Posts Tagged ‘limbic brain’

Valentines Day…..Again

February 14, 2010

geishaboy500 / Flickr

Well folks here it is again, the day of…well, what is it to you?

This is what people tell me, and I must confess, I have thought all of these myself:

A capitalist plot. A day filled with love and gratitude. A big letdown day highlighted by unfulfilled needs and yearnings. An excuse to receive and eat chocolate.  An important day to deeply share in connection with your partner. A day in which there is some focus on romance and a good dinner out. A day a little more special than most.  The one day a year you are likely to feel really disappointed.  A day to just try to ignore.

All of these can be true depending on where your relationship is at in the present moment. It is a complex day because many people assign such significance to it and are sadly let down. Why?

I think it’s expectations.

C’mon, admit it. Don’t we all just wanna be that special someone to our partner and when our hopes and needs aren’t met just the way we want, we come crashing down, feeling hurt and rejected.


Sister72 / Flickr

Here’s what I propose: DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO GO THERE. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, have a set of unrealistic expectations you want your partner to meet (especially if you don’t even tell them what they are) and then feel terrible because they haven’t been met. And then do not, and I repeat DO NOT, go off and have a temper tantrum (quiet or loud) because once again you feel let down and just plain crappy about your love life.

Save yourself the heartache and instead try….

  • Focusing on the GIVING. Put your energy into giving something to your partner you know he or she will appreciate. Make it small and meaningful.
  • Do not let any money exchange hands to gift this.
  • Make it an unconditional gift and experience how it feels to do this in a mature way!

Get the picture? If you need some ideas here they are:

  • A massage.
  • A card you have made with a message from you about what you are grateful for about your partner.
  • A note you have made with a sweet poem you have found in a book or on the internet.
  • Sitting them down and telling them 6 things you really appreciate about them.
  • If you have kids, allow your partner to sleep in. Make breakfast for the family.
  • Try a new recipe for dinner and remember the candles on the table.
  • Ask to go for a walk and have fun: do not bring up a complaint!

Send me other ideas and we’ll add them to the list.

Keep it simple and keep it real!

Dare ya –

Work with yourself to stretch and grow-up a little more. Mentally prepare yourself to GIVE unconditionally and notice how this feels. In order to do this it takes real emotional preparation because you will be using your big brain. Your limbic system will not like it one little bit. Be curious and relax. I know you can do it!!!!!

Dynamic Attack!!!!!!

February 1, 2010

How’s it been going since you left the workshop?

Whether you have been dialoguing or not, keep reading…..

Let’s start with a few important reminders:

  1. Your relationship will take time and energy.
  2. Sometimes, and more than we’d like, our limbic brain’s control our behaviours and we react in ways we wished we hadn’t.
  3. Whatever you are going through, no matter where you are at, it is ALL NORMAL.
  4. We all just want to be loved.

Okay so what’s the point?

After our first workshop we left in a much better place than when we came in. Guess what? Sometime later something big or small happened and bam, we were back in an old place again.

But were we?

Yes and No.

Yes  because it is all old stuff, that never really changes. Remember, our dance is our dance. Both of us create it and we do it over and over…

That’s  the bad news.

So what’s the good news?

We really can do it differently, even if it seems the same. We do have some new skills, even if we forget to use them. Do not despair, instead have a dialogue – it will save your relationship.

But why does it keep happening? Same old fight, same old issue, same old same old…..

Talk to your brain, it’s your brain’s fault. That old limbic system keeps hijacking you to respond in old protective ways that keep circling around and getting you stuck in a negative response cycle. By now you know this has a lot to do with you and your growing-up years and less to do with your partner.

Every relationship has its own very unique response cycle. Sometimes this is referred to as a dance. Tamara and Sarah coined their own version of this tem some years ago. They call it “the dynamic attack”

Here’s how it went down….

Imagine this… Shopping at a grocery store…. in the cereal department fighting over what kind to buy…. when Sarah called it. Out of her mouth came the words  ”Dynamic attack, dynamic attack”. Tamara began laughing hysterically because it was completely stupid to be fighting about cereal and we all know it wasn’t about cereal anyway. It was about control and who would be the one; the one to pick, to be listened to and to feel important. Cereal had very little to do with it.

Years later when they start up, about anything, whoever calls it first says, ”dynamic attack”. A little humour can go a long way when the – – – – is hitting the fan!

Dare ya –

Tell your partner our idea of coming up with a code word to “call it” when it’s happening and commit to take a time out if you need to (refer to the Time Out Protocol handout we gave out at the workshop). Then use the word at least 2 times this week. Remember to calm your brain, you can do it!

Yours really truly,