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Agreeing to Never Disagree and Other Relationship Killers

Withdrawal, Blaming, and Agreeing to Never Disagree

Conflict with a partner or someone we care about can feel intensely uncomfortable. To avoid the discomfort, we may engage defense mechanisms such as withdrawal, blaming, and agreeing to never disagree.


One way we protect ourselves from the discomfort of conflict is to withdraw from the person with whom we are experiencing conflict.

Withdrawal is a defense mechanism that is enacted in different ways.  For some, withdrawal from conflict looks like checking out or acting distracted. For others, withdrawal looks like shutting down emotionally and/or sometimes physically.  Stonewalling is another common form of withdrawal. However, of all the ways to enact withdrawal from conflict, the one seen most frequently is pretending we don't care.

Mindy shared that she cultivated a cool girl persona when she was in her at twenties.

"I pretended I didn't care about anything. If whoever was my partner at the time wanted to do...

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Emotional Maturity as a Foundation for Honesty and Intimacy

Kaileen shared,

"I am a fighter. I'm an only child. My room was always very quiet. Leaving my room, I did a lot of watching and observing. I observed my parents either arguing or ignoring. My father was consistently the parent with the power. I wanted to defuse their fiery and alternately icy cold encounters.  I wanted their conflict to stop so I did all that I could to please my parents and be the perfect daughter."

As children, we lack the power to influence our environment.

We want the bad things taking place around us to stop. We want to make things better. Kaileen's power stopped at the border of what she could draw attention to or draw attention away from.

Marvin shared that as a teenager he fought with his parents at every turn. His way of protecting himself was to fight for what he believed was right or to prove that he was right and that his parents were wrong.

Marvin's mother was emotionally manipulative and engaged in gaslighting. Gaslighting is to manipulate...

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The Essential Ingredient for Healthy Relationships

 Rebuilding relationships begins with

rebuilding the relationship we have with ourselves.

Exploring and gaining understanding of our internal world, the relationship we have with ourselves and the contexts in which we experience conflict can help us to expand all of our relationships. Our internal world includes the understanding of how we perceive conflict, which influences the way conflict shows up in our relationships.

The most overlooked yet essential ingredient for a healthy relationship is to understand your own internal experience of conflict.

We begin our exploration of our internal experience of conflict by looking at the way conflict appeared in our family system as we were growing up.

We each grew up in a unique family system. Our family system is made up of the people who played a major part in our lives growing up. For some of you, your family system may be your mother and father and you. If your parents divorced and remarried, you may have two family...

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Approval Not-Seeking

Approval seeking and people pleasing are wicked habits.

Inherently you have strength, intelligence, potential and talent. Add to that all that you have cultivated since your earliest days.

Life can be traumatic and wounding and may interfere with our natural ability to feel confident and capable. Sometimes it can feel like we have lost access to our own wisdom.  It can feel like a siren overpowering and drowning out  the quiet voice inside telling us the things we know to be true.

Underneath figuring out how to fit all of life into our new framework of days, our wisdom remains; no one can take it away.

Self-care is much more than a facial or a pedicure (though those are two really lovely examples!).  Self-care at it's truest is saying no to something requested or demanded or expected by others in order to say yes to our own emotional, physical and mental well being.

Self care sits opposite the defense mechanisms of people pleasing and approval seeking.

In self care....

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