person needs to find a strategy to keep themselves safe in an environment that is either emotionally, mentally or physically unsafe, or all of the above. And in an environment where they are on their own, even if they are technically in the vicinity of others all day long. There are all kinds of strategies one might employ to keep themselves safe in this kind of situation. For example, a child might begin to establish safety by becoming a people pleaser, covering over their vulnerability with placation behaviors. Or a child might begin to establish safety by becoming avoidant, covering over their vulnerability by checking out relative to other family members and inserting their existence into something else they can control, such as becoming obsessed with something like video games or live action role play or a sport.  
One of these strategies that a child may employ that we are discussing today, is anger. This is often a strategy employed when a child learns that the people around them are not moved by their pain, which is the ultimate unworkability. The child who employs the strategy of anger can find no predictable way to endear themselves to the others in their environment, so as to manipulatively ensure their own safety and wellbeing. Often on a subconscious level, they have learned that either one or some or all of the people in their environment are adversaries. This child cannot run away. They cannot find an effective way to fawn. And no one can stay frozen all day, every day. And so, they learn they have one option for self-preservation… to fight. 
Anger is a cover emotion, which is also called a secondary emotion. It occurs in order to protect ourselves from vulnerable feelings and vulnerable experiences. To look at this from a different angle, anger is a strategy employed by a specific protector part within you. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my videos titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease and Parts work, What Is Parts Work and How To Do It.     
In an environment where you have already learned that your pain, fear and vulnerability will not be lovingly responded to, it makes no sense to show it to others… Or even to allow yourself to be aware of it. So, all that vulnerability (all that fear, all that perceived powerlessness, all that pain) is hidden behind the anger, which comes in as a protector of that vulnerability. 
When someone is locked into this dynamic internally, their anger happens so fast and the part of them that protects them with anger takes over so fast, they don’t usually even perceive the fear or pain or other vulnerable feelings, which is the thing that happens before the anger. They only perceive the anger. And for most people who are locked into this dynamic, the idea of not getting angry and not using that anger as a fuel to fight back, feels like self-betrayal. This can make anger persist, even when it is clear that the anger is ruining their life. It’s one of those situations where a protector part within a person’s personality spectrum perceives itself to be in a lose-lose situation where it has to choose the consequences of fighting to avoid something worse. 
What all this boils down to is that anger covers and protects vulnerability. And all the strategies in the world that address a person’s “anger issues” at the level of their anger will fail. What must happen is that the pain underneath the anger (such as the fear, powerlessness, hurt and vulnerability) must be recognized, seen, heard, felt and attended to. 
By far the most important thing if you struggle with anger is for YOU to do this. When you notice anger kick in, and it kicks in really fast, you must slow way down and attend to the vulnerability, the pain and the fear and the perceived powerlessness underneath it. This is in fact a much more self-loyal thing to do than fighting back when you are caused pain, because it doesn’t come with the terrible consequences to yourself that your anger usually does. What if attending to your pain that is underneath your fear was your new way of being loyal to yourself? What if it wasn’t self-betrayal to not get angry and to not fight?          
When someone else is angry, don’t be fooled by the cover or smokescreen that you are being presented with. The cover/smokescreen being the furious body language, the wave of energy and power you are being hit with, the intense eye contact, the yelling and the threats. You must recognize, see, hear, feel and attend to the vulnerability, pain and fear and perceived powerlessness underneath it. If you do this, there is no reason for the anger to exist, and so, it wont. 
So that you understand this better, here is an example. Tonia is known to fly into a rage sometimes. The people in her life are afraid of her anger because when she gets angry, they can expect to get blasted by a wave of intensely hot energy, screamed at, insulted and for her to throw things at them. Tonia knows that her anger is an issue that people have with her and that it has negatively impacted her relationships and her career. But she feels totally powerless to controlling it. And also furious that her anger keeps being considered the problem, rather than the totally messed up things other people are doing to cause her to get angry. It’s a familiar feeling, as Tonia was the scapegoat in her family growing up. She is in a lose-lose. Her anger causes her problems, but the idea of not getting angry and not insulting and not fighting back, and not aggressively setting boundaries and not giving ultimatums, feels like she is betraying herself, and is acting as a bystander to other people hurting her. Her anger kicks in so fast, Tonia is out of touch with the extreme levels of pain and fear and powerlessness and vulnerability underneath that anger.
On one particular day, she sat down on the couch with her boyfriend and started expressing her worries to him. And instead of be there for her, he proceeded to fall asleep. Tonia immediately swelled up with rage. And yelled at him. He woke up and re-engaged for a few minutes, only to fall asleep again. This time, Tonia ran to her bedroom and slammed it behind her, burning up with rage. It startled him awake and he ran to the room to try to re-engage in a discussion. Tonia started screaming at him and insulting him and when he told her to calm down, she started throwing everything within reach at him. 
If Tonia had slowed way, way down to notice the vulnerability underneath her anger, she would have seen that she was already feeling vulnerable and was looking to her boyfriend to soothe her. When he did not respond to her vulnerabilities by soothing her, and instead, proceeded to disengage and fall asleep, she felt not cared about and abandoned. In her chest, the empty, desperate feeling of emotional starvation came up and outside of that, a static buzz of fear. She did not notice that. She did not take any time to feel it and be attentive to it. When he fell asleep again, after she expressed the boundary of that not being an ok way to treat her, these feelings became unbearably strong. And on top of that, it was an even deeper confirmation that she is on her own. And she started to see him, the very person who she needs, as the threat. What she learned was that he is not motivated enough by her pain to decide to stop doing what is hurting her. That he will continue a behavior that hurt her, for his own sake. And this, put her over into full blown powerless terror. She did not notice that. She did not take any time to feel it and be attentive to it. Instead, she got lost in the dizzy flood of anger and fury. Her protector took over and began viciously fighting him like an enemy, in the name of self-preservation and self-loyalty. 
If she had slowed way down, so as to attend to the pain and fear and vulnerability that is underneath her anger, she would have shown herself that she is there with and for herself by attending to it. This would have actually increased her sense of self trust and decreased her sense of aloneness. It is a step towards regulating herself. She would have been able to identify her truth and her needs. That she felt afraid during the day and really needed reassurance and coregulation from her boyfriend when he came home from work. Had she noticed this, she could have directly expressed to him that she needed reassurance and was afraid. If he fell asleep after she expressed that, and she had attended to the vulnerability underneath her anger, she wouldn’t have escalated to slamming doors or throwing things etc. She would have found herself in a choice point, where she decides the right way to caretake her vulnerability. This might look like several different things. For example, it might look like waking him up and telling him that he has created a rupture in the relationship on top of failing to provide reassurance and that that he needs to create repair. This might look like getting up and leaving the house to go to a friend’s house and waiting for him to realize he created a rupture and initiate repair. It might look like going into her room and doing a shadow work process on her childhood abandonment trauma, because it is showing up again in her adult life. And then coming to him with a very clear boundary about the behavior that she wants and needs from a partner. It might look like grabbing her computer and writing him an e-mail about the painful and scary vulnerability that she feels, and his contribution to it. It might look like calling someone else on the phone for reassurance and co-regulation and warning her boyfriend when he wakes up of the danger that their relationship is in, if he demonstrates that she must look to other people for what she needs from him.  
All of these options would be more effective for both her and him than anger because they address the actual thing that is going on… the vulnerabilities. Also, anger tends to put other people in their own protector personalities, so they are less able to caretake the vulnerabilities and are less receptive. Anger also tends to make it so that people make the person who has been hurt the problem rather than the person who actually did the hurting, which is a scapegoat dynamic. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Sickest Game You Can Play. These options don’t allow her boyfriend to fall into this scapegoat pattern with her, which is healing for her childhood dynamic in her family. Instead, they force him to look at his own dysfunctional behavior in relationships. Not getting angry is NOT letting the other person off the hook! 
Again, when you notice anger kick in, you must slow way down and attend to the vulnerability (the pain and the fear and the perceived powerlessness) underneath it. Caretake it. Find a direct way to resolve the fear, pain, powerlessness and vulnerability.  
And when someone else is angry, don’t be fooled by the cover or smokescreen that you are being presented with. You must recognize, see, hear, feel and attend to the vulnerability, (the pain and fear and perceived powerlessness) underneath it. Caretake it. Give the person a way to resolve the fear, pain, powerlessness and vulnerability.


Despite the fact that we experience emotions every day, as people, we are very ignorant about emotions. And it doesn’t help that the fields of science, medicine and psychology are still in the dark ages about emotions. As a result of this, we don’t deal with emotions correctly when they arise. Today, I’m going to offer you a process for correctly dealing with your emotions. A process which will prevent emotions associated with traumatic felt-experiences from getting stuck in your body and being, becoming triggers. And a process which will help you release emotions and traumas from your body and being.     
When it comes to emotions, we do things like ignore, suppress, deny, reject, fix, turn against, try to control, minimize, distract ourselves from, disguise, dissociate from, numb out and violently act out emotions. There are so many different ways that we do these things and there are so many different ways that this harms us and the people, places and things around us. But one of the ways that it harms us, is that it causes emotions and traumas to become stuck in our body and stuck in our being. You can think of it metaphorically like this, when we do not fully go through the way we feel and allow the emotions to pass fully through us, gaining the valuable information that is contained in our emotions (and emotions carry lots of information), that emotional sensation, emotional content and emotional information is stored in packages in the body/being until we release it. Our traumas become trapped within us in this way. It may be interesting for you to know that one of the reasons people start suppressing emotion, is because emotion carries truths. And they don’t want to see those truths that are painful to acknowledge about themselves, or about other people or about life. 
For this not to happen, we have to let emotions fully pass through our being when they occur, without resisting them. And when we go through something that is traumatizing or that stirs up strong negative emotion, we need to place our attention on it so as to give it our full presence. We need to fully experience it. We need to let it pass fully through our body and energy field. And we need to learn the information contained in it. Doing so, will increase our capacity to feel as well as our capacity to process emotions. It’s like building an emotional muscle. And this, in turn will make it so we feel we can deal with anything life throws our way, rather than spending every day in panic because down deep, we feel we can’t handle painful things happening, because we can’t handle the emotions that those things will cause us to feel.
People fear that when you focus on an emotion, it will simply amplify. It won’t ever go away and it may even kill them. This represents a huge amount of disempowerment that people feel relative to their own emotions. And this is not true at all when it comes to emotions. First of all, emotions are fluid, they move through you if you let them. On top of this, your truth and therefore your emotions don’t just disappear by focusing on something else. The picture of what causes emotions is more complicated than just what you are focused on in the moment. And most people use these tools designed to avoid negative emotion as a tool of resistance to their emotions. So, their emotions get stuck in the being. Their emotions get sequestered into the subconscious. They start to see their own emotions as the enemy. Your emotions are not against you. They are powerfully for you. Emotions are feedback about what is happening in any given circumstance. When you pay attention to your emotions, you are listening and responding to this feedback. It’s like listening to radar on a submarine.  
Also, emotions speak. They sing. They want to be listened to. When you bring your presence to emotions, you bring the frequency of presence to the frequency of whatever emotion you are focused on. This changes the overall frequency. And you listen to the emotions. You are meeting the need of the emotion. And therefore, you will register an improvement in your own system when you do this. It is profound self-care. Think of a baby. A baby isn’t thinking its way out of the emotion it is feeling. They are purely with their emotions. There is a truth behind that emotion, such as: “I am afraid, this is a no for me.” Or “I feel lonely, I want togetherness.” Or “I feel insecure, I need reassurance.” Or “my tummy hurts. I am uncomfortable. And I feel powerless to do anything about it”. If a baby has an emotion, it is for some reason. Adults are no different. Just like when you are caretaking a baby, and in order to do the right thing, you need to listen to your emotions. You need to notice them, you need to feel them, you need to hear them. You need to respond to them. Arguing that if you focus on a negative emotion, all you get is more stuff that matches that negative emotion, is like arguing that if you focus on a baby’s discomfort, all that will happen is they get more uncomfortable. When you resist an emotion, that is when an emotion amplifies.      
Without further ado, let’s just jump into the process. When emotional pain arises, sit or lie somewhere comfortable, so that you will not be distracted. Close your eyes and place all of your attention on the sensations that are occurring wherever they might be in your body. For example, you might feel buzzing or extreme constriction or heaviness or aching or hot flashes or cold emptiness etc. And you might feel it in your heart area or in your lower back or in your head and jaws or radiating down your arms, or consuming your whole body. Your intent is to experience the emotional experience fully. To feel, hear, see and understand it completely. Therefore, you are not going to do anything with the sensations you are feeling and observing. You’re not going to fight them or fix them or soothe them or anything else. Pay very slow and very deep attention to them. And as an anchor for keeping yourself with your emotions, you’re going to keep asking yourself, “How does this feel?” or “what does that feel like?”. If your mind gives you an answer like: It feels empty, you will mentally ask yourself “what does empty feel like?” Or if your mind throws up a metaphor like: it feels like mud. You’re going to mentally ask yourself “What does mud feel like?” The reason you do this, is so that the mind stays with the feeling, rather than pulling you out of the feeling by telling stories about the feeling. If your mind is hijacking the process, it will feel like the content of your mind is pulling you OUT and AWAY from the emotion, causing the intensity of the emotion to dissipate. 
As you are fully present with, observing and feeling the emotional experience occurring within you, you are likely to get images, sounds, insights and potentially even memories as well. Remember how I said that these emotional experiences and the information they contain are stored in the body, like little trauma packages? These images, sounds, insights and memories are inside these packages. And so, when you place your attention on them fully and willingly experience the totality of what is inside them, these things stored inside the packages release and float to your conscious awareness. They simply appear in your awareness. For example, you may see a specific color where the emotion is in your chest or you might see swirls of specific colors consuming your whole body. Those colors might come with patterns and textures. You may get an image of a substance, like sand or mud. Or an object or a food or a person’s face. Or a place. You may hear someone’s voice or the sound of wind or screaming. You may suddenly be able to taste a certain flavor in your mouth. You may instantly feel like you are inside of a memory of yours, like a whole scene has come up for replay. You might hear an insight, such as “This is why I have such intense issues trusting people”. Or experience a deep knowing like “I need to choose to let go of people who don’t put any effort or energy into the relationship with me.” 
Again, you’re not going to fight them or fix them or soothe them or anything else. you are going to notice them, observe them, feel them, pay very slow and very deep attention to them. When any of the content of the emotional experience you are focused on comes up, you are going to continue to feel the emotion. Like when you watch a movie. Those colors and textures and images and insights and memories are there to enhance the experience and ADD to the experience, not take you out and away from it. Which is why you want to keep using your anchor question of: “And what does that feel like?” And be willing to be present for a very slow, time-consuming process, rather than to rush the process. This process tends to get faster over time by the way.    
By fully experiencing an emotion or an emotional package that is stuck in the body, by letting it completely consume your body and being, you are giving it space to move. And as you do so, it will move and change. For example, the color black, might start changing to the color blue, and this might coincide with a change from the feeling of an aching, charged, stuck hatred to something like a cold, sinking, sore sadness. The images might move and change. For example, from the image of a rain storm to the image of sitting in your living room as a child all alone in a silent house. What is important is that you are not “doing” any of these changes. Instead, they happen to you, and you are just experiencing them happen as a result of being totally, unconditionally present to fully experience them. 
Some of these emotions need more presence than others. Some move and change very quickly, whereas others hold for a long time as they are, causing you to worry if they will ever change or ever end. This should simply show you how resistant you are to experiencing that specific feeling. And how conditional you are with yourself, because the message you are sending yourself is: “I’ll be with you, so that you go away.” Essentially, as a part of this process, you are likely to experience your own resistance to feeling emotions or to a specific emotional experience. And you will experience your own resistance, the same way you do any other part of this process. With sensations and images and sounds etc. You are going to keep using your anchor, even on the way the resistance itself feels… “What does that feel like?”   
I’m going to give you another analogy to spin off of the last one, which will help you immensely as you go through this process. Imagine that inside every emotional package, was a singing bowl. And imagine that the specific feeling you experience when you experience that specific package, is the unique tone of that specific singing bowl. Some are far more unpleasant than others. When you place your attention on the way you feel, or when something happens in your life to trigger a specific emotional package, it is like that specific singing bowl was struck. And it needs to sing through your entire body and being. It needs to be able to vibrate out completely, to the point where it no longer vibrates. This is true if you feel any emotion. It’s smart to address any emotion, as if it is a singing bowl that has been struck and that needs to sing itself out in order to de-materialize. But if you have a trigger, what has happened is that when the painful experience originally occurred, that singing bowl was not allowed to sing. It stayed stuck and un-played in the being. And you have most likely spent your whole life trying to shut its singing down, should it ever get touched by something you experience in the world. More than that, you’ve most likely spent your whole life trying to avoid anything that might cause that package with that singing bowl to be touched. For so many of us, our entire lives are spent in a perpetual state of avoidance. Our life is nothing more than us trying to avoiding feeling certain ways. And this is no way to live.  
When you are doing this process and you feel the emotion, like a feeling tone in your body, remind yourself to let it sing through your whole being, like a singling bowl that has been struck. 
It is here that you have options. Because it is so important to fully experience your emotions and be present with yourself in that way, building up the emotional muscle to do this, might be something that you choose to do in increments. Metaphorically speaking, you might choose to dip a toe in first. And then an ankle. And then a leg. If you do this, you are going to do this process until you feel a slight release, maybe a 10-20% reduction in tension within your body. The reason for this tension release is that your own being registers your presence. It is a soothing force because you are indicating that you are changing your pattern of self-abandonment. And you are going to simply increase your presence from there. Maybe the next time, you will do it until an emotion you are experiencing moves and changes to a totally different emotion and you experience that new emotion for a time. When you do this process that way, just make sure that you exit the process by giving yourself some reassuring message, that is the opposite of self-abandonment, such as saying to the specific emotion you are processing, “You can stay with me as we go through the day.” Or affirming to yourself, “I will not leave myself here like this, I’m coming back to this on Saturday.” Or by internally explaining to yourself why you are choosing to stop there, and caringly addressing and resolving any fears you may feel crop up in response to that.  
The other option is to go all the way through. When you go all the way through an emotion, you are with it unconditionally and completely as it changes and changes and changes, until the improvement happens on its own and to you. You are simply experiencing the improvement as it naturally occurs. For example, this might look like palpable relief. Or it might look like deep grounded-ness or it might look like experiencing the opposite of the original pain. This is the master’s class of emotional experiencing. And depending on the specific emotional experience that you are experiencing, it can take a really long time. When you do this, you are likely to experience a turning point.  For example, you may have been triggered by someone de-valuing you. And you might be sitting in a part of the process with an excruciating white, hot pain and it may consume your whole body, you might get images of your body falling apart, being dissolved by that white hot pain. Only to suddenly start experiencing your body coming back together again, and that white hot pain turning to a technicolor tapestry and the feeling changing from excruciating pain to solidness and strength and fullness. And suddenly receiving insights like “everything in the universe is inside of you, so it is impossible not to have value.” And you will get to a point where intuitively, it feels like you have reached “completion” with that specific package and with that specific singing bowl. You may also choose to do anything in between these two options.  
So that you can understand this process better, here is an example: Jaxson received a rejection letter from a college he was desperate to get into. He got a towel and laid it out on the floor to lie down on it. He closed his eyes and turned all of his attention inward towards the sensations. He noticed extreme tightness in his throat first and a sharp, gripping, pulsing, throbbing pain in his chest. He spent around 25 minutes just feeling that sensation, letting it spread out across his whole body. Whenever he felt his mind trying to go elsewhere, he just asked himself “What does this feel like?” And re-attuned to the sensations. At first, he saw flashes of red associated with this sensation. But soon, that red turned to an experience of white light. And when it did, he felt like he was up against an immovable stone wall. He felt desperation. When he asked himself, what does desperation feel like, it was things like frantic, static energy, a crushing sinking feeling and an aching so deep in the heart, the ache itself felt like it was screaming. An insight popped into his awareness… “I feel powerless. Powerless to get the people in charge of admission to decide to admit me, like there is nothing I can do or will ever be able to do.” He felt a tiny breeze of relief because he was on top of the actual pain. The perception of utter powerlessness.
He asked himself “what does that feel like” meaning the powerlessness. He focused fully on the sensation… breathlessness, stuck-ness and aching in his chest. Wobbliness in his limbs. He watched it and felt it and listened to see if it had any sounds for what felt like a long time before the image of a big, red, rubber ball took over his entire vision. He did not understand it. The image felt intrusive. But he let himself feel intruded upon. He let the big, red ball intrude on him. And asked himself “what does this ball feel like?” The sensations he felt of powerlessness simply intensified. The image of the ball and the powerlessness stayed as is. He felt himself go into resistance to it. The thought “Oh my god, this is never going to end” came up. So, he felt the powerlessness and also the resistance he was feeling to the experience. He allowed the feeling of himself pushing against what is happening and clenching against it to take over his body, as if he was totally surrendering to that internal fight between the experience and his resistance to the experience. He heard his own internal voice pipe up and say “Ok then.. let it never end then.” This caused a relaxation in his body. Then Jaxson saw a memory of being in his middle school gymnasium. The smell of the place was so real, it was as if he was there again. And he asked himself “what does this feel like?” Extreme frustration in the form of constriction and heat and rushing and electric currents coursed through his being. With bright red again. For a time, it was like he saw in the memory while at the same time feeling totally engulfed by red a red fire. He was totally with it. He let his whole body feel it. And eventually, that red turned to a white light, similar to in the beginning of the process. And the memory of him not being chosen for a dodgeball team he was desperate to join, on account of a group of older boys popped up.
Jaxson experienced the memory as if what was happening emotionally at that time, were happening to him right here and now. He let the breathlessness, stuck-ness and aching in his chest spread all through his body. The white light intensified and intensified. He had been fully with the process for over an hour at this point. He thought about the singing bowl that needs to sing and this helped him to let that feeling experience completely ring through his whole body for as long as it needed to. Then, he felt himself stop fighting against the boys in the memory. He felt himself give up as if he just couldn’t fight anymore. This felt like relief. The white light disappeared and turned to a dark, blue. A heavy, sinking sadness. He saw the image of himself lying on his side on the gym floor and the lights being turned off. A knowing appeared… that he needed to accept the rejection and to accept he was not going to keep trying to change it. Tiredness took over his body. A palpable fatigue. But he was surprised by how relieving that felt. Not good. Just much better than the powerlessness and fight to try to be accepted. He fully surrendered to the feeling of that let down. And to the smell of the gymnasium floor. 
Soon, the image of the gymnasium faded on its own. He was just completely in and of that blue, tiredness and sinking. That sensation and experience stayed for quite some time before he smelled coffee, despite there being no coffee in his house. So, he breathed that smell in. Fully feeling it. He asked himself “what does coffee feel like?” Three times he asked himself this. And felt the feeling of that sadness, while also being willing to feel the coffee that had appeared to his senses. He started to feel some warm, cozy, lightness in his underarms and down the sides of his ribcage. And he put his attention on that. Took deep breaths to better feel it. And it expanded and expanded until he was seeing swirls of blue with swirls of yellow. And the texture of smooth candy. An image flashed and then disappeared. The image was of him sitting at a coffee shop with one of his friends, Maggie. He didn’t chase the image. He didn’t “try” to understand it. He just kept feeling what was there. The swirls of blue and yellow, the sadness mixed with the warm, coziness. And after about fifteen minutes of the feeling being allowed to completely play out within him, he had a huge insight come to his awareness. “I don’t try to get accepted by Maggie. I can just sit there at coffee with her and feel this incredible relief because I can just be me… I associate coffee with acceptance. HAHA. I don’t need to be part of the cool club to have what I want. Oh god. What if this is the real reason I’m trying to go to Stanford? That’s bullshit.” 
Jaxson felt himself being sucked into this awareness, away from how he felt. So, he placed his attention back on the feeling sensation that was occurring in his body exactly at that minute. The swirls of blue had gone away. All that was there was the feeling of solidness, almost grounded-ness and a sharp, warm, opening feeling. He invited that feeling to take over his entire being. He saw flashes of his friend Maggie and they intensified this feeling. He loved that feeling. He let it seep into every fiber of his being until he felt this intuitive feeling that it was enough for that time. He checked internally to “feel” for if opening his eyes and going about his day would be ok for all of him. And he felt an internal “yes”. So, he took three deep breaths and thanked the feeling in his body and got up and drank a full glass of water and went about the rest of his day.           
     This process is as close to a medicine journey as you will get without actually taking shamanic medicines. Like shamanic medicine journey work, it is simply a process that happens to you and you are simply experiencing it. You are going along for the ride rather than proactively doing anything to bring it about. You are… experiencing.  
You may feel exhausted after you do this process. That is totally normal. Building emotional muscle can be tiring at first. On top of this, it is exhausting to keep emotions stored in the being and to live your life trying to avoid them being triggered. So, there is often a huge exhaustion to be experienced when you stop doing that.
You can do this process with what you might judge as positive, feel-good emotions too. It’s not like you are limited to doing this only with what you would judge as negative, uncomfortable and painful emotions. It’s just that those are the ones we tend to resist, rather than let ourselves fully experience. 
Another powerful element of this process is that it de-activates the nervous system. Often, when triggers are activated, you will register threat and danger. But when you do this process, you are directing your attention inwards. And this signals to the nervous system that you are not in danger, not only because you are really there with yourself, but also because you are focused inside, whereas, if you were really in danger, you would be focusing externally. And this allows the vulnerable emotions to come through, past protective elements of the being that might be suppressing that emotion. 
Having become aware of the information carried by the emotion, you can then make better decisions and take better actions in your day-to-day life. Using our previous example, Jaxson’s experience caused him to release the trauma of rejection he suffered as a middle school student. And caused him to become aware of how much of his life is ruled by the desperation to not feel rejected and therefore desperation to be part of the cool crowd. He decided that is not a good enough reason for him to go to an Ivy League college. So, he decided to prioritize applying to a college that was near Maggie and near the people who have never treated him like he needs accolades for them to want to spend time with him.     
 By using this process, you can move through painful experiences that happen in your life, and let the emotions that arise move through you, rather than accumulating trauma that prevents you from truly living. So, all that’s left, is to give it a try!     

How To Create Repair in a Relationship (Part Two)

In every relationship, at some point we will experience a breach or damage to the connection between us and them. At some point conflict will happen. At some point frustration will happen. At some point, the trust we had in them or they had in us will suffer a hit. These ruptures can either be what breaks the relationship, or what makes it stronger. But all that depends on our ability to repair ruptures with someone when they occur. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to participate in creating repair when someone else has done something to create rupture in the relationship step by step. In addition to this article, I highly suggest that you also read the part one article on this subject, which is about how to create repair when you are the one that created a rupture in a relationship.
Ruptures in relationships are very similar to wounds in the body. If ignored or put off, they fester and get worse. So, the strongest relationships are between people who don’t have tolerance for the feeling of rupture and who put energy into creating repair as quickly as possible, if not immediately when they occur. Keep in mind that repair in a relationship, is a process. So, let’s dive in.
You have to recognize that the rupture occurred. When a rupture occurs, it feels like a hit or a rip to the fabric of trust, commitment and security that makes up your connection to that other person. You suddenly feel out of alignment with them. Disharmony and anxiety and dissatisfaction start to bleed through the rupture. It feels really bad. You may be someone that immediately recognizes it when this occurs. This is a really good thing. On the other hand, you might be someone who is normalized to relationship rupture. You might be someone for whom the people in your early life experience created rupture with you and never bothered to acknowledge that, much less create any repair. As a result, you may have learned to suppress, deny, disown, ignore, negate, try to explain away, keep to yourself or just put up with the experience of rupture and the feelings that come with it. This is a recipe for a relationship to fall apart. It’s important to think of a relationship like a dance that two people are doing. There will be times during the dance that what the other person does, doesn’t work for you. For the two of you to be a stronger dance team, you need to bring that up so as to create effective adjustments. When you don’t acknowledge ruptures, you are actually making the other person alone. You are turning a tango into an unchoreographed 2-person solo dance. You are failing to recognize and expose areas of potential workability and areas of potential incompatibility. You are also saying yes to whatever your partner is doing. Only, you can’t actually and genuinely do this with ruptures. Your truth will leak out in the form of passive aggression or resentment. You must acknowledge that you feel a relationship rupture because of what the other person has done or not done.
So that you can understand this better, let’s use an example. Marie was out to dinner with Jonah. Jonah caught sight of a waitress that he found very attractive. He stopped focusing on Marie when she was speaking mid-sentence to turn around when the waitress passed him and stare at her as she walked by. Marie must recognize that the feeling of pain in her chest, indicates that for her, Jonah’s action caused a relationship rupture to happen. She must recognize that the way she is feeling is important and it is necessary for there to be a repair between them in order to move forward in the relationship.       Clarify what your issue with it was, for yourself. It’s very easy to feel confused and lost when a rupture has happened. It is disorienting. You may feel thrown into the confused pain of loss of relationship security. You may immediately start trying to figure out if they are the problem or your expectations are the problem. Instead of getting lost in trying to figure out who is to blame, you need to recognize that what the other person did or failed to do made you experience a rupture. And inherent in that experience is some very juicy self-awareness which needs to be extracted. 
Your job is to find out what the real issue is for you and why. All too often, we get lost in the surface happenings, without going deeper. Deeper into what meaning we are adding to an experience and what needs and wants it is making us aware of. Some questions you can ask yourself is: What am I not liking about this situation or what about it is making me irritated? What is my partner doing that is different to what I expect them to do? What about what happened scares me? What is the pain for me in this situation? If nothing ever changes and this keeps happening, what need would not be met? If I was to make it so this person was an automaton and did exactly what made me feel good, because it makes them happy to do so, what would I prefer them to do, and what would them doing that give me that I am not getting now? There needs to be a deep understanding of self to know what the actual issue is, so that you can recognize an actual solution that answers to the actual issue.   
To use our example, Marie could make the issue about the surface thing that happened. She could get immediately defensive and make the problem about Jonah looking at other girls. But this is not the actual problem. When she really looks deeper at the cause of the rupture, she realizes that when Jonah looks at other women, it makes her feel disrespected, like Jonah does not consider her and thinks very little about her. Down deep, she sees his behavior as a reflection of the fact that he sees little value in her and thus, she is terrified that he would abandon her if a woman he perceived to be more valuable came along. She is not getting the experience of being valued by him. And she is not getting the experience of security that he will not abandon her.      Bring it up as a problem for you, but speaking from vulnerability. When a relationship rupture occurs, the best-case scenario is that the other person is attuned enough to you, that they notice the rupture, and they bring it up. However, it isn’t ok to simply wait for the other person to do this. Therefore, if they don’t notice or don’t bring it up, you need to do so. When a relationship rupture occurs, you usually feel hurt and afraid. The hurt and afraid part of you is very vulnerable and for most of us, when our vulnerable parts are wounded, our protector parts come up and do even more damage to our connection with the other person. We treat them like the enemy and engage in all kinds of anti-relationship behaviors because we begin to fight against them for our own best interests. 
There is nothing wrong with anger and if someone has created a rupture with you, you most likely have every right to be furious. But anger occurs in order to protect ourselves from vulnerable feelings and vulnerable experiences. It hides what is really going on. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Link Between Anger and Vulnerability. You must slow way down and attend to the vulnerability, the pain and the fear and the perceived powerlessness underneath your anger. And then, put that vulnerability on the table in front of the other person using I statements. Name what happened and then speak from and for that vulnerability underneath the pain… what you discovered in the previous step. Let them respond to it. Don’t come to the other person with a solution yet. Remember that you are in a dance in a relationship. The other person needs to learn how to dance. You can’t take 100% of the responsibility for the dance of the relationship. When you are doing this, it’s a good idea to remember that you can choose to say things to soothe each other, while still telling the truth or you can say things that hurt and provoke each other. If you say things that soothe each other, it will feel much more like you are together against a problem rather than against each other. A good question to have in mind is: What would make you both feel loved and safe, while you are in conflict?      
Using our example, Marie might say to Jonah “I want our relationship to feel strong and secure. At the same time, when you look at other women, I feel not considered by you and therefore like I am not valued by you, and afraid that you might abandon me if a woman who you think is more valuable crosses your path.” Obviously, you can elaborate much more and longer than this, so they really understand your pain and your fear and your feelings of powerlessness etc.              Seek understanding of their side of it. But not to negate your experience. In this step, you are really wanting to understand why the other person did what they did, or failed to do what they failed to do rather than project your assumptions onto them. The aim is to get into their perspective. To understand them better. This may confirm the meaning you have added to the experience, or it may show you that you assigned the wrong meaning to the experience. None of what you learn, negates the way you feel or the needs you have. Both can exist at the same time. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: I Can Have Me and I Can Have You Too. Ask them questions from a place of curiosity, not accusation. If you ask them questions from a space of accusation, it means you have already decided on the painful meaning of what happened and are seeking only to confirm it, rather than to be open to their side of what happened. 
To use our example, Marie might ask Jonah “Walk me through what happened for you when you turned around to look at that waitress. I need to understand the reason why you did that.” Or “Can you tell me what I should make it mean when you look at other women when I’m around.” Or “What are you feeling when you turn around to look at other women when I am there, is it because something is missing from our relationship?”. Or “What do you think women’s reactions should be when the men they are with look at other women and why?” 
It is especially effective when you ask questions that give the other person the opportunity to answer to your insecurity. On top of this being an opportunity for you to deeply know the other person, their answers will tell you a lot about their willingness to engage on the level of vulnerability and intimacy with you. Jonah’s answer might be something like “I just love beauty, it takes over my senses when I see it, but that doesn’t mean I would go be with some other woman because she’s beautiful. Lots of girls are beautiful.” Or “I wish we didn’t have to only be with one woman at a time. I like being able to act on my attraction to whoever I’m attracted to.” Or “It was super unconscious. It just made me feel good, like a natural high to look at her. It was just a natural reflex and it doesn’t mean I’d rather be with her, or that I would go with her even if she threw herself on me.” Or “I feel more alive when I can look at other women. To be honest, it makes me feel like I’m expected to be dead if I can’t feel attracted to other women just because I’m in a relationship with you or any other woman for that matter.” Or “I’ve been feeling like our relationship is becoming dead and I haven’t known how to bring it up directly.” A person’s answers might point to areas of workability in the relationship, or it might point to serious incompatibilities between you and them.              Own your part of the rupture if there is one and modify any behavior that may have contributed to the problem. Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible for a person to destroy a relationship all on their own. But more often than not, when a rupture occurs in a relationship, both people contribute to it in some way. We may need to change our part of the relationship dance in order to improve things. This means taking a really hard look at how we may have contributed to the rupture, taking accountability for it and altering our behavior in the relationship. Using our example, Marie might realize that her part in it is that she has really low self-esteem and puts all of the pressure of her sense of value on Jonah. And so, she might tell Jonah this and acknowledge that this might feel like he is walking on egg shells around her. And she might decide to commit to proactively working on her own self esteem.  Put forth your needs. Put forth what needs to change for you to be able to move forward in the relationship. If a person is committed to security of connection with you, and to a feel-good relationship, they will initiate the step of trying to figure out what you need to feel better. But you can’t expect people to be masters of relationship already or to be psychic. This step is about making the other person aware of your needs and what would make you feel better.  
To use our example, Marie might say, “I really need to feel valued by you. I need to see effort being made by you that makes me feel valued.” Or “I need to feel more secure in our relationship so I don’t feel like you will abandon me.” Or “I need to feel like my partner is thrilled to be with me.”     Participate in the search for a solution which would create repair. The attitude to take on is “it’s us against the problem”. Not “it’s you against me”. The solution should account for both your truth AND the other person’s truth, which they will have shared when you were asking them to share their side of it. If a person is committed to security of connection with you and to a feel-good relationship (and especially if they are the one that created the rupture) the ball is in their court to offer ideas for resolve. If they are passive about this, or resistant to it, you are going to end up taking the responsibility for the relationship upon yourself and dancing the tango for the both of you. And this is a recipe for disaster. However, because a relationship is a dance, don’t just sit there, expecting them to do the dance alone for you either. Instead, proactively participate. Offer potential solutions that would allow for the two of you to move forward in the relationship… to repair. This step allows for serious creativity. Why? Because there can be so many solutions to a rupture in a relationship given the truth that belongs to both people in the relationship. What will absolutely work for one person might not work for another. For example, a solution might be Jonah committing to not focus on other girls when he is with Marie. Or, a solution might be Marie looking at beautiful women with Jonah, to feel like she is in on the appreciation of beauty with him. Or a solution might be to go to relationship counseling to try to re-ignite the relationship. Or a solution might be for Jonah to not stop looking at other women, but to change how often or long he looks at them. Or a solution might be for Jonah to show Marie he values her more consistently in other ways, like words of appreciation and by making time that is only for her, free from other distractions. Or a solution might be for Jonah to demonstrate small acts of thoughtfulness throughout the day such as helping her out with something or buying her something to brighten her day. Or a solution might be for him to find out what practical things she is afraid of in the case of his abandonment, and provide solutions to those things, so that she is less afraid of losing him on a practical, tangible level and they can focus only on the emotional element of their relationship.              
It is super important to know that a relationship rupture is a “don’t move forward” moment. And many people make the mistake of thinking that if someone acknowledges something they did or understands your pain, that counts as resolve. It doesn’t. That is not the resolve. The resolve must involve some kind of mutual agreement or change. Something that causes you to feel re-connected, on the same page and in alignment with the other person and more secure. The harmony needs to be restored. If all a person does is to acknowledge and apologize for what they did or understand your pain, this does not mean they will actually change anything for the better. And if a person sees your pain and acknowledges that they hurt you, but makes no change, or does the same thing again, it is a recipe for a trust disaster as well as emotional damage. Repeat offense, assuming it is not something that both people have agreed to, is a relationship killer.
It's at this point that you must know that ruptures highlight where there is workability in a relationship and where there is not, because incompatibility exists. This will require you to be very honest about where you can be workable and where you cannot. Agreeing upon a resolution is not the same as a compromising. You’re going to need to agree to a resolution that makes it so that you and the other person are actually resolved, not that you aren’t and so, it’s going to come out in passive aggressive ways or be used against the person in later fights or lead to resentment or bitterness. In a relationship, you may find yourself needing to choose a specific contrast. But you can only do so if doing so will not lead to resentment or genuine life dissatisfaction. For this reason, it is a really good idea for you to watch four of my videos, The first is: The Biggest Lie You Were Ever Told About Relationships. The second is: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. The third is: The Most Important Element of Compatibility in a Relationship. And the fourth is: The Difference Between Compromise and Workability in a Relationship.
Using our example, if Jonah’s truth is that he wishes he didn’t have to only be with one woman at a time because he would like to be able to act on his attraction to whoever he is attracted to. And Marie’s truth is that what she has always wanted and still deeply wants, is to be in a relationship with a man who wants romantic and sexual exclusivity with her, this is a point of unworkability. This will be a conflict that comes up over and over again, corroding the relationship. They are likely to have to face the reality of incompatibility as partners. Every person will have different areas and levels of workability and unworkability. What is important is that you are in reality about what is and is not workable for you specifically.
This step usually causes people to come face to face with just how willing or unwilling they are to adjust their own behavior according to someone else’s insecurities and needs. And this willingness or lack thereof should have to do with to what degree it is beneficial to do so and to what degree it is detrimental to do so. Be receptive to the solution. Fully experience and resource the agreement or change when it is demonstrated. This means be receptive to and positively reinforce the other person when they are doing what it takes to repair a rupture. Sometimes, we can feel so hurt that we close ourselves to the other person’s genuine effort to repair. This is building a wall between ourselves and the other person. This prevents re-connection. If we have agreed to a course of repair, we can’t act like nothing they do is going to work to take the chip off of our shoulder or take the walls down or make us trust them again. Where there is no actual willingness, there is no way. When someone tries to repair with us, for the repair to take place, we need to actually let that repair take place. A relationship only works if both people are in it.  
Using our example, if Jonah shows Marie he values her more consistently in other ways, like words of appreciation and by making time that is only for her, and she has agreed to this being the way to repair, she needs to respond positively to those bids for connection and security rather than rejecting them. She needs to really let herself feel his efforts as her being valued.  Ruptures without repair is a recipe for a painful, resentful and bitter relationship, all of which leads to the ruin of a relationship. But rupture does not have to be the thing that ruins a relationship. To the contrary, it can be the thing that makes your relationship both strong and long lasting. If you and the other person learn to expect that you are both committed to repair and experience being able to do it whenever a rupture occurs, what you are left with is rock solid trust. Repair is the part of a relationship where you come to understand each other better, build a stronger, more resilient connection and to come back together.       

How To Create Repair in a Relationship (Part One)

We want to believe that we can find a relationship where all that occurs is connection and harmony. But the reality about relationships is that rupture is inevitable. In every relationship, at some point we will experience a breach or damage to the connection between us and them. At some point conflict will happen. At some point we will hit points of frustration. At some point, they may do something or fail to do something and that will cause us to suffer a hit to the trust that we have in them. Or we might do something or fail to do something and that will cause them to suffer a hit to the trust that they had in us. These ruptures can either be what ultimately breaks the relationship, or what makes it stronger and stronger. But all that depends on our ability to repair ruptures with someone when they occur. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to create repair when you are the one that created a rupture in a relationship step by step. 
Before I walk you through the steps, it’s very important to understand two things. The first is that, even though ruptures are inevitable in relationships, we should be doing our best in our relationships to prevent them. When we demonstrate the care enough for a relationship that we are active about preventing ruptures, we are building and building trust in a relationship and are adding to the health of the relationship. It’s not fine to create ruptures. To give you an analogy, it’s inevitable that a car will break down and have to go to the mechanic shop. But knowing that should not make you go “Oh -well, since it will happen one, day, I’m not gonna prevent my car from breaking down. It’s not as big a deal to not change the oil and let the tire pressure run down and not replace the brakes etc”.      
It's also important to know that ruptures in relationships are very similar to wounds in the body. If ignored or put off, they fester and get worse. So, the strongest relationships are between people who don’t have tolerance for the feeling of rupture and who put energy into creating repair as quickly as possible, if not immediately when they occur. 
It is WAY, WAY easier to repair things when they are very, very small, than it is when they are big. People teaching about relationships will often say, “To make a relationship work, you gotta let some things slide” or “don’t get upset over the little things”. And there is a real danger to this. The danger is that when what occurs is a little rupture, no matter how little it is, it will become big. And by not bringing it up to repair, the opportunity to repair is missed. And believe me, it is complete hell when you or the other person realizes, after a relationship is so damaged that it has fully broken, that everything could have been avoided if all those months or years ago, some initial rupture you or they didn’t even realize happened, could have been brought up for repair. Repair is a process. So, let’s dive in shall we?
You have to recognize that the rupture occurred. There is an ease, a connectedness, a completeness and a harmony to a relationship that is doing well. The connection feels strong. It feels “on”. This is a feeling that will occur in your body. This is the feeling of being in alignment with the other person. When a rupture occurs, this feeling will be disrupted. It will feel like tension, discord, angst, anxiety, unresolve, and incompleteness instead. The connection will feel weakened, if not damaged. It feels “off”. When you get this feeling, this is your indication that something has happened to the connection. It may be really obvious what the rupture is about. But, if it isn’t, you need to investigate what happened. This should not immediately involve the other person because when you have done something obviously damaging to the relationship and you didn’t even notice, demonstrating that you didn’t notice, makes the rupture even worse. Start with a mental play back regarding what happened or didn’t happen that day, especially in the relationship. Ask yourself, Why Might This Person Be Upset? It’s a good idea to look for when that feeling of rupture started to occur and what was or wasn’t happening at that time. To repair a rupture, you must know exactly what the issue is.  To give you an example, let’s imagine that Jason was late to drive Eliza to her prenatal appointment after promising to do so. He must recognize that this is a trust breach that is destructive to the relationship. And that Eliza is likely to feel bad towards him. He will feel that feeling of tension, discord, angst, unresolve, incompleteness and anxiety in his body. He recognizes that a rupture has occurred.   
You have to bring the rupture up to the other person with the intention of creating repair. You start this by acknowledging verbally to the other person that you see that a rupture happened. It’s even better if you can acknowledge what it was. Name what happened and name your part in it. And it’s even better if you can acknowledge how they might have been hurt by it. If you don’t have the foggiest clue what happened, you need to ask the other person. This must be done in a sincere way, not a way that suggests that the other person is wrong for their upset. Something like “Hey, I can tell that something isn’t right. I really want to know what it is, so I can do something about it.” Or, “Hey, I noticed ever since lunch time, I’ve been feeling like we’re on two different pages and you don’t seem very happy. Can you tell me what’s up?”  If you know what the rupture is, then you bring up that you noticed what happened.  Using our example, Jason would say “I know you’re upset because I didn’t pick you up on time, like I promised I would do. And that probably made you feel unimportant, unconsidered and alone.” The goal is to get out ahead of the why behind the other person’s upset. This actually builds trust, even during the conflict because it demonstrates to the other person that we are attuned to them enough to know them, which is the opposite of how people feel when there is a rupture. When a rupture occurs, people often feel like they aren’t seen, heard, felt, understood and cared about. They feel like if you did see, feel, hear and understand them, you would not do what you did. After all, the underlying contract in any relationship is: If you love me, you won’t hurt me. So, you must demonstrate that you do see, hear, feel and understand them. Or at the very least, put effort into doing so when a rupture arises and you don’t understand why. It’s important to know that when you’ve created a relationship rupture, it is YOUR job to repair it. 
Invite the other person to speak to how they feel. See how it impacted them. For this step, instead of being defensive, since you acknowledged that you created a rupture, you are going to roll out the red carpet for them to express. Using our example, Jason might say to Eliza “Tell me more about how it made you feel that I was late picking you up.” And he would ask questions to understand it even deeper. But these questions are so that he can completely see, hear, feel and understand her. So, he can completely and accurately assess the situation. Say for example that Eliza says “I feel like you don’t give a damn about this family.” He would notice that anger as a protector for her fear and ask a question like “What does that make you afraid of, or afraid will happen?” And don’t ask these questions with a tone that suggests they are wrong for feeling how they feel. When you have created a relationship rupture, you need to hold a strong container for THEIR feelings.         Demonstrate understanding for the way they feel with empathy. Emotions need to feel understood and people need to feel that you are genuinely empathetic to them in order for them to trust you. This can take the form of validation or sympathizing or mirroring or apologizing or all of the above. For example, using our example, Jason might say, “Eliza, I see that you felt very alone today and you have every right to be upset. It’s not acceptable for a man to make you feel uncared for.” Or “I understand exactly why you felt afraid and not considered today. I don’t want you to feel that way”. This is not the time to give any excuse as to why you caused the rupture. Explain yourself regarding what happened in a way that does not suggest that you should be or expect to be let off the hook. This is not the same as coming up with excuses. An excuse is an attempt to lessen the blame, fault or level of offense. It is a defensive strategy. It is a self-centered strategy. Why this is really bad is because you have hurt someone, but now, you are the one acting like the victim. When you explain yourself, the intention of doing so, must be to help the other person to not make it mean what they are making it mean, unless it does mean that. Using our example, and only after Jason has empathized with how Eliza feels, he might say “The reason I was late is that I popped into the phone shop and thought it would only take 20 minutes, but it ended up taking them nearly an hour. It’s not because I don’t care about you and I will not leave you alone, even though today made you feel that way.” Notice that Jason expects of himself to be there for Eliza to make the relationship strong. So, he isn’t putting the blame on the phone shop, so as to take it off of himself. He expects himself to not put Eliza in a position where she and their relationship is at the mercy of the phone shop.  You might have to face some painful things about yourself when you look at the real reason that you created a rupture in a relationship. It is essential to become aware of the real reason why you do the things you do. If you are unaware of the why, you might be able to repair a rupture in a moment, only to create that rupture again in the future. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: The Secret To Self-Awareness, Becoming Aware of The Why. Also, people can feel when you are not being genuine. For example, if Jason’s real reason he was late was that he prioritizes the status of having the newest model of phone over making sure his relationship is strong and his wife feels cared about, Eliza will be able to feel that. And his explanation will be empty. And Jason will have to seriously consider what kind of man he is, what kind of man he wants to be and what priorities he wants to align himself with. Because if he prioritizes status over the security of their relationship, having gotten into a relationship with Eliza, who prioritizes relationship security (and expects him to do the same) this is a recipe for constant rupture in his relationship with Eliza. They would have to confront workability or potential incompatibility if this was indeed the case.  
Based on what happened, you find a way forward by settling on a way to fix or mend the problem that presented itself in the relationship so that the ease, connectedness, completeness, harmony and trust is restored in the relationship. This means, you cannot do what caused the rupture again. You must prove that you won’t. There is no “try” when it comes to repair. You either do it or you don’t. Whatever you choose to do to make it good with a person, fix the problem or re-establish trust, the goal is to demonstrate to the person that you deserve their trust because you are unwilling to leave them in pain and are committed to them feeling good in the relationship with you.  Some examples might be that you set a new expectation in the relationship that makes them feel good and hold yourself to it. It might look like cleaning up a mess you made. It might look like making a new agreement with a person. It might look like empowering the other person in some way. Using our example, Jason might say, “I never want you to feel that way again. And while I may not be able to control every little thing that happens, I’m never going to try to fit everything I have to do into my schedule, when I have something important to do with you. What I should have done and will do going forward is to schedule ample time before our important appointments.” Or, he might say, “I don’t want to take any chances that you feel dropped by me. So, I’d really like to re-schedule these appointments for my off days.” 
He would also make sure to demonstrate the OPPOSITE of the pain that he put her through. So, he would step up regarding being extra present to her at the prenatal appointment. And being attentive to considering her regarding what food that would please her to eat or activity she would enjoy doing with him. Whatever he decides on as a repair and she agrees to as a repair, he is going to follow through. He’s looking to make the relationship predictable. And predictably feel good. This rupture just became an opportunity to strengthen the security of the relationship. Think of it like adding to the relationship security bank. 
When you are creating repair in a relationship, repeat offense is not an option. If Jason inspired the re-building of trust in Eliza and therefore created repair by guaranteeing her that it won’t happen again, and he does it again, he has damaged their relationship double or more so. He has demonstrated that his word is worth nothing. That he can see her pain, but not be moved enough by it to change because he can do it again. He has demonstrated that because of this, he can’t be trusted. And rather than keep the privilege of being able to soothe and reassure her, he has lost that privilege and is now demonstrating a pattern where she can expect to be hurt by him. This is why addictions ruin relationships so effectively. 
It's at this point that I need to mention the fact that if a rupture occurs and it becomes obvious that you can’t guarantee that the same thing won’t happen again, your repair has to accommodate for THAT. Your solution needs to be to find a way to take the other person out of the pain that you would cause them by continuing to do whatever it is that is causing the conflict. This might mean facing potential workability or even incompatibilities. Using our example, if Jason decides that status is more important to him than relationship security, he needs to recognize that this could put him in a pinch again regarding choosing between being there for Eliza and some opportunity to gain status, whether it is job related or activity related or object related or whatever. And he then needs to own up to that. He needs to explain that status is so important to him and why. From there, Jason needs to find a way to repair based on Eliza’s workability relative to this. Can she support him in this? Or will she forever be unhappy with a man for whom that is the reality? If she can, Jason might say something like “I see this really hurts you. And I’m not ok with you feeling that way. I will take it upon myself to arrange someone else that I trust and that you trust to take you to any appointment that I might miss on account of a status opportunity. And I will call you beforehand to tell you that is happening. It shouldn’t be your job to make up for my absence on account of my priority. That’s my job.” And reassure her that relationship security is still important to him, no matter how much he might care about status. 
If she can’t, then they have the very tough job of confronting their incompatibility. To learn more about this, you can watch three of my videos. The first is: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. The second is: The Most Important Element of Compatibility in a Relationship. and the third is: The Difference Between Compromise and Workability in a Relationship.  
Rupture in a relationship is not pleasant to experience. But when you are committed to repair and begin to master the art of it, you will find that over time, you will no longer dread relationship conflict because it is an opportunity to grow the bond and the security and the trust between you.            

Avoid This Massive Relationship Mistake! (They’ll Change Because of Me)

There are mistakes that can and should be avoided from the get go when it comes to relationships. Mistakes that can doom a relationship no matter how much effort you put into it. Today, we’re going to look at one of them so that its one mistake that you don’t make.
When we are first getting into a relationship with someone, we are gradually confronted with things that we like about a person and things we don’t like about a person. Things that are compatible to us, and things that aren’t. It’s during this process that we decide where someone belongs in our life and doesn’t. It’s during this process that you can make a crucial mistake and that is to believe that a person will change into what you like and want and thus become more compatible, by virtue of being in the relationship with you. 
Without explaining further, I’m going to give you a couple examples of this. Emmanuel fell in love with Taylen. He had known Taylen for years because they ran in the same social circles and she had dated a friend of his. He observed Taylen in this previous relationship and had noticed how flirtatious she was with other men. He also noticed how often she openly revealed intimate details about her relationship and confronted his friend in front of everyone when she was upset. For Emmanuel, a feeling of exclusivity and privacy is very important in a relationship. But Emmanuel saw how poorly his friend treated Taylen. And he knew that he would be a better partner for her or to any woman for that matter. He told himself that the only reason she exhibited those behaviors is because she was in such a bad relationship. He told himself that with the right man, she would become faithful in her behavior, exclusive, discreet and happy. At first, they were happy together. That is, until one night at a party when Taylen started flirting with another man, despite there being nothing wrong with their relationship. Emmanuel started a downward spiral because of the incident. And that downward spiral caused him to withdraw in the relationship emotionally. And what do you think this led to? Yep… Taylen was soon complaining openly about Emmanuel to other people, confronting him in front of them and revealing intimate details about their relationship. Rather than considering whether he could be with a woman like Taylen, if nothing about her ever changed, he decided that his influence could change her. Of course, when Taylen figured this out, she felt like she was just some fixer upper project for him and like she would have to be someone different to be loved. Emmanuel finally owned up to the incompatibility between them and ended the relationship, but not before they both had already gone through unnecessary emotional damage.
Janiya is often teased by her girlfriends because she seems to be irresistibly drawn to bad boys. And recently, she met one such bad boy, Angelo. When she met Angelo, he was on parole for a drug distribution crime. A few times when they were first spending time together, she would notice shady behaviors, like stepping out to run quick errands, but not telling her what the errand was. Always ending up in the same place as other men he knew by “coincidence.”  And a few times, she showed up at his apartment to find him high. But Janiya wanted the American dream. She wanted the house in the suburbs with the man who has a stable job and the kids and a Labrador retriever. She wanted a life and a marriage that she could be proud of. Janiya has a huge heart as well as a rescue complex. So, when Angelo acted how he acted, Janiya fixed her sights on that little inner child in Angelo who was neglected and who was never loved well enough. She became convinced that it would be her loving care that would awaken Angelo’s potential to be a good man. She imagined that his love and gratitude for how well she loved him would make him clean his life up, step up in their relationship and become the man in her vision for a happy life. Rather than considering whether she could be with a man like Angelo if nothing about him ever changed, she decided that it was her love that could change him. Of course, this did not happen. They ended up in a re-traumatizing three-year relationship from hell. Janiya ended up completely depleted because her efforts to reform Angelo never lasted. She was trapped in a tormenting intermittent reinforcement cycle.
Angelo was in the same conditional love dynamic he was in as a child, only this time with a woman who only loved him for what she knew he could be one day and for what she wanted him to become for her. He didn’t even want the same life she wanted. He didn’t want a quiet life in the suburbs. He wanted to own clubs one day and buy a penthouse. The constant pressure to do and be better caused him to feel rejected and therefore lonely, which only increased his drug use and avoidant behaviors. And he ended up back in jail. Because Janiya was never able to do and be enough to make Angelo change his ways, her self-esteem went to hell and so did her health with it. She was so emotionally damaged that she became bitter about men. And her house was even raided because of her association with Angelo. 
There are potentially many reasons that we fall into this pattern. But to give you some examples, we might want a relationship with someone so badly that we tell ourselves the other person will change by virtue of being in the relationship with us, so that we can avoid the torment of saying no to what we desperately want. Or we might be trying to re-create the relationship we had with one of our parents with the subconscious intention of achieving a different and healing outcome. Or we might be attaching our sense of self-worth to another person changing for us or by virtue of being with us. Or we might decide that it is more meaningful and a bigger statement of love if someone changes to be a certain way for us or by virtue of being with us, rather than if someone is already that way. Or we might be needing to prove to ourselves that nothing and no one is beyond saving; that with enough love and kindness, people can change for the better or even be saved. Or we might be tapping into and answering to the truths, needs and wants of a specific vulnerable part of a person while ignoring every other part of them.
I want you to remember this. When you meet someone and you are getting into a relationship, you need to ask yourself this question: How do I feel about this person knowing that nothing about them will ever change? A variation of that question is: How do I feel about this person knowing that them getting into a relationship with me will not change a single thing about what they think and say and do? And based off of your answer to those questions, ask yourself, could I be with them and be happy? Where are the compatibilities and where are the incompatibilities? And based off of that reality, where do they actually belong in my life?
People tend to feel a lot of resistance to the idea of getting into relationships with people with the assumption that nothing will ever change about the other person, especially by virtue of being in the relationship with them. After all, people can change and they do change. On top of this, we all hear those stories and speeches about how someone’s love or care or influence made all the difference to someone else’s life and brought about such positive change. For many reasons, most of us would love to play that role in someone else’s life. But before you go down that path, consider being on the flip side of this pattern. How would you feel if someone got into a relationship with you with the idea that something they don’t like about you or are incompatible to about you, will change by virtue of them being with you? Because of their love or care or influence on you? Does it feel like they value and love you or something else they think you should become? Would you want to be in that relationship?   
There are some mistakes in relationships that are completely avoidable. Getting into a relationship with the idea that a person will change by virtue of them being with you, is one of these. 

The Relationship Apathy Pattern

To generalize, people only put energy into something if they feel they are going to get what they want out of it. This is also true when it comes to relationships. A person won’t put energy into a specific relationship unless they feel like they are going to get what they want out of that relationship. If a person doesn’t feel that they will get what they want out of the relationship, they tend to become apathetic towards the relationship. There are all kinds of things that a person might want to get out of a relationship such as a sense of belonging, intimacy, togetherness, sex, trust, a sense of security, protection, shared experience, affection, attention, prioritization, emotional connection, joint goals, romance, significance, respect, kindness, honesty, dedication, excitement, encouragement, self-esteem, acceptance, not to be lonely anymore and the list goes on and on. If a person is in a relationship specifically for any one of these things and starts to feel like they won’t get it, they can become apathetic towards the relationship. Therefore, if you are in a relationship and someone is behaving apathetically towards it or towards you, it is very smart to consider that the reason might be that they want something out of the relationship that they are not getting and feel they are not going to get.
But today, I’m going to expose the deepest, most unconscious and most difficult to recognize relationship apathy pattern. And I’m going to tell you what to do about it. First, I’ll tell you what the pattern is. And then I’ll break it down for you so that you completely understand it. The pattern is that a person’s deepest desire is to be loved for “who they are” and they perceive that they aren’t going to get that in a relationship, and so they become apathetic towards the relationship.
The first thing that is important to understand is that when someone says that they want to be loved, 99% of the time, they don’t actually mean that they want to be loved. What they mean is that they want to be valued, appreciated and therefore wanted. So, really, this pattern is about wanting to be valued for “who they are”. 
The second thing that is important to understand is that in the context of the desire to be valued, “who you are” is a meaningless term. What does it mean? There are some questions you must consider if you want to be loved for who you are/if you want to be loved for “you”. 
Who and/or what are you?  What is it about you that you want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for? What is it exactly that you are asking other people to value, appreciate and want about you? To understand this pattern, we need to go way back into childhood. In some families, a child gets the message that their only value is what they DO for the parent or for other members of the family. They feel their only value is in their use. This leads to both extreme insecurity and exhaustion because it feels like they are on a never-ending treadmill to earn their place every day and will lose it the second they stop. Imagine a horse that is valued and wanted only for the fact that it races, and if the day comes that it doesn’t race, it immediately is not valued anymore and is rejected and discarded. Inside this child, a deep desire is being born. A desire to be valued for something intrinsic to them, something that is not dependent on their service or lack thereof or on their performance or lack thereof. They want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for something that has nothing to do with their use. 
The problem is, the only way this person knows to be valued enough to be wanted, is to be of use. And so, they will enter into a relationship with someone who has very obvious and desperate needs. Even to the degree that they need rescue. Therefore, again, they will be valued for what they do for the other person. But they will secretly hope and expect that to the contrary, doing so will magically lead to that person valuing them for who they are instead. 
This person will be a person who starts out pouring their energy into the relationship and into the other person. The exact opposite of apathy. Because they think that everything they are doing, will lead to them feeling valued, appreciated and wanted for “who they are”. But then the day comes where something happens that causes them to perceive that they will never be valued, appreciated and wanted for “who they are”. And so, they begin to test it. They start to drop the things they were doing for the relationship and for the other person. Naturally, this makes the other person upset at them. And this is further confirmation that they are only valued, appreciated and wanted for their use. And so, they go into full blown apathy mode. They drop responsibilities. They don’t put energy into the relationship or into the other person. They emotionally withdraw. They act completely passive and unhappy. They act unworkable. They become unresponsive. They lose their enthusiasm. And when the relationship spirals, they don’t put any energy into making changes to improve the relationship. They stop actively participating in the relationship and even sink into depression because it’s too painful to accept that in the relationship, they won’t be valued, appreciated and loved for “who they are”. And because they don’t want to sign up for a life or a relationship where they aren’t. Suddenly, the other person feels like they are in the relationship alone and as if they are the only one putting any energy into it. 
So that you can understand this better, here is an example: Michael was born into a poor family with lots of kids. He was left in the crib a lot as a baby, because every member of the family was too busy doing what needed to be done to get by. When he was old enough to pitch in, he was immediately put to work. Tending to his siblings, taking on tasks for the household, helping to bring in income. No one in the house was valued for anything other than what they practically did. For example, Michael had an incredible sense of humor. But no one cared. All they cared about is whether he lit the wood fires first thing in the morning or brought back enough money from his afterschool job. 
Michael is now an adult. Since his life experience has taught him that he holds no value other than what he does, he has deep insecurities about his own worth. This causes him to get into relationships with women who desperately need a man because they are fending for themselves. He does this because by doing so, he does not risk rejection. Also, all he knows is to be in a relationship with someone who really needs him for something that he does. The woman he is with now, Kelsey, is a single mother with a history of severe sex abuse. She needs all the things that a father would provide, but that her father never provided, and even more. She needs someone to provide for her financially. She needs protection. She needs a father figure for her daughter. She needs a man to be there for her whenever she needs him emotionally. She needs to be supported in her goals. She wants to be taken care of and taken responsibility for. Michael is convinced on a subconscious level, that if he steps up to such a degree for Kelsey, she will fall in love with him for who he is. What he means by this is, Kelsey will value, appreciate and want him for his soul. For how he feels. For his sense of humor. For the way his body feels against hers. You know… for everything that takes no effort on his part because it isn’t about what he does. Kelsey does actually value him for all these things. But the reason she got into a primary partnership arrangement with him isn’t because of those things. It was because of all the things he does for her. Things like taking responsibility for upkeep around the house and paying for bills and bringing home dinner for them all and talking her through her problems for hours and providing incredible containment and setting up elaborate dates. 
One day, Michael runs into a situation where he doesn’t have enough money to pay the grocery bill. And Kelsey gets upset about it. A shock wave goes through Michael’s system. Suddenly, he feels like his security with Kelsey and his place in her life is dependent on his use. In this case, financial providership. He is in a state of constant anxiety then. He doesn’t talk to Kelsey about this fear. Instead, he decides to test whether this is in fact the case. He doesn’t put the trash out on the street on trash pickup day, like he has of his own accord every other week in their relationship. Again, Kelsey gets upset. She becomes afraid that all the pressure is starting to fall back on her shoulders and like she is going to have to either do things herself, or manage Michael to do them. When Kelsey gets upset, Michael’s worst fears become even more real. She might never love him for who he is. And it is at this point that progressively, he goes into full blown apathy mode. 
Michael starts dropping all of the responsibilities he signed up for in their relationship. He stops doing anything romantic. He stops initiating sex. He withdraws emotionally and spends most of his time working. But he passes up opportunities to make a lot of money because he doesn’t want Kelsey to value him for how much money he has. He stops providing containment. He leaves her to fend for herself in conflicts with other people in her life. And when the relationship really turns bad, he is uncharacteristically passive about it. He won’t read books about how to make the relationship better. When Kelsey tells him directly what he needs to do to make her feel happy in the relationship again, he doesn’t do it. He reluctantly shows up to a visit with a marital therapist but won’t go back. Kelsey has lost her partner. Michael has slipped into an apathetic depression, leaving her to fend for herself and carry him. He is stuck in that depression because he can’t consciously admit that what he wants is to be loved for “who he is” and Kelsey is a woman with very serious and practical needs. She will never love him enough for “who he is” to have that be the reason to be in a primary relationship with him, or with any man for that matter. Part of Michael’s despair is that he truly believes that this is the very thing he offers to Kelsey. Something he feels he can give to any woman in his life, but that he never receives in return. If you ask him, he will say that he always ends up in relationships that are conditional when all he wants and what he offers, is unconditional love.  
What he doesn’t realize is that he also is in a conditional relationship with Kelsey. The need he is trying to meet and what he is trying to get out of a relationship is esteem. His childhood led him to believe that he is worthless as a person outside of his use. He wants a woman to value, appreciate and want him for things that have nothing to do with his use, so that he feels esteem. And if he doesn’t get that in a relationship, he stops participating in the relationship. He becomes apathetic. On top of this, he dupes the women he enters into a relationship with by entering into the relationship on the foot of “value me because of all the things I can do for you”. Only to drop the relationship when it becomes obvious that they do because his real request is “value me for who I am, regardless of what I do or don’t do for you.”
Needless to say, Michael and Kelsey’s relationship ended. And both of them are retraumatized because the relationship was a repeat of each of their original wounding. 
If you recognize yourself in this pattern, the first thing you need to do, is to throw away the idea that there is a right or a wrong reason to be in a relationship. People who want to be loved for ‘who they are’, love to defend this desire by believing that it is the only true and good and right reason to be with someone. This is not true. There is nothing wrong with a person being in a relationship with someone for any reason, provided that there is a mutual agreement about it. What causes pain in relationships is a mismatch between what someone is valued, appreciated and wanted for and what they want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. In the relationship with Michael and Kelsey, there is a mismatch between what Michael is valued, appreciated and wanted for and what he wants to be valued, appreciated and wanted for.    
The second thing you need to do, is to figure out what you want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. When a person says “I want to be loved for who I am” or “I want someone to love me for me”, what this usually means is that the person has certain specific aspects about them that were never valued, appreciated or wanted. Potentially they have been rejected for those things in the past. Or potentially, those things have never been adequately recognized. On top of this, they may have been valued, appreciated and wanted for something that they don’t want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. You need to figure out exactly what it is about you that you want to have be appreciated, valued and wanted. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Want To Be Loved For Who You Are, Watch This! Using our example, Michael realizes that he wants to be loved for his presence, for the way he feels to the other person energetically, for the feeling of his touch, for his humor, for his ideas, for the sound of his voice, and for how nice he is.    
The third thing you need to do, is to decide whether or not being valued, appreciated and wanted for those things is a requirement for a partnership or whether you could have a partnership with someone based off of another agreement and establish other relationships where this need is met. If the answer is yes, you will either need to find out if your partner can change the reasons for being in the partnership with you, or end the partnership. I need to warn you that it is rare that a person will simply change their reason for being in the relationship with you when you change what you are offering, simply because you decided that you want them to be in a relationship with you for something other than what you offered to begin with.  If you decide that being valued, appreciated and wanted for certain things is not a requirement for a partner and could get this need met in other relationships, you need to drop the apathy and start stepping up and into the relationship. Using our example, Michael decides that he wants a partnership to be based off of a person valuing, appreciating and wanting him for these things, rather than for things like providing financially or offering containment or protecting them or taking on responsibilities around the house. So, he decides that it was right for the relationship with Kelsey to end. In fact, it wasn’t right to be with her in the first place. But he can see that he was the one who duped her, so he meets her for coffee to offer a serious apology and explain his pattern and why everything happened the way it did.       
 The fourth thing you need to do, is to advertise whatever it is about you that you want someone to value, appreciate and want. Part of this implies communicating with others about specifically what you want them to appreciate, value and want about you. And never forget that you are more likely to be appreciated, valued and wanted for something when you advertise that thing specifically to the people who are most likely to value, appreciate and want that thing. This means, if you don’t want to be valued for your use (for what you do for someone) then you need to not set up the relationship on the foot of “I will do these things for you”. You have to be willing to take the risk of putting what you want people to value, appreciate and want out there. Using our example, Michael stops looking for women who need rescue because they are carrying too much responsibility and are too alone. Instead, he decides to look for women who are very resourced. Women who are very close to their family and have lots of close friends. And rather than taking on responsibilities or doing things for them, what he offers, is quality time and touch. This way, he can tell that they are in a relationship with him for what he wants them to be in a relationship with him for. 
     Relationships need to be fed. A relationship will end if it is approached with apathy. For this reason, it is critical to know what you want to be appreciated, valued and wanted for in a relationship. And it is critical to know what you want to get out of a relationship. And it is critical to make sure that you are on the same page and in agreement with the other person about both.   


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