October 11, 2017

3 Questions to Heal a Hurtful Relationship Pattern.

A post shared by @twinflames_lovers on Sep 7, 2017 at 7:28am PDT

Ever wondered why something as simple as your partner’s tone of voice can send you into a tailspin? 

How something seemingly small feels like an inferno inside, sending you off the charts?

Do you judge yourself for this? Or justify your reaction?

What in the hell is going on here?!

Most likely it has to do with safety: how safe or unsafe we feel in a certain relationship dynamic and how we perceive threat in that relationship.

The nervous system has a way of constantly assessing how safe we feel in relationship to others.

Because a situation felt scary to us when we were young—or because we actually experienced real fear or a life-threatening situation—we may react as if it’s happening again right now in real time. When we get triggered by our partner we turn into that five-year-old from way back when. 

Sometimes all it takes is a gesture or a look to trip our systems—like a switch going off, instantly.

When we feel threatened, we go into survival mode.

Our brains shut off, reasoning goes offline, and we react instead of thinking.

If not addressed, these patterns can deteriorate safety and connection in our relationships over time.

So what do we do?

In this one-minute video, relationship expert and psychotherapist Terri Cole lays down three questions to help you get to the bottom of the relationship pattern:

According to Terri, we need to ask ourselves:

  1. Who does this person remind me of?
  2. Where have I felt like this before?
  3. Why is this behavioral dynamic familiar to me?

She reminds us to be grown ups here. Love that. Listen to Terri’s full interview where she dives deep into the subject of boundaries here).

Next, see if you can get clear about what’s really going on. Why are you so upset? Or scared? Why is this such a big deal?

Recognize that you are feeling threatened and remember the person in front of you is not mom or dad or whoever the scary person was back then.

When you’re ready, share what you’ve discovered with your partner.

Owning and understanding our reactions gets us resourced and better able to deal with the real-time, real life issues that show up.


Relephant read:

When we’re Triggered: How to Stop Reacting Defensively.

These 4 Words Stop Arguments Dead in their Tracks.


Author: Jayson Gaddis
Image: micadew/Flickr
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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Inspiration Essential Oils Oct 16, 2017 5:14pm

I was just thinking about this actually. We often see what we don't like about ourselves in others and that can be a hard realization. I think talking about how you feel to your partner is important too as they can feel agressed and persecuted by you without understanding why. Something that worked for me is taking a second to consider the consequence of my words and reaction and making a concious choice think before i speak.

Alex Myles Oct 11, 2017 7:17pm

Brilliant article! Coincidentally I was just thinking about question 1 today! Thank you :)

Dorothy Wilson Oct 11, 2017 4:00pm

Wow! Your article was just the confirmation I needed. Childhood conditioning seems, to me, inescapable. I am going to click on your other offerings. My husband and I both had dreadful childhoods. I acknowledge my disabiiity but my husband does not. I am really in a sorry state. I am 70 years old. God.

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Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, founder of The Relationship School®
, and host of The Smart Couple Podcast , is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school–”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. In 2007 he stopped running away from intimacy, asked his wife to marry him and now they have two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.