Other Emotional Issues

Relationships

Taking relationships work to a new level--The Odd Couple

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by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

I met "Joe" and "Karen" during the Palm Springs FutureHealth conference a few days ago. They had been living together for the past two years and, wouldn't you know it, they developed some relationship problems. Imagine that!

So, during one of my presentations they agreed to work in front of the audience and air one of their "differences" in hopes that we could use EFT to speed along a resolution. They made a delightful couple. Their affection for one another was obvious and it was touching to work with them. Nonetheless, they had come upon a real problem. Here it is.

They were very much like "The Odd Couple" wherein Karen was the neatnik (Felix in the TV adaptation) and Joe was the sloppy one (Oscar). It was humorous to watch them display this problem--up to a point. After that, however, things got a bit more intense. This was a real problem and was threatening the relationship. Karen talked with great energy about Joe's disregard for neatness (her perception). She made great efforts at cleaning the house only to have him come home and, within minutes, watch him drop clothes, paperwork and the like all over the apartment. Drawers and cupboards were opened and left that way. In Karen's view, her palace became an instant pig sty.

Joe, on the other hand, preferred the "mess." He was used to it. It was his way of "organizing" his affairs. He knew where everything was and it was easier to just leave something on a floor or table for the next time he needed it. Who needs to put something back in a drawer when you will just have to open the drawer again to get it? It was much more efficient and time saving to just leave things scattered about. He was aware of violating Karen's neatnik ways and had, indeed, made some progress over the two years they had been together. Nonetheless, it was nowhere near enough for Karen who, in Joe's terms, would "scream frantically" at the mess. At one point she picked up a sneaker and hurled it across the room toward Joe's guitars (a major, major no-no). The real problem for Joe in all this was those screams. They were way outside his tolerance level. They were out of bounds, unnecessary, insulting and caused him to resist being neater.

Conventional couples counseling would, at this point, have both parties talk about the issue. The goal would be to understand each other's feelings and reach some compromise. Maybe Joe would agree to become neater and Karen would lighten up a little bit. Maybe they would be counseled to focus on each other's good qualities and see if they couldn't put this issue in a different perspective. They could talk about Karen's response and find out the "why" behind it. The same for Joe. Then they could discuss these insights and move toward some resolution. All this is quite conventional and not without merit. However, it misses one mega-big point, namely....

THE EMOTIONAL RESPONSES HAVE NOT BEEN RESOLVED. THEY HAVE ONLY BEEN DISCUSSED.

Upon discussion with Karen we learned that the meaning she took from Joe's messiness was that she was being IGNORED. Despite all her efforts at getting Joe to neaten up, he continued his errant ways. This, to Karen, meant that he didn't take her seriously. She was being ignored and that brought up feelings so intense that she needed to "scream frantically."

On the other hand, Joe interpreted the screams as BETRAYAL. In his family setting, yelling above a certain threshold was interpreted in that manner. As we discussed this, of course, neither partner was intending what the other was interpreting. Joe was not intending to ignore Karen and Karen was not intending to betray Joe. Nonetheless, those were the emotional responses. And they were very intense.

Just this realization is helpful, of course, and it can certainly help in the efforts to compromise. However, it's not likely to unload the emotional responses and, until that is done, harmonious resolution to this problem is iffy at best. Here is where EFT is so useful. We can now tap for the emotional responses and remove the charge from them. This is a major step in relationship work. It takes the whole thing to a new level.

Once we isolated the tappable issues (ignoring and betrayal) we EFT'ed them till neither party seemed to have a charge on them. I not only worked with each of them individually but they also faced one another in a loving way and tapped on each other while Joe repeated "betrayal" and Karen repeated "being ignored." Fun to watch. Nice connection.

Afterwards, they both discussed the problem with improved understanding and resolve. We won't know how effective we were in the long run, of course, until Joe and Karen get back in their apartment where the issue will surely arise. There may be more to do. Further, this issue may daisy chain onto other issues. This is likely, given the nature of relationships. I didn't expect to take care of every relationship issue two people have in a 45 minute segment of a seminar. But I did want to display the use of EFT within couples counseling.

Those who do relationship counseling have a major tool to use here. We no longer have to rely on people's abilities to compromise in the face of intense emotional loads. We can lighten the emotional loads with relative ease thereby facilitating compromise. This allows the relationship to flower and produce love instead of luggage, bliss instead of baggage, freedom instead of friction.

We can give Cupid a loving assist.

Hugs to Joe, Karen and Everyone.

Gary

 

 

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