Feeling Great! Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Wish me well.  This week I'm preparing for and teaching
other psychotherapists how to effectively do marital
counseling.  As promised, here is my next guest author
Margaret Paul, Ph.D.  You'll find her article thought
provoking, I did!


                            ~~  ^^  ~~


                  Learning From All Our Relationships




All of our issues come up in our relationships - our fears of
domination, rejection,  abandonment, of being wrong,
embarrassed, or humiliated. Relationships bring up our deepest
fears of loss of self and loss of other, which triggers our deep
learned protections - anger, judgment, withdrawal, resistance,
and compliance.

While our dysfunctional patterns emerge most clearly in primary
relationships with a partner, these patterns are certainly
activated in friendships, work relationships, and relationships
with our parents and children. Therefore, if you are not in a
primary relationship with a partner, do not despair! You can still
be learning from and evolving through all your relationships.

Craig, one of my clients, has not been in a committed
relationship for about seven years. Yet most of the work we do
together revolves around the problems he has in his work
relationships and friendships. Craig is a person who hates to be
controlled by others. As soon as he feels someone wanting
something from him such as time, attention, or approval, he
feels smothered and withdraws. He is highly sensitive to people
coming to him from an inner emptiness and "pulling" on him to
fill them up. However, his withdrawal doesn't work well for him.
When a "puller" comes up against Craig's resistance, the other
person tends to pull even more. Craig, who doesn't want to
appear rude, ends up giving himself up and caretaking - giving
the person what he or she wants. He then feels angry and finds
himself not even wanting to be around that person any more.
This same dynamic occurred in both of his marriages.

Craig is in the process of developing a powerful adult self who
can speak his truth when feeling pulled on rather than
withdrawing or complying. He is learning that it may be loving to
himself to be open to learning with the other person and say
something like, "I feel there is something you are wanting from
me. What is it?" He is learning that it may be loving to himself to
say, "When you pull on me for approval (or time or attention), it
doesn't feel good. I would like to have a caring relationship with
you, but I don't want to be responsible for your good feelings."

Every interaction we have with others is a reflection of our beliefs
about ourselves, and we have the opportunity to learn from each
difficult interaction. For example, if we believe we are inadequate,
unlovable, not enough, or unimportant, we will tend to take
personally others' cold or judgmental behavior toward us. We
may feel rejected and alone, and respond with anger,
resentment, hurt or withdrawal. Our painful feelings and reactive
behavior can alert us to the fact that we need to explore our
limiting beliefs about ourselves. If you know you are a caring and
compassionate person, and your definition of your self-worth is
based on who you are rather than on what you do, how you
perform or how you look, then you will be much less likely to take
other's cold or judgmental behavior personally. You might
respond with understanding, compassion or with gently
removing yourself from the situation, but you would not feel hurt
by other's behavior, nor would you get angry, resentful or

All our relationships and our reactions to them provide fertile
ground for our personal and spiritual growth. If you are willing to
notice all painful interactions and feelings - even to people with
whom you are not involved, such as the person who cut you off
on the freeway or the clerk at the market who was rude - you can
learn much about your false beliefs about yourself and about
what you can and cannot control. Your feelings such as anger at
the person who cut you off on the freeway or resentment toward
the rude clerk are  red flags that let you know it's time to look
within and explore the beliefs that are causing your difficult
feelings. When you recognize that your feelings are coming from
your own beliefs rather than from the other's behavior, you are on
the road to personal responsibility and the personal power that
comes with that.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of
eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By
You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?",
"Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To
Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE
Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or




Hope you enjoyed the article.  I'll be back in the writing
chair next week!

Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

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