“It’s OK to not be OK.” – #3

“It’s OK to not be OK.”

As we continue in our journey of learning to be OK when others are not OK, let’s take a closer look at Sandy. Specifically, why she became so reactive and what she and
Bill can do differently next time so there is less relational damage.

While Sandy may have never connected the dots in her own mind, the reactivity she exhibited at Bill’s withdrawal had been a reactive pattern in her life for a long time. It is likely that this panicky response is all she’s never known… so to her it’s normal. Remember the book title from some time ago; “Normal” is a setting on your dryer!” Her reaction, while common, is not within an acceptable range that promotes healthy relationships.

Simply stated, Sandy became triggered as Bill “separated” from her. Separation sensitivity is common to Pleasers and Vacillators who are proximity seekers. With abandonment or intermittent connection in their early childhoods, they long for adult relationships to be consistently, close and predictable. Here they feel safe. If a primary attachment figure like Bill drifts away, averts their gaze or fails to give the proper attention, old fears rush to the surface and their brains become flooded with a hail storm of unpleasant emotions. When this happens, the left brain shuts down resulting in a loss of logic, lucidity and language. At this moment a frightened little child is driving the bus and a collision is inevitable.

With the right education, Sandy can begin to learn more about herself and her negative reactivity patterns which repeat themselves over and over again. When triggered, Sandy needs to become aware of what is happening within her mind, tell herself, and Bill, she is getting triggered by his withdrawal and ask him for help to regulate the impending stampede. If she is unsuccessful and displays anger (which is common when we are learning something new) Bill should say, “You look agitated and alarmed! Something must have triggered you. What do you think happened?”

When couples learn their triggers and how to manage them more healthfully, any couple can learn to be less reactive thus making it possible to be OK when others are not OK.

More next week.
Thanks for listening,
Milan

Holiday Tips

Here is a great reminder from a blog Kay wrote last year on how to handle the Holidays!

Here is a good rule when you are going to be around difficult relatives. Predict what will happen. You know them well. Talk with your spouse or kids (if they are old enough) about what you predict. Then have a sense of humor when it happens. Give someone in your family a thumbs up….”see, there it was…my prediction just came true. The goal? You know you are an adult around your family and relatives if when you leave you are not disappointed, angry, or hurt. After all what did you expect?

Avoider: Learn to feel…black and white to color. Jesus came to earth because he feels love and desire. Ask Him to wake you up this holiday season to the importance of relationships. That’s what the coming of our savior was all about; winning our hearts and meeting our deepest need. It wasn’t about tasks as much as expressing love. Frozen, tundra heart of the avoider waits to be unthawed. It stings to unthaw a frost bit hand. Ask Jesus to melts the ice until you are free to live in the color of emotion and accept your needs as important and worth meeting.

Pleaser: Pleaser season giving giving, giving. Stop. Quiet. Look .listen. What can you receive? Ask for help. Sit with people and talk instead of cleaning or doing dishes. The holidays mean we are around relatives who might hurt us with insensitive words. Maybe someone in our own family won’t appreciate all the work and effort you have made. Jesus proved hurt and rejection aren’t deadly. Glorious birth, then rejection. Death before resurrection. No fear. Rejection can be transformed into resurrection.

Vacillator: No idyllic Christmas. Just real. Jesus birth was messy not ideal. Let the season be good and bad. It won’t be as good as you hope and something will go wrong. So when it does, don’t over react , go all bad and suffer. Let it roll off. Let good and bad live close together in the days ahead. Jesus came into our world a broken place and still He accepts us as broken. Learn to let yourself and those around you be imperfect and messy. It’s a part of life.

Controller: Holidays can be reminders of painful childhood times. Think about your feelings about Christmas. Are they overly idealized to make up for all you suffered as a child? Or do you just barely tolerate the holidays because of how miserable they were growing up? It’s time of a reality based redo. Try to make this Christmas something “little you” can enjoy. Remember your anger is a cover for tender feelings. Something will probably upset you so when it does, look for the vulnerable feeling when you feel angry.

Victim: Jesus tolerated the intolerable on the cross. He understands your pain. Find solace in His love. Find Jesus in the days ahead in His gift of creation. Look, see, hear, touch the wonder. You are His wonder too. He came to this earth for you because you are loveable, worthy and He rejoices when you become His child. He is a good parent and he desires you. Dwell on Romans 8.

Milan and Kay have welcomed two new grandchildren into the family in the past couple of weeks. Busy times full of love and gratitude!

We would love to have you join us in January for a local How We Love our Kids event at Grace Fellowship church. Please click on the events tab to find the event and see all of the details.

We have just introduced a new Secure Connector CD and audio download. Last year, Milan and Kay wrote a whole blog series on all of the traits of the Secure Connector and we received great feedback. They have recorded many of the thoughts and tips from that series on this new CD. All of the Love Style Lectures are on sale this month! This includes all of the individual Love Style CDs and downloads! Great stocking stuffers!!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to growing more with you in the New Year!

Pleaser-Pleaser Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.
The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser

Pleaser-Pleaser Core Pattern

This pair takes the risk free route as much as possible and has difficulty making decisions. They may be overcommitted to activities as both have difficulty saying “No,” or including self-care as a part of their routine. Since both spouses lack boundaries, minimize problems and avoid conflict, things seem to go along quite smoothly until a crisis hits that forces the acknowledgment of painful realities. Neither is skilled at dealing with difficult emotions, or comforting, rather than reassuring. A strong, feisty child can throw this duo into a tailspin, as neither would be good at holding boundaries, and each has an aversion to dealing with strong emotions or protests from a spirited child. Teen years can be difficult on parents who are both Pleasers for the same reasons.
When there is finally a situation or event that forces difficult feelings to surface, often one spouse is ready to face reality, while the other wants to stay in the Pleaser mode. At this point, resentment can build as one person deals with more than their share of the family’s problems.

Next week will be the last week that all of the Attachment Core Pattern Therapy Packages will be on sale. Beginning in December, they will return to regular price.

Blessings!

Avoider – Avoider Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.
The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser

Next week we will highlight the last Core Pattern: Pleaser-Pleaser. All of the Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages will continue to be on sale through the end of November. Beginning in December, they will go to regular price and we will have another special for December. For more information please go to: www.howwelove.com

Avoider – Avoider Core Pattern

Nothing seems to ruffle this couple. Conflict will be avoided unless it can be rationally discussed. Affection will be minimal and often a family pet gets more touch than the couple give to one another. Of all the combinations, this one is most likely to not want children. If children do enter the family, the system will be stressed as babies and toddlers are a bundle of feelings and needs. Arguments may ensue over division of labor.
This couple seems to sail along with few problems and no prominent Core Pattern until a crisis hits that breaks the lid off of shut down feelings. At this point, one person will start to feel and need support on some level, and their spouse will struggle and feel inadequate to make this shift. This couple rarely comes to therapy unless a crisis has forced tension into the relationship and the pair begins to struggle. A Core Pattern may emerge after a crisis where the spouse in pain feels unsupported and let down by their mate’s lack of empathy.

Blessings!

Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.
The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser
For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns. – See more at: http://www.howwelove.com

Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern

Vacillators are sensitive and easily triggered by any hint of rejection or abandonment. Each can feel easily overlooked, misunderstood or unloved. Over time, the passionate connection and intense good feelings of the early relationship are disturbed by anger, hurt and disappointment as “real life” sets in. Since Vacillators can swing between “all good” and “all bad” their relationship is often stormy and extremely good or bad on any given day.
Jealousy is often a problem for this couple as both are easily threatened by potential loss. Either mate can vent and listening is rare. Anger is matched with anger and fighting can be intense and ugly. The children suffer during such interchanges and are rarely asked how the fighting made them feel. Neither likes to apologize, or give in, so stubborn standoffs can last a long time with fighting replaced by stony silence. Both have difficulty understanding their contribution to the problems. Rather, they blame the other for making them feel “bad” and “unhappy.” With no ownership problems continue.
The Vacillator goes through a pattern of protest, despair and detachment over and over when their idealized hopes and dreams don’t materialize. Over time, they may give up, detach and appear to be a disconnected Avoider when, in fact, they are a Vacillator who has given up hope.

Blessings!

Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.
The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser
For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns. – See more at: www.howwelove.com

Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern

As the imprints collide, the Pleaser cannot keep up with the idealized expectation of the Vacillator. As they make mistakes, and feel irritability from the Vacillator, their anxiety returns and they become concerned with avoiding conflict. Initially, they try harder to make it work, wanting to again feel the Vacillator’s pleasure and praise. Vacillators confront and Pleasers attempt to avoid confrontation which sets up a chase scene.

The Vacillator becomes disillusioned when the initial passion begins to wane. They want their spouse to understand and want them, not just please them. The Pleaser’s anxious scurrying around makes them feel placated, rather than known and valued. This isn’t what they expected and over time the Pleaser’s efforts become annoying. The Vacillator becomes more agitated and upset, and they don’t realize Pleasers don’t know how to connect in a reciprocal way because they don’t know how to receive. Since Pleasers did not learn to have soul words growing up, and no one was asking about their heart, they cannot relate on this level.

The Pleaser tries to fix any negative emotions by doing nice things, so their spouse is happy. Moving towards the difficult feelings of others (or their own), makes them anxious because they don’t know what to do. Since the Vacillator doesn’t understand these deeper dynamics, they feel more and more unloved, and more and more disillusioned and angry.

The Pleaser keeps trying. After all, they have been pleasing for their whole life. Over time, resentment begins to build but Pleasers rarely express anger openly so it may be expressed in passive ways. They feel they are walking on eggshells and while their efforts may make the Vacillator happy for a while, it won’t be peaceful for long. If the pattern continues long enough, the Pleaser’s resentment may build to the point that they give up trying or leave their spouse. If the couple remains in this pattern for years, their marriage is often filled with bitterness and resentment.

Blessings!

Vacillator-Controller Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.

The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser

For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns.
– See more at: www.howwelove.com

Vacillator-Controller Core Pattern

Both the Vacillator and the Controller mistake intensity for intimacy. Often, that was their experience growing up. Fighting or intense arguing is a connection of sorts, in that two people are engaged, but what is lacking is the ability to regulate emotions and reach a resolution where both people feel heard, understood and valued. In many homes there is intense fighting without resolution. Everyone just moves on even though no one was truly heard nor was the problem resolved.

It may appear these two like to fight when in fact it’s just the only way they have experienced connection. Both like to be right, both move quickly to anger and both are stubborn and determined. The making up after a fight may be just as intense and sexual encounters are often used to “make peace”. Both spouses likely have come from homes where arguing and fighting were a part of normal everyday life, so neither sees the destructiveness of the Core Pattern, especially for the kids. This is one of the most volatile combinations and the kids suffer as a result.

The Vacillators’ tension builds up when they feel hurt, abandoned or misunderstood. The Controllers’ tension builds up whenever their control is threatened. It’s easy to see how a spark can quickly start a fire.

Blessings!

Controller-Victim Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change. The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser
For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns. – See more at: www.howwelove.com

Controller-Victim Core Pattern

The Controller never feels completely in charge as the smallest things threaten their sense of power. To lose control would mean feeling vulnerable and weak as they did as a child. The goal of control is to keep vulnerable childhood feelings from ever surfacing. Over time, insecurities about losing control increase. To lower anxiety, the Controller exerts more power.

The Controller believes to get their needs met, they will have to violate, exploit and manipulate others taking what they want or have nothing. Any feelings of weakness or vulnerability are loaded with humiliation and shame and quickly submerged under anger.

The Victim submits to the Controller believing they will otherwise be left alone with no one to meet their needs. Accustomed to high anxiety, they accept mistreatment not fully recognizing the seriousness of the abuse. As kids, Victims learned to tolerate the intolerable. In adulthood, unbearable relational pain seems normal.

In the cycle of abuse the tension builds, the Controller rages, and then goes through a period of regret, apologizing and promising not to lose control again while minimizing the recent outburst. For a short period of time the Victim may have the power until they give in and decide to believe the Controller once again. Tension builds and the cycle repeats again and again. At times the Victim may take their anger out on the children when the Controller is not home. Drugs and alcohol are often used to sooth pain and anxiety adding to the chaos and unpredictability.

Blessings!

Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.
The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser

For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns. – See more at: www.howwelove.com

Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern

Over time, the Pleaser begins to feel rejected by the Avoider’s independent, self-sufficient relational style. The Avoider’s tendency to disengage and detach makes the Pleaser feel anxious about the relationship wondering, “What is wrong?” “Am I making my spouse happy?” As the Pleaser feels cut off, they pursue to close the gap and lower their own anxiety. They wonder why the Avoider doesn’t seem to want or need them as much as they used to.

The Avoider becomes annoyed when the Pleaser interprets their need for space as a personal rejection. This is baffling to the Avoider who has always been independent and self-sufficient. They began to see the Pleaser as smothering and too needy so they distance and continue to be self-sufficient as they have always been.

The irritation of the Avoider increases the Pleaser’s anxiety. Why isn’t their spouse happier? Why don’t they want to be closer? The Pleaser increases their efforts to win approval and begins to resent the fact that they give more in the relationship. This irritates the Avoider, because they were not asking for anything in the first place. And so, the dance continues. Since both the Pleaser and Avoider are adverse to conflict and difficult emotions, most problems are minimized and not addressed. Honest difficult conversations are rare in this pair.

Blessings!

Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.

The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Pleaser-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser

For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns.

Vacillator-Avoider Core PatternAs the love styles collide, the Avoider feels constantly in “trouble” for disappointing their spouse. The passionate connection and the intense good feelings of the early relationship are replaced with the Vacillator’s passionate anger, hurt and disappointment as “real life” sets in. As the Vacillator devalues the relationship, the Avoider retreats and reverts to the independent lifestyle they adopted in their childhood home.
The Vacillator feels devastated when the “passionate connection” is lost. They feel angry, betrayed, and abandoned as they discover the Avoider’s lack of ability to connect. They do not understand that because the Avoider never experienced close emotional connections growing up, they cannot understand or value what the Vacillator wants. Initially, Vacillators are willing to work hard to get the Avoider to respond and engage. Over time, however, they become increasingly angry when the Avoider is incapable of providing the consistent, passionate connection they desire. Unlike the Pleaser, they voice their anger, further driving the Avoider into a mode of retreat.
The Vacillator goes through a pattern of protest, despair and detachment over and over when their idealized hopes and dreams don’t materialize. Over time they may give up and detach and appear to be a detached Avoider when in fact they are a Vacillator who has given up hope.

We hope you enjoy these and find hope that change is possible with God’s grace and hard work!

Blessings!