Saturday, October 23, 2010

Are you attacked in your relationship for trying to help?

An Unselfish Partner Makes Justine Hate Herself
Perry was a good man. He was unselfish and always willing to help ease the burdens on Justine who was very grateful. She knew she was lucky to have him and felt each time she felt frustrated and angry with him. Shame and self-loathing overcame her when she erupted and let him have a piece of her mind.

Perry and Justine both put up walls and block communication

Justine wants Perry to tune into her - Perry wants intellectual understanding
Justine wanted Perry to stand along side her in the moment she was trying to communicate with him about her feelings and needs when she was in a bad place. She wanted comfort, acceptance and understanding.

Perry is scared of being dragged down
Perry was scared that if he went into the feeling place with Justine he would be pulled into a vortex of hopelessness and despair that neither of them would be able to escape. So he tuned out his feelings and focused on solutions to fix Justine’s problems.

Justine and Perry tune each other out and feel alone in their private worlds

Justine feels disconnected and lost

Justine felt abandoned with the intellectual nature of the conversation.

Justine imagined that her longing for comfort and reassurance hadn’t come across.

Justine got anxious and more distressed

Justine tried again, in a more desperate tone.

Perry feels threatened and inadequate

Perry felt even more threatened by the escalation of negative feelings coming from Justine

Perry felt even more scared that Justine’s increased emotion would drag him down

Perry felt inadequate that his initial attempts to fix her problems failed

Perry tried harder coming up with more ideas to pacify her.

Trapped in fear and isolation Perry and Justine try and fail to connect

Perry and Justine get scared that their relationship is falling apart

Justine got more desperate and angry that she wasn’t getting through

Justine escalated her efforts with an even more urgent words and tone

Justine went away defeated, sad and angry that her loved one wasn’t in tune with her

Perry went away defeated, sad and angry that his loved one wasn’t responding to his efforts.

How can Perry and Justine get back on track?

Perry was lost and confused about why his problem solving skills didn’t work

Perry felt hurt and rejected, licked his wounds and went back to his life.

He was giving it his best shot. What else could he do?

Justine was lost and confused as to why Perry didn’t get her need for his understanding

Justine felt hurt and rejected, angry and unloved. She shut down and did as Perry said.

She didn’t know how else to reach out for Perry and share experiences.

All he seemed to want to share were ideas and solutions, not joint experiences and emotions.

Listen to the Audio to find out how Justine and Perry found a happy meeting place

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keeping Your Feelings Secret is the Best Way Of Ending a Relationship

Josh kept his feelings secret most of the time. He pretended to be okay with things when he wasn’t. When his anger and frustration reached the point of no return he demanded that his partner listen and act on his feelings. By that time it didn't sound like sharing, but an angry tirade that turned Clarissa off.

Josh acts like there is nothing to tell and silences his feelings

Josh complained when Clarissa was quiet because he didn’t know what was going on for her. He would probe and she would refuse to open up. When she wanted to talk he didn't want to listen. So she ended up keeping her feelings secret a lot of the time until she couldn’t hold it in any longer.

Clarissa is scared to speak and silences her feelings

Of course nothing good came of these bursts of spewed out feelings that had been kept secret for so long. Neither Josh nor Clarissa could absorb and respond to demands and chaotic spewing of feelings that have been let of the cage of secrecy.

Josh and Clarissa both kept their true feelings secret out of FEAR
FEAR of rejection
FEAR  of being overwhelmed
FEAR of hearing something wounding
FEAR of being dismissed
FEAR of being ignored
FEAR  of feeling weak
FEAR  of feeling needy
Fear gags and destroys connections

Fear is the engine that drives couples to keep secrets from each other. It creates tension, bad moods and eats away at the bonds that connect and strengthen relationships.

Partners live a life of PRETENSE. Which brings anger and stress, which making it harder to connect.

Secrets between romantic partners threatens the closeness that is essential for joint commitment and relationship security. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2009

Closeness comes when each accepts the other person's feelings

Being open with your feelings as they come up is the bravest and most constructive way of connecting that binds and solidifies relationships.

Tip for communicating your feelings:
Speak out about your fear at the time you are experiencing it. So if you are having an argument, tell yourself first what your biggest fear is.

If it is that the relationship will end, then speak it.

If it is that you won’t be loved anymore, speak it. Putting it into words takes the sting out of it and makes you notice the evidence to the contrary.

Remember that what ever your fears are, it is guaranteed that your partner has the exact same fears.

When you share your fears, you are not pretending, nor keeping things secret because of fear.

When you are honest about your feelings even if they are critical of your partner, it gives you both a chance reduce the fears through mutual reassurance and renewed commitment.

 Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010



Do you often feel treated like a ‘thing’ instead of a person?

Paying lip service

If : Your partner asks you how you are, but pays lip service to your responses. It is a duty that takes it course but has no meaning in terms of really being interested in and sharing your experiences.

You are being treated as if you were an object, not a person with thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

sharing  feelings in a genuine way

If: Your partner can be with you in your highest and lowest moments without injecting themselves or other topics into the mix. If you are sad your partner wants to share in the sadness so you aren’t alone. If you are excited your partner makes an effort to feel the same energy and join you in that place.

You are viewed as a person with a right to have your own experiences that is important and meaningful to your partner. 

Just a glorified maid or handyman

If:  You acknowledge the tangible things your partner does, such as household jobs, getting the car fixed, sorting out insurance claims, etc. BUT rarely notices your partner listening and comforting, sharing your time, sense of humor, knowledge or experience.

Your partner is  just a means to an end, a 'thing' that gets the chores done.

he can have his feelings even though she doesn't agree

If: You  allow your partner to have their own feelings and values about life even though it may not match your own, you view your partner as a person. Your partner can be sad and angry about the discrepancy, but you honor their right to see things differently.

You treat your partner as a real person with whom you have a relationship that matters. The emotional connection is the important feature, not the handyman or maid duties performed.

Get more of these signs and improve your relationship

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Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stop Competing with Your Partner and Begin Taking Care of Each Other

Anger was Terrance's only weapon against a perceived attack
Terrence felt his head throb with anger. His jaw tightened and he ground his teeth to try and control his fury. He wanted to tear up the list of schools and throw it at his wife. He felt attacked and wanted to hit back in a way that stopped her from speaking about his future ever again.

Cameron had found several health and  fitness schools where her husband could enroll and become a personal fitness trainer. That was Terrence’s dream. He wanted to own his own studio some day and enjoy being his own boss. Cameron imagined his smile as she gave him the information, and felt warm about their marriage.

 “ Why do you always have to bring up work and the money situation when I’m tired and drained?” Terrence responded angrily  to Cameron’s offer and encouragement.

“ You’re always talking about your dream and your wish to earn more money so we could have a better life. You never do anything about it, but talk. At least I got off my backside and found you some schools in the area! Why are you so angry about that?” Cameron hit back.

Anger rescued Terrance from the shame that overwhelmed him
Terrence’s anger was a powerful defensive move against the offensive tactics in his wife’s behavior. He needed to defend himself from the image staring at him in the mirror his wife had just put in front of him. He had to smash the mirror so that:

  • He didn’t feel the shame of talking the talk and not doing the walk.
  • He didn’t feel the fear it aroused, nor the paralysis it caused.
  • He didn’t feel the desperate need  to be taken care of by his wife.
  • He didn’t have to admit that he was just like his father - earning less than his wife, needing her, yet resenting her for being the bread winner.

Anger was the only way Terrance accessed his power
Getting angry made him feel strong and righteous. Terrence sidestepped the implications of his fear, shame and neediness which in his eyes made him a wimp. Better to be angry and accuse his wife of pushing him to do things at the wrong time. Focusing on her meant the heat was off him.

Cameron's anger built up as she felt burdened with family duties
Cameron felt hurt and slapped in the face for doing something she hoped would please her husband and motivate him to act on fulfilling his dream. She was also getting increasingly fearful of having to be the main earner while raising a family and never being released from that responsibility. That’s when her irritation with Terrence turned into rage. Her anger burst out in waves, as she yelled back at Terrence.

“I’m tired of your excuses. It’s never a good time for you. I’m fed up with having to pay the lion’s share of the bills and worry about how you feel about it. I  have to take care of everything around here and it’s wearing me down. You better get your act together and do something, because I’m not sure if I can handle this any more.” Cameron retaliated with anger and frustration as she laid it on the line.



  • Anger drove a wedge between Terrence and Cameron.
  • Anger made them both feel powerful in their respective shoes.
  • Anger covered up the gaping hole in their relationship through which neither of them wanted to face.
  • Anger was the stop gap emotion that obscured the need to negotiate their relationship expectations on more honest grounds. 

Terrance and Cameron are both terrified of their need for each other
Cameron and Terrence have one thing in common that they can use to write a script for their marriage that honors both their need and expectations.

  • They are both scared to death.
  • They are both terrified and panicked about ‘neediness.’ 

Terrance's anger covers up his longing to be taken care of
Terrence is afraid to admit how much he wants to be taken care of and depend on his wife. So he talks about being a fitness trainer to give himself a shot in the arm. He has no intention of ever reaching for it because it is a way of denying his neediness, not a genuine goal.

Cameron's anger protects against her fear of being let down
Cameron is scared of wanting to depend on her spouse in case he lets her down. So far he is giving her every sign that she is right to worry about allowing herself to even consider it. She yearns for her husband to be the one to keep his word and be  a  reliable care taker - unlike her father who  always promised to be there and never was.

Anger changed to mutual support when mutual neediness was accepted
Making a commitment to couples therapy helped Cameron and Terrence deal with the anger that was camouflaging their underlying fears of neediness. In therapy they got in touch with the fear of wanting to be taken care of but not being able to rely on each other. They empathized with each other and found ways to connect that made them more willing to be mutual care takers. When they notice the anger coming on strong, they are now able to use it as an alert that their core need for caretaking requires expression and attention.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2010

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are your relationships doomed because you can't find the right partner?


How could Neville’s fiance drop him after everything he had done?

Just as the wedding plans were being finalized Neville’s fiance broke  off  the relationship- for the third time!
He couldn’t believe it. He had been there through thick and thin, including seeing Sheila through her bouts of anxiety and depression. He made allowances for her during these times, and tolerated Sheila’s mother trying to compete with him for the role of ‘chief caretaker.’

No matter how patient he was or how many allowances he made, at the end of the day he felt dumped. Just as he was looking forward to looking for a house and planning the details of the wedding  Sheila backed out saying she couldn’t go through with it. She wasn’t ready. She was very sorry, especially as this was a repeat of what had happened before, but it wasn’t going to work out.

Neville was shocked, angry, disappointed and living in terror
Neville was in shock. This was the closest he had ever gotten to tying the knot with someone he was nuts about, and it all fell apart. Would he ever get married? Would he ever find that magic that his parents seemed to have and that he was desperately wanting to capture? Amid the fear that he was going to miss the boat, Neville felt angry, disappointed and terrified. The mix of feelings was overwhelming and paralyzed him for a while.

Neville was shocked that he wasn't able to control his life
The shock came from discovering that no matter how good, kind, understanding and patient he was, he couldn’t make things happen the way he wanted and expected. Healthy intimate relationships were just never going to come his way.

Neville was angry that he allowed himself to believe and hope
The anger came from being strung along, for his hopes to have been raised again only to be dashed  and crushed. He was also angry at himself for believing Sheila would be different third time around. He was furious that he had allowed his dreams and hopes to blind him to Sheila’s problems in committing to this or any other relationship.

Neville was disappointed that he wasn't going to have a copy of his parents' marriage

The disappointment came from a history of never finding the right woman, and if it seemed like he had, he would be jilted. Neville longed to be like his dad, lovingly taken care of by his wife. Neville wanted to be the center of a woman’s universe, just like his father was to his mother. Neville wanted never to have to worry about his wife having competing interests. He wanted to be able to enjoy his job and  his hobbies while secure in the knowledge that any wife of his would be just like his mother, totally devoted to her husband. He wanted their kind of intimacy.

Neville was terrified that he'd always be attracted to the wrong women
The terror came from a sense of foreboding that he was never going to fall for a good women like his mother. He had dated other women who were reliable, kind, supportive and adoring. Those women didn’t keep his attention. He enjoyed being adored for a while but felt no pull or attraction. He ended those relationships without much feeling, but remained terrified that he wouldn’t find someone who had both the caring qualities of his mother and the addictive qualities of Sheila. It was her total absorption in him one minute and her detachment the next that tantalized him and made him try harder. He wanted the absorption to last for ever, like his parents marriage seemed to portray.

Can Neville be attracted to good women and have the relationship he craves?
Neville was caught in a trap. The trap was wanting to recreate and relive his parents marriage, instead of building a unique one of his own.  Anything that differed from the rosy picture he had of his parent’s relationship felt inadequate and unsatisfying. Nothing in the real world ever matched up to his ideal, and Neville was left feeling angry and hopeless.

Neville’s attempt to superimpose what he believed to be the perfect marriage on all other relationships made him unavailable to those women who did care for him and were willing to commit to him. His insistence on turning his relationship with Sheila  into a replica of his parents marriage made her withdraw, since she was being asked to be Neville’s mother, not be herself.


Will Neville break through his bubble and have a real relationship or is he doomed to wanting something that belongs to his parents?
Neville’s hurt, anger terror and disappointment can be useful to him if he allows it to help him break through the bubble he wants a future wife to live in with him. He is capable of creating his own unique relationship that can grow and develop rather than borrow that of his parents and preserve it like an Egyptian mummy. Neville doesn’t have to feel like he is betraying his parents if he has a life that differs from that of his parents. Nor does he have to give up feeling loved and cared for if it comes in a package that looks different from his mother.

Separating himself from his parents will help Neville be his own man, and allow a woman in his life to be her own person. Opening the door for love and commitment to come in many different but equally meaningful ways can free Neville from his emotional trap. Together they can create a strong, healthy relationship full of energy, hope and vitality.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Intimacy Reduces Stress

Research indicates that if you have a healthy intimate relationship, you are less likely to suffer from stress.

The protective factors in healthy intimate relationships are huge.

Security with your partner reduces the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body.

Good communication and empathy create security.

The best way to share empathy and 'get' each other is by using the 7 core principles for healthy intimate relationships.

No it isn't just compromising, or being honest. It's much deeper than that.

As a relationship expert with over 65 published articles on the factors that make or break relationships, here is your chance to get my
  free report and tips

copyright. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Relationship Problems Are Made Worse By Insincere Apologies

Are you familiar with that empty feeling when your partner apologies to you but it doesn’t feel right?

Do you get annoyed when your anger and hurt is silenced by your partner’s quick and profuse apology?

If so then you are probably detecting a lack of sincerity in the words which could drive you further apart as a couple.

So let’s look at three apologies and discover their true purpose and effect on your couples relationship.

Your partner calls you an idiot for losing the car keys just before you both set off to a concert. Later that night your partner says:

1.“ I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s my fault.”

This apology from your partner says ‘I’ll take the blame’ - I’ll make you feel better so I don’t feel like a monster for hurting you. These words are an effort to  preempt an angry assault from you.  Taking the blame means your partner  can feel redeemed by owning up to it, even if they don’t feel like it is entirely their fault.

you are being given  a message  to hurry up and feel good already,  so your partner can take off the monster costume. Your partner just wants to get it over with. So appeasing you does the trick, at that particular moment. Your partner may take the blame at that time, but disown it later on, leaving you upset, confused and taken advantage of. It makes you even more angry because you can’t go back in time and refuse the apology. It can make you feel duped.

Your relationship gets strained and there is another layer of mistrust weaved into the fabric of the couples communications. Relationship problems get worse and very soon nothing that is said feels genuine.

Your partner may make this apology instead:

 2. “Oh my God, I’m terribly sorry. Oh my God, I didn’t mean for this to happen. You know I’m not really like this. Please forgive me. I don’t know what came over me!

These words are a desperate attempt to get instant forgiveness. Your partner can’t bear you to hold a grudge or remember something bad about them. So they try to get you to over look things by pointing out their good side, and how unlike them this act really was. It is a way for your partner to avoid feeling guilty and living in fear of retaliation.

  you are being told to forget the whole thing as quickly as possible so that there is no chance of you harboring ill will and taking it out on your partner at some later unpredictable date.
Your partner wants to de-fang you so that they won’t be caught off guard.

What’s going on inside your partner that they can say “I don’t know what came over me.”?
Your partner doesn’t want to believe that there is a bone in their body that could be thoughtless and hurt you. So when you show your pain and anger they have to come face to face with that mean part of themselves. Rather than own up to it and feel ashamed, your partner makes out that some foreign force overtook them and made them do something bad.

Perhaps your partner has been upset with you for some time, not told you about it and then boom! It comes out in a mean way that hurts. Of course they didn’t plan it so it does shock them that you are hurt and angry. They want instant forgiveness from you so they can continue to ignore their issues with you.

Relationship problems get deeper since fear and shame overrule honesty and courage.

Another possible apology your may get from your partner could be something like this:

3. “I can see that I have hurt you.  Please tell me how you feel. I  really want to  understand your feelings. It saddens me to know that I have upset you so badly.  I’m ready and interested  to hear your side of things. I want to listen and see my part in it.”

Can you see the difference in this apology?
This is a genuine and true apology. It comes from a place of empathy. It allows for the possibility that loved ones can make mistakes and appreciate the extent of the impact. These words bring a couple together in way that connect actions and feelings on both sides. In this true apology the one taking responsibility for hurt is able to see and understand both sides simultaneously. There is no frantic attempt to escape, deny the wrong doing or take the blame just to appease the other.

  the message to you is that your partner cares about what you feel, wants to understand and take responsibility for the consequences and is interested in your experience. You are being given the right to your feelings, and asked for possible ways of avoiding this negative experience in the future. You both feel invested in the relationship and intimacy grows when both parties share feelings, are open to hearing about the impact they have on one another and growing together from that mutual coming together during that a genuine and true apology facilitates.

Relationship problems crumble when there is a sincere desire for both parties in a couple to listen with an open mind and accept their partner’s feelings.  Hearing without trying to deny the words lets your heart find a place where you once felt the same. When you find that place of similarity, you will be truly understanding and feel your partner’s pain, shame, anger and distress. Comforting one another feels appropriate and brings closeness and security into the place vacated by blame and competition.

Read about the other 7 fake apologies

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.