Mondays 2pm eastern
I realized at the age of 38 that I needed help to understand what was happening in my relationships. I wanted to know what was “wrong” with me that I kept looking to the outside for someone new while I was in a relationship. Almost immediately I was shocked to learn that I had not been “growing” emotionally. I had been stuck doing the same thing over and over again. That realization felt so right to me.
As I grew, and my self awareness took hold, I was again shocked to realize that I was looking outside my relationship to find someone new in order to get “something” that I was missing inside of me. I didn’t know that I’d been looking for… a person, who would “make me” feel good about myself. My self-esteem and self-confidence were shot. That was when I also decided to change my career path and go back to school to obtain a Master’s Degree in Psychology and then a PhD in Psychology. I wanted to understand how people who lacked self-confidence and self-esteem, like me, could gain whatever it was so that those critical parts for living a comfortable life, which I believed had been taken away in childhood, could return to them. I focused on parent-child relationships because I believed the answers to be found in those interactions. Then, I realized that I could see those same childhood relationship dynamics, in the love relationship between the couples who came in and were stuck “in it”, either silent or angry. Their relationship was collapsing exponentially with every painful “in it” moment between them. And I saw that couples who came in to change the way they related together always spoke about the similarities of their partners to their parents or to one of the parents, or to a brother, sister, relative or friends with whom they’d had traumatic experiences with at home or at school. I realized then that, most often, one person in the relationship had been looking to the relationship for their partner to give them validation, understanding, and nurturing, so they would finally feel valued and loved. They wanted to feel good about themselves and to grow emotionally stronger in the love of their partner. The person who gave up themself flourished in the initial focus of their partner. But, without their awareness, they had chosen someone who did not want to continue to relate in that way. Often that person just wanted the relationship to work without wanting to “relate.” Because, they just wanted to do their own thing in the relationship. They truly needed space and distance and wanted to be loved for who they were. They just wanted to be free in the relationship to be themselves. They too wanted to flourish in the focus of the partner who gave up themselves to focus on their partner’s needs and feelings. Their issue, to be loved for who they are and needed to be, matched, with the partner who gave up themselves to make the relationship work. My life’s efforts have been to explain this process so people can understand that there was nothing “wrong” with either of them, and that they could learn something from each other. Each had inside of them one part of what the other unconsciously needed in a full relationship, and that was the energy and freedom to take care of themselves out in the world and to also have a partner who enjoyed the closeness and intimacy within the relationship. My sister, Berta Hosier Conger, and I have written two books You’ll Do Anything for Her and You’ll Do Anything for Him, which explain what happened in the past and what is happening in the present in the relationship and why one person may give up themselves to make their relationship work. We also explain how individuals can work to become self-aware and then find out if their relationship can work for them or not. I want to help people with understanding why their relationships are not working and what they need to do to begin to grow up emotionally themselves, which can be done within the relationship if love for each other still exists.
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