We’re wrapping up the relationship theme this week with guest Carole Cullen. I specifically wanted to include a guest in this series who was trained from The Gottman Institute and Carole fit the bill and y’all— she is amazing! In this episode, we talk about the seven principles for making relationships work. I took lots of notes while I was interviewing her and I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of this too
Carole Cullen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, AAMFT Clinical Supervisor and public speaker. She is a Certified Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapist specializing in working with couples in crisis. She has a group practice in Wake Forest, NC where she helps couples learn practical tools to reconnect with their partner and create a lasting love.
We talked about:
- Carole shares, in detail, the seven principles that make relationships work (4:24)
- Emotionally focused therapy for couples in crisis (32:42)
- Creating a secure attachment with your partner (and realizing your partner is not responsible for healing your childhood wounds) (35:23)
You know how I love a good personal development book, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!
Find a complete list of our sponsors and their offerings visit andreaowen.com/sponsors. Thank you for your support!
Carole Cullen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, AAMFT Clinical Supervisor and public speaker. She is a Certified Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapist specializing in working with couples in crisis. She has a group practice in Wake Forest, NC where she helps couples learn practical tools to reconnect with their partner and create a lasting love. mytherapistnc.org
Yeah, we all have this emotional bank account. It's this bank account that lives in the friendship part of our relationship. And here's the secret. Couples that are successful make 20 deposits in that emotional bank account for every one time that they withdraw. And that's just an everyday interactions. In small little things like walking in the door and saying hello and lifting your eyes and gazing right. Twenty to one.
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 459 with guest Carole Cullen.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. Are you ready? Let's go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you are here. Today we are rounding out, wiping up the rear, if you will, our last episode on relationships for this particular theme in 2022. Next week, we're jumping into creativity and spirituality episodes and I cannot wait to introduce you to some of the super smart people I have. But before that I am just pumped to introduce you to Carole Cullen. She's a therapist that's here in North Carolina and I specifically wanted to have someone on who was Gottman trained and I was not going to end this series, this theme, without having someone on who has Gottman trained. And I found someone and she's amazing. I'm gonna not spoil it. And I'm gonna wait until you can hear this episode.
And the only announcement I have for you today is that there are still a handful of spots left for our Daring Way retreat in September, which is the methodology that I'm trained and certified in on the work of the research and work of Dr. Brené Brown. We are talking about shame resilience, and there's so many other components to the Daring Way methodology, but I am going to let you read about it if you want to AndreaOwen.com/retreat. Of course that link is in the show notes if that's easier for you. And we are going to be over there in Asheville in September. I can't wait at this gorgeous house, and it's gonna be catered. All you have to do is get your butt out to Asheville and I will take care of the rest. AndrewOwen.com/retreat.
Alright let's get into the show. For those of you that are new to Carole, let me tell you a little bit about her. Carole Cullen is a licensed marriage and family therapist AAMFT clinical supervisor and public speaker. She is a certified Gottman method and Emotionally Focused therapist specializing and working with couples in crisis. She has a group practice in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where she helps couples learn practical tools to reconnect with their partner and create a lasting love. So without further ado, here is Carole.
Carole, thank you so much for being here.
Thank you. I'm so excited to be here with you today,
Talking about relationships. And I do believe that you are you are the very last but certainly not least, expert to come on to talk about relationships and I'm so glad that we got our schedules to work out because I specifically wanted to have someone come on who was Gottman trained and certified and who incorporates that in their work because my audience already knows. I did a minisode talking just about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because that was a side note, that was something that was so helpful in my own marriage when we learned about it many many years ago. And so I want to jump in, before we talk about specific Gottman stuff, can you… Let's start on a on a positive on a positive note. What makes a relationship a partnership work? I know that's like a super broad question but feel free to talk as much as you want about that.
It's been a mystery for so long and I feel like even… I've been fascinated with relationships my whole life like as a young girl. I've just always been fascinated with what makes relationships work. I've always watched people you know, watch. I had two older sisters and they were like 10 years older than me and they were always dating when I was younger, you know, and I would watch them you know, dating and I was just fascinated by relationships. I've watched my parents and you know, aunts and uncles and how they connected and communicated and just searching to try and understand, what was this magic that was happening in relationships. Which kind of it led me to wanting to be a couples therapist and trying to help other couples find this magic, right? But I never really could understand what exactly was the recipe until I was introduced to John and Julie Gottman his work. And gosh, that was probably back in 2004, I went to a conference and they were speaking there and I was just enamored. I immediately fell in love with the method, the model the research, because they seem to have found this recipe for success in relationships that I'm going to share with you in a minute. But it gave me hope that there was some answers to this mystery of what made a relationship work. I think a lot of people wonder, you know, is it do you just spend time together, is it just about sex, is it just about how we communicate, what's the combination? What's the recipe to make a marriage work, right? And they figured it out. And they figured it out through 40 years of research that is proven effective, right. So that also, like, had me drawn to it because I'm very much a research numbers like, show me the proof kind of person.
Yeah, so I think what we found was that there are seven components to a healthy relationship. And they spelled this out in one of their books called The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, but I'm gonna explain it to you. You ready?
Okay, so is this, are we getting into the recipe because I just wrote that down. I'm like, make sure you don't forget Andrea to circle back to that.
Yeah, we're gonna talk about the recipe.
Okay. Okay, good.
This is good. Right?
Awesome. Okay, well, the first thing is that they discovered that there were two things that were really important in a relationship. Being able to have a really great foundation and friendship in your relationship, and then also being able to manage conflict in your relationship, right? That's like kind of the broad description. Two things: friendship and managing conflict. And then they break it down from there. So here's the seven things.
First thing is building love maps. And a love map is described by the Gottman’s as understanding and knowing your partner's internal world. And what that means is spending time asking open ended questions to learn about their hopes, their dreams, their stressors, the things that are important to them, their goals, the things that they like, the people that are close to them. Just really taking the time to understand what is going on inside their internal world. Right? And we do that early in a relationship, right? When we're dating someone, does you just spend so much time talking?
Yeah. Asking questions.
Yeah, it's like going on that first date, you want to know everything about your partner, you want to learn who they are, what's important to them. And then as we move into more of a committed relationship, and the stress of daily life, we stopped doing that. We stopped figuring out what's important to our partner, and we stopped asking. So I think that's one of the qualities of a healthy relationship is continuing to ask those questions, and continuing to learn who our partner is because we change and grow all the time.
So I want to ask you a question about that specifically. So the step one love map is that sort of finding out and getting curious about your partner's hopes, dreams and goals in a committed relationship or in life in general?
In life in general. You want to know about everything that's important to them about their daily life, and not just when you're in a committed relationship. And even when you're dating, it's important to get to know someone, because this may be the person that you're going to be with for the rest of your life and you want to make sure that you're in alignment with your values, your hopes, your dreams, and figure out if this person is actually a person that is open and transparent with the way that they communicate about their heart.
That's an important piece of that whole thing. I fell like.
Right? Yes, exactly. Because not everyone is that open with sharing what's going on in their internal world, and they probably have really good reasons that they are not open in that way.
Sure. They're not trying to just be an asshole. Like it's for, like self-protection or previous trauma or whatever beliefs they have.
That's right. Yeah, we, you know, we do tend to protect ourselves. If we've been hurt in the past. And maybe you were not even aware that that's what we're doing. It becomes just a habit. We've been doing it so long. So you know, getting to know someone and see if is this person open to sharing their love maps with me? That's an important thing to just finding out. Are we compatible in that way? Do we want to share at the same level?
Okay, that's step one. The first one? Yeah.
That's the first one. First component. Okay, second component, sharing fondness and admiration with your partner. So what this means is, a lot of times we think really wonderful things about our partner like, what a great person they are. They're kind, they're honest, they're loyal. We think these things in our mind, but we don't verbalize it or express it to our partner on a day to day basis. We kind of keep it inside. And again, not intentional, maybe just not what we're used to doing, not used to sharing in that way there's something vulnerable about vulnerable about expressing to someone how we feel about them. Maybe there's a possibility of rejection, maybe there's the possibility that they won't feel the same way about us, right? There's lots of reasons why maybe we don't share that information. But in a healthy relationship, they share this with their partner, and they let them know that they are respected, admired, appreciated for the qualities that they have, and the person that they are, and they do this regularly. And that lets the other person know that they are of value to you. And these are the reasons why I can't tell you how many times in a therapy session. I've had a partner turn to the other one and say, why are you even with me? I don't understand what it is about me that you're sitting here trying to work on this relationship and it's been so hard. Why are you even here? They don't even know.
Because their partner has not done that. Second one, the sharing the fondness, admiration and respect, etc?
Yes, exactly. They don't even know. And then we do like a really brief exercise where they share it’s called an ‘I appreciate exercise’ designed by the Gottman’s, and they share five things that I mean, five things they find are a value that they appreciate about their partner and give like an example of a time when they've seen them exhibit that quality. And I mean, people are breaking down and I'm like, what is that like for you? Like, I've never heard that before. I didn't even know that that was something you appreciated about me.
Yeah. Oh my gosh, okay. All right. So the third, the third one.
Okay, third one. Turning towards. So in a relationship, we are always looking for ways to connect with our partner, there's this underlying signal that we send out, sometimes it's verbal, and we actually say what we want, we communicate, I need something. But sometimes it's nonverbal. It could be a facial expression, body language, just a mood or a tone. And those are called bids for connection. And we're always putting those out there, bids for connection for our partner to respond to us. And turning towards is when your partner answers that bid in a positive way. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean, yes, dear, I'm gonna do everything you want every time you ask for it and exactly when you ask for it. What it means is, I'm going to respond to you in a loving, positive way and let you know that I value you and I recognize that you are trying to make a bid for connection.
Can I give you an example, then you can tell me if this is one of those like what you just what you just mentioned? So my husband and I have, we've talked about our therapist has told us about this, and I find it so extraordinarily helpful. And from what I understand, you can you know, there's kind of three ways that people respond to bids for connection they either turned towards, which is what we all want, they turn away, which is mostly like ignoring, or just not responding at all, and the turning against would be when like, say, if my husband were to come up behind me and put his arms around me, that's a bid for connection. And if I were to shrug him off and not say anything, that would be an example of turning against. Am I right on that?
Yeah, that's exactly right.
And so one of the things that I had mentioned to him is I said, I always, and it's not just my partner, I do this with my children too, but it's, it's, it's most people that I know and care about, when they walk into a room and say hello to me, I always make it a point to look up at them, especially if I'm on my phone, look up at them and smile, and tell them hello. Many times, enthusiastically. Like, I want to make it clear that I am happy that I am in their presence, always. And I realize and I'm like, oh, I think part of why I do that is because I wanted in return. And it hurts me like, it feels like it's a little stub in the heart when I don't get it back. And if it's once in a while, if the person is genuinely preoccupied with something, of course, I'm going to give you a break. I'm not going to be like attention to me. But if it's if someone's just like scrolling through their phone, like aimlessly, and they have the opportunity to look up and they don't.
So that would be in my book, I look at that as turning away. And so I asked my husband, I'm like, this is something I would really appreciate if you made sure to make it a priority. So when I walk into a room, if you are able, and I say hello, then you acknowledge me, even if you have seen me 1000 times before and we've been married for 15 years, like it's still important to me. So was that an example of like a genuine… Okay, so I'm not…because I still a little bit…
You're not crazy. You're not overreacting. That is exactly. It. I can't tell you how many times I talked to couples about like, greetings. Like, it's so important when someone walks into your home that you greet them. It means so much to feel welcomed into the home. To acknowledge someone when they walk in. It's so important. I'm going to tell you a secret. You wanna hear a secret?
Yes, more than anything else in the world. Yes. Yeah, yeah.
So here's secret. So what Gottman found out was that couples that are successful and have healthy relationships, they have well, all relationships have this emotional bank account. Have you heard that term?
Yeah, we all have this emotional bank account. It’s this bank account that lives in the friendship part of our relationship. And here's the secret. Couples that are successful make 20 deposits in that emotional bank account for every one time that they withdraw.
Yes, I think I've read that somewhere probably on the Gottman’s website.
Oh, yeah, for sure. It's a big one. So 21 is the ratio for couples that are successful, happy and healthy. They make 20 deposits for every one withdrawal. And that's just an everyday interactions in small little things like walking in the door and saying hello, and lifting your eyes and gazing right? 20 to 1. It feels like a huge number but it's really small things. It’s acknowledgement, acceptance, it's a smile, it could be you know, brushing against your partner when they walk by. It's little things. We don't realize put money in that bank, because you know what, we're going to need that bank account to be really full, because eventually we're going to mess up and we're going to be scrolling on our phone and not pay attention. Or we're going to say something that hurts our partner, because we're human beings. And we all have flaws.
Right. Well, and I think that points to the negativity bias that we have as humans where, because I think about anytime I've received a bad review on my podcast, or one of my books, I'm like, heartbroken, but then scroll past all the rave reviews.
Well, that brings me to number four. Yeah, the positive perspective versus the negative perspective. So what you just described is being in the negative perspective. When a couple is in the negative perspective, we tend to see all the negativity in the relationship and not only do we just see the negative, we actually turn the positive into negative, right? You had maybe one bad review and 20,000 really good ones, but you're going to focus on that one, negative one, and then maybe you're going to look at some of those positive ones is not so special. When you're in the negative perspective, it can have a really bad effect on your relationship, because you're not seeing all the positive things that your partner is doing, or all the wonderful things that are happening in your relationship, and you are focusing on the things that just aren't going right.
And what we know is that couples that are healthy, happy, satisfied, they live in the positive perspective. And they work at staying in the positive perspective. They focus on the things that are going right in the relationship and they create opportunities for positive interaction and share the positive things that they see happening in the relationship with their partner. And they share those appreciations with each other and they turn towards more frequently. They're putting money in that bank. And when the bank account is full, we live in the positive perspective, versus when the bank account is empty, we live in the negative perspective. And this is just something that we tend to do as human beings is focused on the negative. We're always looking for the corrections that we can make and how we can make things better, and so that tends to lead us down a path of living in the negative perspective and couples that are successful, they work at living in the positive perspective.
Okay. That last part you said was kind of my question so it's not necessarily about like I imagine people are listening to this feeling a little bit overwhelmed of like, oh my god, I have to be nice and kind and polite all the time to my partner. I have terrible days you know, sometimes I'm at my worst. So it sounds like it's not about that. It's about yes, making a conscious effort to be those things to turn towards to the share the fondness, I'm looking at step two, but also clean up any messes that you may have made.
I'm interrupting this conversation to bring you a few words from some of our sponsors. I got a compliment on my skin the other day by a woman when I was getting coffee and I almost threw my arms around her I wasn't wearing any makeup when she said that and I cannot remember the last time I got a compliment on my skin. And I told her it's Night Shift from DearBrightly.com. Night Shift is a dermatologist formulated tretinoin serum tailored to your skin by doctors online. My goal was to even out my skin tone for days I don't wear makeup, which is most days, but when I do I also wanted to have better skin texture so my makeup looks better when it's on my face. Tretinoin is the only FDA approved retinoid to treat photo aging which is premature skin aging due to long term sun exposure raise his hand. It can only be acquired through a prescription and it's one of the most well researched ingredients with over 50 years of research behind it. It takes some time to see results. It's not a quick process. It was about a month for me but I'm super happy with how even and better my skin looks. It's super easy. You start by sharing your skin story then a doctor will evaluate your skin and skin history, they'll tailor your formula and write a prescription if applicable. Your tailored tretinoin serum will be delivered to you in the mail. It's as simple as that. Head over to DearBrightly.com enter promo Noise to get 15% off your first order, which is the best offer that you'll find. That's N-O-I-S-E to get 15% off your first order at DearBrightly.com.
And now a word from our sponsor BetterHelp. My guests and I have talked about burnout plenty of times here on the show. But sometimes many people are burnt out and they don't even know it. I've struggled with burnout a few times since becoming a mom, I've mentioned it before. So you might feel a lack of motivation or irritability. That was one of my biggest symptoms, you might have fatigue. And it's worth mentioning, burnout gets mentioned a lot in regard to work. But that's not the only cause. Any of our roles in life, especially as women can lead us to feeling burned out and talking with someone at BetterHelp can help you figure out what's causing the stress in your life. One of the things I love about therapy is that a good therapist will listen to what I'm saying and point out possible blind spots, like maybe my lack of self-compassion, or help me create a support system at home that I hadn't been thinking about before. BetterHelp is customized online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist. So you don't have to see anyone on camera if you don't want to. It's much more affordable than in person therapy, and you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. Our listeners get 10% off their first month at BetterHelp.com/kickass. That's BetterH-E-L-P.com/kickass.
So that brings me to number five, which is managing conflict and your what you're describing there as repairs, which is another secret weapon of couples that…
I didn't know this, I want to just like pause and give myself a pat on the back.
Fantastic. Yeah, you did not know where I was going.
Hopefully, I won't even say years, the decades of my own personal therapy. And also all of the people that I've interviewed on this show like we're I'm looking at almost 460 episodes, and I've interviewed some smart people. And I also listened to any podcasts for John and Julie Gottman had been interviewed. I have, I think I've only actually read one of their books. And I will say this. I was married before and it was a very unsuccessful relationship. So a lot of times when I'm, you know, trying to do better and, which is a lot in this relationship, both as a partner and as a parent, and as a friend, I think about the mistakes that I made, and my former husband made in the relationship and I'm like, how could I have done that better? How could we have been better? And it's exactly the things that you're saying.
Yeah, in your you definitely have taken everything that you have learned and integrate it into who you want to be in your relationship. And it's obvious, because you're like, spot on, you're like, yeah, you got to clean up your messes. That's exactly right. And yes, the secret weapon of couples is like, you're gonna mess up, right? Like we're human, we all have flaws. And you know, you're in a relationship, you're taking two people with different backgrounds, personalities, quirks, characteristics, dreams, and you're putting them together and expecting them to share a life together gonna be bumps in the road, right?
So being able to repair when you make a mistake, or when things go wrong, is what couples that are successful do. They repair all the time. It's so important to just make amends. And that doesn't mean rolling over and giving it to your partner all the time. That means like just taking responsibility for your part, right? The part that you contributed to the problem and learning to manage conflict, because 69% of the problems you have in your relationship are never going away. Okay, nobody fall down with that. That's a big, that's a big number. Right?
So like the problems that you go around and around about with your partner. Is that what you're talking about?
Yeah, perpetual issues is what you're describing. Yes. You're taking two different people and putting them into this life together and expecting things to mesh well, and they're just not going to you know? Just so many things can be different. One person might be a saver, the other person, a spender. One person is you know, extroverted, the other person is introverted. There's so many differences we can have how we want to raise children, how we want to where we want to live in life or career, there are so many things that make us different. We're going to have bumps in the road, and we're going to have problems that are perpetual, meaning that they're never going to go away. We're going to always be different in this area. And the key to getting through that is well first finding 69% of problems and a partner that you can live with. That's the first thing and John Gottman says I find a set of problems you can live with first. Sure, because each set is going to be different.
Right. And maybe not like major ideological values differences and maybe like my husband leaves his shoes out and that's one thing I'm just like, all right, if that's gonna be it, I can live…
That's right. I can live with that. Exactly. So finding a set of problems you can live with, and then finding ways to be gentle with your partner, forgiving with your partner and repair and own your mistakes. when they happen, and that's the number five, which is learning to manage conflict better. You know, using a soft startup is going to predict good things in your relationship. And a soft startup means bringing up issues when they happen in a gentle way that doesn't criticize your partner, put them down, belittle them, demoralize them. Those ways of bringing up issues, they, it's never going to go well. A softened startup predicts better outcomes in conversation. So learning to be gentle with your partner and repair when things go wrong.
I have found that the repairing and taking responsibility for your own stuff is so incredibly vulnerable.
And I remember the first time that I did it, where it was like intentional, and I will never forget the look on my husband's face. When, I remember where we were standing and everything because it was one of those like, I felt like time stopped because I think he was expecting me to get defensive and, and just be hostile and I was, it like a long pause and I were having a disagreement. And I said, You're right. This is my stuff and I reacted, I'm reacting out of… I can't remember what I said. But basically I was reacting out of past hurts and it was it was also I remember the moment when I realized that I was acting childish, and that had nothing to do with my husband and everything to do with me. And I the sinking feeling of oh, I need to fix this. Like I need to admit that I'm being shitty and say I'm sorry. And I was like, ugh, the pit in my stomach. And he just looked so surprised and also, like, wow, there's another way for us to solve our problems. The is the hardest part was that just that first time, and then after that, it's still uncomfortable. And I'd rather not. But it’s a little bit easier.
But literally would rather act like a child, I totally went it just feel so much more comfortable. But it’s beter for the relationship. It's better for the… We got to just own it. It is so disarming to your partner because they're ready to fight. Right? Like they're ready. They're expecting you to behave with criticism or defensiveness. And when you actually take responsibility for your part, and own it is very disarming and your partner kind of, it's like there's a physical aspect to it, where you could just see their body release, right? And settle down, and they take like a deep breath, and they're like, wow, okay, and then they're kind of like, Alright, what do I do with that?
Right. Well, and I just want to acknowledge because it could go sideways, like I've heard where people have done that, and they said, and then my partner held that against me. So that's not okay for your partner to do. I mean, my hope is that they accept the apology, they accept the cleanup. And thank you for it and have gratitude for it, and then then the two of you can move forward.
Right. And I think when that happens when you offer a repair by owning your stuff, right, and your partner is not willing to accept it, what we found through the research, what John Gottman found through the research is that that is usually a result of your friendship, being in trouble, and your bank account being low. So when they found through the research that repairs were not often received when a couple's friendship and their emotional bank account was in distress.
Yeah, it all ties together. So you cannot just work on managing conflict by itself, you have to work on managing conflict and building your friendship, they go hand in hand, because ultimately repairs will not be accepted, you will not be able to see your partner in a positive perspective, if your friendship is not strong.
Okay, yeah, that makes perfect sense. I lost track of where we are. Are we at five, that's number five?
Five. Okay, now we're on number six. Making life dreams come true and creating shared meaning. And what this talks about is the vision that you have of your life together, and how do you create that every day through rituals of connection. So this is about the meaning and the purpose of your life together and building it through your values, your dreams, your goals, and learning how to first communicate what those are with each other, so taking the time to talk about like, what are your hopes and dreams? What do you want your life to look like? What path are we on? Are we on the same path together? Did I pick a partner who wants the same things in life that I do? And then part B to that is how do we create that life even now, in our day to day. How do we start you know, stepping up on that ladder one step at a time to get to that that place that we want to be later on in life? And are we on the same path? Do we want the same things?
So when you think about a couple who maybe has a goal of retiring and having a second home, vacation home, maybe on an island in the Caribbean, right? That's going to be their vacation home, but they have to start saving for that now. Are they on the same page about finances? Do we want the same things, or is my partner out there spending frivolously, and not really paying attention to our dream of this future together. That might send the message that we're not in alignment as a couple, we don't have the same values about things, we don't want the same things. And that can cause a lot of conflict in a relationship. So you know, when couples are in alignment, that's what helps to get them through the rough times day to day because they have this bigger picture of what their life is going to look like down the road. And they know that they're in sync.
That's, I love that. Because my husband and I are middle aged, he just turned 50 and 47 and so we've started to have the conversation about and we have for about at least five years now about what we want our retirement to look like, we did not have that conversation we were dating. I'm so glad we're on the same page.
Right? Imagine if you were it right, like he wants to sail around the world, and you want to have, you know, a mountain house and live in the woods.
Yeah, I mean, it's mostly the same, I think we have a little bit of variation, but I think that's one of the things I would tell my children that I didn't know is like, have those… And have I wrote about this in my last book about money is, you know, the best time to have that conversation about, you know, what are your feelings about debt? Did you already start investing? Do you have a financial advisor? Like, what are your feelings about that? Have that like on the first or second date.
That's right. Yeah, I mean, I've worked with a lot of couples, while they're singles now, so coming out of a relationship, and they're single again, and they're starting dating again, and, like, you need to have these conversations, because maybe you're financially established, you want to date someone that also is conscious about money. You know, you don't want to date someone who is in a lot of debt, who doesn't, you know, take responsibility for their finances. You want to know those questions early, like time is ticking here. You know, you don't want to waste 18 months with someone and then find out that you're not compatible in that way. These are conversations that help you to see if you can create a life together and create shared meaning have which is so important.
So what's number seven.
Last one is quick and easy trust and commitment. You have to have trust in your partner that they are going to ultimately in their actions and their words, be the kind of partner that has your back. And that just kind of is the general explanation of trust, right? Like, I need to know I can count on this person. I can be vulnerable with this person. They're gonna have my back.
Yeah, commitment. Foundational. Yeah. Okay. So those will put that, we'll put the link to that book in the in the show notes. Okay. I, we could talk about that all day long. But I want it before we before I let you go…. So you I know that when you see clients, you usually take them through the Gottman Method, or at least you know, touch on it here and there as you're as you're helping them as a couple but you also are an emotionally focused therapist. So can you… Is that the attachment style? Am I correct in that?
Okay, attachment. Got it. And so that's not from Julie and John Gottman’s work, but I'm sure that it's very inspiring…related. Yeah. it's vital to John’s work right?
Yeah, she works closely with John Gottman and they've done several seminars together and trainings and Gottman’s work does have a lot of Emotionally Focused Therapy, components to it, within it. But it is different in that she, her theory is based on the idea that we build attachments, obviously in childhood to our primary caregivers, and that style of attachment is also the kind of attachment that we create with our partners in life. And that we re-enact some of those old attachments in our current relationships. And we try you know, we're trying to heal ourselves in our relationships. We're trying to have healthy relationships, but some of those old negative patterns that we've created to cope and survive in childhood don't always work in our new relationship with different partners. So her model is about healing.
I think one of the best realizations I ever had but also difficult to realize was that my partner was not responsible for healing my childhood wounds. And I think I mean, it's not like I was like scrolling through Match.comlLike, who do I think is going to be best for healing my daddy issues like no, like, not consciously, unconsciously, of course. But when I started, I actually read, Getting the Love That You Want by Harville Hendricks which he talks a lot about that he has his own kind of, you know, theory and the way that he describes it, but that was a head explosion of just no, and then thinking back on all of my behaviors and like, oh my God.
I know you almost want to shut that door.
If yes, you can see it though. But it's so much freedom I it took me a minute to get to that place of feeling freedom for taking radical responsibility for my own wounds and my own healing. And I'm like, can you can he just do it for me?
Well, I do believe that he plays a part, right? There's this part where you have to own your own stuff and you have to know what your own stuff is. And yeah, I read that book, too. And also, my head exploded, I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm really messed up here. I've got a lot of trauma from the past, I get a lot of stuff that I've got to work on and I didn't realize how much is kind of playing out in my relationship. So there's that piece, right, you got to own it. But then there's this, this role that your partner plays in teaching you how to create a secure attachment in your relationship. And that's the part that you do together. And, you know, they're doing it for you, but you're also doing it for them. Like they're not perfect in the relationship, they also bring their own trauma and baggage and parts that need to be healed as well. And they chose us for those same reasons. And we fit into their life in that same way to create a wholeness in the relationship for both partners. And if we can see ourselves as the key to their healing, and then being the key to ours, and we both work together at creating a secure attachment, then it's a beautiful thing to have that kind of a safe, secure bond with another person, it just frees your heart. And it gives you such a sense of security, confidence, bravery, that you can go out into the world and do just about anything, because you have such a strong anchor in your life.
And can I add to that I've heard this before, from either clients or friends that they they'll reveal that they have come to the place where they know what their, what their triggers are, what their wounds are from, from their childhood, and then they'll say, and my partner knows it, and have found that they use that like as a way to manipulate. And I am like, absolutely not. Like I find that abusive. And I think that goes that points to I think it was like the sixth or seventh key and what you're talking about about trust. It's like I think when you when your partner finds out or you reveal vulnerably whether it's just in conversations or in therapy, like here are the ways where I get squirrely, you know, for me, it's like when my husband leaves like he'll get in the car. He hasn't done this in two years. But like he would get in the car and leave when we would get in a disagreement because he needed time to process. I took that is he is planning his divorce for me. Like I should just get online and go look for apartments right now because this is it. And so there are people out there who will use that and do that on purpose to their partner. And I'm like, oh, like I find that just so…
Yeah, no, that's not that's totally not okay. It's a red flag. But it also it makes me wonder, like, what are their own hurts? Why is it that they do that? What are they protecting?
I mean, the person who's the perpetrator?
Yeah. And you know, maybe it's the therapist to me, like I get really curious about that. And maybe that's important for the partner to be curious about too and when you're not in the middle of a fight to have a conversation about that and to ask more about why is it that you do that? What is it? What purpose is it serving for you? Are you protecting something? Do you feel threatened? Why would you do that? And help me understand better because I want to be a better partner to you too. Yeah. Because sometimes people are just very protective and have really good reasons for doing what they do, even though it hurts the other person.
Right. It could be like they're wanting power and control or it could be a multitude of reasons.
Maybe they've been hurt in the past and that same way. You know, I don't know, there's lots of people have lots of reasons why they might do that. But then there's the flip side of that, that there are some folks that just really just want to hurt their partner, and then that's toxic, and that's not okay. And you'll need to protect yourself from that.
Yeah, humans are complicated. I just I always come back to that statement. At the end of the day at the end of these kinds of conversations. Before we close up Is there anything… There was a lot of information and I love all of it. I know that the people listening, we're taking notes out there will re listen to this when they're not in the car. But is there anything you want to circle back to to make sure that you say or mention before we close up?
I think I would just want to say to everyone listening out there that if you're listening to what we're talking about, you're saying, oh gosh, that's not us, we're in really bad shape, there's no hope for us. I want to tell you, there is hope for you. And these things that I'm talking about are easy things to do an implement. And if you find that after learning a little bit more about you know, Gottman Method or reading the book that you want a little bit of help, like reach out to a Gottman therapist and let them help you and assist you and walk you through this process because I have seen couples make such magnificent turnarounds in their relationship doing simple things in a short amount of time, and if there are two people that are committed and want to work on their relationship, things can change. I've seen it. So don't give up hope. Don't feel like it's the end of the rope if you are not doing these things,
Thank you for saying that. I think one of the reasons I love John and Julie Gottman’s work is that it’s not… I feel like it's such a great entry point to therapy and talking about, you know, big talk instead of small talk and they're so they're just really for the Layperson. You know what I mean? Like it's not hard to digest, of course, it's vulnerable things, but I just, I think that they have gotten it down to a science when I when I hear them on interviews, they just are talking to the everyday person who's in a relationship. And we all are. We all might not be a romantic one right now but we're all in relationships. And that's one of the things I love about them and their work.
Yeah, they make it really simple and easy to understand. Anybody can do it. It's not complicated. It's not difficult. And I love they have what's called the Magic Six Hours and they describe, if you just commit six hours to your relationship a week, you can make a difference. Six hours is one hour, you know, less than one hour a day.
Right? Yeah. And you can take Sundays off. And you are, you're local to me, you're near me here in North Carolina and I know that you have therapists in your practice that are that are taking clients and you do some group stuff. So tell everyone where they can learn more about you and your services that you provide.
Yeah, absolutely. So we're in the Raleigh area and we do have a group practice where we do specifically couples therapy and Gottman Method work. And you can find us at MyTherapistNC.org like RG or on Insta @MyTherapistNC.
Amazing. Carol, thank you so much for being here. I am so glad that we got this workout because I'm like I need someone Gottman trained and who knows more about it than I do.
You know quite a bit.
Anecdotally. Yeah, yeah, it was my pleasure. Thank you so much listeners for being here. You know how grateful I am for your time and that you choose to spend it with my guests and me and remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our lives responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now everyone.
Hey, everyone, thanks again for listening to the show. And just a quick reminder that if your company needs a speaker or a trainer, I might be the right person for you. I speak and do keynotes on confidence and resilience for mixed audiences as well as do trainings on the Daring Way which is the methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown so if you think it might be a good fit, hit me up at support at AndreaOwen.com or head over to my speaking page AndreaOwen.com/speaking.