It became my life’s mission – to help others escape what I had escaped; the pain of the past, the pain of wounded relationships and broken dreams.

I Didn’t Use To Be Good At Relationships

I remember as a kid being upset and walking away from our home. Thoughts swirled around in my head. Never get married, never have kids. Never get married, never have kids.  Over and over like a mantra.  I don’t remember the incident, but ours was a violent household where fighting was frequent, and empathy rare. I was a sad and depressed child.

When I eventually grew up, I began to realize I didn’t know how to have a functioning relationship. A pattern developed. Fall in love. Have a great six months. Problems emerged. Struggle for a while. A new love interest arose. Break up the old relationship and start over.  Falling in love was easy but working through the difficulties that emerged in all those relationships were not. 

I did get married in my mid 30’s, after a series of relationships. It was a difficult marriage. Fortunately, we never had children. After years of both individual and couples therapy, it ended in a divorce.

In the meantime, I became a psychotherapist. I had to unravel so much of my trauma, meaning making and psyche. I came to understand emotionally the imprints left on me by my parents. No longer was I in an unconscious relationship with them, compensating for their deficits. No longer was the imprint of being a caretaker to an angry father deforming my ability to speak up for myself. I reformed and reclaimed myself. The wrinkles of my life smoothed out.  I studied psychology and relationships and participated in training after training. I lived and breathed self-understanding and therapeutic process. I found I loved sitting with a person or a couple and seeing the patterns of their lives. I loved seeing the images of how they interacted. I loved helping them untangle the knots of their lives.

For me, there has been a long journey between those two places – beginning with despair and hopelessness, evolving to appreciation, wonder, and joy.

I’m in a fantastic marriage now. One I could never have envisioned in my youth. I found ‘the one,’ my soulmate. A concept I never believed in, and certainly never thought would happen in my life. Today, I am married to a man I adore. Sure, we get into arguments sometimes. But 10 minutes later, we’ve figured out what triggered us and moved back into our safe connection. Gone are days of long-lasting hurt and a confused distance between us.

Part of that journey is my creating WeConcile® – an online, DIY, experiential learning program for couples. I started writing WeConcile in 2009. And while I was writing it, my now husband and I lived it. It seeped into our flesh, migrated into the very cells of our bones. The spaces within both our psyches that had been filled with trauma, doubt, and misunderstandings, slowly became infused with understanding, healing, and trust. We became different people. We became humans capable of listening to each other. We changed our behaviors. We reacted less.

I didn’t know that as over the years I created this program, I would also be living it. I only knew it became my life’s mission – to help others escape what I had escaped; the pain of the past, the pain of wounded relationships and broken dreams.

We all have our unique abilities and talents. Mine has been living at the interface of unwinding trauma and healing, of crossing the bridge of unrelating to relating, of being a writer and a healer, a student and a teacher. If you had asked me as a kid, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would never have said, help people understand themselves, help people relate in healthy happy ways. In my youth I would have said, I want to save the planet, help the animals (and I still do). But life had other ideas for me on how I would contribute to this world. I have been guided. The fertile roots of my life have reached downward and anchored me in this particular journey of teaching others how they can better relate, how they can make their relationships beautiful.

Check out my more detailed article on my relational journey here:

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/when-the-journey-is-abundance/

The Journey of Improving Our Relationships

The Journey of Improving Our Relationships

How does having a significant illness relate to being in a relationship that doesn’t work? How do we take that understanding and apply it to improve our relationships?

In 2016, when I was struggling with Lyme disease, in desperation, I went to an alternative treatment center. The treatments included shots, IV’s and fevers which could get out of control, body temperatures moving to unsafe levels. The needles pushing through tender skin, hurting despite the icing of the area previously. The weight of the IV needle in the vein hindering easy movement. There was no way to escape the discomfort of the treatments that went on from morning into the night for several months or the exhaustion from both the illness and the remedy. I found the treatment to be stressful, traumatic and at times painful. But I knew I needed to get better and I was willing to suffer to find my health again.

You might ask how this situation relates to being in a relationship that isn’t as good as it could be, or where a couple is struggling. These two journeys are somewhat different, but parallels exist. In both cases, we are in a state of dis-ease and we are looking for healing or wholeness.

When I was at that clinic, I created a mantra, which I used to focus my intentions and attitudes.

Please help me find health.

Please help me be safe.

Please help me have courage.

Please help me hear the guidance of my higher self.

I silently repeated this mantra over and over. When I was getting a painful shot or sitting in a bathtub full of ice and ice water in an attempt to keep my fever from getting dangerously high, I would say this mantra to myself. I used it to ground myself. I used it to keep my focus clear. I used it to reassure and soothe myself.

A person in a failing relationship can easily get overwhelmed with distress, with feeling unsafe emotionally, with not knowing if they can get through the difficulties, with lacking clarity and not knowing which way to turn or how to navigate through the disruptions between themselves and their partner. Like my Lyme journey, a relational journey also requires courage, reassurance, guidance, safety and the desire for the relationship to return to health or wholeness.

I was lucky to have mostly kind staff and nurses, and the patients were silly and playful with each other. We created the support we needed amongst ourselves. Connection is another part of what gets us through difficult times. In a relationship that works, we have connection that supports us through life’s challenges. But in a relationship that doesn’t work, often we do not have that safe connection with our partner.

It is painful when we fight, when we don’t know if our relationship will survive. It is painful to feel confused and not know which way to turn, or how to get an argument to turn into a more productive conversation.

Yet our desires for a better relationship are achievable. We can learn how to create healthy emotional and relational selves. We can create safety in our relationship. We can find our courage if we have guidance. And we can learn to ‘hear’ the right way to go.

But without new information coming into our ‘system’ we often don’t know how to proceed.

WeConcile is a do-it-yourself online relationship course designed to teach you how to change your relationship, how to make it safe and healthy. You can find your courage and become a full team with your partner. You will learn new ways of being that will open up new connections in your relationship. And unlike dealing with a major illness, you can enjoy the process of gaining more contact with, and understanding of your partner.

Recovering from Lyme disease is a long journey. Some of the people I went to that clinic with have passed. They were not able to defeat the disease. Others are still struggling. Some, like myself, are more or less, better. I never gave up. I sought to recover, to find new knowledge, new tools. It took many treatments, a clear focus on what I wanted, and continued courage and persistence. I was one of the lucky ones who found what I needed.

You are on your own journey. But a journey is just that – moving through terrain, from one location to another. Your journey can lead you to a place where you have the love you have always desired. Don’t give up on your dreams. It is completely doable to create a nourishing and peaceful relationship and the process of doing so is no longer a mystery. A science of love exists with the tools you need. You only need to choose to begin the journey of healing your relationship.