♥LOVE NOTE – Saturday January 7, 2012
A Big HELLO wonderful readers♡
There will be people that frustrate us in many different areas of our lives and having ♡TOOLS that equip us to respond consciously, kindly and compassionately is A NECESSITY. I believe everyone benefits from learning and knowing this work and having these ♡TOOLS.
In this post I share about the theory of Imago Relationship Therapy and how to talk about and share your FRUSTRATIONS, and how to Re-structure Frustrations into Behaviour Change Requests – BCRs for short. Using the Imago theory and ♡TOOLS and Skills has been very profound and life-changing for me.
I emphasize that we teach this work as a PROCESS/SKILL at the end of the whole weekend Imago Couples and Individuals Workshops and there is intensive pre-teaching through the earlier parts of the weekend so that the different steps make sense. This post is teaching you the concept in general.
One quote that captures what I believe is central to the Imago Relationship Therapy model and work of Dr Harville Hendrix is:
“Conflict is growth trying to happen”
It is really wonderful to be able to re-frame CONFLICT as a GIFT and as an opportunity to grow and heal and get our NEEDS met if we have the consciousnesses and the ♡TOOLS instead of something that we have to fear and run from.
Imago teaches that under all reoccurring frustrations there is:
- an UNMET NEED for the person with the frustration and
- a GROWTH EDGE for the person they have the frustration with.
The theory is that all frustrations contain a hidden desire, a need, a yearning. We teach people how to unpack the frustration and translate the desire into a Non-Demand REQUEST for a CHANGE in BEHAVIOUR.
Usually when there is a frustration people share it by criticising /complaining/whinging /whining /blaming /nagging/attacking and the like
– raised voices and eyebrows
– finger pointing
– aggressive body postures
– and often with sarcasm, contempt and superiority.
Many of THE SCABS get used! A suggestion for the Graduates of the Workshops reading do a quick review and test yourself on what they are before looking.
By THE SCABS we mean any invalidating of the other:
C-riticism, C-ontempt, C-ondescension, C-omplaining, C-omparing
A-ttacking, A-ccusing, A-ssuming, A-rrogance
B-laming, B-elittling, B-ullying, B-arbs
S-haming, S-uperiority, S–neering
It is even more detrimental as people usually don’t just complain about and criticise the behaviour, they mostly word it so that it comes out that there is something ‘wrong’ with the character of ‘the other’ which they attack them for.
For instance: – “You are messy and lazy’.
rather than some version of:
I’m frustrated that you have left things in what I consider to be a mess.
People need to learn to re-word their criticisms and complaints into what they NEED.
...and I need you to put things back in the fridge and cupboard and clear and wipe the bench after you’ve made a sandwich.
We need to
– say specifically what we want
– be brief and to the point,
– not say what they are doing wrong and don’t want
– tell them what doing it right would look like for you
– make a non-demand request of them.
And the most important part of making a non-demand request is –
And do you know why that is?
In essence if you ask something of another and they don’t have the choice to say either YES or NO then you are in the position of demanding and the consequence is they will usually feel controlled!
Just think about it – if you don’t have a choice as to how you answer/respond to someone’s request then it will feel like you are being told what to do!!
Throughout this whole process it is important to stay CURIOUS!
We teach – all conflict is held in place by UNMET NEEDS from childhood.
And that we need to go ‘under’ whatever is frustrating us on the surface to find out what is fueling our frustration/irritation.
There are two people in any frustration/argument/conflict –
a) the person with the frustration and
b) the person who frustrated/is frustrating you
FOR THE PERSON WITH THE FRUSTRATION
You convert your frustrations into BEHAVIOUR CHANGE REQUESTS (BCRs) – a Non Demand REQUEST for a CHANGE in BEHAVIOUR.
And by the way – NO you don’t have to do this around every frustration you have. We suggest you consider doing this process where the frustration lasts more than about 10 minutes and/or it is reoccurring between you and ‘the other’. Then it is most likely linked to history – and is touching an unmet need usually right back into childhood.
1. We apply the 90/10 rule:
10% is about present and what ‘the other’ did. They are actually doing something and are not just an innocent bystander, and
90% is about history.
It is useful to ask yourself the question –
What felt like that as I was growing up?
It is more about the feeling rather than just the actual incident.
For instance, in the above example of you being frustrated by someone leaving “mess” on the bench: pay attention to the feeling you have when this happens and then ask yourself – What felt like that as I was growing up?
FOR THE PERSON WHO TRIGGERS THE FRUSTRATION
There is GOLD Hidden for YOU and it can feel a bit like ‘panning for gold’ as often there is much sorting and sifting to go through to find ‘the treasure’ that is in it for both of you.
♥ Whatever it is that ‘the Other’ most wants and needs from you, as expressed in their frustration, will be the hardest for you to do and give.
♥ He/she will be asking you to move into the LOST PARTS of you. In other words, parts of you (behaviours, actions, characteristics, feelings) that you did not develop when you were growing up.
♥ You will most likely feel inner resistance/blocking/judgement to meet the need of ‘the Other’ because such behaviours are not natural, normal and comfortable for you.
If they were you would already be doing them and you wouldn’t be in this frustration cycle with the other person!!!
♥ You need to give/do the behaviours requested by ‘the other’ as A GIFT. In other words, there is no ‘price tag’/ conditions. They DO NOT have to give back or do anything for you in return.
This is what unconditional ♡LOVE is. This is one of the hardest things for people to do as most people grow up learning and experiencing conditional ♡LOVE. This also means that they are ‘wired’ to expect that this is what ♡LOVE is!
So moving into experiencing/doing/giving unconditional ♡LOVE is a profound step/gift.
Hendrix introduced the term:
as people must go beyond what is comfortable or natural and enlarge their repertoire of behaviours.
Stretching can sometimes feel like being asked to act like someone else. This is why it feels so hard!
Doing behaviours that are not natural and normal for you S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S you towards wholeness.
And when you do an action/behaviour ‘the other’ requests they experience HEALING (that is, getting their need met) and you experience GROWTH (that is, acting in ways that aren’t natural for you).
In the Imago model Harville distinguishes between “HEALING” and “GROWTH”.
For HEALING to happen we need ‘the other’ to meet our need.
By GROWTH we are expanding and growing into parts of us that we didn’t develop as we were growing up.
Here’s an Example: I’ll use my request for people to comment on the blog. My unmet need is for people to comment and to show up for me in that way – I’ll repeat MY REQUEST –
Would you [meaning any of you out there in blog-community land reading this] be willing to commit to making a comment on the blog a minimum of once a week for the next month?
MY HISTORY: My upbringing taught me I’m supposed to be strong and self-sufficient and to not need others and to carry on regardless and to not ask for what I want as there is not enough to go around. I lived in a family where there were 5 kids and I was the oldest girl and our father was sick from when I was 2 till he died when I was 11. I learnt these ways of being. I was taught and got approval and acceptance for looking after others and to take care of their needs and to not have any of my own.
NOTE: One way to know whether you are in the arena of growing is whether there is a feeling of “s-q-u-i-r-m-i-n-g”. Doing something that makes you feel exposed and uncomfortable, and usually there will be self-judgment and criticism…..And sharing this information about my childhood is making me s-q-u-i-r-m………So this is as well a growth edge for me to advocate for myself and to ask, especially when I have asked about this before.
Being vulnerable and putting your needs out that aren’t being met is one of the hardest things for people to do in the change process so there is always growth for the one asking as well.
In fact, I think sharing about our needs that aren’t normally met in our relationships, and weren’t met as we were growing up, from the adult place of unconditional ♡LOVE (that is, I’ll still ♡LOVE and accept you even if you don’t meet my needs) is one of the most “grown -up” self-regulated ways to be.
And by the way it doesn’t end there if ‘the Other’ says No to meeting our need.
There are more steps as it is crucial that you stay advocating for yourself to get your needs met.
So I am S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G in asking.
And asking for what you want which you also didn’t get in the past, mostly will feel like a q u a n t u m leap.
This is certainly a G-R-O-W-T-H E-D-G-E.
YOUR GROWTH EDGE IN COMMENTING/ACTING: With a note that Growth Edges are as unique as the people who have them.
For you to respond to my request your Growth Edge might be:
– voicing your opinions and being heard and seen and experiencing that your opinion matters.
– it could be committing to an action and following through.
– and many more.
NOTE: what I have described in this post is just a SUMMARY OVERVIEW of this process. The full process has many more specific steps to it. For most people this stuff is hard to get and to be able to do the full process with full undefended consciousness can take a long time – as long as a year or more even with regular practice, as remember very importantly you are re-wiring some very old survival patterns and character styles in doing this!!
For the full teaching and intensive processing work I recommend everyone attend an Imago Getting The Love You Want Couples Workshop or the Keeping The Love You Find Workshop for Individuals that are presented in many countries around the world and follow up with coaching with a certified Imago Therapist. For more information you can also check out both of the books by –
Dr Harville Hendrix.
I thank and honour Harville for his brilliance for this work in helping us to really understand relationships and the frustrations that threaten the ♡LOVE-ing and respecting space between people.
♡MIRRORING TOPIC: Share with someone what this post brings up for you, triggers in you, how it impacts you and have them ♡MIRROR you for a minimum of 5 minutes. Then swap and you ♡MIRROR their sharing.
Does this all make sense to you? Hope it does and it is useful to you. I would appreciate your input around its usefulness to you as well as any ideas of how to make it clearer.
I’m imagining all sorts of questions may come up for people – so please ask whatever comes up as I’m sure many others will have the same questions.
May you be EXPERIMENTING and S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G and S-Q-U-I-R-M-I-N-G and taking new steps to live the life of your dreams and getting your precious needs met. Respectfully and encouragingly, LOVE allways Susie♡