I Don’t Treat “Patients” It’s true that I’ve been practicing psychotherapy for years, but I have never, ever seen a patient. It’s just not how I view the people who come to me for help. They aren’t sick with a … Read More
I created this little video while playing around with Go Animate. While the video is a little silly, hopefully one can see the potential benefits of reframing our reactivity, one’s own and one’s partners, as being primarily a consequence of our underlying vulnerable feelings when we feel disconnected from our partner….BECAUSE BEING CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER MEANS SO MUCH THAT BEING DISCONNECTED REALLY HURTS (BOTH OF US)!!
Zebbie: “Moo Moo, thank you for agreeing to meet me. I know I’m not your favorite Little Zebbie these days.
Mary: “I have been wondering where you have been.
Zebbie: “I want to tell you something important. Are you ready?
Mary: “Am I ready? You are scaring me. Go on, out with it.
Mary: “Oh, it is serious. You are calling me by my real name.
Zebbie: “Moo Moo, this is hard for me to say.
Mary: “Okay. I’ll listen.
Zebbie: “When we are fighting, I see you as being a mean and selfish person. I am angry and frustrated with you in these moments. That’s why I blame and complain about you.
Mary: “Really? You called me out into the middle of the Savannah to tell me that? This just sounds like what you usually tell me.
Zebbie: “No, there’s more. Underneath my blaming and complaining, I feel I am no longer accepted and heard and …
Zebbie: “I feel sad and powerless because our relationship is important to me. I hate being disconnected from you and I really hate fighting with you because deep down inside, I feel hurt. I mean ..
Mary: “What? You have never told me this before. Who taught you to talk like this?
Zebbie: “I am serious. I feel unseen and unloved sometimes and I see myself as undesirable and unattractive when we are fighting or any time I think you are disappointed in me.
Mary: “Oh, Sweetie. I never heard you speak like this. I could really get into this new, vulnerable you. It’s good to know how much I mean to you. I love you. Let’s go to the watering hole.
Zebbie: “Amazing. I thought you would laugh at me. Figs was right, sharing my vulnerability really is better than getting angry and blaming you when I am upset. I’ve met with Figs a few times over the last month, a Therapist and Relationship Expert in San Francisco. He helped me see when I am fixated on your behavior and being reactive.
Mary: “How would therapy with fruit help you access your emotions? A bunch of Figs can help break pattern reactivity and blaming others when you are feeling abandoned or rejected. Are you okay? Do you need to lie down in the shade?
Zebbie: “Figs is a nickname. He is a silly accented Irish guy. His real name is too hard to pronounce, but it is besides the point. The important thing is I now see sharing my feelings helps you know you really are important to me. I lose track of how much our relationship means to me and how much I am hurting inside. I also don’t notice how my blaming and complaining just makes things worse.
Mary: “May I hug you? I promise to be careful my tusks do not scratch your sweet and vulnerable underbelly. You will always be my Little Zebbie and I want to comfort you when you feel sad and powerless.
Zebbie: “Thank you for hearing and accepting me. It makes me feel loved and seen. I love you, too. Being close emotionally is the best. Last one to the watering hole is a hyena.
Mary: “Trump, trump, trump. I feel so good. I always want to have you by my side, Little Zebbie.
Zebbie: “That is music to my ears. I am so happy I get to be with you, too, my Lovely Moo Moo.
Love is hard. We all get stuck some times. Don’t expect yourself or your partner to get it right all the time. The true test of a relationship is in how quickly you can give yourself and your partner a chance to repair- to reconnect after a moment (big or small) of disconnection.
Go on – being disconnected hurts so much – and even if it’s hard to tell – it really hurts for both of you…because your emotional bond/connection means so much to both of you. It’s ok to soften and engage with each other.
Look at how much it hurts to be in a fight/moment of poor communication as evidence of how important you are to each other. This isn’t just some form of positive thinking – IT IS THE TRUTH.
Decided to write this after reading one too many posts tonight bout how people should show up perfectly for each other in love – for god’s sake give yourself and each other a break. Stop setting expectations for yourself and your partner that you, by virtue of being a human being, means you CANNOT MEET!
Love means so much you are destined to have moments of feeling threatened and reactive and so will your partner.
Again, cut each other some slack!!!!!!
End of love rant!