How to complain without hurting your partner

How to complain without hurting your partner

How to complain without hurting your partner   This is a simple & effective way  to bring up difficult issues: 1) Choose your time carefully- ideally when you are both relaxed & getting on 2) Most of what we communicate is not through our words but through our tone & body language- so make sure that you are in the right frame of mind  by reminding yourself before you start of all the things you like about your partner-& the things that they do right! 3) Start with”I” + emotion, for instance, ” I am upset”, “I am hurt” , ” I am scared”. 4) Now name your complaint & make it SPECIFIC, for instance, ” that the kitchen was a mess this morning”, ”  ” when I look at our bank balance”. 5) Ask for what you need ( optional) for instance, ” we need to find better ways of managing our money”. Research shows that the beginning of a conversation predicts how it will end. In the best relationships people are gentle with each other. Start in the way you mean to go on. Some people, however gently you start a difficult discussion, have had so many bad experiences of feeling attacked & criticized in the past that they will feel attacked and get defensive no matter how you begin. In this case, the best thing to do is to clearly state that you don’t mean to attack or criticise them but  rather want  to let them know how this specific thing has made you feel  &  what they can do to help. it is important to...
How to build a close & lasting relationship

How to build a close & lasting relationship

Some years ago, a couple I was friendly with, split up in acrimonious circumstances. They both came to me separately & each told me their side of the story. To my surprise, as I listened to the second account, I slowly realised that their complaints about each other were almost identical! The husband’s main complaint about his wife was that she spent all her spare time on the computer & would not look up from it to talk to him. His wife’s main complaint about him was that he spent all his spare time watching television & would not look up from it, even to say “Hi” & ask how she was after her day at work.   This is a traditional rhyme that reminds me of possibly the most important truth about relationships: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. That truth is this: that little daily things matter & some of those little things are crucial to the extent of being all important. Probably the most important of those “little things” is giving our partner the gift of our full attention. We under-estimate the importance of this at at our peril! The best research in this area has shown that it is the little things in a relationship that mount up over time & either destroy it – by undermining...
Trauma and relationships

Trauma and relationships

Trauma & its impact on relationships Is your ability to develop lasting relationships being affected by trauma? Is trauma interfering in your relationships? Unresolved trauma can have long-term effects, including having an ongoing impact on our ability to attract & retain positive, supportive relationships. Some types of trauma have particularly pernicious effects on relationships-such as experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, rape or abuse, especially if we have these experiences as a child: a life stage when we have limited experience of the world, are still developing & are likely to assume that our experiences, however traumatic, are “normal”. Growing up or living in a neglectful or dysfunctional environment can also, in itself, be traumatic & impact on our relationships. Three ways that trauma can harm relationships: 1) Stopping you from being able to form meaningful relationships 2) Leading you to become involved in abusive relationships 3) Making it difficult for you to sustain a healthy relationship long-term Common symptoms of trauma include: flashbacks, panic attacks and inappropriate anxiety. In the most extreme cases, untreated trauma develops into PTSD which can lead to a complete breakdown in normal functioning and the inability to hold down a job or maintain any sort of long-term relationship such as with relatives, friends or colleagues. Untreated trauma also sometimes results in addiction as the person “self-medicates” their pain away. Trauma & the brain The reason that trauma is so destructive can easily be understood when you understand what is happening at the level of the traumatised person’s brain. In essence part of our emotional brain (the Amygdala) acts as our security guard & has...
Making Relationships Work: free public talk

Making Relationships Work: free public talk

Making Relationships Work: free public talk Ann Marie Taylor will be giving a public talk for Wicklow Mental Health Association  at 8pm on Wednesday 19th April at The Grand Hotel, in Wicklow Town. The talk is  entitled, Making Relationships Work: what you need to know. Of-course many of us think we already know what makes a relationship work-good communication! Surprisingly the research in this area has found that good communication is actually just the sign of a relationship that is already working and  bad communication is a symptom, not the cause of a relationship breaking down. This talk will look at the true causes of relationship breakdown and relationship success; the underlying dynamics of relationships and the simple changes we can all make that can make our relationships more satisfying and more likely to last. The talk is based on 40 years of research by John Gottman at the Gottman Institute in Seattle into the causes of relationship breakdown and relationship success and will be given by Greystones based Psychotherapist Ann Marie...

Free talk: How to treat anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD

Ann Marie Taylor will be giving a free talk entitled: How to treat anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks and PTSD: the Human Givens Approach at 8pm on Tuesday 11th of October at Swann Hall, St Patrick’s Church, Greystones. Free talk: How to treat anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD: the Human Givens approach There have been huge developments over the last 15 years, in neuroscience and psychology, of the understanding of the trauma reactions, fear responses and survival mechanisms that underlie most common emotional health issues. The Human Givens Approach to psychotherapy combines knowledge and breakthroughs from these fields with the most effective techniques developed over the history of psychotherapy and coaching. It was described by the journal New Scientist as “a quiet revolution”. Human Givens Therapy offers reliable & practical help in relieving a wide range of emotional & stress-related issues. It is structured and starts from where the client is now and focuses on moving them forward, as quickly as possible, to where they want to be and how they want to live. This therapy can help people sleep well; feel calmer and be more relaxed; improve their self-esteem; Improve their relationships; reduce the amount of time spent dwelling on the past & manage stress.  ...
Relationship Success Workshop

Relationship Success Workshop

I am running a one-day workshop on relationships with Chrysalis on Sunday 17th May in Greystones & looking forward to it! :)) Here are some of the details: This one day workshop will empower you with knowledge, skills and understanding of relationships: what makes them work, what makes the break down, how to strengthen & protect them and allow them to grow. Through exercises, information, discussion and guided imagery, you will learn how to reduce conflict, make small changes that can strengthen the quality of your relationships, understand the essentials of a strong relationships, learn skills for communicating difficult issues without hurting someone, and find out the key factors in what makes a relationship last or breakdown. Full details & booking can be found here:...

Rape counselling

Rape Counselling: a less painful, more effective approach. This is a link to an article I have just written for the MindFully Well website on a more effective, less painful approach to rape counselling. The approach used is the same as used by a UK charity with army veterans suffering from PTSD. You can read more about it here: PTSD Resolution http://mindfullywell.ie/rape-counselling/ I have worked with many survivors, both male & female, of rape & sexual abuse & have found that the approach described in the article is very effective in reducing distress & symptoms quickly ( such as anxiety, sleeplessness, flashbacks etc.) & that it is a relatively comfortable process as the client is kept in a relaxed state throughout (using a combination of relaxation...

Love shouldn’t hurt: when to say “Goodbye”

A lot of my work is with people who want to fix a relationship in difficulty- & for a lot of people & in a lot of situations that is very do-able & the relationship is worth saving. But I’ve also worked with people who are struggling to leave an abusive situation- men & women both. Some relationships are better let go. Some are corrosive & toxic & exhaust you & get you down. When emotional blackmail is involved the relationship can pull you both down. And when children are involved the situation can be even more damaging & difficult to manage for all involved. Unfortunately, some people are abusive  – physically &/or emotionally. It is sometimes hard to be clear-when you are on the receiving end of abuse & in the thick of it-whether a relationship is worth saving or not. So how do you know? Signs that you should go 1) The basis of a healthy relationship is friendship & respect. In the best relationships people are gentle with each other. Love shouldn’t hurt. It shouldn’t make you feel bad. It shouldn’t drain your energy & make you sad. 2) The other person has to want to be in the relationship as much as you do. This may seem obvious, but if the person you are involved with is not committed to the relationship or is clearly saying that they don’t want to be in a relationship with you- & in this actions speak as loudly as words-there is no future in pursuing it-you will only get hurt. 3) Pay attention to how you feel- what is...

The most common myth about relationships

The most common myth about relationships is that good communication is the key to better relationships. Now don’t get me wrong, good communication is important, but good communication is actually a sign of more fundamental things being right whereas poor communication is actually a symptom of more fundamental things going wrong. In a relationship that is working, the communication is good because both people feel supported, cared for & loved. When a relationship is working it is easy to communicate well – as we all know, if we think back to when we first met, when communication seemed so easy! In the early days of a relationship, when both people have positive expectations & experiences of the relationship, most couples can communicate well. That creates a positive spiral effect were people are relaxed & happy talking to each other because they are confident that their partner will listen & engage with them positively about the things that are on their mind & that are important to them. This happens naturally at the beginning of relationships because people usually feel supported & appreciated,at that time, by the other person. In long-term relationships that work well, that continues to be the pattern & there continues to be a positive spiral of positivity with both people feeling supported and cared for & seeing & appreciating the good in each other. So when there is conflict, as there always is, at some level in relationships, it quickly fizzles out. It is as if, even in the midst of an argument, each partner, in the back of their mind has a little voice saying -hey-let’s...

Radio interview “How to improve your relationship”

http://www.annmarietaylor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Relationships-radio-interview_2_1_2_1_1.mp3 This interview is of Ann Marie Taylor by Derry O’Malley for Limerick Community Radio. It wasbroadcast on 6th February 2015 on their regular Sunday “Headspace” programme.  ...