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RELATIONSHIPS

What’s YOURS is OURS + What’s MINE is OURS


We are talking about sharing ownership of EACH half of the partnership’s emotional responses.  It can be easy to think you are merely an observer of your partner’s outburst, bad mood or attempt to hit the self-destruct button but the truth is NOT ONLY did you and do you play a large role in it … THERE is much more to be done on your behalf to show up and LEAN IN to the hard work, truth-filled conversations and temporary uncomfortability that lies ahead. I understand why we would be tempted to use someone’s emotional response as a reason to retreat, runaway, shutdown or rationalize your plan B. But THIS article is why you aren’t going to let yourself do it anymore.
What’s YOURS is OURS + What’s MINE is OURS

by Bizzie Gold

June 17, 2019


RELATIONSHIPS

What’s YOURS is OURS + What’s MINE is OURS


We are talking about sharing ownership of EACH half of the partnership’s emotional responses.  It can be easy to think you are merely an observer of your partner’s outburst, bad mood or attempt to hit the self-destruct button but the truth is NOT ONLY did you and do you play a large role in it … THERE is much more to be done on your behalf to show up and LEAN IN to the hard work, truth-filled conversations and temporary uncomfortability that lies ahead. I understand why we would be tempted to use someone’s emotional response as a reason to retreat, runaway, shutdown or rationalize your plan B. But THIS article is why you aren’t going to let yourself do it anymore.

by Bizzie Gold

June 17, 2019


What’s YOURS is OURS + What’s MINE is OURS

Taking Radical Personal Responsibility in Intimate Relationships



WHAT WE ARE GOING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THIS LESSON

One might read this opener and think that it sounds possessive - AND IT IS. We aren’t here to talk about sharing ownership over a toothbrush, a couch or your favorite kitchen appliance. We are talking about sharing ownership of EACH half of the partnership’s emotional responses.  It can be easy to think you are merely an observer of your partner’s outburst, bad mood or attempt to hit the self-destruct button but the truth is NOT ONLY did you and do you play a large role in it … THERE is much more to be done on your behalf to show up and LEAN IN to the hard work, truth-filled conversations and temporary uncomfortability that lies ahead. I understand why we would be tempted to use someone’s emotional response as a reason to retreat, runaway, shutdown or rationalize your plan B. But THIS article is why you aren’t going to let yourself do it anymore.


These moments of pain or perceived rejection are opportunities to learn. These moments trigger our source belief. [keep reading to learn about Source Belief if you haven’t yet taken Break Method ] These emotional reactions or withdrawals of love give your brain the evidence it is and has been seeking all your life to make you feel like you: Aren’t pretty enough or smart enough, You’re a disappointment, You will always be rejected or abandoned, Everyone will always cheats on you, or that Life is chaos and you will always be powerless. In intimate relationships, these emotional responses often have MUCH LESS to do with you [one half of the partnership] and MUCH MORE to do with the cycle of symbiotic dysfunction you find yourselves in [again keep reading you haven’t taken Break Method to understand the terminology]. If your relationship is relatively new, these moments are likely evidence of new levels of vulnerability and trust TRYING to open and these events are the MOST triggering for the vast majority of human brains - especially those with the source beliefs: I have to be in control to receive love, I will always be rejected or abandoned or Life is chaos.


SCHOOL IS NOW IN SESSION - LISTEN UP!

Remember - The brain exists to protect us. This is accomplished through learning about its environment during early childhood and formulating rules that are then used throughout the remainder of adult’s life to inform decisionmaking, behavior, influence their outlook and perception in addition to hiding potential choices or possibilities that may potentially disprove their “rules.” During childhood, many of us experience trauma and adversity to some varying degree. Whether or not we acknowledge that it still affects us today is another story entirely [It does.]. In childhood, we find ourselves in an inherent power struggle - we want to assert our soul essence, build independence, learn about our environment and test the F*CK out of it [this is why kids will repeat the same thing multiple times to “test” the outcome - they are natural born scientists] and in many cases our parents meet these natural desires with discipline, reprimand, shame or withdraw of affection leading us to feel powerless. In the longrun, the majority of the rules we learn about how to RECEIVE love, MAINTAIN that love and what may happen to that love in the future are ALL dictated by those early experiences. Of course our Middle School crush, High School first love and heartbreak all get thrown into the mix but by that point your brain has already started to form its operating protocol in relationships. Your behavior with the Middle School crush or the High School first love already show the telltale SIGNS of this if you look back at them with an objective observational lens.


For the purposes of this article, let’s do a “quick + dirty” source belief lesson so that you can maximize what you get from this article:

 

 

 TIME TO GET TO WORK

Step 1: Think of your childhood as a laboratory in which you are consistently running science experiments. You are trying to learn YOUR personal rules of operation to avoid feeling pain or expereincing suffering. When you look back at your childhood try to summarize what rule most aligns with your overall experience. For example, many children served as peacekeepers or mediators between their parents i.e. my parent or parents will love me if I hold it all together or mediate the chaos. Another example might be that you always sought the love and attention of a particular parent or both parents and felt that they never acknowledged you or gave you what you were seeking leading to the creation of the rule: I will always be rejected or abandoned. It’s important to note that these rules are not logical or even reasonable sounding as we acknowledge them during this work. We might immediately think “of course this is BS.” Nonetheless, these rules lurk in the shadows hijacking our decision-making


To give you some food for thought, my summary statement from childhood would be: I always felt like my parents were lying to me or withholding important information, disappearing without any sort of warning and acting chaotic. This led me to go into protective mode and constantly assess what was going on behind the scenes, getting a few steps ahead and mediating their intimate relationship chaos.


Write your summary statement here:

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

SIDENOTE for the READER:  Remember that LOVE can come in many forms as a child and if there isn’t a lot to go around some children may align LOVE with attention [even if it’s negative attention like yelling, grounding or tough love talks], sickness [ if this is the only time the parent or parents seem to stop and “care” for the child or show any softening], food [ if the parent or parents are otherwise distracted or checked out  but show “love” through family meals or cooking], discipline [ if a parent disciplines or punishes even physically but doesn’t know how to express themselves  due to their religious or cultural upbringing or lacks overall emotional intelligence / depth due to psychiatric conditions]


Step 2: Once you’ve acknowledged your summary statement and reminded yourself that kids often take seemingly small or unimportant experiences and blow them up to be bigger than life [as a kid you literally think the world revolves around you]. If you look at the overall effect of these childhood experiences, what rule would you have learned or secured in your head to keep yourself protected, it’s usually one or a slight variation of one of these:


  1. I have to hold it all together for everyone / I have to be the peacekeeper
  2. Everyone abandons me / I will always be rejected
  3. I’m not enough / I’m a disappointment
  4. I have to be in control to be safe [or to be loved ] / I am not safe
  5. Life is chaos and / or has no meaning / ** and other existential offshoots of this primary belief

Select your Source Belief here:

____________________________________________


This will now serve as your origin source belief. Many of us develop adaptive source beliefs as we age. Most commonly, these adaptive source beliefs are the behaviors or rules we adopted to try and stay away from / prevent / or control the experience of our origin source belief. We get into this at a very deep level in the School of Sustainable Self-Mastery.


Step 3: If you are currently in an intimate relationship, do your best detective work to go through this exercise for your partner. What happened to them during their childhood? Based on all of their current behavior and reactions, what can you piece together about their childhood inputs and how they have created adult outputs?


Formulate an educated summary statement about your partner’s childhood:

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________



Step 4: Pick the source belief that most aligns with the summary statement above. Remember that at the stage you know them NOW they likely exhibit their adaptive source belief MORE than their origin so you have to dig.


Pick the origin source belief you think they would most align with

____________________________________________

 

Step 5: Write your source beliefs next to each other:

Ex: SELF: I will always be abandoned  PARTNER: I have to be in control to be safe



SELF: _______________________________

PARTNER: _______________________________


This step will help you arrive at a working symbiotic dysfunction origin. We will dig into this later in the article.



Many intimate relationships, even the most blissful unions, have moments of despair, the experience of walking on eggshells, or feeling misunderstood, rejected and abandoned. In some relationships, these moments are more frequent and generate the type of chaos that makes your brain feel at home. If you experienced a high-level of chaos during childhood, your brain gets accustomed to this chaos and it becomes a key element of your emotional homeostasis. If you’re currently in a relationship where the chaos pervades every moment of your relationship - you are likely experiencing a Toxic Relationship. While this article WILL teach you how to take an objective look at your relationship exchange, I do recommend starting with this video lecture [Toxic Relationships: A Deep Dive on Symbiotic Dysfunction + Gaslighting].


CHECKPOINT: ARE YOU IN A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP?

 

Today’s article is geared toward intimate relationship navigation that would NOT be or would NOT YET be classified as toxicity. This article is intended to help you navigate the emotional cycles or reactions that take away from your growth together as a partnership and / or inhibit your growth during the early phases of relationship creation. The steps would still apply in toxic relationships, however, there is deeper work to be done on examining the level of toxicity and its impact on the communication exchange that won’t be presented in this particular article.

INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS ARE LIKE PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE UNTIL YOU DO THE WORK TO DEEPLY UNDERSTAND YOUR SYMBIOTIC DYSFUNCTION WITH YOUR PARTNER

So, why does it sometimes feel as though you’re playing Russian Roulette in your partnership? Why do you find yourself shocked each time your partner retreats into their own head, witholds love from you, lashes out verbally or tries to assert control or dominance? If you take the time to STOP and UNDERSTAND the cycle of relating to one another; and the subsequent behavioral choices, body language, communication styles and decision-making that come with it, you’d likely find a CLEARLY defined process by which you’ve been interacting with this person your entire relationship. In order to learn about our cycle, we MUST become observers of it as opposed to emotionally charged participants. It can be easy for us to distance ourselves from our partner’s behavior and find ourselves labeling or judging it then using it as a reason for our next behavioral choice or emotional response. The cold hard TRUTH is that you too played a role in elliciting this negatively perceived behavior and it’s easier to get to the root of than you’d think. Hear me out - that doesn’t mean you’re to BLAME.

The entire concept behind this article is that no matter what, if you’re in a committed relationship, it’s OUR responsibility as a partnership.

That’s not to say there shouldn’t be any individuality in the relationship because not only should there be BUT it should be one of the highest priorities in the relationship. When we can really dig into our individuation, we begin to see our unique role in the partnership more clearly. It becomes significantly easier to navigate the work that is going to be presented in this article when each half of the partnership understands their unique role, contribution to the collective partnership and the emotional patterns that drive their behavior in the relationship. When the lines of individuality get blurry due to codependency or lack of identity, we see the emotional exchange escalate quickly to a level of toxicity.

 

As one can see from the title of this article, the intent is to remind you that while it may feel easier to assign blame, judge or plan your escape - the deep work almost always lies in the personal responsibility, commitment, honesty, vulnerability and tough conversations. With this reminder: WHAT’S YOURS IS OURS AND WHAT’S MINE IS OURS - we can begin to create an experience of empathy for our loved one that can and SHOULD motivate you to DO THE WORK instead of run from the work.

5 STEPS TO SHIFT THE RELATIONSHIP CYCLE 

Step 1: Using your source belief and symbiotic dysfunction work from above, think of how YOU [yes - yourself] activate your partner's source belief. If you have a partner that is open to going through the exercise themselves you can be sure you're working with the correct origin belief instead of your educated guess.

 

To start the process, think about and most importantly take ownership of how you:

  • Talk - what do you do with your tone of voice, gestures, proximity? do these change based on certain topics of conversation?
  • Body Language - do you drop your shoulders and look shy or do you puff up and look aggressive or tough? do you immediately look guilty or confused?
  • Process Information - do you isolate to process? do you jump to conclusions / assumptions and act as if they are objectively true? do you feel the need to process everything out loud and not stop until a perceived resolution is reached?
  • Past or Future Talk - do you bring the past or certain moments or people from the past into present conversations? do you use past experiences to inform your current decision-making / behavior or assumption? do you dwell on the past or obsess about the future? 
  • Give + Receive Love / Sex / Affection / Validation - do you withhold love, sex or validation to manipulate your partner or punish your partner? do you have a diminished sex drive potentially triggering your partner to feel unworthy or unloved? do you tend to act "tough" and not take take to say the mushy lovey thing or validate your partner's efforts / looks / humanity? ** sometimes the man or woman that claims they "don't like that stuff" only believes that to be true because it helps them activate their source belief. Sometimes and OFTEN the medicine is exactly what we think we DON'T want.
  • Power - do you assert dominance or default to submissive exchange with your partner? do you switch roles based on the topic of conversation or exchange?

Step 2: Next, create a list for how your partner triggers YOUR source belief:

To start the process, think about and most importantly take ownership of how you:

  • Talk - what do you do with your tone of voice, gestures, proximity? do these change based on certain topics of conversation?
  • Body Language - do you drop your shoulders and look shy or do you puff up and look aggressive or tough? do you immediately look guilty or confused?
  • Process Information - do you isolate to process? do you jump to conclusions / assumptions and act as if they are objectively true? do you feel the need to process everything out loud and not stop until a perceived resolution is reached?
  • Past or Future Talk - do you bring the past or certain moments or people from the past into present conversations? do you use past experiences to inform your current decision-making / behavior or assumption? do you dwell on the past or obsess about the future? 
  • Give + Receive Love / Sex / Affection / Validation - do you withhold love, sex or validation to manipulate your partner or punish your partner? do you have a diminished sex drive potentially triggering your partner to feel unworthy or unloved? do you tend to act "tough" and not take take to say the mushy lovey thing or validate your partner's efforts / looks / humanity? ** sometimes the man or woman that claims they "don't like that stuff" only believes that to be true because it helps them activate their source belief. Sometimes and OFTEN the medicine is exactly what we think we DON'T want.
  • Power - do you assert dominance or default to submissive exchange with your partner? do you switch roles based on the topic of conversation or exchange?

Step 3: Shift into OBSERVATION mode. If you look at your relationship exchange, you can probably arrive quickly at 2 to 3 areas  or topics of conversation that trigger your cycle [ think: paying bills, deciding where to go for dinner or vacation, friends that the other partner doesn't like, transformation or personal development work]. Write down 2 triggering events that get you and your partner into a cycle:

_____________________________

_____________________________

Now it's time to get excited because unlike your previous experience when you'd dread asking the question or brining up the topic, you are now in OBSERVATION mode. You must willingly and intentionally cultivate the cycle to fact check your findings. Here's the catch - you are NOT allowed to react the same way you have in the past as detailed on your list above. You must stay PRESENT, remind yourself that your partners' reactions right now are ALSO a part of you and try doing the opposite of what you default to. Here's an example:

Example:

Topic - Paying bills

Activates husband's source belief of - I have to be in control to be safe.

His Emotional Responses - withholds love, makes rude or cutting comments, asserts dominance, raises his tone of voice, gets into his head and starts jumping to conclusions about his failure as a partner or father

Your Typical Emotional Responses - act submissive and scared, stutter leading you to interrupt, start crying and run away

Here's what you can now do INSTEAD: stay present, ground your energy and remind yourself that your husband is reacting to this conversation of bill paying through the lens of feeling the need to control everything to keep the family safe. Sure, when you think of this one bill you might not agree that the family's SAFETY is at stake but his brain makes him believe this to be true. Even if your partner is starting his typical response, thank him for his contributions to the family or how much he cares about keeping you safe. Don't allow yourself to stutter and act guilty. Hold your ground and "stand by your man" so to speak. He is actually acting like a scared child NOT someone you should likely fear in this moment. If you usually run away - STAY. Keep his thoughts grounded in tangible reality instead of the conclusions he's jumping to in his head. KEEP observing. Take mental notes to help you learn as much as you can about the exchange. IF you can stop yourself from taking it personally and reacting - you create the ability to SHIFT the cycle. When you've successfully navigated through this exchange without falling victim to your typical reactions, prepare for Step 4.

Step 4: This step should involve your partner if it's at all possible. Keep in mind that you might have jumped to a conclusion about what your partner is or is not willing to do to better your relationship. Perhaps remind them that this is about as practical and logical an approach one can take and it won't involve having to start with cheesy "I FEEL" statements. This process can help you carve out a clear path to mutual vulnerability that can transform even the deepest relationship rut. Human beings are generally just seeking to be understood, loved and NOT left in the dust. Unfortunately, due to our childhood "rules" we lead ourselves to believe that we are always subconsciously dangling on the proverbial edge. In reality, the very behaviors that we use to keep ourselves from FALLING OFF THE CLIFF really just keep us STUCK ON THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF.

It's time to share your findings with your partner. Remember these two forewarnings:

1) TRUTH can be weaponized based on timing, intention and delivery. Choose the timing of this sharing experience wisely and deliver the information in a calm, grounded and practical way. 

2) ABOVE ALL ELSE, expedite the truth. Any step we take to hide, compartmentalize, omit, manipulate or calculate is only keeping both sides of the partnership from the experiencing TRUTH. Truth is the only way each part of the partnership can make an informed and rational decision. Even if the truth temporarily reveals some discomfort or brings some wounds to the surface, the truth will allow the partnership to reorient its cycle to functionality and symbiosis.

 

If you haven't already shared your source belief guess with your partner, now is the time to not only share that information but also to open up the conversation to their input, summary statements or perceptions. You will then share yours and state very clearly your summary statement. Give your partner and chance to respond, ask questions, show affection or possibly show emotion if they didn't previously know that about you [you'd be surprised what you think is obvious that slips through the cracks in even the longest relationships]. Follow this up by owning up to your behavior that triggers THEM. This will create common ground, ownership of behavior and also likely validate things they've been feeling or experiencing for a long time. If they are open to conducting the very same trigger exercise themselves, this would be the time to do so. Give them some alone time or encourage them to go out into nature to formulate this list without distraction.

 

When you come back together, it's time to dig into your symbiotic dysfunction statement:

 

When you [partner behavioral choice] ___________________________________ it triggers my source belief that [self source belief] ___________________________________ and I choose to 

[self behavioral choice]  ________________________. This behavioral response triggers your source belief that [partner source belief] _____________________________________________ and you choose to react with 

[partner behavioral choice] __________________________________. 

 

 When you hear what that cycle is, ask yourselves:

  • does it sound like something that is rational?
  • does it sound like something that is necessary?
  • does it sound like something that likely leads to MORE relationship stress in the bedroom, with communication, parenting and enjoying bonding time together?

Work together to create a list of topics, decisions or situations that trigger this cycle. They may be the same for each of you or they may be different but THEY ARE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER.

 

Create your list on a separate sheet of paper and make sure nothing is left off. If you're feeling really gutsy, stick it on the fridge.

 

Step 5: Write your partner a letter to read when they start to get triggered. Write this letter in a way that speaks DIRECTLY to all of the illogical thoughts they are about to have. Remind them what to focus on and what behaviors NOT to fall into. Speak to them about what their behavior triggers in your cycle and own up to your part. Remind them about whatever mechanism you create together to help them time out of their emotional response. Close the letter with a STRONG and LOVING statement that tells them exactly why their source belief is UNTRUE and IRRATIONAL. If humor helps your partner - lace that sh*t up with comedy. Give it to your partner to read in front of you and ask them to do the same in return.

Keep these letters close - either on your phone in the notes or a copy in email or printed out in the house. These letters are MAGIC even for the toughest, most masculine or dominating natured partner. Simply the act of acknowledging that their behavioral response is still tied to a cycle you share together helps ease the burden of guilt or sadness and starts the healing process RIGHT AWAY. 

 __________________________________________________________________________

STAY TUNED for a podcast episode on mymoderngood.com digging deeper on this topic and sharing REAL LIFE examples to help you keep the transformational magic ablaze in your intimate relationship. Until then, good luck with the implementation and be sure to share your experience in the blog comments below. And as always, to save your seat in the FALL Semester of Break Method School of Sustainable Self-Mastery [click HERE].

 

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