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Relationship Success – Round up and Upcoming Posts

NEW BLOG POST (1)


Hi! And welcome to today’s Relationship success post.

In this post, I’d like to point you in the direction of the first four posts, and let you know what to expect in the next month.


Relationship success is all about communication.

It seems like a small, innocent word, right?

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But communication has so many aspects and ways of manifesting itself, many of which we learn by trial and error, or by dire necessity.

In these posts, I am raising awareness on the things you already know, and the things you can work on with your romantic partner – and other relationships – and maybe even on some aspects of communication and relationships that are more obscure and difficult to put into words sometimes.

I hope you have been enjoying the series so far, and I look forward to your comments and suggestions for future posts


You can also contact me to book a couples session or an individual session, whichever will be more beneficial for you at this point.


Book CoverI have written a book that will help you improve your life and relationship. By following the 20 self-care habits in the book, your mindset will change, you will learn how to set clear boundaries and meet your needs in a variety of ways. You can develop your own ideas or use the ones already presented in the book. It’s a versatile and practical book that I’m sure will help you on your path to self-care and better lives and relationships.


I also have a blog post series on this topic, and videos to go with it! You can watch the videos here (there’s a link to the original blog post in each video description):

Introduction  *** Set clear boundaries ***  spend time with others *** spend time on your own *** honour your feelings *** spend time in nature *** self-care vs selfish


Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time

Catch up on past posts  

Week 1

What to expect in this series – video

What to expect in this series – blog post

Week 2

Whose responsibility is it anyway? – Video

Whose responsibility is it anyway? – blog post

Week 3 

Acceptance – Video

Acceptance – Blog post

Week 4

Compromise – Video

Compromise – Blog post


I hope you enjoy catching up on these past posts, and I look forward to writing more interesting, informative and helpful posts from next week.

Here are a few topics to look out for:

  • how the differences between men and women affect how we communicate and understand each other and life in general
  • what do cavemen and us have in common?
  • endorphins, falling in love and what happens after a while…
  • drama triangle
  • how does learnt behaviour affect our lives and relationships
  • …and more to come!!!

 


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Insights...From the Desktop of Karin Brauner

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Relationship Success – Do we get a cat or a dog? (On Compromise)

Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time


Welcome to this week’s Relationship Success post.

If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here:

Working on your relationship one step at a time,

Whose responsibility is it anyway?.

Acceptance


I decided to write this series because I believe in the importance of raising awareness of the aspects of relationships that might help or hinder our ability to communicate and relate in healthy ways with our partners.

Once we are in a space to think about our behaviours, our partners behaviours, and how they impact on one another, we can then start thinking about how to resolve those miscommunications or missed opportunities to make things right.


If you feel you want to discuss this in a session, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.


2In today’s post I want to start with a little joke that you’ve probably heard as many times as I have.

“So, my partner and I were having a conversation. She really loves cats and wants us to get one. I don’t like cats, I told her I’d prefer to get a dog. So, after a few hours of discussing this, we decided to compromise, and we are getting a cat tomorrow.”

Switch “cat” and “dog” with any two other things, and you can pretty much get the idea.


The take-home message here is that, in that scenario, one partner gets their way and the other is left with their needs not being met.


So how can we have actual, real compromise, where both partners get a bit of what they want – or all of what they both want – without either partner suffering or having to pass on what they really want?


I would say two things here:

  1. Pick your battles
  2. Come up with a third solution that works for both of you

3Let’s start with the ‘easier’ one.

Come up with a third solution that works for both of you.

Did you know that your solution or his/her solution are not the only ones out there?

Yes? No? Maybe but it’s hard to accept?

Sometimes it’s hard to accept this and try to find ways to fit in with both your lifestyles and desires.

Once you both get your heads around that, then there is a chance to have an open and honest conversation about how to move forward.

So maybe you end up getting a cat AND a dog (remember this is an analogy, replace cat and dog with your situation, it might be more complex than that though!), or you decide to get a Hamster instead, because you both agree that you both like hamsters. Or you just don’t have any pets or decide to leave it ‘til later.

A third solution might give you both a chance to get all or at least part of what you both want, or find a way to not fight or argue about the situation, and find something else that works for both of you, even if it isn’t 100% what either of you wanted.


4

A happy relationship full of communication, respect and compromise is much better than one where “I win” or “why did you get your way, again!”, or “I’ll get them, back next time I’ll get what I want, it’s only fair!”.

 

 

 

 


Pick your battles


Picking your battles simply means, is it worth it to have a big argument about this or that, or can it be resolved by “being the bigger person” or agreeing that it is just not worth it to fight, and let’s find a happy medium or a third solution, or let’s just drop it.

But, how do you know whether to leave it or fight it?

One question you can ask yourself is, will this matter in the long-run?

Is having a cat in the house so bad? is having a dog so bad? Is not having either so bad? Do we really need to have a cat or a dog, or neither?

Do I see myself being upset with him/her because they put their foot down and denied me the chance of having my favourite pet?

If the answer is yes, then this is a battle you need to pick, for the sake of your future self. But be sensible, empathetic, compassionate and understanding of yourself and your partner when you have the conversation!

If the answer is no, then there’s your answer: it is not worth it.

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Now, we’ve been talking about things that are negotiable, like getting a cat or a dog.

It is important to the relationship that there are things that are factored in at the beginning of the relationship, so that everyone is clear on how the couple is going to handle certain things:

  • How to handle money. This is a big topic that can cause heartache or relief.
    • Do you keep separate accounts or is everything put into a joint account?
    • Are you good at saving but your partner isn’t, how will you deal with this?
    • What is acceptable spending during the week and what isn’t?
    • Can I spend my money how I want or do I have to consult my partner?
    • And so on.
  • Love languages. We can’t help what we prefer to get to fill up our love tank. (I will write a full blog post on this soon).
    • Do you or your partner like getting gifts?
    • Do you or your partner enjoy physical touch?
    • Do you or your partner prefer acts of service?
    • Do you or your partner thrive on quality time?
    • Do you or your partner appreciate words of affirmation?
    • Do you match with your partner’s main love language?
    • How can you get what you need and meet your partner’s needs as well, especially if your love languages are completely different and even a bit incompatible?
  • From that last one stems this last one – how to spend your time
    • Do you enjoy time on your own and in fact need it to recharge and be able to relate well with your partner and others again?
    • Do you need lots of people-time to recharge?
    • How do you want to spend your time together?
      • Planned outings
      • Playing games or watching tv at home
      • Other activities

6Think about these and talk to your partner about the things that are important to you. They might be the same things that are important to them! Or you can find a happy middle, or a way to meet both of your needs without much hassle.

To end this post, I want to leave you a bit more “food for thought”: there are some things that shouldn’t be negotiable in a relationship, things that are inherently vital to our mental health and wellbeing as individuals, and for the health of our relationships:

  • Respect for one another
  • Acceptance of one another
  • Supporting each other in your goals and aspirations.

If these aren’t present, then resentment might arise on either partner and things might get tricky and murky.


Good communication skills and practising empathy, understanding, acceptance and listening for the sake of listening, will help you and your partner find the path to happier conversations and solutions to the problems and situations in the relationship as they arise.


Have you got any ways in which you’ve achieved good levels of compromise, where both of you win? Leave a comment below!


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1

Relationship Success – Acceptance

Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time


Welcome to this week’s Relationship Success post.

If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here:

Working on your relationship one step at a time,

Whose responsibility is it anyway?.


I decided to write this series because I believe in the importance of raising awareness of the aspects of relationships that might help or hinder our ability to communicate and relate in healthy ways with our partners.

Once we are in a space to think about our behaviours, our partners behaviours, and how they impact on one another, we can then start thinking about how to resolve those miscommunications or missed opportunities to make things right.


If you feel you want to discuss this in a session, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.


1In today’s blog post, I want to talk about acceptance, and to do so, I am going to start with what I believe to be the basis of acceptance in any relationship: acceptance of ourselves.

In last week’s post, I mentioned that we sent “vibes” to the world, and the ones closest to us pick them up in ‘surround sound, high definition’.

What vibe are we sending?

  1. I accept myself, I respect myself, and therefore I expect you to accept and respect me as well.
  2. I am not sure about myself, I find it difficult to respect myself, so feel free to step all over me as you please.

OK, point B got a bit dramatic, but some of us might actually be thinking like this – or worse!

The vibe will be sent and we will be treated by others in the way that is communicated to them.


This isn’t a life-long sentence. we can change this!


Therapy is a great place to become self-aware and work through the reasons behind you feeling like the person in point B.

Talking about this and understanding why we behave this way or allow people to treat us a certain way, will help us change things internally – the unconscious is very powerful, but not unbeatable!

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In therapy, we talk about stuff that might have been swept under the carpet, ignored, or avoided (in Freudian terms – repressed or suppressed). By talking about it and working through it – feeling, thinking, understanding and letting go – we will also let go of the negative vibe we are sending, and people will start reacting and treating us differently.

Why?

Because we will have found our self-respect, our self-acceptance.

How?

 Now this is a tricky part to explain and I find it almost magical to see this happen in therapy and then it transfer over to people’s lives.

All I can say is it works!

Setting clear boundaries and meeting our needs is an important learning experience from being in therapy, and I can see the change happen in my clients.

The vibe becomes positive and their relationships in turn also become more positive!


Book Cover

To find out more about how I work to achieve this and more with my clients in their individual therapy sessions, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.

You can also have a look at my book on 20 Self-Care Habits, which will allow you to get to know yourself better!

 


Now let’s get into the relationship part of acceptance…


In order to accept others, and most importantly our romantic partners, we must first accept ourselves.

This is the reason I started this post with individual’s acceptance of themselves before even attempting to delve into acceptance in a couple!

Now that we’ve worked on accepting ourselves, we can go about thinking and becoming aware of how we respond to our partner’s personality – positives and flaws.

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It’s easy to accept the positives, it’s probably the stuff that made us fall for them in the first place!

But what about when we move in together…

when we start seeing their awkward habits or weird things that we had no idea about?

We can take a few routes:

 

 

  1. Tell them to stop being annoying and change to what we want them to be.
  2. Get angry with them and snap at them without clearly communicating what is bothering us.
  3. Let the issue fester and then blow up somewhere down the line.
  4. Accept them for who they are and learn to communicate what we need from them.

As you can probably guess, the only healthy one in those four options is the last one, and it comes with many layers and ways of doing it.

Trying to understand where our partner is coming from is key, as is our partner understanding where we are coming from.


4

As with understanding ourselves as individuals, understanding why our partner is the way he/she is, and behaves the way they do, will help us work through our feelings and thoughts about them and about each situation we find ourselves in with them.

It will allow for compassion and empathy to arise, rather than anger and frustration.

When both parties know the why’s and how’s of their behaviours, then it is easier to communicate these to their partners.

Explanations lead to more understanding, and more understanding leads to a safer environment to be vulnerable and open up about our worries, thoughts and feelings.


I know I feel closer to my partner when we have in-depth conversations about why we do what we do and how we came about particular ways of being.

Deep and meaningful conversations are important. They deepen the bond.

They also deepen appreciation, love, trust, respect and acceptance of one another.


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I hope you have enjoyed reading this post in the Relationship Success series.

I welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions.

In the next blog post I’ll talk a bit more about communication and compromise.


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Join 4,391 other followers

Relationship Success – Whose responsibility is it anyway?

Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time


Welcome to this week’s Relationship Success post.

If you missed last week’s post you can read it here.

This series is aimed at romantic relationships, but as I’ve seen in the therapy room, the materials and topics I talk about with my couples apply as well to clients who come to see me individually.

We are, after all, relational beings, and many issues that come up in any relationship will be similar to those in a romantic relationship, in one way or another…

…or the issues might just relate to the fact that there are two different people, with different backgrounds and ideas about many things, that are living or in close proximity to each other.

It’s normal. It happens. It means we are human! 


If you feel you want to discuss this in a session, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.


1In this post I’d like to talk about communication, and one of its most important pillars, in my opinion – taking responsibility.

It might seem straight forward, but as the title implies, we are sometimes quick to blame someone else, or quick to take the blame for someone else.

Both are detrimental to our selves and our relationships.

 


I see many relationships suffer due to a breakdown in communication.

I’ve seen it in some of my own relationships, which is why I strive to ask questions and clarify what I meant as much as possible.

Doing this, allows me to connect with the person and to gain a better understanding of them and in turn they gain a better understanding of myself, and any confusion, misunderstanding or animosity can be cleared and life can continue.

Easier said than done, and sometimes the relationship needs to end for one reason or another.

Before it gets to that point, there are things we can all do in our relationships to bridge the communication gap and regain that lovely relationship we started out with.


2One thing that I believe is true, and is important to take note of is that we usually end up hurting those that are closest to us. Especially those we live with.

Being aware of the fact that we are prone to snapping or blaming our romantic partners is important, as it might help us stop and take a breath instead of short-circuiting into snap-or-blame games.

Taking time to stop and think is the best thing you can do for yourself and your relationship.


In two words: Take Responsibility.


Stress, anger and other strong emotions need to be processed, but if we can help it, we can work through them without letting them grow into overwhelming monsters that will only hurt us and our partner.

The physical effects of these strong emotions are not good for our physical health, and over-thinking something that could be resolved by asking a question like “wait, what did you actually mean by that?” is detrimental to our mental health.

Asking awkward and uncomfortable questions might be difficult for us – pride or the need to be right and not lose face might prevent us from asking them – but it might be the best thing we can do for the benefit of our relationship. 


Book CoverFor support with your other relationships (non-romantic ones) do have a look at my new book, where I give you tips and advice on how to improve your life and relationships by following 20 self-care habits, with an underlying theme of setting clear and healthy boundaries and learning to meet your own needs. Of course, there’s more to it than that, so pick up the book and find out how your life and relationships can improve!

 


3Increased communication and self-awareness – asking those awkward questions or saying those things that put us in a vulnerable position – might be key to growing and improving our relationships.

Getting our feelings “out” rather than keeping them “in” are only going to be beneficial, even if it’s not obvious right now.

The better we feel in our relationship and how we work through arising issues and situations, the better we will feel about ourselves.


It is all about balance. 


The better we feel about ourselves, in turn, will also allow us to voice our feelings and needs more clearly. We will respect ourselves, we will honour ourselves and our feelings.

This is “catchy” and when people see how we respect and honour ourselves, they will fall in line and act accordingly.

I call it that “vibe” we sent out.

I see it all the time – someone comes to therapy, realises an aspect of themselves they’ve been neglecting; they start thinking differently about themselves, and things start to change in their environment and relationships.

The vibe has changed.


4Earlier in this post I mentioned asking awkward questions and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in order to deepen communication and understand each other better.

I also mentioned taking responsibility as a means to improve communication and our relationship.

Here are some ways in which we can take responsibility and help our partner do the same:


  • I am responsible for my own happiness, not my partner.
  • My partner is responsible for his/her own happiness, not me.

In a given situation,

  • What part have I played?
  • What part has my partner played?
  • What was my reaction to it and how can I take back responsibility for my reaction rather than placing it on my partner?
  • What was my partner’s reaction to it and how can I disengage from taking responsibility for his/her reaction?

In an aim to resolve this situation,

  • I need to be assertive and say how a comment or behaviour made me feel – using “I felt” statements rather than “you made me feel”.  – Ask the awkward questions, allow vulnerability.
  • I need to hear an explanation, an apology, or just feel understood by my partner.
  • I need to own what I said or how I behaved and explain or apologise accordingly.
  • Do we both need a time-out before carrying on with the conversation? – 20 minutes is how long the body takes to regroup.

Links to the past:

  • In an attempt to understand myself and my partner better, it’s important to know whether there’s a link to a situation from their/my upbringing that leads me/them to react so strongly to particular comments or behaviours.

As you can see, it’s all about give then take, and take then give, or both happening simultaneously!

Remember: Both parties have responsibility in keeping the relationship healthy and making it grow.


I hope you have enjoyed reading this first post in the Relationship Success series.

I welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions.

In the next blog post I’ll talk a bit more about communication, compromise and acceptance.


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Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time

Relationship Success – Working on your relationship one step at a time


Welcome to the first post of my new series on couples and relationships.

I have at least 4 months of topics so far, and I’m sure it will extend further, so look out for weekly posts every Monday at 12pm.

Do let me know if there’s anything in particular you are curious about or want to work on in your relationship.


If you feel you want to discuss this in a session, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.


1

I believe this series will help both couples looking for support with their relationships, but also individuals looking for ideas to improve their relationships.

I say this because I’ve seen both couples and individuals in therapy, and the materials and information I use for couples also applies for individuals that come to therapy for reasons that are sometimes related to relationship issues in one way or another.

Humans are relational beings after all, and at one point or another we will encounter issues in our romantic relationships, as well as in our friendships and family relationships.

Although this blog series will focus on romantic relationships, some of the things I talk about here will also apply to friendships and other relationships you might be struggling with or curious about improving.


Book Cover

For support with your other relationships (non-romantic ones) do have a look at my new book, where I give you tips and advice on how to improve your life and relationships by following 20 self-care habits, with an underlying theme of setting clear and healthy boundaries and learning to meet your own needs. Of course, there’s more to it than that, so pick up the book and find out how your life and relationships can improve!


Now, back to the series at hand…


2

I have many reasons for wanting to write this blog series.

I like to write about things I’m familiar with and speak from personal or professional experience.

Raising awareness and encouraging reflection and thinking about your romantic relationship in a way that will make it more fulfilling and happier is one main reason for writing about this now.

Having said that, this blog should not be a substitute for couples’ therapy.

It is a conversation starter, a way of starting the journey of finding new ways of improving – or in some cases rescuing – your relationship, and all of the things I will talk about are topics I work on in therapy with my clients.


3

In my practice, I’ve seen how, after one or two sessions (it varies, it might take more!), the awareness of what each individual does in the relationship is raised and this alone brings effective and amazing change to the relationship.

Sometimes, I will ask a question that will trigger a whole lot of memories or issues.

Although it might feel awful to be opening these issues up, it’s important to look at them for long enough to get an understanding of what’s going on for the couple – and each member of the couple – in order to provide solutions, plans to move forward rather than stay stuck in fight mode.

Talking about the same thing in the same way is not going to provide a different solution. Arguing in sessions is not something I encourage. A glimpse is enough to know how to help the couple move forward.


4It‘s important to raise awareness of communication “glitches” and room for improvement through practising new ways of communicating about the same things.

Understanding each other is a major learning item in couples’ therapies, in my opinion.

This understanding might have dwindled or faded away through each argument, which has brought the couple to this point in their lives.

Learning how to communicate and clarify these misunderstandings is important to regain the feeling of love, compassion, wanting to talk and spend time with your partner.

Sometimes there needs to be someone else in the room with the couple, to break the cycle they’ve got themselves into. A therapist might be key in this regard.


5As you can see, there’s going to be a thread to these posts and it is all about clear communication and becoming aware of your own and your partner’s ways of communicating, understanding and possibly also their expectations of the relationship.

Once these are clear – or clearer – the relationship can move forward. An in fact with every step the couple takes towards improving their communication with each other, and  their understanding of each other, there will be changes and improvements in their everyday lives.


I hope you have enjoyed reading this first post in the Relationship Success series.

I welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions.

In the next blog post I’ll talk a bit more about communication, as well as a couple of other pillars that are important in a relationship – compromise, acceptance and taking responsibility.


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