Gaslighting is more common than you think. In most relationships, it happens at least once a month.
Any of these ring a bell?
If you hear any of these.... it means that you are being gaslighted. You are being convinced that your reality is not real. If you need clarity, then do the Work of Byron Katie, and get your friends to validate that you are not going crazy. Your feelings are valid, real or perceived.
Sometimes grief can feel overwhelming, and it can collapse us for years before we are able to turn towards it. Even our significant other, our very own partner, may not even be able to hold the torrent of emotion that can surface. Even if we do show our emotion, we may not want our kids to see us upset or worse our partner may not want us to be unhappy, and so grief goes underground.
If our kids don't see us upset, they won't learn that its okay to process our emotions. They will see us as people who could hold it together, like a super hero, when really, we are collapsed inside our own emotional distress and turning to ways of numbing out to help ease the pain we cannot express to our loved ones.
Writing about your grief and journalling can be helpful but nothing will beat a safe space and a trusted person to be around so it can surface and not be shut down. A good old fashioned cry, no a wail, is the only way to release this built up emotion and let it release and let go. Your counsellor is available to you in this capacity, being able to give you a landing to express your deepest grief and keep you safe while you unfurl. Always know that even though the grief is consuming, it can be a deep, bitter yet sweet experience.
Sometimes we may hear things from our partners that may not contain volume, yet it seems to affect us as if someone was shouting at us. This is often due to the level of emotional energy that sits behind what is being said. Volume isn't always the problem. It is the emotional tone in voice, that often ampifies for someone who is already hypersensitive to criticism from their partner. What is being said at volume 5, might carry an emotional tone of 9. This is where the problem lies. Regardless of what we say, we tend to telegraph how we feel without even realising it.
To remedy this, it is important to keep your tone in your awareness - both of you. By managing your tone, you will stop triggering your partner. By listening carefully to your partner, and responding mindfully, you will notice over time that trust starts to build and you will both start to feel alot better about your communications.
Sometimes depression can show up in relationships. Its often unclear whether the relationship is causing the depression or the depression is causing the relationship issues. This video addresses tiredness, fatigue and overwhelm masquerading as depression in relationships. Often relationship partners are just simply not equipped to deal with what shows up. Check out my latest video and see if this speaks to your situation.
Is virtual betrayal a thing? Hell! Yes it is! The actions you take online, if discovered by your partner will cause major upset. Please know that talking in chat rooms or digitally dating someone whilst in a real life relationship will most certainly not be welcomed by your real life partner. At this point, even if there hasn't been any physical contact, it still constitutes an emotional betrayal. Your loyalties lie elsewhere.
If this is happening for you. Book an appointment becuase your needs that are not being met in your relationship are now filtering out to the digital world to get met. This means you are stepping out of the couple bubble and rupturing your relationship in the physical world. If you cannot get your needs met in the physical world with your real life partner, then the question to be asked is: WHY?
This is where couples counselling comes in. Sometimes these are 'hard-to-have' conversations, and they are best facilitated by an therapist who can help you navigate some of the tricky spots - especially when you think you cannot approach your partner on the topic.
March 2020 has dropped us into a reality that only a few weeks ago seemed a world away. Now, we are here, in COVID land. How do we challenge our beliefs that cause us great fear and anxiety? The media hype, numerous social media posts, reassuring newsletters and fake news seems to be the order of the day. How do we sift through what is true, and what is not? How do we manage the thoughts that blue tac onto the walls of our mind in a way that sticks and loops into thoughts of anxiety and hopelessness?
Now is the time we go to enquiry. By doing the The Work - Byron Katie's 4 questions and the turnarounds (flip our thought statements around to find different ways of looking at the same reality) we open ourselves to what is really there - reality - no stories, no judgements, no fear, no anxiety - just reality. Byron Katie says: reality is far kinder than our thoughts. I have to say when I do the work on my own situation - she is right!
When we do the work, get clear and we take our next steps borne from the clarity that comes for us. It is now that those of you who have started to learn how to do the work, can see how any disturbance calls us to do the work, to mindfully engage with it in a responsible way that can only empower us, strengthen us and move toward a better way of being in the world, hopefully freer than we were before. Lets consider a very fraught topic area:
"I might die because of others"
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know its true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought? (this will be a good one to discuss in our online zoom sessions every Tuesday)
4. Who would you be if you never had that thought?
Find three places in your life where these statements are true or truer. Go very quiet, take your time, wait for things to surface, all of it is welcome. Now write it down. Write the thoughts in response to these questions as a meditation. Bring it to the Zoom on Tuesday. Lets do this together.
Email me for the zoom link or sign up here. We start 7pm this Tuesday March 24th, 2020. See you there.
Byron Katie asks us to question our thoughts so we can awaken from the dream we find ourselves in.
The 'dream' she talks about is the automated, autopilot, conditioned self that goes through the motions day in, day out. She calls this the 'dream' state - the state of mind that doesn't stop to do 'the work' (the four questions) when we are triggered or upset in any way.
Simply put, when we believe our thoughts, we suffer. Added to which Katie notes that there are no new stressful thoughts. They (stressful thoughts) have been around since the beginning of time, since the oldest story ever written. This is great news because it means that suffering is finite, has an end, and we can achieve peace and happiness, no matter what! Katie speaks from her own experience - she has suffered organ shutdown, gone blind and lost consciousness and all the while, she just questioned her thoughts and watched as she noticed her beliefs around these events. When she believed her thoughts, she suffered. When she didn't, she was free.
Would you like to be free? Lets to the work together at LECNA Community Centre in Springwood, Tuesday Nights 7pm-8:30pm. $5 door entry fee.
To earn someone's trust we have to truly hear them. Every human being needs to feel they are respected, and that they matter.
Empathic listening is a way to earn that trust. By listening for the fact of what is being said, feeling the feeling they have, and then searching for the need is a way you can reflect back to the person what they have said in a way they feel truly heard.
This technique is very difficult to do at first, but over time as you become well versed in being able to pull out the fact, the feeling and the need, and putting that in a sentence that you deliver back to the other person in a way that helps them feel that you really get them.
I have to cook every night for a large family, and when I get home I just feel angry because I am tired and no-one helps me.
FACT: Has to cook FEELING: angry, tired NEED: Support, help
You are angry because you need some support with the cooking when you are tired?
You are angry because you need some help when you are tired and you have to cook?
Isolation and loneliness are have been written about as the latest epidemic in our modern society. Humans are social beings and their survival through the ages has depended on this very fact. Yet, in our neighbourhoods and our shopping centres, people feel very isolated and alone despite having access to all the technological tools in the world to connect. Why is this?
I remember a time when visiting people was a thing we did on weekends. We would sit for hours, talking and having fun. While this happens online, it doesn't seem quite the same anymore. Life has become packed, busy with all the things that keep us stuck in our phones, and not present to those in our immediate surrounds.
So how do we get back to connection? Here is a list of what we can do to start to move in that direction.
12 Steps Back to Connection
1. Learn about Needs and make a list of your needs.
2. Learn about Feelings - how do you feel when your needs get met, or don't get met.
3. Get clear about your Beliefs on getting your needs met - attend Belief Busters, or do The Work of Byron Katie.
4. Brainstorm ideas around what you discovered in Step 3.
5. Cherry pick only the best ones.
6. Structure a request around how to get your needs met.
7. Consider the timing and do-ability of your request.
8. Make time for your request (not a demand) to be communicated, then communicate it.
9. Wait for the person to respond, and don't always expect agreement.
10. If needed, use active and empathic listening to discuss your request.
11. Experience connection if the person does connect with you, or modify your request according to the feedback you get.
12. Bask in the glory of connecting with another person in a shared experience of trying to get your needs met so you both can feel good.
The script above has come from personal trial and error, and a multitude of approaches to communication. If you need any help with communication at home, or in the workplace, and want to learn more about how to enjoy your social life, book a session with me, or come to Belief Busters at the LECNA Community Centre in Springwood, 7pm - 8:30pm, Tuesday evenings, $5 door entry.
I am passionate about being the catalyst for change for the better, supporting the greater good to create causes and conditions to benefit everyone down the track.
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