In English, we use the word love to describe a variety of emotional states. Are we talking about passionate love, intimate love, committed love, unconditional love or do you tell somebody that you love them simply as a term of endearment? Some people grew up hearing “I love you” on a daily basis in their family, while others are still waiting for the day that their parent may finally utter those three simple words that they have been craving since childhood. Tony talks about Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, and how not only our interpretation of the word, or concept of love, as well as how we put “love” into action can go a long way in describing our relationships...from where they are now, to what you may long for. (Tony refers to the article https://www.elitesingles.com/mag/relationship-advice/consummate-love throughout the episode).

Head to tonyoverbay.com/magnetic to be the first to know the start date of Tony's next round of his "Magnetic Marriage" course.

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

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[00:00:00] So I've shared on many, many occasions that I spent 10 years in the computer industry before I went back to school and got my master's in counseling, which started me on the journey to where I am today. And while I can't even imagine what would have happened if I hadn't changed careers almost 20 years ago now I'll admit that they were some fun times in the computer industry. Sometimes I feel like I make it sound like it was all horrible, but I got to travel and I traveled a ton. I traveled the world literally. I know I went to Japan over 30 times and I went all throughout Europe and China and Russia and back and forth across the United States more than I would even care to count. And there were some good stories that went along with that, too. I had an experience once in the world renowned Japanese fish market where the sushi was so incredibly fresh that once, while I wasn't really paying much attention as it was being handed to me, I was handed a piece that when I brought it up to my mouth, part of it, and I don't know if it was the tail or something moved, smacked my hand and I a screamed and then I b threw it across the room, which was much to the delight of my host, Mr.

[00:01:02] Yoshida san, and the dozens and dozens of guests in the restaurant. Or there was a time where I was staying in a hotel in Southern California and committedly, clad only in my underwear bottoms. I looked out of my room through the little people, only to see that I was lacking my my USA Today newspaper. And at the time that was a big deal. But the room across from me had one and I had to go to the bathroom. So I decided quite impulsively to just run across the hallway. I was going to borrow my neighbors and I'm pretty sure that my plan was that I would return that newspaper across the hall when I was done taking care of business. So as I made my way across the hallway, it really did hit me just as I heard my door slam closed that I forgot the key. So I hung out in the hallway for about ten minutes or so, probably longer in my underwear bottoms, waiting for somebody to come up and unlock my room. And yes, it was that time of the morning where plenty of people were walking up and down the hallway. And to say it was awkward was quite, quite an understatement. But today's episode and if you've read in the title, it's about love. So how does that come up? It brings another story to mind.

[00:02:04] We had a small tech support team for the software company that I worked for. And in our early days, we were all in the same open room. And one day our newbie tech support guy, Jason, nice guy, was on the phone. He was doing tech support. And my buddy Jim, who is one of the funniest guys I know to this day, and he actually hosts his own podcast called The Sad Dads Club. Jim and I were talking to each other and I don't remember what we were talking about. And Jason, who is just nearby, wraps up a call and he just tells the customer something. Thanks for calling and goodbye. And I wish I knew for sure if it was Jim or if it was me who initiated this first. One of us said to Jason, Hey, just tell that guy that you love him. And right on cue, the other one of us said, I was seriously going to say that. I was going to say the same thing. And Jason just immediately said, no, I didn't. There's no way I did. And Jim and I went all in and we had Jason convinced that he had told this customer that he loved them and that it must be because he says it so reflexively to his wife. And we even had to the point where Jason was picking up the phone and he was going to call the customer and apologize, which we thought, OK, that's that's maybe going a little too far, to which we were then saying, hey, Jason, you can slow your roll there, buddy.

[00:03:08] We can work that into our marketing. How much we literally love our customers to the point where after each and every phone call, we can tell a customer that we really do love you. And we eventually let Jason off the hook. But we went on to play that scenario out with literally each and every new tech support person that we employed for years. And every time it was just as funny. But what's so wrong with telling somebody that you love them? The concept, the idea, the definition, the meaning of love is something that gets brought up on a daily basis. In my office and in preparation for this episode, I did. I kept track. I kept a little tab open on my iPad as I took notes just over the past week. And here are some of the things that I heard that had to do with love. The and I hear this one fairly often. I like him, but I'm not really I'm no longer in love with him or another one where the person was saying, my dad's literally never said he loved me.

[00:03:58] So I have stop saying it to him because it makes me feel horrible putting it out there, not hearing it back or one where it's a new relationship. And my client was saying you were both dancing around it. Who is going to say that they love the other person first and one dad? He said, I refuse not to tell my sons that I love them because my dad never told me that he loved me. But each and every time it still just feels so forced or so awkward. And there was another spouse talking about the grief of losing their partner. And one of these moments where it just is, you just feel so much in the moment. They said I'd give anything to be able to tell my spouse how much I really love them now that they're gone in particular. So love, I have wanted to do an episode on the concept from a psychological angle for a long time. And today we're going to take a look at Robert Sternberg's triangular theory of love. Sounds a little nerdy, but I promise you this one is going to deliver. It's a wonderful way to give words and meaning to the various types of love that we experience in our lives. So. We going to cover that and so much more on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:05:18] Come on in, take a seat on.

[00:05:25] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and seventy seven of the virtual couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mind blabbered coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, which is a very incredible strength based. Hold the shame, become the person that you always wanted to be program to help you put pornography in your rearview mirror once and for all of you. Turn to that as a coping mechanism. Again, incredibly strength based. We're doing things here that that help people that change lives and make people feel better about themselves and and get them more engaged in their parenting and their fatherhood and their faith and their in their health and their career, all those things. So if you're interested, go take a look at Pathbackrecovery.com and you can download a short ebook that describes five myths that people fall prey to and trying to put pornography in the rearview mirror once and for all. Again, that's Pathbackrecovery.com. And head over to to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic because the magnetic marriage the next round is coming up soon. It's coming up a couple, two, three weeks into August. And so I would love to get you on the wait list and I'll let you know more about that as it as it comes up. Go to Instagram and just follow a virtual couch there. That's where you start to find a whole lot more about all kinds of fun things that are going on.

[00:06:32] And I got a lot of positive feedback. I posted on my Instagram stories of my time in Utah filming the episode of Family Rules last week. And everything about that experience was top notch. It was incredible. It was wonderful. What a what a professional production and amazing people and a huge crew behind the scenes and all of those sort of things. And so I'm going to I'm going to put together a post about that, too, because I took a lot of pictures and video, everything from get my covid test to my hair and makeup person, which is hilarious when you're bald guy. But boy, they make you feel special to just all the things that went on behind the scenes of the family rules. And it was so much fun. So I'll talk more about that on Instagram. And let's let's get to this episode today, because love before using this Sternbergh model is my guy. I had a lot of notes and one of the directions that I was going to go was breaking down. The Greek versions are the definitions of love. So if you're not familiar with where we're going to go with this today, is there are a lot of times where people talk about that they love somebody. And what does that mean? And when you're talking about love, especially when I'm working with couples, there can be two different versions of love. People could have grown up with a concept of romantic love or people could have grown up with more of a concept of this sexual passion or playful love or this unconditional love.

[00:07:49] But we and those of us who speak English, we have one word. It is love. And that's so it just can mean so many different things. So when you're talking about even trying to get a couple on the same page and they'll even say, Don't you love me anymore? It can be. Well, I do, but it's a different version or type of love than maybe you you think that it is. And sometimes when people feel hurt, especially, they're saying, well, love is love and it's because that's their version of love. So this Greek version, for example, and I'll just tell you a little bit about this and we'll get on to Sternberg's theory here. But in Greek love, there's Eros, which is the sexual passion. So a lot of times we feel like that is the someone needs to feel this eros in order to have a this deep, passionate connection with somebody. There's a filia, which is deep friendship and fun fact. Philadelphia, that's where the derivative of that word. There's there's saludos or playful love. And so you can have just this kind of like playful banter with someone. And it would be this Lutece type of love. There's a gap, which is this love for everyone, and that can be this almost unconditional love, love of mankind, love of the universe, love of all.

[00:08:57] There's pragma, which is longstanding love and pragma can be one of these things where people have just been together for so long that they just feel this pragma. And you guess what's one of the words that comes from that pragmatic. And then there's Felicia, which is love of the self. So that can be self love and which can be a part of self care and all those wonderful things. Renowned psychologist Robert Sternberg first put forward his what he calls this triangular theory of love in nineteen eighty five. And this is based off of a lot of research that he did at Yale University. And his theory, what it's doing is it seeks to define these different elements of our relationships are interpersonal relationships and to show how these different elements of a relationship can combine to form seven variations or seven types of what we call love. And so his theory is pretty straightforward when you look at it from the start, because it starts with three main components that he says lie at the heart of most all human relationships. And those three components are passion, commitment and intimacy. Now, if you take those individually, what Sternberg said is these components form the three simplest forms of love, passion. And we'll get a little bit more into this here as we go along. But passion alone, if you only have passion, the passionate kind of love that may bring forth infatuation.

[00:10:16] And Sternberg says if you only have intimacy, intimacy alone equates to liking. And then if you only have commitment, commit. That alone by itself can mean empty love, and so you can see we could go a lot of directions right there, that some relationships, if they only have infatuation, then that is going to fit. This passion is going to bring only infatuation. Intimacy is a lot of times where one person feels like we are we are sharing the most intimate details. And so if one person is getting their cup filled, just being able to express themselves and share, they may feel like that intimate connection or that intimate love alone is enough. But if someone else is coming from this place where they want that passion, then you can start to see how we're even speaking different languages of the word love and then commitment alone, as according to Sternbergh, can feel like empty love. So sometimes we that we just have this commitment to each other. Is that part where we feel like we're roommates or it's this just we're in it for the long haul. So where this really becomes fascinating is the triangular part of the theory, because that comes from the fact that you can combine any two of these components to then form a more complex type of love and then each combination forms. It forms a different side of this triangle, this love triangle. So when you have a relationship that combines, for example, passion and intimacy, then you get romantic love or intimacy.

[00:11:39] Plus commitment can give you what he calls companionate love while fatuous love is born, where commitment meets passion. And he said, and then there's consummate love, which is the combination of all three components. And it's often seen as this this perfect or ideal form of love. Because when you mix this fire of the comfort of intimacy and the security of commitment, then you have this healthy, happy, long lasting, romantic, love filled relationship. And it's so important to note that this triangle does not have to be this. I was never good at geometry. Does it have to be this equilateral shape? Because usually these components present themselves in different times, different seasons, in different levels. Again, it isn't all sides don't have to be equal. But what you're really trying to focus on are what really matters is that each relationship has some of all three of these components. And and I'll try to put this up on the website when I when I released this part of the episode. But again, consummate love is where passion and intimacy and commitment all meet. So let's go in detail here of these seven types of love, according to Sternbergh. So in this triangular theory of love, it says that you can it can take a number of these forms and each one of them are made up of one or more of the love components. So what it terms like romantic love or companionate love or consummate love actually mean.

[00:13:01] So here's those seven types. The first one we'll talk about infatuation, which is passion. So passion is a love component that so many of us are familiar with. This is the one you see in movies and TV shows. It's responsible for. When I just feel something, I just feel this connection with somebody. That's where your heart rate elevate. So you feel like with kittens in your stomach or your stomach turns over or that feeling of love at first sight. And so, of course, if it is just passion alone, then there's there's really not that deeper connection that comes with something like intimacy or the steadfastness that comes with commitment. So what you end up with, if you are only if you are only looking at this passion, if that is all we're talking about, then the best description for passion on its own is infatuation. So a lot of times I have people come up to me and they say that they don't feel that passion for someone or they don't feel like that they're their heart beating wildly or the flip flop in the stomach. And I love letting people know that I feel like maybe movies, TV shows, those things. I've almost done us a disservice because I feel like not as many people as we think immediately feel this passion, this passion for someone else as far as love goes. So passion or again, this infatuation.

[00:14:14] So the second type of love is what he calls it is intimacy. So next up, unlike passion, intimacy can be a solely platonic feeling. It's that sense of familiarity. It's that sense of friendship that comes when you meet someone and you really get along with them, somebody that you really feel immediately you can be your true self with. You can talk about things for four days and you don't run out of things to talk about. And it is an amazing it is a wonderful component to have in romantic relationships. But if it is the only thing that a relationship is based on, if it's on its own without passion or without commitment, then it's more likely to result in a friendship. Or as the triangular theory of love puts it, Aliki again. Right now, we've already had a we've had this concept of passion, which passion on its own is infatuation. Then we've got intimacy and intimacy on its own is more of a liking. And then the third component is commitment and we have commitment. So the active steps taken to preserve a relationship, the commitment is this essential part of any lasting love. But when you have commitment in on its own and it's missing. Are devoid of intimacy and passion, then it's a part of that it can feel more like love is a duty than a romantic choice. And oftentimes when a long term relationship has lost all passion and intimacy, then it will hover in what Sternberg says is this empty love stage, oftentimes before ending.

[00:15:42] But as Sternberg points out, love can begin here, too. If you think of things like an arranged marriage, for instance, the commitment often comes first. And I have worked with clients where they have settled into this commitment or this empty love and then from their rebuilt that basis of intimacy, which then can oftentimes eventually lead to passion. So Sternberg says, as passion and intimacy and commitment are the simplest components of the triangular theory of love, relationships again that only have one of these three points tend to be more. He calls them basic as well. But where the the beauty comes is when you combine these components, it gets more complicated, but it also gets more interesting. And I'll just make a quick note right now. One of the most downloaded episodes I've done on the virtual couch over the last four to five years has been this almost like this latter concept of intimacy. And it was something that I learned when I was doing betrayal trauma training under Dr. Kevin Skinner, that he had a part, I think it was in one of his CDs. I mean, it goes back a long time and this data around these levels of intimacy. And in that one, he talks about the the concept of there's this psychological intimacy that underlies all things, this honesty, loyalty, trust and commitment. But then right above that, when we meet somebody, we really want to start with verbal intimacy.

[00:17:03] And so being able to just talk and communicate with somebody and when that feels easy or when it feels like that part is complete, then oftentimes we move up into this emotional intimacy and we can share and be more open with somebody above that. He said it was cognitive and intellectual intimacy where I often say at that level somebody can be a PhD and somebody can have a GED, but it's OK because they have a verbal connection and emotional connection. So then from a cognitive and intellectual standpoint, they can still approach each other with curiosity because they're building this foundation above that spiritual intimacy. And on the top of that ladder, if you can imagine, that is the physical intimacy and it's this byproduct of these lower levels or not. Are these these these levels of intimacy that then build upon each other? So I know that a lot of the clients that I talk with and a lot of people that listen to my podcast are familiar with that concept. So I feel like if you're coming at this triangular theory of love, a lot of this will will make sense or fit into that model as well. So let's talk about then when you start to combine commitment, intimacy and passion. And again, those are the parts of the that triangle. Those are the corners. And a fat infatuation on its own or passion on its own can lead to more infatuation and intimacy on its own, Sternberg said, leads to more of a concept of liking and commitment on its own can lead to more of this concept of what he calls an empty love.

[00:18:26] So let's talk about he calls it fatuous love, which is commitment plus passion. So when you combine the fire of passionate infatuation and then the bonds of commitment but don't intimately like who the other person is, he said, you get this fatuous love world. He talks about whirlwind celebrity marriages or the cliched quickie Vegas wedding can often be described as fatuous love and it can be ardent and committed connection. But it's built without a lot of substance behind it. So it's like we are committed and we are passionate, but we don't really feel a connection. We don't really feel a liking, so to speak. So the lack of intimacy means that when passion mellows, then such relationships are often difficult to sustain because when that that fiery passion comes down, but we feel like we have this commitment only then we're lacking this intimacy or this deeper connection. He says it also, depending on the level of commitment involved, it can really be tricky to dissolve a relationship like this as well. So that's fatuous love, which is commitment plus passion. Next up, we have romantic love, which is passion plus intimacy. So in romantic love, the intimacy component brings this meeting of the minds. And while the passionate component means that there's this physical attraction as well.

[00:19:40] So he says as glorious as this combination is, you have this lack of commitment, which means that romantic love is very much focused on the now rather than the future. So it means it's often even seen in the giddy early phases of romance or that time when you're learning all about each other. That's that intimacy that we're connecting. But we still have that passion as well, where we just have this strong desire for each other. And so at that moment, we're learning all about each other, loving what you discover. But he said before your lives and loyalties are fully merged. So then with the addition of commitment which can come with the children or jobs or mortgages or that sort of thing, he said that this can blossom into what he calls consummate love. So without it, it's more likely to. Be the stuff of he calls it Tim, Tim, Tim, tempestuous romance novels, so we have passion and we have intimacy and it equals romantic love, but we don't have that commitment piece. So next up, he calls companionate love, which is intimacy plus commitment. So he says that the other end of the drama scale, the romantic love, is this concept called companionate love. So when combined commitment and intimacy make these powerful emotional bonds, meaning that the companionate connection is stronger than a simple friendship. Or again, you've got intimacy, you can connect with each other and you've got commitment.

[00:20:58] We are in this for the long haul, but we lack that passion. So he is. Sternbergh says the lack of passion means that this is often quite a chaste, comfortable arrangement. Some people call this roommate syndrome. This is the sort of thing that might happen after years of familiarity. And according to Sternbergh Sternberg, this isn't the death knell for love. In fact, he says this mellow phase is a common part of the relationship progression. And kind of just talking about this on the fly. I feel like a lot of the couples that are coming to my magnetic marriage course have this version of love, this companionate love, where there's some intimacy, where they've connected on a lot of things. They have a lot of memories. They have a lot of shared experiences. And they have this commitment, whether it's because of their religious beliefs or whether it's because of their own views on divorce, that they have this companionate love, intimacy plus commitment, but they are lacking the passion. Sternbergh Vince says that the six types of love that we just went over can be seen at the heart of many different types of relationships, from platonic friendships to whirlwind love affairs. And there's nothing inherently wrong with any of these set ups, of course. But the true fact is that most relationships will pass through one or more of these phases as time goes by. And so it can be possible to be very happy within one of these phases.

[00:22:13] Or it can also be where one can feel like things feel stagnant or they feel stuck. So the triangular theory of love, so that there is one thing that these types can't be and that is ideal, true love, because ideal, true love requires the presence of all three of these components. So what's the goal of the triangular theory of love? Again, this consummate love, which is the passion plus the intimacy, plus the commitment. Sternberg said that when passion, intimacy and commitment are all present in a relationship and the result is consummate love, and these three components don't have to be present in equal measure. This was that part where all sides of the triangle are not equal. But the ideal form of love needs to at least have an element of each one of these things in them, the excitement of passion. Think about that. Do you have the excitement of passion in your relationship? Do you feel like you can be spontaneous? And even if you are not someone who is a spontaneous person, sometimes that spontaneity can bring this passion? Or do you have curiosity in your relationship? So often I feel like that is missing or because people have fallen into such patterns where they feel like if they even express curiosity, they're met with or why do you care or what's your angle? If a partner says, hey, I noticed that you have been reading a lot of articles about something we'll talk about.

[00:23:31] Lately, there's been a lot about noticing that you're reading a lot about something political or something about the economy. Tell me more about that. And if their spouse meets that with OK, I don't get it. What's your point? Why do you care those kind of things? And I get it because a lot of times people don't necessarily feel safe in opening up about things that they appreciate or enjoy or they're curious about because of previous experiences that they've had where their spouses maybe not been the most welcoming with with information or questions. So you can see that if there isn't that curiosity, that oftentimes then that is where people can't even communicate with each other. Had the excitement of passion, the comfort of intimacy and the team spirit of commitment are all needed to get to this ideal of a consummate version of love. So how do you know if you're in consummate love? Then if it's been years and you really can't see yourselves happier with other partners, if you're still enjoying sex or physical affection with each other, and if you're still both putting in the time to communicate and commit to each other, then chances are you've reached some some form of this consummate stage and it may not last forever. Sternberg said one of the caveats of the triangular theory of love is that relationships can move from one point to another over time, but it's something that can be worked toward or you can work to recover it.

[00:24:48] And Sternberg says it is absolutely worth working for. That consummate love is a special type of bliss. It's the kind of connection that these couples continue to adore each other long into their relationship, long into their partnership. And as Sternbergh said, who wouldn't want that? So back to here's what I tell myself. I always seem to be as authentic and open as possible. I know I was starting to talk about people that are coming to the magnetic marriage course that I lost track of my thought. So I feel like what I see a lot of times are people that are coming to the course and they they typically have something like intimacy. They can open up a little bit and they have commitment, but maybe they've lacked the passion or they have the passion and they have the commitment, but they lack the intimacy or they lack that ability to communicate or recognize each other's differences. If you've been following a lot of the episodes I've been doing as of late, there's a lot of buildup toward this concept of I want you to be able to communicate effectively. That's why I have these four pillars of a connected conversation. And I want you to recognize that you're two different, unique individuals, each of you bringing your own experiences into a relationship and that the goal is to be differentiated where one person ends, the other begins. And too often we are so codependent and enmeshed that when we even start to express some of our independence, it brings anxiety from our spouse, from our partner.

[00:26:08] And so oftentimes they will say things that will feel invalidating. They'll say things like, I didn't know you thought that man was, what do you do next? Then all of a sudden leave the relationship. And so oftentimes that's what keeps people feeling more this codependent, enmeshed relationship. But the goal is to become interdependent, not codependent, interdependent, differentiated people. Each one of you bringing your own experiences to the relationship. And when you have that type of a relationship, then naturally you have this curiosity because you're two different individuals going through life together. And that is the best way to manage thoughts, emotions, feelings, as Sue Johnson, founder of VDT, says were designed to deal with with emotion in concert with another human being. But we can't do that. This is me saying this now. You can't do that if you are trying to control how the other person expresses themselves or if you don't feel like you can even express yourself without being met with with any type of fixing or judgment statements. Now, it's natural for us to respond that way. It takes actual work and effort to be able to develop the tools, to be able to stay present, to say tell me more, to not react to something that someone else says. I have so many of these experiences that I've been writing down lately, experiences that have been happening with that.

[00:27:25] I've been noting with my wife and I and I'll tell you about one that that happened. We were on a trip watching our son play basketball. He's a real wonderful basketball player. And this summer was before his senior year. So we we're out there doing the the tournaments and he's being recruited and scouted, that sort of thing. So we are actually in Alabama a couple of weeks ago for a tournament and we're staying at a hotel and it's in Alabama. It's muggy, it's hot. And we brought our dog. That's a whole I need a whole episode on that. We aren't people that typically bring a dog. We have this five month old puppy. It's a Yorkie Maltese poodle, Yorkie multiple. It's the funnest puppy in the world. Again, I have some I put some things, I think, on Instagram about it. Her name is Olive and she's amazing. And we didn't want to board her, so we brought her on the plane. She was an amazing companion. I can't lie. But, man, you got to walk her all the time. She gets feisty in the hotel room. So we go out on this walk. And where we were at in Alabama, it's a hot Alabama night. It's muggy, there's humidity. The bugs are so loud. We even recorded just how loud the bugs were. And we're just we're just out on this walk. We're walking alone. And there's not a sidewalk outside of our hotel, but there's this grass median in between the two lanes of the road.

[00:28:36] So in order to get walk away from our hotel, we're on a grass median. And my wife says very clearly, and I don't like walking on this grass median. And I said, I hear you. This is it is awkward. It's it's not very comfortable because the cars are buzzing by. It's late at night. So we made it eventually down to some sort of strip mall. We walked around it. And so now we're going to head back and I'm aware of this grass median in front of us. And so I know that there's a looks like there's some parking lots we can go through these business complexes to our right. So without expressing anything, I press the button and we cross the street and we go through these parking lots. So we walk through the parking lots. We're having a wonderful time, all of us being funny. We're talking about all kinds of things. I love just being places with my wife. And we have this curiosity and we're just talking. Tell me more. What's this like for you? I don't even know the topics we were talking about. And we get to a stretch where there was only a little bit left to go back to our hotel. And the only way there is to walk across one of these grass medians again. So I say, hey, are you OK walking on the median? And she doesn't say anything.

[00:29:38] We cross the street, we're walking on the median. And then as we're we're walking off of this grass median into our hotel parking lot, she says and I love this. I love this about my wife. She says, hey, how do you start a conversation again if there's something that you are really curious about that your partner did that you're struggling with? And I immediately knew, oh, my gosh, I did something bad. My anxious attachment just goes on high alert. And I think I just want to say whatever it is, I didn't mean to do it. Don't worry about it. And it's OK. Everything's fine. But I had to lean in and I and I said, OK, let's let's jump into these four pillars of a connected conversation. I said, you have to assume good intentions that you're the person. So in this case, me wasn't doing something to hurt you. And so I said one of the best ways is to say, hey, tell me more about and then ask the question about what it is that you find interesting, that you think that they maybe did, that you can't believe they did. And so she just said, hey, tell me about walking across the aisle, walking on this median when I shared with you that I didn't want to walk on the median. And I just I was so grateful in that moment that she was willing to express herself, that she was willing to be that.

[00:30:44] And invulnerable. And so then I said, OK, Wendy, we are going to jump into the four pillars of a connected conversation, and I make jokes often that it must be annoying to be married to a therapist. Maybe there's some good in it at times. But I said, all right. So in this one, I said, you have to assume good intentions. And I said, this is so funny that you're we're talking about me. So you have to assume that I didn't wake up in the morning and I thought, oh, boy, if Wendy lets me know that she hates walking on a grass median at any point during the day, what I'm going to do is I'm going to wait for my opportunity and then I'm going to we're going to walk on that grass median. So the so the assumption of good intentions, pillar one allows us to stay present and lean into the to continue the conversation. I said pillar two is you can't put off the message that I don't believe you are. You're wrong. So then question, you know, pillar three is questions before comments saying tell me more about and then pillar four is her staying present. So she can't just say if I express myself, she can't just say, oh, it doesn't really matter. I guess it doesn't matter that I don't like walking on medians or anything because you're going to do whatever you want. So when she had said, all right, tell me more about walking on in the media, and even though I had said don't walk in the median, then I said, man, I am so grateful that you brought this up, because I would rather have this conversation, of course, than have you just feel like I was some complete jerk and that I ignored your feelings.

[00:31:58] That would be that would be so hard. And I said, so I did hear you. And I was so grateful you you had shared with me. You didn't like walking in this meeting. So when we turned around and we were heading back up the hill and I was aware we were about to walk on the median, I said that's when I made the pivot. And I just thought, oh, let's walk through the these parking lots to see if we can make our way back to the hotel. And I was so grateful because she said, OK, yeah, I didn't know that that was this conscious choice you had made because I had expressed that I didn't want to walk on the median. So thank you that I can appreciate that. And she said, but then tell me about when you said, well, you're going to have to walk on the median now. Right. And this is where the gold happened, because in my mind, I really wanted to just say I didn't say that, but I can't put out the message that she's wrong. So if that's what she heard, if she really believes that I said like, OK, well, now you need to walk on the median and that I said it like that.

[00:32:51] Oh, my gosh, what a jerk. I would sound like such a jerk. And so then I had empathy for I said, I'm so grateful you shared that, because if you feel like that's the way I said it or that's the vibe I said it, then that would that would you. I can't imagine how invalidated you must feel. So thank you so much for sharing that. And so then I validated her. I assume the good intentions and what she said, I didn't tell her, that's B.S. you're wrong. And then I ask questions. What was that like for you? And then I didn't go into my bunker. I didn't say, well, I guess it doesn't matter what I say. So I heard her. She felt heard. And then with that information, I was able to stay present and say, OK, again, I so appreciate you sharing that. I feel, ah, I thought I said that. Hey, are you ready to walk on the media now? But again, if you heard, if you felt like it was this negative I don't care about you vibe then that would make so much sense. But in my mind I said, hey, are you ready now. Is it OK if we walk on the media because the media and the grass median is the only way to get back to our hotel through this little stretch other than just walking in the middle of the street or walking over on the side in the trees, bugs and pine cones.

[00:33:53] And I was so grateful, proud of my wife because she said and I appreciate that because she said, I felt like you didn't hear me. I felt like when you walked on the median, I wasn't even thinking about the fact that there wasn't another way to go. So I was so locked into the fact that I felt like so and validated that I wasn't looking at what the the entire experience was about. And so in that scenario, she said, yeah, no, I appreciate that. And I told her that. I said because when I felt like the way I said it was that if she said, hey, you don't remember, I don't want to walk on the median, then I was going to I was perfectly willing to say, all right, let's walk in the road. Let's just be really aware of cars or. All right, let's go check the I'll turn my light of my phone on and let's see if we can walk on over in the little woods or that sort of thing. But I can understand, if she felt like I was not hearing her and invalidating her, how hard that would be. So we ended that conversation. And it can sound so simple, right? It can sound so simple that she could have ignored the whole thing and felt like I was a big jerk and that it doesn't matter what she says or when she brought that up, I could have easily gotten the defendant gone into defense mode and said, oh, I guess it doesn't matter that I that I that I did hear you and that we went this different direction.

[00:35:01] No, we stayed present and we had a connected conversation by using these four pillars of a connected conversation. And so from that point, then we felt more connected at that point. Now we've got the intimacy, which is the connection. I feel like we've got commitment that we are going to continue to try to put things through this framework, this four pillars of a connected conversation framework. And then the hopes, of course, is that that is going to lead to passion. And so that, as Sternberg refers to it, is this concept of consummate love. So I appreciate you spending the time with me today to go through Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love, because it really is fascinating at this these corners we have. But we have passion, we have intimacy and we have commitment and so passion alone. He says his infatuation, intimacy alone is liking, enjoying a platonic feeling and commitment alone can feel like this empty love commitment alone can feel like we're just in this long term relationship, roommates, that sort of thing. And then there's these other versions where you've got passion plus commitment is fatuous love where it can be this cliched quickie Vegas wedding, you got passion.

[00:36:08] Plus intimacy can be this romantic love where in that scenario is glorious, as he says the combination might be. The lack of commitment means that the romantic love is so focused on the right now rather than the future. And so it can be it's almost again this giddy early phase of romance when you're learning about each other. But then when things happen in the relationship, then oftentimes without that commitment, the relationship can struggle. And finally, there's that intimacy plus commitment which he calls companionate love, where you can you can open up and connect with each other. And you have this commitment, but it lacks the passion. So it can just feel very comfortable, very stale. It might happen after years of familiarity. Our goal, consummate love, passion plus intimacy plus commitment. And I truly believe that one of the ways to achieve that is to be able to communicate effectively. And I was not going to make this a magnetic marriage ad of sorts. But if you don't feel like you have the ability to communicate, then I would say that's one of the first things that you can work on in order to start to develop any of these areas that you might feel is a deficiency, whether it's in the passion, the intimacy or the commitment to get to that version of love, this consummate love. So perfect plug and go to Tony Overbay, dot com slash magnetic or so shoot me an email through the contact form and we'll get you on that list of the next round of the magnetic marriage.

[00:37:24] But I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have additional questions, comments, concerns, feel free to comment on Instagram and when this post goes up or shoot me an email and I might cover that in a future question and answer episode. So, hey, everybody, I appreciate all of you, right? I do. I literally do. I love all the people. When I was walking the campus of BYU, I got stopped a couple of times. That's always fun. People that are familiar with the virtual couch and it just has I do I feel such a feeling of of this love, which is probably the the liking. The intimacy is platonic feeling familiarity and friendship that comes with somebody that I feel like we we have this shared passion where we're like minded, that sort of thing. Here's to the goal of getting to this companionate love with your partner and recognizing these other parts of love within your relationships with others. All right. I hope you have an amazing week taking us away as per usual hole. And she didn't come back. I ran into Aurora, Florence last weekend and going to have her back on. And we've got some parenting to talk about. She's got some great takes on parenting that I can't wait to get to. But taking us away is a reference with her song, It's Wonderful

In adult relationships, you can have control or love, but not both. In today’s episode, Tony takes a look at the concept of control. While control may be biologically hardwired for survival, it doesn’t mean that it is best when dealing with human emotion.

In Tony’s example of how a conductor controls an orchestra, he refers to the article “What does a maestro do,” from https://www.jacksonsymphony.org/what-does-a-maestro-do/ and he briefly mentions the article “Born for Control” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944661/ as well as “Why Controlling Others Creates Conflict” https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_losing_control_make_you_happier

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

--------- TRANSCRIPT ---------

[00:00:00] So do you know the difference between a maestro and a conductor, according to the website Jackson Symphony.org, they are one in the same. Ultimately, each language has a different term. So in Italian, you may have a maestro and in English you are more likely to find a conductor. So a conductor leading an orchestra. So what does a conductor or a maestro do? Well, it's a good question. Dr. Matthew Albin, who is the music director for the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, shares the following. Approximately one year before the orchestra performs a concert. I select the music and often I use a theme to help provide unity to soloist perform with the orchestra. And two months before the concert, I begin to study. I sing the music I played on the piano, and sometimes I listen to recordings. I try to develop an interpretation. The composer notates many things in the score, but there are so many other choices that he needs to make. So, for example, if both the trumpet and the violins have the melody, he may ask the violins to listen back to the trumpet because he wants that sound to be the dominant voice. And sometimes he says he makes additional markings in the music ahead of time so that we can say valuable rehearsal time. And then many people are astonished to learn that the orchestra only rehearses during the three nights before the concert for approximately two and a half hours.

[00:01:14] But during the rehearsal and the performance, he says that he is trying to use his gestures and his facial expressions so that the music sounds like the interpretation that he has developed in advance. Sometimes, he says, he stops and he makes verbal suggestions and it's essential to note where the conductor stands. He says he stands out in front of the orchestra in the center because it's the best place to listen. And as he is listening, he may look at one section or person so that the rest of the orchestra knows that they are important. Almost, he says, like a spotlight. And then as he listens, he might need to anticipate spontaneous corrections. So no doubt he is sure to make those corrections in order to maintain control of his orchestra. And there is the word of the day control. So in a situation like an orchestra control and the need and the ability to get a group or even an individual to do what the conductor desires can absolutely lead to beautiful music, a symphony that originally began inside of that conductor's head. Maybe that has been music that's been brewing within him for years, if not decades before, is now being played out for dozens or hundreds or thousands or depending on the audience over over the interweb, even millions of fans to hear.

[00:02:24] So in this scenario, control is absolutely necessary in order to get the most out of this orchestra. But what about in our relationships? What role does control play? Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing? Is there a time for control or are we even aware of our desire for control? And what does that desire for control speak to? Is it coming from a good place, from our own insecurities or or what do we do when we feel this desire or this pull to control? Sometimes we might even realize it in the very moment that we're having a conversation. But is it too late to pull back and give up control? Well, today on the virtual couch, we are going to talk about control. We're going to explore the concepts of control and relationships and how giving up control might actually be the thing that can save relationships on the brink of despair or save our own mental health. That's that's for sure. So we're going to talk about that and so much more coming up on today's episode, The Virtual Couch.

[00:03:34] Come on in, take a seat on.

[00:03:41] Hey, everybody, before we get to today's topic, let me quickly throw in a plug for the good folks at Betterhelp.com. If you or anybody that you love, know is ready to do something about their mental health. If you've been listening to my podcast or other mental health related podcast, reading, self-help books, whatever it takes to get you to decide once and for all, it is time to do something about your mental health, but you're not exactly sure where to go or where to find a licensed therapist or a counselor who can help you. Why not give Betterhelp.com a chance? First, just go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you will get 10 percent off your first month services and take charge of your mental health, whether you're struggling with anything anxiety, depression, OCD, grief and loss, maybe just a phase of life issue, or if you just want something to somebody to talk to as you kind of process difficult things from your past or something you're even dealing with right now or fears about the future, head over to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and get 10 percent off the services that now over a million people have turned to to kick start their journey to well-being. Again, that is Betterhelp.com virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month, services will be put in touch with a licensed mental health professional in your state who can communicate via email or text or telehealth, you name it.

[00:04:50] And if you don't like the fit of your counselor, your therapist breaking up, not so hard to do because you can simply do so through your online portal and you can try a different counselor because the fit between you and your therapist or counselor is absolutely necessary in order for you to get the best help that you can. So go check it out today. Betterhelp.com virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month of services. Do it. Go check it out right now. Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode two hundred and seventy four, The Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. Certified Mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultramarathon runner, creator of the Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that is just picking up momentum via doing all kinds of good things. Go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you want to learn anything more about the Pathbackrecovery.com program. And one of the greatest things about that is these weekly group calls that we're doing that are just just building a nice community of strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be kind of person. So a pathbackrecovery.com and a couple of very, very quick things. And I'm very excited to get to today's topic of control, but we just wrapped up, Preston Pugmire and I just wrapped up the second round of the magnetic marriage course. So round three is going to be starting up in mid-August.

[00:06:03] So if you are interested, go to Tony Overbay.com magnetic and sign up right now to find out more about how you can be a part of round three. Or you can send me an email through the contact form at Tony Overbay.com. And I'll make sure that you're on that list, because I have to tell you, I really wasn't trying to plug this. I'm going to actually be interviewing a lot of the couples that were from round two of the course and have a bonus episode where we're going to talk about what the course was actually like and hear from real people, not just Preston and I trying to plug the course, even though we would we could plug it all day. We are very passionate about it because it's literally changing lives, helping couples communicate. And in each round, I feel like we've been able to really help marriages stay together, get back together, get even better. Go check that out, TonyOverbay.com slash magnetic. And I have actually had some phenomenal feedback from an episode a couple of episodes ago with my new associate, Nate Christiansen. We talked about attachment styles. We talked about addiction. And Man, Nate knows his stuff and he's open for business. You see clients you can reach out through my contact form again if you want to get in touch with Nate. But we mentioned on there that he has a podcast coming up and he's recorded his first episode.

[00:07:12] We're waiting for some behind the scenes stuff to take place. And he will be the first new show on the Virtual Couch podcast network. His his podcast that he's doing with his wife, Marla is called Working Change. And so just follow me on Instagram, @virtual couch or Facebook, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist. And you will get word of when that first episode of Working Change drops. And it's really, really good. And Nate's going to he's going to just be quite a addition to the mental health podcast space. And I'm excited to talk more about that as he gets more episodes out there. And then stay tuned. I will be able to talk about this more later. But I got the go ahead. I'll be filming an episode of on Season three of the TV show Family Rules with Brook Walter. And we're going to be talking about blended families and how to parent in a blended family. And I'm really excited. Surprise. I'm excited to be on that show and to talk more about that. And that'll be coming up. More a film. And later this month, I'm not sure when the episode will actually drop. OK, today's topic control, I have been mulling this one over for many, many moons, and I just kind of want to go off script here a little bit and just talk about why this has been so important.

[00:08:23] So when I am sitting there in a couples therapist scenario and I watch couples try so beautifully, so desperately, so awkwardly to communicate so often, I find that the issue of control is one of the things that is just screaming at me and control, meaning that we want to be able to go to our partner with anything we are designed as Sue Johnson says. As I quote, So often we're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being, but too often because of the our own things, our own baggage that we bring into our relationship or into a marriage, we get uncomfortable when there is any kind of tension in our conversation or there's if somebody brings up a topic and we find ourselves maybe even subconsciously making it about us. And so when our spouse maybe mentioned something about they really feel like they would love to hear more from, let's just say it's a wife saying, I would love to hear more from my husband throughout the day. And so the husband immediately takes that as a criticism or he feels invalidated or he feels like she must not care about any of the things I do, which is absolutely not the case. We just want to be able to have a conversation. So if she says, man, I just I would love I would love to hear from you more throughout the day. I would love just a little bit of more of that connection.

[00:09:39] If he immediately feels that as an attack or as criticism, too often I'll watch scenarios where then that husband will then say, OK, I'm not even going to have this conversation until you acknowledge the wonderful things that I do. And so you can see that both people are coming from this place of just wanting to be heard and wanted to be validated. But to me now and again, I know I say this no often, but it's well over a thousand couples that I've worked with now that I already know that that is part of the problem, that trying to control how the conversation occurs or trying to control how the other person presents data so that I won't feel uncomfortable is it's really difficult. I want to say it's unfair because both people then are starting to put all of these conditions around how we're even going to have a conversation. And when we're doing that, we're not going to be able to keep all of those rules straight, because no doubt there's a lot of ambiguity there. There might be one time where a spouse is feeling really generous or feeling really happy. And it doesn't matter what his wife says to him, he's no thank you. I appreciate you saying that. But there might be other times where he may have had a rough day. Any of these trigger things? There's an acronym, Hault Hungry.

[00:10:44] You may be hungry, angry, lonely, tired. And then if she presents some data to him, all of a sudden he's like, I can't believe you're saying that, but it sounds like you don't even care about me. So it's no doubt that when I get people in my office that they often feel like they can't really express themselves because they're not really sure which version of their spouse they're going to get. And there's a couple of versions of this. One of those as many of you listen to the virtual couch. No, I deal a lot with personality disorders. There's one scenario where somebody is putting something out there and it's going to be turned around on them and they're going to be they're going to be Gaslit. They're going to be made to feel like they're crazy if they say something. That's a completely different scenario. What we're talking about today is when somebody is trying to be vulnerable, trying to be open, and when that is met, sometimes with a warm response, sometimes with a I can't believe you just said that, that it's no wonder that when it feels like there are these controls set on communication where we get to the point where we don't even want to communicate at all. And so now we only communicate about surface things at best. And now we see that there's this wedge in a relationship. And too often when there's that wedge in a relationship, we want to be heard.

[00:11:47] We want to be validated. We want to have a connection. So too often people now find that connection, whether it's at the gym or they find that connection at work or they find that connection online or somewhere because we want a connection. And so the person we want that connection with is the person that we stood across the altar from or said, I do or but too often we just don't have the tools to be able to communicate. I find that to be often an issue of control, but people don't even recognize that this is a control issue. So I want to talk about that today. I did a little bit of digging. First, I wanted to find the data of why why do we desire control so much? And in an article I found that was a National Mental Health Institute. I believe they started it with a Dr. Seuss quote, which I thought was cute, says, you have brains in your head shoes. And let's try that again. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. And that was the setup to this abstract from this article about control. It says, Belief in one's ability to exert control over the environment and to produce desired results is essential for an individual's well-being. So first, let's start there. We're programed for control or wanting to exert control, because at the end of the day, we ultimately are only in charge of our own feelings.

[00:13:01] Our own thoughts are on emotions. So, of course, when we're coming from abandonment, when we're coming from attachment wounds, as a kid, we the older we get, we really think if we can just control environment then will be safe, then we'll be happy, but it's that control that is what puts these walls up or causes us to go into the world in a defensive in a defensive pose. Again, belief in one's ability to exert control over the environment to produce desired results is essential for an individual's well-being. It has been repeatedly argued that the perception of control is not only desirable, but it's likely to be a psychological and biological necessity. And in this article, they review the literature supporting the claim and present evidence on a biological basis for the need of control, but also for choice. That is the means by which we exercise control over the environment. So what I want to talk about in depth today, though, is that while we may have this biological or psychological need or desire for control, that that is what actually gets in the way of our especially our adult relationships. I want you to ask yourself this question. What does it feel like to be under someone else's control? And especially when it comes to marriage being overly controlled leads us often to feel like we are less than are we feel like we are.

[00:14:16] And we don't have a say in our own in our own lives or in the things that we want to do. And people often get worn down to the point where they feel like it doesn't really even matter if I do bring something up and you can see how that can create an unhealthy dynamic in a relationship if somebody feels overly control, that the things that they're going to say are going to be overly questioned or shot down, then often they're just already bypassing the desire to even express themselves. And so that only further validates the person who is holding all of the control. They often feel like, well, if you would if you would have wanted to do something, you would have said something about it. But when that spouse who tries to communicate their needs or their desires, their wishes, if they are now told, OK, wait, you need to tell me that when you're more calm or you need to not tell me that right when I walk in the door or you need to tell me that with a much lower tone or a softer tone, it just starts to be a little bit maddening when you see the amount of control that someone is trying to put on someone else's experience or someone else's way they communicate. And I'm just going to be bold. That's not that is so not healthy in a relationship.

[00:15:21] We need to be able to go to our spouse and be able to communicate whatever is on our mind to share our train of thought. And there's a framework to do so. And this is my magnetic marriage course that is emotionally focused therapy. And I feel like that's the problem. So many people don't know that there is a framework or they don't hold to the framework in order to be heard. And I did an episode a couple of weeks ago on differentiation and that one's kind of blown up. I'm not going to lie and I'm grateful for it because differentiation is is the key one of these keys in the universe. It's where one person ends and the other begins. And so as you begin to differentiate, as you begin to become independent and in your relationships, you begin to be interdependent, we want that to be a positive thing. When we come into relationships, we're going to naturally default to a little bit of codependency because that's our attachment wounds from from childhood or abandonment wounds. So when we first start to couple or when we start to date or we get married, we're still afraid to really let that person know who we are at our core. We're afraid that if we really get that vulnerable, that that person is going to run away. If we feel like a man, if they find out that this is how I really feel about something, they are they're going to run screaming and then I'll be abandoned.

[00:16:31] And abandonment from childhood wounding equals death. So oftentimes when we even just put a toe in the water, a vulnerability or share how we really feel about something, something political, something religious, something different parenting style that we would like, or if we even start to express ourselves in certain situations, and if our spouse all of a sudden says, whoa, I didn't know that or wait. But do you know how that affects? How often do we jump back into this enmeshment? How often do we just go, oh, no, no, no? Yeah, I don't know. You're right. I don't really think that and that is the opposite of differentiation. That is this kind of codependent or enmeshment. So you can see that when we are trying to become differentiated, it's going to come with a nice dose of invalidation. And that's the part where oftentimes control rears its ugly head, where when somebody says something that they finally get up the courage to say, hey, here's how I feel about something, that if their spouse now says, I don't want to hear that I did a lot with people like with things like faith crisis or people just really wanting to express themselves. They've been on some mental journey for quite a while and they finally open up and share something with their spouse. If their spouse says, I don't want to hear that or you need to go figure that out on your own before you come and talk about this, then we are the games kind of rigt, because at that point, we aren't really even sure how to express ourselves.

[00:17:48] So again, how does it feel if you're under the control of somebody else? Imagine being married to somebody that is overly controlling or worse yet and pulling from a little bit here and there. One of the articles I found is from a website called Greater Good. It's from the University of California, Berkeley, and it's talking about why losing control can actually make you happier. So I took a few excerpts from there. But in this article, it says, again, I'm an. Being married to somebody overly controlling or worse yet, imagine being someone else's slave, being controlled is no fun, and that is why we tend to rebel when we are feeling controlled. And I talk about this often. Psychologists call this quality reactance, which is the desire to do the opposite of the things that are prescribed to us by others. Again, nobody likes to be should on when you are told you should do this. It's our psychological reactance that pushes back and says, I will do the opposite even when we know it's what's what's good for us. Even if we're told, hey, you should brush your teeth every day or every morning or night, our brain is wired to say, I have to brush my teeth.

[00:18:42] I like furry teeth. And so that's part of the challenge that we have is when someone is being controlling, especially in a relationship and they are trying to tell you what you should do or what you're supposed to do. We already are built in with this reactance sorority pushing back. But then I talk about this often. You are the only version of you, so you are the one who knows exactly how you feel, think all the things that you've been through up to that point in your life. So even when someone in a relationship is saying you don't, you need to do or do you know what you don't understand, then I feel like already the conversation is heading down a path of unproductivity because we need to approach conversations with curiosity. We need to say, hey, tell me your thoughts about this or how do you feel about something that is more likely to get someone to really be able to open up and express themselves versus this feeling of control when somebody says, I'll tell you what you need to do or I'll tell you what you don't understand. So that is coming from this place of control. Go back to reactance, for example, when you are attempting to control your spouse's diet, what happens might be met with actually an increased consumption of unhealthy food just to spite you. And this is why and this is the key.

[00:19:47] If there's anything that I hope that you get from today's episode is this quote, This is why in adult relationships, in adult healthy relationships, you can either have control over someone else or you can have their love. You can't have both. And that is really the key. You can have control or you can have love, but not both. And because love is this fundamental thing, this fundamental need for us being overly controlling is not the key to happiness. It's not going to get you that connection that you so desire. You may feel as if you have a connection. And this is the part that I see in my office, that people don't even know what that connection looks like to truly be able to express themselves and feel heard and feel OK. Let me go back to an example that I give often. This example is one where someone comes into my office. And in the scenario, let's say that the wife has a large amount of anxiety. And so there are times where she may be overwhelmed or overcome with these anxious thoughts and feelings and she may not even be aware of it. So I'll get that couple that will come into my office and the husband will say, I don't know what to do with that when she's spinning or she's out of control or she's feeling this anxious. I'm not sure what to do. And so I told her she needs to figure that out before we can have a conversation.

[00:21:00] And that is and again, I can even say this from a bless his heart, because I can understand it's hard when you don't know what to do. But what I see in that scenario is somebody that's saying, hey, I need to be able to control how my wife is going to approach me for a conversation, even if it's something that she needs help with. And so when you are telling someone who has a tremendous amount of anxiety to get your anxiety in control before you come and communicate with me, that's actually going to cause more anxiety. It's just going to cause more of that anxiety. So back to the Sue Johnson quote, We're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So what does that look like? If I have a couple come into my office and she says, I just start to feel anxious or let's even go this route, if he's saying that's one of the challenges I have is is I worry that when she gets in one of these anxious moods that I'm not sure how to communicate with her. And so now I can drop this right into my four pillars of a connected conversation. Pillar one, if I'm talking to the wife in the scenario, assuming good intentions. So he did not wake up and think, I will get to that therapist's office and I will talk about her anxiety and I will show her and I will hurt her.

[00:22:04] No pillar one, assuming good intentions. Pillar two, I'm going to help her, not tell him he's wrong, even if she's not even aware of the anxiety. Then if you just say that's a bunch of garbage, that already shuts the conversation down. But if I can get him to stay or if I can get her to say, OK, assume good intentions, I'm not going to tell him he's wrong, even if I even if I'm not sure if I believe him, even if I'm not sure if this is something that I do that leads to pillar three questions before comments. So then it's OK. Tell me more about that. Help me see my blindspots. Help me understand how I present that. Looks like anxiety to you. And then pillar four, I wanted to be able to stay present, lean in. You can only do that if you feel safe, if you don't feel controlled. So in that pillar four lean in and not say OK, well I guess I'll just never, never express myself to you or I'll never be around you again. Because when you run back to your bunker, you're asking for your spouse to come and rescue you. In that scenario, she would be saying, OK, well, I guess it doesn't matter what's going on with me. That's where she's subconsciously or coming from a from an attachment wound where she's saying, OK, no, I want you to I want you to come rescue me.

[00:23:08] And I want him to say no, no, no. You know what? Don't even worry about it, it's all me, because this is how we get into those patterns where we just don't end up not we end up not communicating about anything very effectively. So in that scenario, if she hangs in there, assumes good intentions, doesn't tell him he's wrong, ask questions before comments and stays present. Now he's going to feel heard. She's going to have a little more data. And so in the scenario, this is where I get to say, OK, we're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human. So when you see her being anxious or feeling anxious, this is a safe time to say, hey, I'm wondering if you if you're feeling a little anxious, this might be one of those times where I was talking about in therapy. And so in that moment, if she can assume those good intentions, not say she's wrong, ask questions of comments and stay present. This is an area where, OK, maybe she wasn't even aware of that. Or if she's saying, OK, I get anxious and I especially get anxious when you tell me to work on my anxiety, same framework, have him assuming good intentions. She's not trying to hurt him. I'm trying to make him look bad in front of the therapist.

[00:24:05] The second pillar is I can't have him say that's ridiculous. You're wrong. Third one is ask questions again for him, ask questions before making comments. Hey, tell me what that looks like to you. Talking about to the wife. How do I how do I present if you are feeling anxious, what does that look like if she says I feel like you withdraw or feel like you aren't there for me and now we can have a connected conversation and it might feel a little bit like tension, but tension is where the growth is. So in that scenario, now, this couple is going to walk out of there and they're going to feel a connection. They're going to feel like they can turn to each other with anything. They don't have to feel like there's controls placed over how they communicate or when they communicate. And I know I've been doing this for a long time. I know that this is sometimes people say, well, that's not my job to tell her when I think she's being anxious. I don't want to be a mind reader. I don't want to be I'm sorry, but I don't buy into that. If you want to stay stuck in the way that you communicate now, you can go into it with that that kind of framework of that kind of an attitude. But if you want to have a connection, if you want to learn how to be vulnerable and be there for another person, you have to find this framework emotionally focused therapy, these four pillars of a connected conversation.

[00:25:10] And you have to trust the process and you have to hang in there. You can't put data out there sometimes, not really want to be there for you, just not when I don't feel like being so back to this concept of control again. How does it feel to be under somebody else's control? Back to this quote, we can have a in adult relationships. We can have either control over others or we can have their love. There are scenarios, sure, where control might be a good thing. The one that I laid out at the beginning of the podcast, an orchestra, a maestro, a conductor leading the orchestra. Or suppose you're a passenger in an airplane. In that case, it might feel good knowing that you can relax and sit back and enjoy the ride because the pilot of the aircraft, thanks to specialized training, adherence to a set of well-established rules, regulation will take you wherever you need to go. But relationships, again, are different. They are so much more complex. There are so many more variables that come into play. So each one of you in your relationship is coming to the table with your very own unique set of situations that have brought you to that very moment in life trying to deal with whatever the issue is. Both of you have your completely different experiences.

[00:26:13] You have your different perspectives. You have a different Enneagram, you're different love languages. You have your different everything is different that you're bringing to the table. So what a wonderful ability or opportunity or gift to be able to approach that with a sense of curiosity, not a sense of control. Instead of saying, I can't believe you said that to be able to say, hey, tell me more about that. What does that mean to you? We have different meanings to words. There are individual words that people have that that mean completely different things to two people. So we might be arguing about completely different sets of circumstances or situation. What's the word there was the real here. There was a session not too long ago and they were talking about, oh, the concept of a threat. So if somebody is saying, all right, I'm I'm threatening divorce. If somebody says, oh, you're threatening a threat, sounds like such a harsh, dramatic word to one person. The threat of divorce means I am divorcing you. And then the other person, when we really talked about what is the word threat mean to them, threat means that there is a storm threatening. So this is looming. This is there's a fear of this thing that might be coming versus somebody else. When they hear threat, they feel like there is an immediate threat. So those can be two completely different meanings of one word that can cause completely different experiences for a couple.

[00:27:33] And that's from a pretty high charge word. You can see that we can have different meanings to just very low charge words as well. So, again, this need to control will get in the way, especially in situations where we are trying to even communicate about what a word means. We need to approach that with curiosity to each other. And we need to understand that we all have our different experiences that we bring to that moment in our relationship. So even when you have a shared experience, you're still viewing it from your lens. You're each going to have two completely different views of going to the beach. A little sneak preview, but I'm putting together an episode that my wife is helping with behind the scenes of we just got back from Disneyland and it was fascinating. So I looked at it truly from a therapist lens this time, I don't know if it was because now we don't have little kids. So we were had more time to think about things instead of trying to figure out who was going to get pushed in a stroller or how many churros I needed to get all of that. I had very much down, get all the Churros. But in that scenario, I felt we were even looking at the fact that I didn't go to Disneyland growing up and my wife did all the time. So she had a sense of nostalgia.

[00:28:34] I didn't. So when we would go on certain rides, there was a part of me that felt like, OK, this rides kind of silly, but to her it was magic. So we have such different experiences and perspectives going into these situations in our life. And I want you to know then it can feel so invalidating then when somebody is telling you what you were thinking or what you were feeling, because what they are saying is that they know you better than you know yourself, which simply isn't true. And this is why when you hear those phrases, what you don't understand is or, you know, what I think you're doing is and those things are going to cause that reactance we want to go into those things is tell me what you're feeling or tell me what this is like for you. And then we have to be able to sit and understand and hear their experience turn off your fixing in judgment brain and listen and be curious and move as far away from that need or desire for control as you possibly can. So when somebody is telling you about your experience, I believe that is a form of control. So think of how differently it feels when you are asked about your experience. How are you feeling right now? What is that like for you? How long have you felt this way? Take me on your train of thought, period.

[00:29:40] The end. No follow up to say that's ridiculous or seriously, that's what you think. Or I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with that information. Or how do you think that makes me feel? Because again, we all desire connection. We all want to be heard. We want validation. We're all trying to figure out how to navigate life based on our own experiences. So seeking advice, for example, that is wonderful. It's terrific. But it simply is that it's advice. Ultimately, you are the one that is control of your own destiny. So if you're surrounded by people in your life who are continually trying to tell you how you feel, tell you what to feel or control the way that you express yourself, I feel like it's time for a little bit of weighty introspection. Are these people or these groups or these organizations, are they edifying you? Are they making you feel better or are they making you into the best version of you? Or do you feel worse after an interaction? And if you're one of those right now, that saying, well, sometimes they need to hear the hard truth, they need to hear your hard truth, or would it be better to say, tell me about your experience? What would that be like? I wonder if this might be something that you would like to consider instead of what you just need to understand, because life is so so it's far too short to burn the emotional energy and emotional calories, trying to live up to others expectations based on their experiences.

[00:30:53] Ultimately, we need to find out your purpose, who you are, your divine path, what are your unique gifts and talents and abilities, what are your values unique to you? Because doing and finding out those things will put you on your path and doing so will put you in a better position to succeed as a parent or as a spouse or as a human being. And I feel like that's the part where when people don't know what, they don't know when people don't know what it truly feels like to be there with your spouse. I don't care where it is, even in Disneyland. And they're going to have their experience. And I'm having my experience. And instead of feeling like, well, what you just said makes me feel bad, instead, I'm going into that with curiosity. Hey, tell me what you're experiencing here. Tell me your thoughts. I want to hear more. I want to hear tell me take me on your train of thought and when you can do that and feel safe and feel secure and know that that's going to come with some invalidation. Sure. When somebody says, man, here's what I've always dreamed of or here's what I like. And if that's something that isn't what you've felt like yourself or if that's a slightly different message and they shared before, instead of saying seriously, like now you're telling me that, no, it needs to be.

[00:31:57] Man, I wonder why they didn't feel like they could tell me that earlier. So tell me more. I so often get people in my office that have been married, I don't know, ten, fifteen, twenty years. And they say this isn't the person that I married. And I so often want to say, OK, we are, we grow, we learn more about ourselves. We learn more about life from the experiences that we've been through. And so oftentimes when somebody all of a sudden feels, wait a minute, my spouse just came out of nowhere and now they're completely different, often that's because that's been bubbling up or simmering inside of them for so long where they felt like they couldn't express themselves so they couldn't grow or they couldn't take on new challenges. So they couldn't learn that. Now they really do are finding themselves and finding that they really care about something other than what they were told they were supposed to care about. And that is an amazing place to be and to be in a relationship where the two of you can grow that way. Yeah, it can be a little bit scary because of those old abandonment wounds. Oh, my gosh. If they are having their own experience, you know, what childhood abandonment looks like. Is me all of a sudden feeling like, oh, that must mean they must not like me.

[00:32:56] I must be unlovable? No, it means that they are developing and growing as a human being, which means that you can do the same and you can both do that in the context of a of a relationship. You can move from codependent enmeshment to interdependent and then learning to edify each other and again, I feel like if people don't know what that looks like and they feel like that isn't possible in their marriage, get help for real, get get help. You deserve to be happy. And I feel like it's when I talk about that, control is actually the opposite of what we need to thrive and grow in our relationships. This is what I'm talking about. It often feels so scary to, quote, let go of the control of maybe a spouse to be able to say, hey, I want you to find yourself. I want you to raise your emotional baseline so high that you feel like you are just on top of the world because I want to join you there, because in doing so and liberating someone else from there and helping them find out who they truly are, I want you to do the same thing. And when the two of you are doing that together, that is magical. That is the exact opposite. And then some of people that are continually trying to consciously or subconsciously put the other person down, they feel crummy if they feel pretty bad about themselves or they don't like their job or they feel like they're invalidated or they feel like nobody cares about them, then they feel like, well, so I don't want to see that my my spouse go out there and find themselves.

[00:34:13] And this is this oftentimes becomes about personal accountability. And are you doing the things that you need to and holding yourself accountable? Are you dealing with the uncomfortable things, whether it's at work or in your career, or do you feel like you maybe don't really know how to be the best parent you can be? Are you struggling with some sort of compulsive behavior, gaming, pornography, TV, food? Are you feeling so bad there that now you take that out, so to speak, on the person closest to you, the person that you you say you love your spouse? Is that fair? It's not. We need to deal with their own stuff. And one of the ways we do that is dealing with our own stuff in concert with another human, i.e. our spouse being able to share openly and vulnerably and then feel like we have a framework to have these difficult conversations. So I want to quote a little bit more of Sue Johnson and then we'll wrap things up here. This is from an episode I did a long time ago on emotionally focused couples therapy, which, again, is the foundational principles behind my entire magnetic marriage course. I'm just going to go, quote, mode here and we're going to do a little commentary on it, because Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy and author of Hold Me Tight, she wrote a follow up book called Love Sense, which is I think it's the science of Love or something like that's the subtitle where she quoted another psychologist.

[00:35:24] And here's what she said. Page sixty three. For those following along, the message touted by popular media and therapist has been that we are supposed to be in total control. So that word, of our emotions before we turn to others, love yourself first and then another will love you. But she says our new knowledge stands that message on its head for humans, says psychologist Ed Tronic of the University of Massachusetts. The maintenance of emotional balance is a dyadic collaborative process. What does that mean? In other words, we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another person, not by ourselves. It's important, she says, to emphasize that attunement is not a sign of a lack of love or a lack of commitment. It is inevitable and it's normal, and in fact, it is startlingly common. Back to Ed Tronic of Harvard Medical School, who has spent years absorbed in monitoring the interactions between mothers and children, finds that even happily bonded mothers and infants miss each other signals 70 percent of the time adults miss their partners cues. Most of the time, too, we all send unclear signals and misread cues.

[00:36:24] We become distracted. We suddenly shift our level of emotional intensity and oftentimes we leave our partner behind or we simply overload each other with too many signals and messages. But how true is that? Too many mixed signals and too many mixed messages, he says. Only in the movies. This one poignantly gaze predictably and follow another gaze. And then it leads to one small touch, and it always elicits an exquisitely timed gesture. In return says we're sorely mistaken if we believe that love is always about being in tune. So it's actually the opposite. It's about being out of out of alignment, but then having the tools to come back in tune. And each time we do that, we grow closer together. Each time we process a difficult conversation or we able to express ourselves and share difficult or wonderful emotion. But when we do that with another human being, that's actually an opportunity to grow. So I often say, especially in this magnetic marriage course or people that are in my office, is that when we don't even when we don't have the tools innate built in within us and we don't to communicate effectively and that we just don't. And I want that want people to accept that. Just yesterday, twice yesterday, I heard, why don't we teach this in school? These are these four pillars of a connected conversation or this emotionally focused therapy. Why doesn't this come natural or why isn't this easier for me? And the answer is because we're human beings and because, again, we're coming forth from childhood, from the womb of our mom.

[00:37:45] With this built in programing of abandonment equals death, pure and simple. And then we navigate our childhood, our teenage years, and then some of trying to show up in a way that will get our needs met so that people will like us, so that we won't be booted out of our tribe because they were booted out of our tribe or a group or our relationships are innate fear is that abandonment is going to eventually lead to death and isolation. So we say we show up, we do the things and hopes that will be accepted or loved by others. But in reality, in doing so, we're going against the very core of who we are. Each one of us is a very unique individual. So we need to learn to be differentiated. We need to learn to show up as the person we are, and we need to find out who that is. And the easiest way or the best way to do that, maybe not the easiest way is in concert with another human being to be able to explore. But when that is not safe, of course, we're going to revert back to those attachment wounds. We're going to try to say things so that maybe we won't take our spouse off, or if our spouse says something and invalidates us, we might retreat and pout and hopes that they'll see that they have hurt us and they will come rescue us.

[00:38:52] And all of this is the opposite of learning how to find oneself, learning how to have curiosity as our spouse finds themself. Sit with maybe a little bit of that tension and fear that it's going to turn to contention it doesn't have to. And then from that tension is where we grow in. The more comfortable you become with being able to express myself in a framework like these four pillars or F.T. and know that my spouse now has the tools to hear, to ask questions, to say tell me more, and then at that point to then be able to validate me to and then I will feel heard. Then I will actually lean in more. I want to know more about them. And where I'm going with this is that we are so often stuck in this just unproductive dialog and unproductive conversations, the tit for tat or the pursue withdrawal or the freeze and flee or any of these types of unhealthy dialog patterns that when we go to these places, the thing we're not doing is communicating effectively. And so I find that couples have honestly gone 10, 20, 30 years or more where they. Don't even really know who each other is because they can never fully express themselves, because they have these human.

[00:39:59] I was going to say unhealthy, but more human factory setting communication styles or communication patterns. You have to learn how to communicate effectively and as an adult and drop that rope with a tug of war for control so that you can find give it a couple more quotes and really want to wrap this up. Again, we are sorely mistaken if we believe that love is always about being in tune, but we need to have the tools to be able to get back in alignment with our spouse. And the more we're able to do that, then the more comfortable we will be turning to our partner and saying, are you there for me? Do you what? Do you love me? Can I count on you from Sue Johnson's book, Hold Me Tight. She says the drive to emotionally attached to find somebody who we can turn to and say hold me tight is wired into our genes and into our bodies. It is as basic to life, health and happiness as the drives of food, shelter or sex that we need emotional attachments with you, irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy or to survive. And here's where you're not trained to sound controversial. But I know so often I have people say I know I have to get myself together first so that I can show up in a relationship. And I say, I will say this all the time. If that's where you're at in your relationship, then I understand.

[00:41:09] And yes, I work with people that they need to get their emotional baseline high so that they can show up and either learn how to effectively communicate or learn how to set healthy boundaries. So I understand. But if you are not at that point right now and you just feel like you and your spouse just see the tools and then you will be able to communicate more effectively, the tools are out there. This isn't a plug for my Magnetic marriage course, although I realize I'm doing that right the second. But there are tools out there. There are couples therapist out there find somebody that specializes in emotionally focused therapy, E.F.T. Google my name and E.F.T. or magnetic marriage or four pillars and find those tools and practice them. They take practice. And once you are committed to communicating in this new framework, trust the process and you will be surprised that you are typically closer than you think to being able to communicate more effectively. But you probably need a little bit of guidance or you need a lot of patience or both. The overall conclusion, she says, is that a sense of secure connection between romantic partners is key and positive loving relationships, and it's a huge source of strength for the individuals in those relationships. And she said among the more significant findings is that when we feel generally secure, that is we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones.

[00:42:18] We are better at seeking support and we're better at giving it. And boy, I haven't even touched on and maybe this is a topic for another day of how important that is to model to your kids. Are you modeling a healthy relationship or are you modeling the look? We stuck it out until you guys are out of the house. That that fascinating to me. The kids, can they see, especially as they grow into teenagers and into adulthood, they see that OK is the message I'm being taught to just hang in there, not communicate, and then at least we say we did it. Or is it about being emotionally vulnerable and open and seeking help? And boy, look at some of the other podcasts I've been recently. Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Are you willing to show your weakness and your vulnerability to your spouse or even to your kids to show that you're human? Or are you trying to set this bar high of saying that everything comes easy to me and I'm and I'm a natural at it, all of these things, because that's not the human experience. And and if that is happening in your relationship or your marriage and you just feel like you don't know how to communicate or express yourself effectively, or better yet, if you are one of the people that find yourself possibly controlling others and you weren't even aware of it or you're aware of it and you know it doesn't feel right, but then all of a sudden the conversation's done and then it seems to be OK a couple of days later.

[00:43:38] That doesn't mean that it's OK. It means that you are learning how to not deal with things somewhat effectively and over time that builds this wedge. And so when I get those couples in my office, thankfully, they come into my office. So I know they're out there everywhere. But when they do come into my office, then they really feel like I don't even really know who this person is. And this is the person that I was supposed to spend the rest of my golden years with, even the eternities with. And I don't even know who this person is. Don't don't put that off. You cannot kick that can down the road and then say we'll figure it out after the kids are out of the house. You're missing some incredible opportunities to learn how to communicate effectively, even with difficult situations, especially with parenting or especially with finances or the bumps and along the road of just marriage in general. And I feel like the people that don't know what these tools or skills are that are still operating from this place, if I need to control every interaction or every situation so that I won't feel uncomfortable or so I won't feel invalidated, or what if they have their own opinion? What if I what if they get this freedom and all of a sudden they they want do you want that relationship based off of control or do you want to be emotionally vulnerable? Learn who you are, learn how to differentiate yourself, deal with that invalidation, but then see that there's some real magic to be had where the tension comes, because that's what I get to see every day.

[00:44:52] It's the reason why I love the job. That I'm doing all right, I will wrap that up right now, taking us away, as per usual, is a wonderful, talented or Florence with her song. It's wonderful. And if you have questions or a document with a lot of questions about marriage, and I think it's time to do a marriage Q&A, so please send me some of your questions, send them to Contact@tonyoverbay.com and I will put those on a future episode and we'll do a little bit of marriage Q&A. But I really appreciate you being here. Spread the word. If there was something that you liked about today's episode, if you are still listening and you you are a YouTube person, go subscribe. I think I'm a few. Just a few short of a thousand or something. And I think you get a t shirt or something, get some new settings. I'd love to love to see you do that as well. Spread the word. And I appreciate your support

[00:45:34] And I will see you next time.

Occam's razor is the theory that given a choice between two hypotheses, the one involving fewer assumptions should be preferred. So why do we unconsciously and often unnecessarily complicate things that we desperately want to get right, like parenting? Tony takes a look at how understanding Occam's razor in the context of parenting gives us the permission to do what so many of us are trying to do in a variety of ways...love our kids! Tony refers to Tania Lombrozo, Ph.D.'s article "Choosing the Best Explanation Is Elementary, My Dear Watson" from Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/explananda/201201/choosing-the-best-explanation-is-elementary-my-dear-watsonPlease subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:00] Every now and again, I have a confession to make, I get caught going down a rabbit hole of videos on YouTube and I was never much of a YouTube guy until just a couple of years ago. But now that I'm just sucked into that, that doggone algorithm has got me. So when I want to zone out, I love watching Dog fail videos and I joke about it. But it's true. And as a matter of fact, almost nightly, I put my camera on slowmo and I toss a dog treat to my Australian shepherd Kobie, simply because he try so hard to catch the treat, bless his little heart, but more often than not, he misses it. We're talking biting air and then I send that video to a family group chat. Nobody ever responds. I think they're kind of tired of it by now, but I love it. And as a matter of fact, they'll probably try to have one of those videos up on my virtual couch Instagram account by the time this episode airs. But apparently that algorithm, with that in mind tells me that people who typically like Dogville videos like myself, also like videos of kids getting caught red handed and denying what they're doing is a prime example is maybe a kid gets caught with chocolate all over their mouth or their hands, but they insist that they did not eat the brownie or the cookie.

[00:01:02] And I love that stuff. It makes me laugh every time my kids all know that one of my favorite shows of all time is America's Funniest Home Videos, because I just I laugh. I love those those videos. But what was funny when one was a kid, unfortunately, often still occurs into adulthood. So I work with people who have theoretical chocolate on their faces in a session and their spouse knows it, yet the offending spouse still denies it. And that's a podcast for another day, maybe an updated one on gaslighting, as I've discovered some very fascinating information on gaslighting as a childhood defense mechanism. And from that standpoint, it makes sense that it's often carried into adulthood. But I digress. I've also started a couple of notes on potential podcast episodes of wanting to talk about a term called Occam's Razor. And maybe you've heard maybe you've heard of Occam's Razor. If you haven't, Occam's razor is a principle borrowed from philosophy. And simply put, let's just say that there are two possible explanations for something. The explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. So let's go back to that little adorable kid with Brownie all over their face when they are confronted with whether or not they ate the brownie.

[00:02:12] And let me add even that maybe one brownie is now missing from the pan. We have two options of what's happened, one following along with them that they do not know what happened to that brownie. They certainly didn't need it. Somebody else must have eaten it. And if you show them the chocolate on their face, well, of course, that was already there. Maybe it was there from earlier in the day. They have no idea how it got there. Somebody might have even put it on their face or they have chocolate on their face and one brownie is missing again. Occam's razor would say that when confronted with two possible explanations for something, the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. The kid eat the brownie. So another way that it's often framed is by saying that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation. But today I want to apply that principle to parenting, and I have some very strong opinions that have been brewing over the last few months or even years that I've struggled to put into words. But today is that day so well. Many of today's parents, including me, grew up in more of an era framed of clichés such as sink or swim.

[00:03:13] Throw a kid into the deep end of the pool, push the bird out of the nest, rub a little dirt on it. All the while watching what so many of us struggle to see is you hear the older people these days talk about a very entitled generation of youth growing up today. And I feel like trying to find that balance of, quote, tough love versus love. Love isn't really as difficult as one might think. And the key may lie in this philosophical principle. First, given a name by the English Franciscan Friar William of Ockham sometime in the thirteen hundreds, and he coined that term from his preference for simplicity in defending the idea of divine miracles. So are we making things too hard at times, or are we trying to get puzzle pieces out of a box of somebody else's puzzle and an attempt to make sense of our own puzzle when in reality maybe we're trying to work too complex of a puzzle in the first place and maybe the answer is right in front of our eyes. Maybe it's a far easier puzzle than we even anticipated. Maybe only has like nine pieces and they're all big. Well, we're going to dig deep into Occam's razor and parenting and so much more coming up on today's episode.

[00:04:24] Two hundred and sixty three and the virtual couch host, Tony

[00:04:28] Overmanning, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mind, will have a coach, writer, speaker, husband, author, father of four and ultramarathon runner, creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program that's helping people put pornography in the rearview mirrors. And instead of turning to that as a coping mechanism, they're living these lives of purpose and passion, excitement based on their values. And so if you want to find out more about that, go to Pathbackrecovery.com. One of the most exciting things I've been talking about week after week is this. These group calls that we do every week and the group calls the group is growing its strength base. It's powerful and and it's really work for finding great results. So, again, go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you're interested to find out more about that. And let's get to today's episode. I'm going to start with an article from Psychology Today that had some pretty interesting research. And I love it, especially when research has to do with four and five year olds. So this article is by Dr. Tanya Lumbroso and it's titled Choosing the Best Explanation Is Elementary, My Dear Watson. So the article talks about are we looking or are we trying to break things down as more of a Sherlock Holmes by deductive reasoning and doing a lot of research and breaking down the evidence or by Occam's Razor. So as I mentioned in the opening with Occam's Razor, do you choose the explanation best supported by evidence or the one that is satisfyingly simple and tiny says that recent findings suggest that even four and five year olds show a remarkable capacity to evaluate and choose between explanations, taking both the evidence and simplicity into account.

[00:06:00] So short of catching a culprit chocolate handed, as we talked about in the opening, which explanation would you believe? So William of Ockham, who's well-known Razor, suggests that we choose the simpler explanation. That's because research finds that these four and five year old children are surprisingly savvy reasoners when it comes to choosing between competing explanations or navigating a middle course between what maybe Sherlock Holmes would try to break down the likely probability of something happening or Occam's simplicity. So in research conducted at UC Berkeley and MIT, Dr Elizabeth Bar Bonewits and Tania Lombroso asked four and five year old children to explain why a toy lit up and spun around. So children were first taught that blocks of different colors could be placed in a toys activator to generate different effects. So a red block made the toy light up. A green block made the toy spin and a blue block like a potential chocolate thief generated both observed effects. So it provided a simpler explanation for both the toys actions. So again, they're they're asked to explain why toy lights up and spins around. So the red block makes the toy light up, a green block makes the toy spin and a blue block does both effects.

[00:07:16] And the researchers were simply going to put a block in the toys actuator kind of made up. Right. So here's where it gets tricky. So children were also shown that there were different numbers of each kind of block. So for some children, red and green blocks were only a little more common than the blue box. And one example, there were three red and three green blocks for one blue block for other children. Red and green blocks were far more common than blue blocks, 18 red, 18 green and one blue. And in this last case, here's where homes in action would disagree with probability. Pointing to the conjunction of a red block and a green block is the best explanation. But simplicity still pointing to the blue block. So children responses revealed a surprising sophistication. So while there was an overall preference for the simpler explanation, with the majority of children explaining why the toy lit up and spun around by appeal to a single blue block, this preference was drastically reduced. Excuse me when the blue block was very rare and when the majority of children now appealing to the conjunction of a red block and a green block. In other words, children went with simplicity when there wasn't strong evidence for an alternative. But as evidence accumulated, they followed its lead. So what does that say? Simply put, if there were a lot of red blocks and a lot of green blocks and only one blue block, now all of a sudden the kids said, well, it's probably the red block or the blue block or red block or the green block, even though the blue block was the simplest answer.

[00:08:41] But if there were just a couple of red blocks, a couple of green blocks and one blue block, then they said, well, it's obviously got to be the blue block. That's what makes this toy light up and spin. So the more evidence that is put out there, the more we tend to then try to figure out things based on the evidence versus the simplest answer that it's the blue block. So I thought that was kind of interesting. Was she she finishes her study that says, what about adults and what exactly makes one explanation simpler than another, is taking simplicity into account the right thing to do, or is it simply a sign of human error? And so this episode actually started as I was being asked a lot of questions about my parenting style. At first I thought that the person that was asking my wife and I these questions was insinuating that we did a pretty crummy job as parents. And there were a lot of questions that honestly had me feeling this strong need to defend myself or defend my parenting ability. Because when we simply shared the broad strokes of our parenting style, which is the nurtured hard approach, which is what my parenting positively in the most not so positive times, my free parenting course, you can get on my website what it's about.

[00:09:45] It's based off of the nurtured heart approach, which I again feel is a game changing technique or parenting style. But it sounds at times like we're pretty permissive with our parenting because they're nurtured. Hard approach really does rely on you are no longer the punisher you don't react to when they're pushing your buttons. You absolutely try to build in her wealth by praising and praising, realistically or praising genuinely, not just throwing out good jobs. And then the kids know the consequences. The stand, the three of nurturing approach is these consequences that they have helped come up with. So no longer are you the this arbitrary ruler and you are delivering punishments and then also still trying to seek connection. But you're the one that is they now trying to build their inner wealth. And they know when they break a certain rule that this is the punishment that they actually helped come up with. So it's pretty fascinating. But so when you take yourself out of the role of Punisher, then it can't appear as if you are being somewhat permissive as a parent. But if someone doesn't understand the nature of our parenting approach, that's just their view from the outside. But so, again, of course, answering what do you do when your kid comes home late from curfew, anything short of grounding them or taking their phone away or their car is going to sound like you're letting them walk all over you.

[00:11:02] But I feel like that's missing so much of the point. What we're really talking about is what is your goal in parenting? And I'm guessing that it is to try your best to prepare your child to enter the adult world and the best position to succeed. But let me just stop right there. I want to define succeeding. Succeeding by whose standards? So let's say a parent grew up poor and they worked hard to put themselves in a position where they no longer had to worry about money. And not that they're set for life necessarily, but they have a good job. They have retirement money in the bank. So now they want their kid to have that same financial security. They want their kid to work just as hard as they did to get to that place where they're at. However, in their pursuit of financial security, where they often out of the home or out of the home more than they would have liked for a very good reason of trying to provide their family with the financial security that they didn't have. So if so, their own children may not have grown up with that deep inner drive for financial security because they didn't grow up in the eyes of those who had money or maybe if they wanted that new pair of the latest school issues and their parent was so happy to be able to provide those shoes for them, they didn't that the kid didn't sit there at night staring up at the ceiling, dreaming or being becoming obsessive they could do to get themselves out of their current financial situation.

[00:12:13] So maybe their kid has more of this value of wanting to be more connected or spend more time with their kids. So the pursuit of, say, a medical degree, a law degree or something, it might take them out of the home, but provide financial safety might not be as important to them as it was to their parent. So often I feel like we as parents spend so much time trying to convince our kids of what we believe that they should believe is important. And that can be incredibly frustrating as a parent because our kids are literally wired to push back. And if we think that something's important, often our kids either take a hard stance and say they don't care at all. And actually, let me give you a real situation that occurred in my office not very long ago. So parent and teacher in the office parent is practically begging the teen to try harder in school and they go on and on about the importance of school and how the parent getting their education was so incredibly life changing for them. And meanwhile, the teen literally sat as far away on the couch as humanly possible from the parent.

[00:13:08] And they refuted everything that the parent said. And to the teen school was ridiculous. And for every example that the parent gave of somebody that went to school and succeeded, the teen already had an example at the ready of somebody that had dropped out of school and succeeded. So you can see where this is going. Maybe you've had this experience before and neither of them was going to get anywhere in the conversation. Why? Well, first up, one of my very favorite concepts, psychological reactance or the instant negative reaction of being told what to do. The reactance was was thick in the room. I felt that it was tangible. But next up, both people just wanted to be heard. Both the parent and and the teen wanted to be heard. They wanted to be able to have the other person listen and sincerely listen with curiosity. And they didn't want their arguments to be refuted. Neither one of them did. So they're both trying desperately to break down the other person's reality or poke holes in what they're saying. And guess what? Neither of them are going to get much of anything out of that conversation. They're not even listening to each other, because not only is that psychological reactions happening, but there are literal physiological things happening in the brain. I mean, when we feel like we're not heard, when we feel like we have to defend ourselves, our heart rate elevates, our cortisol levels raise, and we literally shut down the area of our brain that is thinking logically.

[00:14:19] And we get into this fight or flight mode. That's that's why you can be talking with your with your spouse or with your teen. And they can just be throwing out things that that you really feel confident that they don't really believe. But what they're doing is they know the right buttons to push to get you angry, because if you guys can stay in this argument or if they can get angry, then then they can leave the argument. They don't have to really look at the they don't have to look at what is there. They're kind of thinking about or what they're dealing with, because when you're just engaged in this argument, you're not really even addressing the core issues. So when a kid doesn't want to go to school and if they can get you angry and push all the buttons and tell you why they don't think school is important, even if they really do think it's important or if they think that it's more important than they let on, they don't have to explore that. They don't have to dig deep and say maybe I don't think school is important because I struggle reading or because I'm bullied in class or something like that, because if they can get you to get angry and push your buttons and what you explode, well, then that's what the arguments about.

[00:15:18] It's about the why don't you listen to me? It's about why don't you respect me? It's not about, hey, tell me what tell me what your experience is. Tell me why you don't think school is as important and that can be so important just to be heard. And too often we want to solve something right in that moment. But I'm telling you, we have to really think of it as the long game. Parenting is a long game. There's no doubt about it. The goal, I feel like, is connection. And instead, we often want to be right as a parent. We just want them to understand. We just want them to listen. We want them to tell us, OK, fine, I think you're right, but we need to shift that paradigm, the goal is not to be right, the goal is connection or the goal is to to listen, to understand them, to be curious about our teenager. So I'm going off on a tangent here. But let me kind of get back to where I was going with the Occam's Razor. So back to see this or William of Ockham in Ockham's Razor. So they are desperately parents are often desperately trying to build a complicated case of why the other person is wrong or why they're right by way of this person or that person or trying to find times where one or the other person said this or that or contradicted themselves as if they will find the right situation or the right word or phrase or experience that will all of a sudden cause the other person to say, oh, hold up.

[00:16:33] You just said some something that unlocked something in my brain. I now realize that you're absolutely right about everything. And I should think and feel and do what you're telling me to, because I'm afraid to tell you that is not going to happen. As a matter of fact, if the parent or the kid all of a sudden says, now you're right, it's a great point, that's typically when they've dropped the rope with a tug of war of the argument. And they realize that by agreeing they can at least get out of the argument. So I really believe that by following these principles of Occam's razor, we can drop the desire of building the complicated case to try and convince our teen that they're wrong. And instead, what I believe is the less complicated path, the simpler route, the simpler explanation is to default to the relationship. It's default to love the genuine curiosity to questions before making comments. It is far easier and I believe more productive, far more connected when we shift our goals from trying to come up with an argument to prove somebody wrong to a goal of connection. And here's the example that really brought this idea from one simply kicking around somewhere inside of my head to a more solid, tangible idea and.

[00:17:37] I apologize, I'm going to do this very quickly, I do this every time I almost forget about this. Let me do the world's fastest ad for Betterhelp.com. You can probably fast forward 15, 30 seconds if you need to. But if you're thinking about talking with a licensed therapist, a licensed professional counselor, look no further than Betterhelp.com virtual couch. You'll get 10 percent off your first months of service. The intake, the assessment process is easy. You can be speaking with a therapist in less than 48 hours via text or video or email or whatever works for you. Over a million people have done it. You deserve to deal with your own stuff, to put it behind you, to deal with it, to raise your emotional baseline. So check out Betterhelp.com virtual couch. OK, thank you. Back to the show. So I even remember where I was driving with my wife and and I was telling her in general terms about a father that was telling me that they have to do the tough love thing with their adult son, who had come back to live with the parents to finish up school. And the father had said that he needed to make things difficult. He needed to let the son know the cost of the real world. He needed to stop enabling the son, because if he didn't, the son might end up living forever in their basement. And that is where the light bulb kind of came on for me.

[00:18:39] In my opinion, that truly is trying to overly complicate things, because now the dad was working off of his experiences of what success was to him, what he felt like he needed in order for him to succeed. But he wasn't listening to his son and he hadn't taken the time to even hear him to really understand what his experience was like. Was he struggling in school? Was he struggling to even know what to do for a career? Did he feel like he was stuck, like he had headed down the wrong path in college, did even want to be in college? Was he pursuing a career because he felt like if he didn't pursue that career, that his parents would not like him? Good old abandonment, attachment issues that talked about on so many episodes. So I believe that the point isn't that if I don't kick him out and make him grow up, that he may eventually be living in my basement. Now, I believe that the kid needs to know that they absolutely can't live in the basement as long as they need, because with that secure attachment, with that knowledge of the parent is there for them that they care about them, they have their back, they love them, then then they will know that they can try and they can go out and explore and do and possibly fail. But they know that they have somewhere to land, somewhere to process, explore and to figure out what's next.

[00:19:41] They know that they have the secure attachment where they can come back home. And the parent is not going to say, are you kidding me? But the parents can say, all right, how was it? How was school or what was the job like or like? Tell me tell me what you're thinking. Tell me about your fears, your hopes or your dreams. Because with that type of a relationship, when you default into that relationship of love and not trying to solve or fix or teach a lesson, then that is where I feel like things people can push off from. That's what I feel like success really comes from. And I 100 percent I understand that your mileage may vary. These things take time. It takes time to actually create these patterns. So it's obviously going to take time to change them. And so I understand that they're going to people listening right now. They're saying you don't even know what you're talking about. I can't get my son or daughter to do anything. It's been years. But if the pattern is consistent, doesn't that speak volumes in and of itself? If you've tried over and over and over through the years to motivate by saying, have you done anything today or when are you going to stop playing those games? When are you going to when you can find a job? Why don't you go do something different? What if, you know it has that worked up to this point? And if it has, great.

[00:20:47] But if it hasn't, then I feel like this approach, Occam's razor, the default to love, the default, the curiosity to default to. Hey, tell me what's going on in your life. Tell me what's going on in your your head, your brain. That that is often the it's I guess it's not that necessarily always the easier path, but I think it's the more productive path. So is your goal I mean, before I go to that, I feel like, you know, you may already really know deep inside you might not be happy with the way that your current interactions go. What what what progress they they yield or don't yield. And so you're met with that reactants, you're met with the reactions, you're met with the anger. So I know that people that are going to listen to this episode are I want you to listen and think, OK, maybe I do need to take a look at doing something different. Maybe I do need to try out this. I'm going to do I'm going to default the love. I'm going to default to understanding. I'm going to try to be very present and listen and not try to react and not try to correct and not try to fix. Because is your goal to be right or is your goal to have a relationship? Is your goal to let your kid know that you are here for them regardless of the path they take? Or is it to let them know that you believe that you know what they need to do? And if they do not agree, then they're wrong and then you may not support them, because remember, we are all just a product of our environments.

[00:22:07] As I tried to lay out earlier in this episode that just because you if you are a parent who worked hard to put your family in a position of financial security, then know that you probably did that because of the experiences you had growing up. And so therefore, your kids experiences are not going to be the same. But often you're going to want to impress on them the importance of financial stability or security or the importance of the, you know, the nine to five job or whatever it was that you really felt like helped you. When in reality, because of what you have set up or provided for them, their experience is most likely not going to be the same as yours. So defaulting to questions and curiosity and love, I believe, is Occam's razor. It is it is the easier path or the more productive path, because, again, we are all just products of our environment. I say it all the time. I'll try to do it a little bit differently this time. But it's it is our birth order.

[00:23:02] It's our DNA. It's the way we were raised. It's our friend groups. It's our teachers schools that we happen to go to, the friends who happen to move on or away from our block, the girlfriend whose parents relocated to move, leaving us feeling abandoned, the teacher that maybe got fired and let the kids wondering what happened. It's people who have unfortunately been through things like physical abuse or emotional abuse or sexual abuse. The divorce, the parents or the parents who stayed in an unhealthy marriage for the sake of the kids get the kids then didn't end up seeing real love or sacrifice or togetherness, modeled it. It is all so complicated. So I understand when parents want to control their kids because they think that that is the best way to help their kids. And I get that. And I understand and bless your heart for wanting the best for your kids. But in reality, what if Occam's razor is right? What if the option with less complications is the best option? What if loving our kids or hearing them or having a sincere desire to hear them is the best option? Because I've been doing this for a long time now. I have kids. My kids are getting older. I'm not claiming any kind of I've had it all figured out, but I really believe that to hear them is to help heal them. And I feel like the more curious we are with our kids, the more they're going to feel like they can open up to us.

[00:24:12] And we can absolutely have our own thoughts, feelings and opinions, objections. But oftentimes I want to say, can you just make room for them? Can you use the acceptance and commitment therapy principle of expansion and just make room for those reactions? And you're watching the video. I'm holding my hand up to my right because just hold him over here, hold those objections and reactions over here. You can do that and just seek to understand, ask questions before making comments, because being a parent is not about us. And that is a really difficult thing that we as parents often can can really wrap our heads around that as much as it feels like it's about us and that because it is our our job to nurture them, to guide them, but it's to guide them. You know, it's not about us. Parenting is about our kids and about setting them up for success, but setting them up for their success, not our success, but their success. We mean well, we're trying to guide them. But I believe that they first need to know that they are loved. And one of the best ways to convey this is to let them know you hear them. Are you want to hear them or you care about them. You know, you want them to come to you with problems and questions and have them know that you want to hear what they have to say, that every conversation isn't necessarily going to turn into a why didn't you do this, you know, fix it or a judgment statement or that the conversations aren't always going to turn into a life lesson.

[00:25:26] I want to try I love to encourage you to try something this week. My wife and I are doing this in our lives right now as well. It really is focusing on the long game. You know, if you're asking your kid how your day was, don't use that as an opportunity to. OK, well, hey, sounds good, champ. Did you follow up with your teacher? Did your homework done? Did you follow did you do this did you do this to do this? Because our kids are so smart. They really are. They know that. All right. They really don't want to hear how my day was. I'm going to tell them fine. And now I'm going to get ready to defend why I didn't talk to Mr. Johnson about the make up work or why he didn't do my homework or that sort of thing. I was talking to somebody recently. And I mean, I think for the most part, our kids know when they're not doing their homework. I think a better question is to say, hey, is there anything I can do to help, you know, or or if they if you are going to have a conversation about homework or school or that sort of things like tell me more, what's that like? And resist that urge to say, you know what I did when I was your age? Because right there now they've tuned out.

[00:26:18] They really have. And I would imagine a lot of you did the same when you were younger as well. I want to read I got the book Grit, it is an amazing book, Grit, as a book by Angela Duckworth. And there's just a part that I've thought about often, and I think I included this on an earlier episode maybe two years ago. And it's about Jeff Bezos and love him or don't necessarily love him. Whatever you wherever you land on that. He's a founder, CEO of Amazon, and I think often the world's most richest or wealthiest man. But let me just read from Grit, and this is a couple of pages, and it's just fascinating to me. I've thought about this so much. The Angela Duckworth writes in the book, "Jeff unusual, unusually interest filled childhood has a lot to do with this unusually curious mother, Jackie. Jeff came into the world two weeks after Jackie turned 17 years old. So she told me I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions about what I was supposed to do. She remembers being deeply intrigued by Jeff and his younger brother and sister. Jackie said. I was just so curious about these little creatures and who they were and what they were going to do.

[00:27:17] I paid attention to what interested each one. They were all different and I follow their lead. I felt it was my responsibility to let them do deep dives into what they enjoyed. For instance, that three multiple times asleep in a big bed, Jack explained that eventually he would speak and he would sleep in a big bed, but not yet. But then one day she walked into his room and found him screwdriver in hand, disassembling his crib. But Jackie didn't scold him. Instead, she sat on the floor and helped Jeff sleep. She helped him and Jeff sleep in a big bed that night. By middle school, he was inventing all sorts of mechanical contraptions, including an alarm on his bedroom door that made a loud buzzing sound. So whenever one of his siblings trespassed across the threshold, we made so many trips to Radio Shack, Jackie said, laughing. Sometimes we go back four times in a day because we needed another component. Once he took string and he tied all the handles of the kitchen cupboards together. And then when you open one, all of them popped open. I tried to picture myself in these situations. This is, I think we're saying to try to picture not freaking out. Oh, no, this is Jackie. I tried to imagine. No, this is Angela Duckworth. She said, I tried to picture myself in these situations. I tried to picture not freaking out. I tried to imagine doing what Jackie did, which was to notice that her oldest son was blooming into a world class problem solver and then merely nurture that interest.

[00:28:27] My moniker at the house was Captain of Chaos, Jackie told me. And that's because just about every just about anything that you wanted to do would be acceptable in some fashion. Jackie remembers that when Jeff decided to build an infinity cube, essentially a motorized set of mirrors that reflected one another's images back and forth ad infinitum, she was sitting on the sidewalk with a friend. Jeff comes up to tell us and he's telling us all about the science behind it. And I listen and I nod my head and ask a question every once in a while. And after he walked away, my friend asked if I understood everything. And I said, "it's not important that I understand everything. It's important that I listen".- Jackie Bezos By high school. Jeff turned the family garage into a laboratory for venting and experimentation when one day he got a call from Jeff's high school saying he was skipping classes after lunch. When he got home, she asked him where he'd been going in the afternoons, and Jeff told her he'd found a local professor who was letting him experiment with airplane wings and friction and drag. And he said, I got it. Now let's see if we can negotiate a legal way to do that. And then in college, Jeff majored in computer science and electrical engineering and after graduating, applied his programing skills to the Management of Investment Fund.

[00:29:26] Several years later, he built an Internet bookstore named after the world's longest river, Amazon. And I guess the rest is history. But what I love about that story is when when Jackie talked about that, she said her job was to just understand, be curious about these little creatures and who they were and what they were going to do. She said, I paid attention to each one. They were all different. I followed their lead. I felt it was my responsibility to let them do deep dives into what they enjoyed. And as simple as that sounds, it's also complicatedly beautiful is what they've enjoyed. And because we've already got the attachment, abandonment things that come up by a human nature that our kids do want to please us, even if they are getting angry with us and pushing our buttons, that a lot of the the reasons that they even react that way is often because they don't feel like they can be heard. They feel like the only time that they really get our attention is when they react or when they act out. So if we can shift that paradigm to be one of more of curiosity and tell me more, then I feel like that really can start to help them nurture and nurture them and help them find their interests. And ultimately, that is going to be where they push off from.

[00:30:33] So if we can get them in a spot where they can really we can nurture these interests and help them understand and try different things, then I feel like they are going to feel that secure attachment to us. And I feel like if we really focus on the relationship, if we focus on love, if we really default to what requires the maybe the least amount of explanations, if we go back down this Occam's razor path, that that is the more productive path that is the obvious answer is to love them, not to try to overly complicatedly. Think of ways that we can prove to them that they need to understand this or they need to believe in something else or that they are wrong because that that is that is that's all kinds of emotional calories burnt when according to Outcomes Razor, maybe the easiest thing we could do is love them. So I could say so much more, but I want to end it with that. So there's my goal for you this week. Play The long game. seek first to understand, ask questions before comments, use the four pillars of a connected conversation that I've developed, assume the good intentions when they say something, even if that they're not doing their homework, that it isn't that they're trying to hurt you or they're trying to make you mad, that it's there's a reason why. And it might feel like they're overwhelmed.

[00:31:42] They might feel they might be having troubles. They might not even really care as much about school. They might have friend relationship issues going on. And then the second pillar is don't you can't just say you're wrong. That's that's a bunch of garbage. I don't believe you, even if you don't believe them. Because then the third pillar is questions for comments, then now's your opportunity to ask them and to know that right now, if you're trying to change the dynamic in the relationship, most likely they are going to push back because they if they can push your buttons and if you can react, then they don't have to have this conversation. They don't have to get open and vulnerable. They don't have to deal with their own stuff. So play the long game shift to the goal. Is the relationship not to be right and for them to be heard. And the more that you do that, I do promise you that over time you're going to see a pretty big shift. And the more that somebody feels like they can be heard and understood and they feel like they are in a safe environment, the less of that reactance or pushback or reaction you're going to get and that's where you really going to start to see the relationship develop and you're going to see that you do truly get to help them. You help you help guide them along their path. So there's my goal to you. I hope that you will all have an amazing week and I will see you

[00:32:50] Next time on a virtual couch.

Tony shares the foundational principles of Dr. Sue Johnson's Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT/EFCT) from her book "Hold Me Tight." Tony referenced a review from Dan's blog "A Laughing Soul" (https://alaughingsoul.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/hold-me-tight-seven-conversations-for-a-lifetime-of-love/). Tony shares how his "4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation" a key component to his Magnetic Marriage course (http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic) can significantly help implement the tools of EFT in your marital and personal relationships. The next round of the Magnetic Marriage Course is launching soon! Go sign up now to find out details about the launch.

From A Laughing Soul blog: What Is Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)? The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection.

EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster a loving, adult relationship. • EFT has an astounding 70 – 75% success rate and results have been shown to last, even in the face of significant stress. • EFT is recognized by the American Psychological Association as empirically proven. HOLD ME TIGHT presents a streamlined version of EFT. It walks the reader through seven conversations that capture the defining moments in a love relationship and instructs how to shape these moments to create a secure and lasting bond. Case histories and exercises in each conversation bring the lessons of EFT to life.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:01] So would you be surprised if I were to tell you that distress in a relationship adversely affects our immune and our hormonal systems, even to the ability to heal ourselves? In one fascinating experiment, psychologist Janice Quico Glaser of Ohio State University had newlywed's fight and then took blood samples over the next several hours. And she found that the more belligerent and contemptuous the partners were, the higher level of stress hormone and the more depressed the immune system. And these effects persisted for up to 24 hours after this fight. After this conflict, and in an even more astounding study called, Glazer used a vacuum pump to produce small blisters on the hands of women volunteers and then had them fight with their husbands. And the nastier the fight, the longer it took for the women's skin to heal. So coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I'm going to dig into my my old favorite emotionally focused therapy. It's a method developed by Sue Johnson, and it is one of the only empirically based methods recognized by the American Psychological Association. As is empirically proven in the world of couples therapy, F.T.

[00:01:12] emotionally focused therapy for couples has an astounding 70 to 75 percent success rate, and results have even been shown to last, even in the face of significant stress. So the message of VDT is pretty simple. Forget about learning how to argue better or analyzing early childhood or making these grand romantic gestures or even experimenting with things like new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that we are emotionally attached to and dependent now dependent in a healthy kind of way on your partner, much the same way that a child is dependent on a parent for the nurturing, soothing and protection. But what F.T. focuses on is creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming key moments that foster these adult loving relationships. So we're going to learn about that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 254 of The Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back.

[00:02:10] The Path Back is an online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And if you if you haven't checked out the path back, please head to Pathbackrecovery.com or you can go to Tony Overbay dot com. There's a link there to courses, programs, and you'll find a link to the path back. The reason why I get so excited about this, I've completely revamped the path back. There's an online forum that's pretty amazing. And we have these group calls every Wednesday night that are getting larger and larger. And it is this this group of strength based overcome pornography, become the person you always want to be kind of way calls. And they are just they're kind of becoming the highlight of my week. So if you are interested in participating in one of these calls, want to kind of kick the tires on the program, reach out to me through Tony Overbay Dotcom, and I can give you more information on that. Or you go to Pathbackrecovery.com and there you can find an ebook that describes myths that people often fall prey to when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Again, that's Pathbackrecovery.com and I. And today today we're going to talk about emotionally focused therapy, F.T., which is something that I am passionate about. And the reason I'm a geek out a little bit on the concepts of F.T. in general is if you have been listening to the virtual couch for a while, you will have heard me talk incessantly about my magnetic marriage program.

[00:03:28] And that is because we have finished my buddy Preston Buckmeier and I have finished our first round of the magnetic marriage course. And I will I you'll hear so much about it in the coming weeks. There's gonna be some testimonials, some interviews with people that were actually in the first round of the course, but will be opening up that cart around the mid to end of April. And Preston and I are going to start a a podcast series beginning next week that is going to take you through some of the finer principles of the magnetic marriage course in hopes that you will go to Tony Overbay, dotcom, magnetic and just just plug your name in there, find out more about when this card is going to open. And we'll try to make it a little special for people that show up there early or the people that are in line waiting in line early. So, again, go to Tony Overbay, Dotcom's magnetic and you can be one of the first ones to learn more about the magnetic marriage and the magnetic marriage course is where if you've heard over the last I don't know, it's been excuse me a couple of months, but talking about the four pillars of a connected conversation, and I make no secret of those, are based on the principles of emotionally focused therapy.

[00:04:29] So I've been talking so much about four pillars of a connected conversation and this magnetic marriage course. And I've been given examples and the feedback has been phenomenal. But I thought before I jump into this podcast series with Preston, before we jump into another magnetic marriage round, so to speak, I wanted to just do one big geeky episode on F.T. Again, emotionally focused therapy, because everything from this magnetic marriage course is based off of this empirically proven, evidence based couples model, emotionally focused therapy. And as I have said on numerous occasions, whether it's on my show or when I'm being interviewed on someone else's podcast, I would not be doing couples therapy had I not stumbled upon F.T. emotionally focused therapy. Because when you come out of the when you come out of grad school, you've learned some reflective listening skills. You've learned some more skills of when you have a couple in your office where you're maybe saying, all right, reflect back what you heard. Sally, you know, would be Sally and reflect back what what Jim has said. And she'll say, well, I'm hearing him say that he thinks that I'm lazy or I'm hearing him say that he thinks that I am not appreciative. And then you say, OK, Jim, is that what you're conveying? Jim will say, yeah, this is how I'm feeling. And then you'll have them reflect back to one another. And then the therapist kind of and I'm oversimplifying this, trust me, I understand kind of sits back and says, all right, well, now that you've you've heard each other, how how do you feel about that? And it just doesn't feel very satisfying.

[00:05:49] And quite frankly, when you don't have a couples modality to work from, doing couples therapy can be extremely uncomfortable and it can be scary. But when you have a method, a framework like emotionally focused therapy, which has led to an even greater framework in my magnetic marriage course and the skills and tools you learn in this magnetic marriage course, couples therapy is actually a very, very satisfying, exciting thing to do is a therapist. And as I mentioned now, in any given week, I can see anywhere between 10 to 20 couples and I'm still seeing individuals in that sort of thing. So I found a great summary of emotionally focused therapy. And I want to give credit always where credit's due. And what's fascinating about where I found this is there's a blog. This is a good old fashioned WordPress blog called A Laughing Soul. And when you dig a little bit deeper into who the laughing soul is, it's a guy named Dan. It appears that Dan is not necessarily a psychologist. And this blog post was from years ago. But he interviewed he reviewed the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson, which is one of the best books to get. If you are really just wanting to learn about the concepts, the conversations around emotionally focused therapy, and that will give you a nice framework.

[00:06:57] It doesn't. Replace good therapy, or if I'm being completely bowled, what the magnetic marriage course has done is taken these principles of emotion, emotionally focused therapy, and we've we've added a whole lot more to that and made it more of a tangible here's how you put this into action kind of a program. But I still love so much of talking about the principles of emotionally focused therapy, because a lot of times I feel like when I have couples in my office that they don't even know that there is a framework around there. They don't even know that there is a framework that could help them now implementing the framework. Completely different thing and reading the book. Hold Me Tight is a great start. And I realize now I'm starting to sound like quite a big sales pitch. But and I'm OK with that because the magnetic marriage course, as I often say on a lot of the interviews I've been doing, we've cracked the code or figured things out of how to then implement emotionally focused therapy to have these difficult conversations so that you will then come out of a conversation feeling very connected. But I digressed quite a bit in this blog and I'll throw a link to it. Dan, who writes for this laughing soul, has broken down the book, Hold Me Tight beautifully.

[00:08:01] So I'm going to use that as a little bit of a basis or a framework of what I'm going to talk about today, because I want to go through EFT, as I mentioned in the opening of this episode, that it has an astounding 70 to 75 percent success rate and the results have been shown to last even in the face of significant stress. And I have seen that even where I have couples come into my office and I'm and you know what? They're couples where they learn to communicate more effectively and still may find out that they don't feel their marriage is necessarily viable. But even the skills around emotionally focused therapy helped them become incredibly good parents. While I do feel like it can literally save a marriage, I feel like there is nothing wrong or there's nothing negative about learning more about emotionally focused therapy. Even if you feel like you're the only person in the relationship that is putting forth effort, the effort principles are amazing in a relationship, but in not just a marital relationship, but also in the relationship with your kids or coworkers is just people out and about. As a matter of fact, very true story. I had someone in my office yesterday and they listen to the podcast. They'll know this is a good keeping it confidential, of course, but they will, I think, appreciate this. But they were talking about once the principles of emotionally focused therapy really solidified with them, that now they said it's you can't unring that bell.

[00:09:16] You can't undo now hearing things from an emotionally focused therapy standpoint and F.T. standpoint. And it does almost become frustrating to watch or communicate with other people who aren't working from the same emotionally focused place. And we'll talk more about that here in a bit. Hold me tight. This book by Sue Johnson is it's a streamlined version of emotionally focused therapy, which is why, again, I thought would be really fascinating to put this out here and then walk into this podcast series over the next few weeks that Preston and I are going to do about the magnetic marriage course, because I think that you'll hear some fundamental needs that we have as individuals and why we couple why we marry. And then Preston and I, over the next few weeks, we'll be talking about how to make that happen more effectively and more efficiently, using a lot of the things that we put forth in this magnetic marriage course. So it's a streamlined version of what it the book called Hold me Tight, walks the Reader through these conversations that capture these defining moments in a love relationship. And it really does instruct them on how to take these moments and create the secure, lasting bond. And here's a couple of quotes, some excerpts from the book, Hold Me Tight. Asou Johnson says that love is in actuality the pinnacle of evolution, the most compelling survival mechanism of the human species.

[00:10:29] And she says not because it induces us to mate and reproduce. We do manage to mate without love. People do that all the time. But because love drives us to bond emotionally with a precious few others who offer us a safe haven from the storms of life, which that's where Sue Johnson in a follow up book called Love Sense, and it's my favorite quote of all time, says that we are designed to deal with conflict and emotion. Are we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So we are designed not to just figure it out on our own, but to process things in a healthy way with someone else. So we have these precious few others that offer us a safe haven from the storms of life. She says that love is our bulwark designed to provide emotional protection so we can cope with the ups and downs of existence. So she also goes on to say this drive to emotionally attached to find someone who we can turn to and say literally hold me tight, is wired into our genes and our bodies. And it's this basic need in life that that's part of life and health and happiness. And it's as normal as the drives of food or shelter or sex that we need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy to survive.

[00:11:39] And E40 is based off of attachment theory. And we're talking and we go all the way back to the psychologist Bowlby, who in 1944 published the very first paper on family therapy. It was called, funny If you think about this, the family therapy paper is called 44 Juvenile Thieves, in which Bowlby noted that, quote, behind the mask. Of indifference is bottomless misery, and behind apparent callousness is despair. So Bobby's young charges were frozen in the attitude of I will never be hurt again and paralyzed in this desperation and rage. So along with his studies and observations, Bobby was impressed by Darwin's ideas of how natural selection favors responses that help for survival. So we, in essence, present ourselves in a way that we feel we have to do to survive, even if that includes shutting down. If we feel like we are emotionally not safe in a relationship, then we're not going to continue to put ourselves out there. We're not going to continue to be emotionally vulnerable if we feel like it is only going to get us hurt. So it's it's this way that we have adapted to survive, even if that adaptation is a negative one, even if the adaptation is for us to pull away from someone. And that's where the first principle of the my four pillars of a connected conversation is this kind of assuming of good intentions or giving someone the benefit of the doubt, which means simply that if someone is withdrawing or pulling away, that is their adaptation of how they feel.

[00:13:02] This is the only way I can survive. This is the only way I can get my needs met is if I withdraw, which is it's kind of a fascinating concept. We came to the conclusion that keeping precious others close is a brilliant survival technique that is wired in by evolution. So I mean, that is where we are trying to find someone that we can count on that that is wired in because we need this love to survive. But we're also intensely afraid of being hurt. So you can see the paradox there. So along with his these studies, the Bobby went on to say that the majority of children are upset when their mothers walk out, that they will rock themselves, cry, throw toys. But some do prove to be more emotionally resilient and they can tend to calm themselves more quickly and effectively. They reconnect more easily with their mothers when they return, and they can resume playing while checking in to make sure that their moms are still around. And we've probably seen that. I volunteered with my wife in a nursery and church for a number a couple of years, and it was pretty fascinating calling as a therapist, I have to admit, because you got to watch the almost this healthier, secure, attached kids that would play and kind of would check in on to see if their parent is still around.

[00:14:12] You would also see the one that would not leave their parent's lap and then you would also see the ones that would basically want to effectively give their parent the hey, how about you hit the bricks? Now, I got some play to do, you know, that kind of a vibe. So you get to see a little bit of all of it. But, you know, you've got these people that are still kind of checking to see if their mom's around or they seem confident that their mothers will be there if they need them. There's there's the key. And the less resilient youngsters are anxious or they're aggressive or detached and they're more distant even on their mothers return. And the kids who can calm themselves usually have wormer or maybe more responsive mothers, while the moms of the angry kids are a little more unpredictable in their behavior. And then the moms of detached kids seem to be a little more cold or dismissive. And these are observations of Bowlby, not me, in the nursery and in these simple studies of disconnection and reconnection, Bulbasaur love in action. And so we begin to what he would say, code its patterns. And so he discovered that these isolated infants were so hungry for connection that when given the choice between a, quote, mother made out of wire who dispensed food and a soft cloth mother without food, they would choose this squashy rag mother almost every time.

[00:15:16] And generally, Harlow's experiments showed the toxicity of early isolation, which shows this why it's so important that we have this early attachment. And and he did this with primates. So physically healthy infant primates who were separated from their mothers during the first year of life grew into socially crippled adult primates as the way that he put it. Some of these monkeys have failed to develop the ability to solve problems or understand social cues of others. They became more depressed, self-destructive and and oftentimes unable to mate. And I don't want anyone that has had these these lack of secure attachments in that first year of life to feel like, oh, my gosh, I'm doomed. This was just some of what Bobby recognized with primates. Now, primates also don't have the ability to verbally communicate and they don't have as large of social circles or connections. The since that time, people have gone on to to challenge and want to say debunk some of Bobby's theories. But the concept of this early attachment, though, that's where the where F.T. takes off. That's where it gets its genesis. So the overall conclusion was that he said a sense of secure connection between romantic partners are actually now working into Sue Johnson, that a sense of secure connection between romantic partners is the key and positive loving relationships and this huge source of strength for people that are in those relationships. So among the more significant findings from emotionally focused therapy as that, when we feel generally secure, that is we are comfortable with closeness or confident about being able to depend on loved ones.

[00:16:37] The better we are seeking support, the better we are giving it. And then those who felt like their needs are are being met or that their needs were accepted by their partners, were more confident about solving problems on their own, and we're more likely to successfully achieve their own goals. And this is where the emotionally focused therapy or EFT principles are huge. I feel like when it comes to even things like parenting. So my wife and I talk about this a lot, especially the last several months, so if you have a an example of a parent who really feels like they need this tough love approach where they don't want to, they don't want to, they don't want to feel like they're enabling their kid to to have too much at their hands or in their disposal and worried that they will create this dependent codependency that a lot of times those parents are saying that, OK, if I don't push my kid out of the nest, then for some reason, then they will eventually they will stay in the nest for the rest of their lives and they won't be these independent, healthy adults. Where what what Sue Johnson or what Bowlby or what some of these attachment theory therapists posit is that actually that secure attachment is being able to have this.

[00:17:44] Hey, I've got your back. I'm here for you. If you need me in so much that you can go out and try things in the world. And even if you fail, you can come back and you're not going to get a I told you so or you're not coming back here anymore, that it's almost that fear that if we allow our kids that much rope that they are going to not be successful when what attachment theory says is OK, that's actually almost the complete opposite. The complete opposite is true, that in allowing our kids to go and fail and come back and know that we're going to be there to say, hey, tell me more about that. What was your experience like that they are going to have a secure attachment which is going to allow them to actually thrive instead of thinking that, OK, if we allow them to come back, then they're going to just stay here forever and and never be a productive member of society. So we've kind of got that wrong from an attachment standpoint. What I opened the podcast with today was the study by Janice Kikka Glaser of Ohio State, and that one was just fascinating. So just to go back to what that what that study was, is that distress in a relationship adversely affects the human, the immune and hormonal systems, even our ability to heal. So in this experiment, she had newlywed's fight and then took blood samples over the next several hours and found that the more belligerent and contemptuous the partners were, the higher level of stress hormones and the more depressed the immune system was.

[00:19:07] And so these effects persisted for up to 24 hours. So the immune system was depressed and those stress hormones were still elevated for up to 24 hours. So when people feel like, OK, you know, just give me a few minutes and I can get over it, if they don't have a secure attachment, that can take a long time to have those chemicals completely leave the body and for people to feel a little bit more in control or calm. Now, that isn't what I'm not saying that then everyone needs 24 hours of a cooling off period. In actuality, the more that you get these principles of emotionally focused therapy down. And this is where I will go back to a sales pitch of the magnetic marriage course. When you're able to implement what what I call these four pillars of a connected conversation, then you know that you are going to be able to get back to a conversation sooner because you have this framework that's going to allow you to have a productive conversation. And maybe this is a great time to talk about those four pillars. But this is where if I know if I see that my spouse has been withdrawn and that they just haven't, I feel like they haven't really been there for me over the last week month, however long it is.

[00:20:10] When I the reason I love these four pillars is that four pillars of a connected conversation is that pillar one is to assume the assume good intentions. That can be really difficult when you feel like the person is doing something to harm you. But if this person is withdrawn, I have to assume that they are not waking up in the morning and thinking, I know what, I'll do all this withdraw. That's that's how you know, that's how I'll show my spouse is that I will withdraw from them. I will become emotionally distant. So I have to assume, OK, they're they're not doing that to hurt me. And so if I approach them and I say, hey, I'm noticing that you are, you seem a little bit withdrawn. This is where I feel like anyone can jump into these four pillars of a connected conversation and become either the speaker or the listener. So let's jump in and say that let's say that I am having a conversation with my wife and I say to her, hey, I feel like you. I notice that you've been withdrawn. So at this point, if someone is following these four pillars of a connected conversation, part of my magnetic marriage course now my wife is the listener has to assume the good intentions that I didn't think, OK, I know what I'll do.

[00:21:07] I'll come throw this accusation at her and and that'll really get her goat. That'll make her frustrated or mad. So she has to assume those good intentions that when I bring something up, I had noticed that you're withdrawn, that I'm not trying to hurt her. And the second pillar is I can't I can't put off this message that I don't believe you or you're wrong, because at any point if we jump off into any one of these, we violate one of these pillars. Then the conversation is going to it's going to devolve. And at this point, if we walk into a conversation, assuming bad intentions or assuming that our partner does want to hurt us, then we're already going to be defensive. We're not going to be leaning in. We're not going be very empathetic. So back to the scenario. My wife would then have to say, OK, I have to assume that he's not trying to hurt me. And then the second pillar is, I can't just say I don't I don't buy that. That's a load of garbage. I can't say that you're wrong. And so that would lead to pillar three, which I say is questions before comments instead of her. Saying, OK, you're absolutely like, this is ridiculous, and I can't believe you're saying that, but OK, go ahead. Tell me what you're noticing. You can see where that would shut down a conversation. So Pillar three is asking questions before making comments, asking questions of saying, OK, I may not feel like I'm withdrawn, but tell me more.

[00:22:14] What are you noticing? Help me find my blind spots. How long have you been noticing this and what does that look like to you? And then pillar four is that she couldn't go jump into her bunker. She would have to stay present. She would have to then not say, OK, fine, I guess I'll just not do anything that I want to do. And I will be at your beck and call so you won't feel like I have abandoned you. So you can see how any one of those four pillars, if we are not sticking to those, then the conversation will tend to devolve. And so I say often that if you go back and look at conversations that didn't go well in your relationship and your marriage, that you will find one or more of those pillars that has been that is that we've broken, I guess. So then if my wife has been this listener and I feel heard now because she didn't assume that I was trying to hurt her, she didn't tell me I was wrong. She asked questions and she didn't go into a bunker. Now I become the listener. The rules apply to me now as well. So now with that information, I want her to be able to say I appreciate that. That would be difficult. If if you really do feel like I've been withdrawn, then I can understand that that would be frustrating or hard or that would feel lonely or isolating.

[00:23:15] But then if she gets to share the same thing, if she just says simply, I I didn't realize I was doing that, then I have to do the same thing. Can't I can't assume that bad intentions and I can't say seriously, like you don't notice this. It's that pillar two. I can't say you're wrong. I can ask questions of OK, you know, if you don't feel like you've been withdrawn, then I can understand why this is a bit of a surprise to you and then I can ask the questions. Hey, so I noticed that you've that you really haven't been communicating more recently. So tell me more. Have you noticed that? Or and because then those questions, if she's going to stay in this, I feel the world of these I feel statements, maybe it is OK. I didn't realize that. But now that I feel heard or now that I feel safe, maybe she's going to share with me that, yeah, maybe I do feel like I've had a lot on my mind. And I was even aware that that you felt like I had been withdrawing. And then I can't then go into my bunker pillar for I can't then say, you know, I shouldn't even brought it up. It's no big deal. I definitely digressed. I went a little bit of a tangent there, but I feel like this is where the being able to communicate about things effectively is what can help us get out of that.

[00:24:16] It takes 24 hours for this stress hormone to leave our body kind of a state, because that really is worst case scenario in the study that we're talking about, where people felt like they got their dander up. They felt like there was this disconnect. There was a fight in the relationship. And this is saying that they don't have those tools to be able to come back and communicate. And that's why often when people do have distress in a relationship, then they after a day or two and nobody's really processed anything, nobody's really communicated or made sense of what even happened to cause this disruption or this argument. And all of a sudden the waters are calm. Then people typically put their toe back into the waters of the relationship. And then if it seems OK, then they just go about their business and maybe we're OK. Right. And that's where I feel as a marriage therapist. I hear this so often where people don't resolve things, but then when things are seen, seem to go better and they don't have the tools or the framework to even go back and communicate about what that rift was about in the first place, then how often they feel like things are OK now. Now it's a Saturday and we're out doing some things.

[00:25:18] I want to bring up anything that's going to make things go south. So when they don't have those tools to be able to communicate even about things that have happened in the past, then we typically just tend to just move forward. And then over time, then that's what starts to really drive a wedge in the relationship. So back to some of this data, simply holding the hand of a loving partner can affect this profoundly and it can literally calm these jittery neurons in the brain. So contact with a loving partner can literally act as a buffer against shock and stress and pain. And the quote in this article now is saying, love is not the icing on the cake in life, but it is a basic primary need, like oxygen or water. And once we understand and accept this, we can more easily get into the heart of relationship problems. And I talked again about this study at Ohio State. But the more belligerent, contemptuous these partners were, the higher level, the stress hormone and the immune system. And again, I just shared that that state in the immune system for up to 24 hours. But in an even more astounding study that I mentioned in the intro as well is that Glaser used a vacuum pump to produce small blisters on the hands of women volunteers and then had them fight with their husbands. And the nastier the fight, the longer it took for the women's skin to heal.

[00:26:30] So that cortisol, that stress hormone that is elevated when we do not feel connected with a partner, that it literally suppresses our immune system. So that says something about how desperately we are to connect with someone that it can even affect our health. So when marriages fail, that it's not that increasing conflict is necessarily the cause, it's that this decreasing affection or this emotional responsiveness can offer. And be the culprit, so the lack of emotional response rather than the level of conflict is typically the better indicator of how solid a marriage will be several years into the marriage. So the demise of most marriages starts with this growing absence of a response to intimate interactions. So the conflict typically comes later. But the more that we aren't showing up or being there for our partner, then the more that that void starts to grow and then the more that we feel like our partner is not there for us. I think one of the things that's pretty fascinating to notice is that both people are often having that similar situation where they both feel like the other person is not there from them. So in the book, Sue Johnson says, as lovers, we we we poised delicately on this tightrope when the winds of doubt and fear begin blowing. She said, if we panic and clutch at each other or abruptly turn away and head for cover, the rope sways more and more and our balance becomes even more precarious.

[00:27:55] To stay on the rope, we have to shift with each other's moves, respond to each other's emotions, and as we connect, we balance each other. And we are more in this emotional equal equilibrium. Isolation and the potential loss of a loving connection is coded by the human brain into this primal panic response. And that is a significant bit of data. The need for safe, emotional connection to a few loved ones is wired in by, we believe, millions of years of evolution. So distressed partners may use different words, but they're always asking these same basic questions. Are you there for me? Do I matter for you where you come when I need you? Will you come when I call? And so there's some fascinating data that I have talked about in some previous episodes that show this this neural overlap of emotional and physical pain of why you can feel a physical pain, physical response, a physical pain response to emotional struggle or emotional strife. And so that is where it taps into this primal panic of this feeling, isolated or alone. So this longing for this emotional connection to those nearest to us is the emotional priority, and it even overshadows the drive for food or sex. And that's why when people really feel emotionally disconnected or they're going through some really, really heavy relationship related issues, what happens? Oftentimes they don't eat for days.

[00:29:15] I mean, so it literally overshadows this drive for food. And the drama of love is all about this hunger for this safe emotional connection. And survival becomes this. It's imperative that we experience this connection with another human being or these this close group of human beings. So a loving connection is the only safety that nature really ever affords us. So what Sue Johnson has or she refers to are these demon dialogs that they are these desperate attachment cries. And so most of the blaming and these demon dialogs is it's a cry that is a protest against disconnection. And it can only be quieted by someone moving closer emotionally closer to hold and reassure their partner. But we get into these patterns where it is scary to put yourself in a position of vulnerability to to lean in to someone that is so emotionally frustrated or emotionally flooded that they may often not say the kindest things which that is why as much as I love the book, hold me tight. I love her follow up book, Love Sense that the magnetic marriage course. And we provide a lot of these tools that allow people to to be able to or have the tools to reconnect even when things are hard or when things have been difficult. Sue Johnson has an acronym that's are A.R.E. and the A is accessibility. Can I reach you the hours responsiveness? Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally and IA's engagement? Do I know you will value me and stay close? And so I wanted to talk a little bit and we'll start to wrap this up.

[00:30:53] But in the book Hold Me Tight, she talks about these seven transforming conversations. And I honestly, I promise you, I did not realize that this would become more of almost like this commercial or advertisement for my magnetic marriage course. But I have realized in being able to do and I have I have easily worked with over a thousand couples now over the last 15 years. And so I, I feel like there is a way to have those conversations using hold me tight and using the the principles of emotionally focused therapy. But it can be really difficult and it can be sometimes emotionally overwhelming or emotionally exhausting. And so I want you to know that even as you hear, if you go buy the book, hold me tight. If you take a marriage course, if you listen to a podcast I've done on four pillars of a connected conversation, I understand that you may walk away from even this podcast today and feel like there's some hope that there is a there's a thing there's a thing we can do and there's a framework that can be had that will help us communicate more effectively. And there absolutely is. And I want that to give people hope, but also know that you are trying to.

[00:31:57] Sometimes reverse years, if not decades, of not being able to communicate effectively by reading a book or by hearing a podcast, and it can take a lot more effort than that. But just know that that is a normal part of the process to find out some data, discover something new, something that that gives you a little bit of hope. And then as you start to explore what this is that you're hearing emotionally focused therapy or my magnetic marriage course, that your brain is still wired to go back to the path of least resistance, which is to protect itself and get in the bunker and be want this emotional connection, but also not know how to get the emotional connection. So all of that is so normal. So Sue Johnson has things broken down into these seven transforming conversations. She says, recognizing demon dialogs. In this first conversation, couples identify the negative and destructive remarks in order to get on the root of the problem and figure out what each other is really trying to say. She often talks about that or what I'm dealing with couples in my office. It's the, hey, how do we get here? And some of these demon dialogs fall into some pretty, pretty regular patterns. The tit for tat, the. You did this. Oh, yeah. Well, you did this. There's another one where it's the withdraw and the pursuer, where oftentimes the more that one person pursues, the other person withdraws and that gets into attachment styles.

[00:33:09] I did an episode of my podcast a few months ago with Jennifer Finlayless and five talking about anxious and avoidant attachment, and that was big. I put a lot of effort and into that that podcast episode because I really feel like that was where I was really starting to understand these attachment styles and how I find it. In most marriages, people fall into this pattern of one being more of this anxious attachment. That's me and my relationship, where if I walk in the room and my wife isn't jumping up and down and waving pompoms, I say, Is everything OK? Yeah, that's my own attachment. And then if 10 minutes later she's still kind of just doing her thing, then I'll say, hey, did I do anything, you know? And the more that I push with my anxious attachment, the more that can because of what I what I love. One of my favorite things is the concept of reactance, psychological reactance. This instant negative reaction of basically being told what to do. As the more I'm saying, hey, did I do anything. Are you cool? Will you tell me if I did anything? Is it almost drives that avoidant attachment? In this case, it would be my my wife where the more I'm fine, I promise you I am good to the point of where you almost feel that that wedge that can be driven in between there because most of us fall into this anxious attachment, avoid attachment pattern.

[00:34:16] So the second conversation that she talks about is finding the raw spots. And this this is some difficult work, but it's very powerful. And that is here. Each partner learns to look beyond the immediate impulse of reactions and figure out what the raw spots are. They're being hit. And this is where I find that doing couples therapy and this is, again, probably the 500 plug of this episode of my four pillars of a connected conversation. And the magnetic marriage course is we may now feel like, oh, OK, I get attachment theory. That makes a little more sense. It's nice to know there's a way to be able to communicate and that having all this data you're learning today and then we feel like let's jump right to the rough spots. And in my MagneGas marriage course, I identified these levels of charged topics and I've got four different levels of charged topics. The highest charged topics are often things like it's sex, it's parenting, it's finances, it's religion, it's politics. And so often, even when we get a shiny new tool or toy like emotionally focused therapy or my magnetic marriage course, we want to say, OK, let's jump right to these things that are really bothering us and it can be difficult. So you have to practice more of a connection with the lower charged topics because those same principles will go with you as you talk about these higher charge topics.

[00:35:29] But finding these raw spots, because I find that so often is the case where a couple comes in and they're going to break down the week and they're going to talk about how we really got into it on Wednesday and they'll look at each other and think, OK, what? I came here with the I remember what we were fighting about, but but we were really charged. And it's because it's not about the the particular topic per say. And when we touched on a raw spot, then we jump down into our bunkers and we're using these demon dialogs. We're throwing out the tit for tat or the PSU withdrawal or the freeze and flee. We just hunker down and wait till everything's over. We freeze and we run away. And then we hope that everything's OK. So we've been able to find those rough spots and communicate about them. Is one of these other transforming conversations is what Sue Johnson talks about in the book Hold Me Tight. Revisiting a Rocky Moment. This can be so powerful. This conversation provides a platform for deescalating conflict and repairing rifts in a relationship that build emotional safety. So this is where we don't talk about things, as I was mentioning earlier. And then we we go about our relationship. And then when things really start to get rough or you feel disconnected from your partner, now we bring back things from years ago and then the personal, oh, here we go again.

[00:36:35] You're bringing up the wedding. Are you bringing up the move or you're bringing up the vacation? Are you bringing up the family reunion? And obviously what that says is that we never process that. So we need a way to go back and revisit one of these rocky moments. And with these my four pillars, you can actually go apply those to a an old wound or an old conversation. They're there literally was. An example not too long ago of a couple that had had a rift at a family reunion a few years ago and we went back and we've applied these four pillars onto this rift, onto this family reunion situation that had happened years ago. And what that looked like in broad strokes was a husband that had really put himself out there to make it to a family reunion, but had also had to give up some things at work that were pretty important and also had a pretty big financial ramification. But I've been hearing that if he did not show up at this family reunion, that his wife really felt like he was not there for her, that she didn't matter to him. And so neither one of them communicated this effectively. And here we were years later. And we're in my office talking about this. And when we went back and applied these four pillars back to revisiting a rocky moment, what we realized was, as is typically the case, there was a lack of communication.

[00:37:46] And so people didn't even know what was going on and the other person's world. So the wife had really said, I really need you here. I'm taking the kids. And it's a lot of work. And my family is not the nicest people in the world. And this is a reunion. And everyone else is coming with their their spouses and they're going to look like everybody's living happily ever after and you will not be there. And so the husband at that point is shut down. And he went and then here we were talking years later where he he had been working on some project at work and had tried to communicate to his boss and to things did not go as well. And he ended up losing a particular position which had a financial implication. And so then he had been carrying this resentment for two or three years. Now, who was right? I don't know. It's not my job at have that power to say I, I now deem you is the correct one to one of the spouses. But one of the brilliant things about emotionally focused therapy and my magnetic marriage course and hold me tight is the goal is to be heard. It's not necessarily to resolve, which can be a very difficult concept to wrap our heads around. So in this situation, it would have been nice just for the two of them to be able to communicate because they're both, in essence, saying the same thing.

[00:38:47] Are you there for me? Do you appreciate me? Can I count on you? Do you have my back? And I believe truly, had they both been able to process that and in real time, back when the event occurred, when this family reunion was happening, that it might look something like this. So let's say that the husband is going to now assume the role of listener and the wife is going to be the speaker. The wife is going to communicate to him that, hey, I am really it's hard for me. I'm frustrated because I feel like you are not making this family reunion a priority. So he has to then pillar one have to assume good intentions. She's not saying this to hurt me. And this is a way that she feels that she needs to express herself to get her needs met, goes back to that attachment stuff that I mentioned earlier. So if she is expressing that, then he can't say that's absolutely ridiculous. He can't Pillar 2, I can put out that message that you are wrong. And three, I need to ask some questions. And that's where had they had those tools at that time or been working with the therapist at the time that was skilled in EFT, then it might have looked something more like her being able to express that.

[00:39:47] I feel alone. I feel like I'm being I feel like comparisons. I'm watching everybody else around me. I feel like all of their marriages are perfect. I feel like I'm being judged all of these things. And for him to then stay in there, ask those questions and then not jump into his bunker pillar four, stay present, he can't say, fine, I'll just go. But to say, man, I appreciate you sharing that. And then for him to then be able to say, all right, I can understand now, thank you for sharing that, that would be really difficult. And then I would work with him to now be the speaker and to stay in the good old I feel statements. I appreciate that, man. I feel like I've put in a lot of work in a particular project. And I worry that if I am not showing up that this might be detrimental to my career and our financial future. And we want we have all these hopes and dreams of kids through college and vacations. And and I just I'm worried that if I don't show up in this particular situation at work, that that could impact us negatively. So if I am working now with him being that speaker, her now, assuming he's not saying those things to hurt her and not saying that, that's ridiculous, you work super hard and no one would ever think that she can't say, hey, you're wrong. And then she's asking more questions and then she can't go into her bunker and say, okay, fine, you don't have to come.

[00:40:57] It doesn't matter. I'll just do everything on my own. But when people feel heard, that's when we're more we're more able to work toward a resolution or even some sort of compromise where in that situation maybe there is the ability for him to be there a little bit and to her understand that, well, you know, I really want him to feel like he can provide and succeed at work and him saying, I really want to be there for her, because that would be really difficult if she's feeling judged or if she's feeling like she's less than. And so in that scenario, we then I always joke that the fight becomes turning toward each other. You know, the fight becomes more of once we feel heard. And and I'm not saying this is the way it works out every time, but then that fight becomes more of something like than him saying, but you know what? I hear you and I want to be there for you and I'll do whatever it takes to her saying, no, no, I appreciate your sacrifice and I'll be OK just knowing that you're there for me. Maybe we communicate more effectively while I'm gone or he's able to come for a couple of nights or whatever that looks like. But we're going to get to that resolution more when we are able to recognize these raw spots of I feel like you aren't there for me.

[00:41:57] And then revisiting a rocky moment and being able to apply these these principles even to things that have happened in the past. So the fourth transforming conversation from Hold Me Tight is literally the words hold me tight. Sue Johnson said the heart of the program. This conversation moves partners into being more accessible, more emotionally responsive and deeply engaged with each other. The fifth conversation she talks about is forgiving injuries. This one's powerful. This one I do a lot of work with in the world of the concept of betrayal. And when one person has betrayed the other person, when there's been infidelity, when there's been addiction that's been exposed or or those those types of things, that injuries may be forgiven, but they don't they don't disappear. So instead, they need to become integrated into a couple's conversation as demonstrations of renewal and connection and knowing how to find and offer forgiveness empowers couples to strengthen their bond. I've never done an episode on what's called an attachment injury apology, but I need to do that at some point. An attachment injury. Apologies when someone is triggered. Oftentimes when I have a couple in my office and there has been some sort of betrayal, then when the person the betrayed is triggered and they're going to be triggered by a lot of things, they're going to be triggered by memories, sounds, music, smells, locations, you name it, that they'll often feel triggered and then they will immediately start to shut down and their partner may not even be aware of what's going on.

[00:43:16] So what hold me tight and E.F.T. and my magnetic marriage course is amazing for as being able to work on how to forgive injuries, how to forgive betrayal. And the key and this is, again, one of those things that can seem scary and it can maybe even seem counterintuitive at the time. But this concept of an attachment injury apology, I have given the example often of where let's say that there's been infidelity and it has happened around a particular you know, let me just like to stay away from being too insensitive. Let's say that the wife has blond hair and the husband had was was unfaithful with someone with dark hair and maybe a completely different body type or size. And so then they're at a store and then here comes someone that maybe fits more of what the what the affair partner looked like. And then nothing is said. But this uncomfortable silence spreads into the room and the couple is now standing there, even in a supermarket. And it just you can just feel the energy. Leave the room. What an attachment injury apology about is being the wife, being able to say, man, you know, that that's really hard for me when I see someone that walks by that that kind of looks similar to your affair partner and instead of the husband saying, OK, I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that, but forgiving injury and attachment injury, apologies for him being able to know what to say in those situations and be able to say, I appreciate you sharing that with me and I am so sorry I put you in a spot where we can be out and about and someone walks by that has long dark hair and now your mind immediately goes to this betrayal.

[00:44:40] But I'm here for you. I want you to know I'm here for you. We're working on this. I'm committed to you. And that goes back to these principles of EDT. Are you there for me? Can I count on you? Do I matter to you? And so being able to have this ability to forgive injuries is one of these key conversations that is is part of this emotionally focused therapy model to more. One is bonding through sex and touch. Here, couples find how to emotionally how emotional connection creates great sex and good sex creates a deeper emotional connection. And but that has to be done through a tell me more connected conversation style, not just a world of expectations and things that expectations and assumptions. Sexual intimacy is not a place for expectations and assumptions. It's more of a place where people need to be able to communicate effectively, because even when it comes to situations around intimacy, we all have our own experiences going in and that's a very vulnerable place.

[00:45:33] So we need to have these tools and skills to be able to communicate even about things of a sexual nature or of an intimate nature. And the last key conversation from the book Hold Me Tight Keeping Your Love Alive. This last conversation is built on the understanding that love is a continual process of losing and finding emotional connection. And I love how Sue Johnson says that, that we continue to lose and find emotional connection because we're all dealing with a lot of stuff. We are, on a day to day basis. And so it's normal for even the most emotionally healthy couple to lose, lose sight of each other from time to time. But now we have these tools of learning how to reconnect. That example I gave earlier about, hey, I feel like you've been a little bit emotionally distant then. We now have these tools to be able to communicate effectively and to be able to reconnect. She said that this this keeping your love alive conversation ask couples to be deliberate and mindful about maintaining a connection. So this goes back to the the blog. What Dan has put as lessons learned, he says from all couples therapist. He says, Our need for others to come close when we call to offer us a safe haven is absolute. The second one, emotional starvation is a reality. Feeling emotionally deserted or rejected or abandoned sparks physical and emotional pain and panic.

[00:46:47] This third point is that there are very few ways to cope with our pain when our primary needs for connection are not met. And I believe that is so true when our primary needs for. Are not met, then our emotional pain can can move into the area of the brain that is right there with physical pain, so when we feel emotionally alone, it can feel like a physical manifestation of pain. The fourth one, emotional balance, calm and vibrant joy are rewards of love. And and I love this comment. Sentimental infatuation is the booby prize. So saying that we often chase this sentimental infatuation. But what we really are desperate for is an emotional balance or this calm and vibrant joy that those are the true rewards of love. Next, there is no perfect performance in love or sex. Obsession with performance is a dead end, and it is being emotionally present that that is the key emotional presence is really what matters in a relationship. Six and relationships. There's no simple cause and effect, no straight lines, only circles that partners create together. And we pull each other into these loops and spirals of connection and disconnection. The next one, emotion tells us exactly what we need if we can listen to it and use it as a guide. And I love that concept of our emotion or our emotional response is there as a way to get our needs met.

[00:48:02] This is an episode on stress and anxiety not too long ago. And what I talked about extensively in that episode was that even anxiety is our body trying to say, hey, you need to watch out. You need to be aware. I need to warn you of impending danger. So even the concepts of anxiety is our brain trying to say, hey, I'm looking out for you. It just might have it might be anticipating a few too many events that will most likely never happen. But the concept is that our body is literally trying to do us a favor by either telling us that we're need to be weary or afraid of a situation, or it's also doing the same thing where it's our emotion is telling us what we need. If we can listen to it, use it as a guide. Our emotions are telling us I need you right now to our partner. I need this emotional connection. Are you there for me? The next one that that he writes are we all hit the panic button at times and we may lose our balance and slip into anxious, controlling or numbing and avoiding modes. But the secret is not to stay in these positions. It's too hard for you or your lover to meet you there. And this is the part where if our way to get our needs met is to withdraw and bless our heart, if that's where we're at right now, that's a pattern that we've created, that being able to have the tools to come out of your bunker and express your needs is ultimately being it's using your your put your big boy pants on and showing up with your adult coping mechanisms and adult coping skills.

[00:49:27] I've done so much in the last few episodes around attachment and abandonment issues, and that withdrawal is truly our childhood abandonment or attachment wounds manifesting into adulthood. You know, it really is that ability when we are when we are withdrawn, we are we're kind of saying, OK, if I withdraw, then people will come find me. But then that's a bit of a rigged system because we're also putting ourselves at danger of if people don't then find me when I am withdrawn, then that means something is wrong with me. So those are those childhood coping mechanisms coming into adulthood. We need to get to a point where we can then put ourselves out there because we want what is best for us. We are in charge of our own ship, so to speak. And so we need to have the tools and the voice to be able to put ourselves out there and say, hey, I need you right now. And that's OK. Key moments of bonding are when one person reaches for another and the other responds and it does. It's difficult. It can be it takes courage and it is emotionally vulnerable to put yourself out there at the risk of your partner not responding.

[00:50:28] But I will tell you, the alternative is not going to be the way to a true emotional connection. That's where we're talking about if your go to move is to sit in your bunker and wait and hope that somebody comes to rescue, then that is going to lead to a lack of satisfaction in the marriage. So having the tools, the skills, this is a general plug. My magnetic marriage course or program of being able to put yourself out there is absolutely key. I've got a few more here and I'm realizing as the world's worst promoter, let me quickly toss in an ad right now for Betterhelp.com. And the reason why I feel like it would be appropriate right now is if this is emotionally focused couples therapy. And if you are finding that right now, you're saying I want to do these things, but I have a lot of my own stuff I got to deal with, then I highly recommend at times you may need to go take care of some of your own insecurities or vulnerabilities to be able to show up in a couples situation. If your spouse is not interested in couples therapy right now, maybe the best thing that you can do is go raise your own emotional base line through some individual counseling. And that can be really difficult, because I will tell you as a therapist who has a very, very long waiting list and I'm grateful for it and all those wonderful things, now that we are breaking the stigma around mental health and we're just coming off of one of the craziest years in the history of the universe, there are a lot of people right now that are trying to find help.

[00:51:53] And so if you are unable to find a therapist, a counselor in your area, then really go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you can do now what well over a million people are doing. You can find help and even up to 24 to 48 hours and it can be done through tella therapy. And we're talking on the phone, the computer, there's even text therapy. Betterhelp.com has a pretty fascinating article on its website that I've sent to a few people of where people are literally able to text each other and the way here's what I mean to sound like my first get off my lawn, old man moment. The way kids text these days tell you what you know, they can literally have conversation, they have conversations, these kids on their phones with their fingers. And so you can have this this experience as well through Betterhelp.com. So go to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch. You get ten percent off your first months, these first months costs. And they have a really impressive onboarding system assessment tool where you fill out a series of questions and you can find someone that specializes in some of the things that you may be struggling with, whether it's anxiety, depression, OCD and and you owe it yourself.

[00:52:56] Please go find help either through somebody in your area or if you can't, they are real licensed professional counselors and therapists that are at Betterhelp.com virtual couch. OK, so let me get back to there's a few more of these. The tenth thing that Dan shares on his blog is forgiving injuries is essential and only happens when partners can make sense of their own hurt and know that their lover connects and feels that hurt with them. So this is where we're designed to deal with emotion. In concert with another human being, a lasting passion is entirely possible and love. The erratic heat of infatuation is just a prelude. But in attuned, loving bond is the symphony. How beautiful is that quote? Neglect will actually will absolutely kill love. Love needs attention. Feel like this is where love needs watering. You must nurture love knowing your attachment needs and responding to those of your lover can make the bond last truly until death do us part or throughout the eternities and beyond and all the cliches. About love, when people feel love, they're freer or more alive or more powerful or absolutely true, they are more true than we could ever imagine, that all you need is love. Love is the answer. All of those cliches, when you have this type of a relationship, when you have one that is founded on these principles around emotionally focused therapy.

[00:54:06] And we're seeing this, the Preston and I, with this first round of the magnetic marriage course, the feedback again, it's been pretty phenomenal of people now realizing that there is a different way to communicate, that there is a way to stay connected, even if they've been married for a very long time and felt like that fire, that flame was was dead. And this is one of those things that I don't know why it took me a long time to see this, but I'm in my office, I'm doing couples therapy. I've got this model, this emotionally focused therapy model that I'm using as a therapist again, which is now having me love couples therapy. And it hit me a few years ago that I'm talking to people that don't know what I'm talking about. They they basically have come in to learn how to listen and fight better, or they come in to have Mirrool to hear who is said what. And then I get to tell them who is right and who is wrong. And so I really feel like that, you know, it dawned on me that people don't know that there is a different way to communicate if they didn't see that model with from their parents or if they have not had that in their relationship, which I think is why every time I put out a podcast on emotionally focused therapy or my magnetic marriage or course, or these four pillars of a connected conversation, the downloads are thousands of downloads more because people hear this and say, wait a minute, there's a there's a way that this could happen, but it is not easy and it does take work.

[00:55:25] And you can read a book like Hold Me Tight or you can read her next book, Love Sense, and you can go see a couples therapist, but you need to find one that really knows what they're talking about. Or again, what a what a plug for TonyOverbay.com/magnetic. And we put these tools in place in my magnetic marriage course. So all the cliches there. True. So the conclusion the simple truth is that we feel securely connected if we feel the secure connection with our partner, we feel, if we feel emotionally attached, that we are better able to manage the the unpredictable nature of life and whether it is personal, whether it's professional, whether it's in our relationship as a couple, whether it's in our jobs, whether it's with our kids, that we're more resilient and we're able to manage the ups and downs of life more and we're less prone to develop these mental health concerns, if we can stay in tune with our person, our partner, if we can stay attached, securely attached to the person that is there for us, that we need to be able to feel like that person is there for us, that that we matter, that they have our back, that that they will show up when we call for them.

[00:56:28] So that is my hope to you. I appreciate you letting me take you on this emotionally focused therapy journey. And I will I will have some bonus episodes coming up. I'm going to do a little bit more with some parenting. I'm going to have a bonus episode in a week or two. It's a replay of my first episode that I did with Jennifer Finlaysonfife are actually the second one where I talk about high desire, low desire partners in a relationship. We're going to talk about how to teach kids empathy. We're going try to put a lot of content out in the next few weeks, especially leading up to the next round of this magnetic marriage course, which has been a game changer. So thank you so much for joining me today. Don't forget to go to Betterhelp.com. That would be great. If you're still listening and you happen to I'm going to put this up on my YouTube channel and close to a thousand subscribers. It would be wonderful to kick over that mark because then YouTube gives you different tools to work with. So if you are YouTube person and you go over, find the virtual couch channel on YouTube and give it a subscribe, that would be great. And I will leave us with, as per usual, the wonderful the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It's wonderful. I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

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