4810 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55419

651-485-1151

Life Love Healing Wellness Center works with individuals, couples and families in the Minneapolis, MN area including these counseling service areas: couples counseling, love addiction, sex addiction, codependency, Enneagram, healthy relationships, other addictions and more. 

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Filtering by Tag: couples counseling

Emotional Moderation

leslie root

 Individuals and couples who struggle with moderation express their reality at one extreme or another making it difficult for partners and others to relate to them. People who struggle with emotional moderation don’t appear to understand what a moderate reality is. They are totally involved or totally detached, totally happy or absolutely miserable. People who lack emotional moderation believe a moderate response to a situation isn’t enough, only too much is enough. This symptom manifests in different ways:

 

The Body:

- Hiding the body with baggy clothes,

- Bland colors that fade into the woodwork.

- Flamboyant attire that everyone notices

- Or skimpy, tight clothing that’s revealing

- Physical extremes may also include how large or thin people become

- Compulsively neat or sloppy grooming habits are.

 

Thinking:

- Black and White thinking,

- Right or Wrong

- Good or Bad

- There are few gray areas. Only one right answer, “if you don’t agree with me completely you are totally against me.”

-Solutions to problems are extreme; doing a total cut off or reacting in a way that is not in proportion to the situation or transgression.

 

Feelings

-Difficulty knowing feelings

-Difficulty sharing feelings

-Difficulty experiencing feelings

-Little to no emotion or explosive/agonizing emotions

-Taking on other peoples feelings

 

Behaviors

-Trusting everyone or no one at all

-Allowing anyone to touch them or no one

-Discipline with children may look severe or not at all

-Exaggerated behavior responses to perceived threat

The bad news is our immoderate responses are highly unlikely to change without a therapeutic intervention. The good news is, interventions work! With a good therapist and the correct tools I have seen couples change very quickly. When couples are able to trust that their partner will respond with moderation, their whole relationship can change. Walls come down and intimacy comes in. A well trained therapist or coach can help couples see their current ability to respond moderately in other situations and support clients with utilizing the skill set in their current relationship. It is important to have an outside supporter to identify the benefits and costs of not changing. We are not good at fully acknowledging or knowing the consequences of our behaviors and their impact on generations to come.

 

 

Couples Core Negative Image Stepping Out of your "Bad Deal"

leslie root

Core Negative Image or CNI is our vision of our partners in their most difficult, irrational and least loving moments. When we move into "you always" or "you never" with our partner we are no longer arguing with each other but rather our caricatured version of our partner. When we move into this space with our partners we are in fact living out our early childhood wounding or false empowerment. This "Bad Deal" argument we consistently/continuously have with our partners represents a fight we never finished in childhood and that we didn't get growing up. 

Without fail, each one of us chooses a mate who fits our unresolved issues. As Terry Real author of "The New Rules of Marriage" informs us that we all marry our "unfinished business."You may think the relationship does not bring up every hurt and anger you've ever carried inside, but it does. Doing so allows us to re-create the old struggle, to attempt to be heard, appreciated and most important to get the outcome that we never got as children. The hoax is in believing this will actually happen. As a result of our screwed up thinking in relationships, humans tend to see their partners through a lens of distortion. We attribute characteristics to our partners that set them up for failure through the manifestation of a core negative image. One benefit to couples knowing this is that they can start to use this information for good rather than what it is generally used for. Your Partners CNI can serve as your relationship compass, it will always point out the opposite direction from your goal. 

The Following are five strategies outlined by Terry Real to help couples do this:

1. Make each other's CNI's explicit

2. Acknowledge the truth in each other's CNI's 

3. Identify CNI-busting behaviors

4. Use CNI's as your compass

5. Set up dead-stop contracts. 

These are strategies designed to be used and integrated in couples therapy. More to come in next weeks post! 

 

The Laundry List How Do You Rate?

leslie root

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."
  10. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

Tony A., 1978

Note: The Laundry List serves as the basis for The Problem statement.

The Flip Side of The Laundry List

  1. We move out of isolation and are not unrealistically afraid of other people, even authority
  2. figures.
  3. We do not depend on others to tell us who we are.
  4. We are not automatically frightened by angry people and no longer regard personal criticism as a threat.
  5. We do not have a compulsive need to recreate abandonment.
  6. We stop living life from the standpoint of victims and are not attracted by this trait in our important relationships.
  7. We do not use enabling as a way to avoid looking at our own shortcomings.
  8. We do not feel guilty when we stand up for ourselves.
  9. We avoid emotional intoxication and choose workable relationships instead of constant
  10. upset.
  11. We are able to distinguish love from pity, and do not think “rescuing” people we “pity” is an act of love.
  12. We come out of denial about our traumatic childhoods and regain the ability to feel and express our emotions.
  13. We stop judging and condemning ourselves and discover a sense of self-worth.
  14. We grow in independence and are no longer terrified of abandonment. We have interdependent relationships with healthy people, not dependent relationships with people who are emotionally unavailable.
  15. The characteristics of alcoholism and para-alcoholism we have internalized are identified, acknowledged, and removed.
  16. We are actors, not reactors.

The Other Laundry List

  1. To cover our fear of people and our dread of isolation we tragically become the very authority figures who frighten others and cause them to withdraw.
  2. To avoid becoming enmeshed and entangled with other people and losing ourselves in the process, we become rigidly self-sufficient. We disdain the approval of others.
  3. We frighten people with our anger and threat of belittling criticism.
  4. We dominate others and abandon them before they can abandon us or we avoid relationships with dependent people altogether. To avoid being hurt, we isolate and dissociate and thereby abandon ourselves.
  5. We live life from the standpoint of a victimizer, and are attracted to people we can manipulate and control in our important relationships.
  6. We are irresponsible and self-centered. Our inflated sense of self-worth and self-importance prevents us from seeing our deficiencies and shortcomings.
  7. We make others feel guilty when they attempt to assert themselves.
  8. We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb.
  9. We hate people who “play” the victim and beg to be rescued.
  10. We deny that we’ve been hurt and are suppressing our emotions by the dramatic expression of “pseudo” feelings.
  11. To protect ourselves from self punishment for failing to “save” the family we project our self-hate onto others and punish them instead.
  12. We “manage” the massive amount of deprivation we feel, coming from abandonment within the home, by quickly letting go of relationships that threaten our “independence” (not too close).
  13. We refuse to admit we’ve been affected by family dysfunction or that there was dysfunction in the home or that we have internalized any of the family’s destructive attitudes and behaviors.
  14. We act as if we are nothing like the dependent people who raised us.

The Flip Side of The Other Laundry List

  1. We face and resolve our fear of people and our dread of isolation and stop intimidating others with our power and position.
  2. We realize the sanctuary we have built to protect the frightened and injured child within has become a prison and we become willing to risk moving out of isolation.
  3. With our renewed sense of self-worth and self-esteem we realize it is no longer necessary to protect ourselves by intimidating others with contempt, ridicule and anger.
  4. We accept and comfort the isolated and hurt inner child we have abandoned and disavowed and thereby end the need to act out our fears of enmeshment and abandonment with other people.
  5. Because we are whole and complete we no longer try to control others through manipulation and force and bind them to us with fear in order to avoid feeling isolated and alone.
  6. Through our in-depth inventory we discover our true identity as capable, worthwhile people. By asking to have our shortcomings removed we are freed from the burden of inferiority and grandiosity.
  7. We support and encourage others in their efforts to be assertive.
  8. We uncover, acknowledge and express our childhood fears and withdraw from emotional intoxication.
  9. We have compassion for anyone who is trapped in the “drama triangle” and is desperately searching for a way out of insanity.
  10. We accept we were traumatized in childhood and lost the ability to feel. Using the 12 Steps as a program of recovery we regain the ability to feel and remember and become whole human beings who are happy, joyous and free.
  11. In accepting we were powerless as children to “save” our family we are able to release our self-hate and to stop punishing ourselves and others for not being enough.
  12. By accepting and reuniting with the inner child we are no longer threatened by intimacy, by the fear of being engulfed or made invisible.
  13. By acknowledging the reality of family dysfunction we no longer have to act as if nothing were wrong or keep denying that we are still unconsciously reacting to childhood harm and injury.
  14. We stop denying and do something about our post-traumatic dependency on substances, people, places and things to distort and avoid reality.