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...
Relationship Success Workshop

Relationship Success Workshop

Relationships come in all forms: life partners, friends, family, teachers, work colleagues, community and with ourselves. They play an important role in our overall happiness, wellbeing and fulfillment in life. Studies show that strong and lasting relationships help to contribute to long and healthy lives. Is there a relationship in your life that you struggle with and would like to improve? Are you wanting to create a relationship in your life now or in the future? 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. Based on 40 years of research from Psychologist John Gottman’s Institute in Seattle, and drawing on the Human Givens approach to Psychotherapy, this workshop is suitable for beginners and experts alike, whether you are single or in a relationship, this workshop will empower you to create and maintain healthy and nurturing relationships, personally and professionally. For more details and to book a place please click the link below: http://www.chrysalis.ie/event-registration/?ee=106  ...
5 steps to repair a damaged relationship

5 steps to repair a damaged relationship

People in painful relationships sometimes remind me of old-fashioned foot soldiers – both people are hiding in fear of attack behind a big shield with their daggers drawn. This is no way to build a close & loving relationship! Joking aside, you need to create a place of safety if you want to repair the damage & make it work. But how do you do that ? There is certainly no quick fix when trust in a relationship has broken down to this extent: you are usually talking about a marathon or a long haul trip, certainly not a sprint. These are some of the most important steps. They may seem like little things but they are not easy & over time, the best research in this area shows, they can make all the difference. 1) Apologise fully for any wrong doing but don’t expect that to be the last of it. If you’ve let your partner down badly in some way, they have every right to be angry & the trust is not going to be repaired easily. 2) Actions speak louder than words-listen to your partners complaints & act on them- but remember that repairing trust is a long haul operation- & be prepared to keep it up under fire! 3) Start noticing & acknowledging what your partner is doing right ( in relationships that are in difficulty we tend to focus only on what our partner is doing wrong – reminding ourselves of what they are doing right can help us to get a better perspective). 4) Give your partner more attention. Attention is the currency of love! We...
How to raise difficult issues

How to raise difficult issues

All relationships-even the good ones -have some degree of conflict. It is important during conflicts to stick to recent specific complaints-& not throw in anything & everything including the kitchen sink (tempting as that is)! At their heart most conflicts are my need versus your need ( & the most intractable ones are my deepest values & dreams versus your deepest values & dreams). 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”, ” that you spent so much on those shoes” ” when I look at our bank balance”. 5) Ask for what you need ( optional) for instance, ” we need to find ways of spending less money”. Research shows that the beginning of a conversation predicts how it will end. In the best relationships people are gentle with each other. Some people, however gently you start a difficult discussion, have had so many experiences of feeling attacked & criticised that they will get defensive no matter how you begin....