standard SL 52 – Five-Minute Relationship Repair Interview with Dr. Susan Campbell

 

Dr. Susan Campbell talks about her latest book that she co-authored with John Grey titled Five-Minute Relationship Repair on today’s Swank Life. Susan has written nine books on the subject of relationship conflict and resolution. She has also counseled thousands of couples to help better their lives and their communication with their significant other. On the show, Susan talks to Jason about some of the things you can do to live a happier life, communicate better with your partner, and repair some of the negative emotions you experienced as a child.

 

Key Takeaways:
1:15 – If relationship conflicts are not repaired quickly, your nervous system stays agitated.
4:00 – What needs to happen quickly when you’ve been triggered is to have a pause in the conversation.
7:05 – Susan believes childhood conditioning plays more of a role than male/female gender.
12:10 – Is it true opposites attract?
16:45 – In the book, Susan teaches how you can use your triggers for deeper healer in yourself and in your relationship.
19:45 – Do single parents affect a child’s conditioning?
21:30 – Go to FiveMinuteRelationshipReapir.com to download the free worksheets as well as buy the book!

 

Tweetables:

“The childhood conditioning is more powerful than the gender conditioning.”

“You put the preoccupied together with the avoidant personality style and there’s a lot they can learn from each other.”

“Everybody gets triggered, try not to be ashamed of it.  Let’s start developing a language where we can talk about it.”

Mentioned In This Episode:
http://fiveminuterelationshiprepair.com/
http://www.susancampbell.com/

 

Transcript

Jason Hartman:
It’s my pleasure to welcome Dr. Susan Campbell to the show. She is the author of Five-Minute Relationship Repair: Quickly Heal Upsets, Deepen Intimacy, and Use Differences to Strengthen Love. Susan, welcome, how are you?

Dr. Susan Campbell:
I’m fine, nice to talk to you.

Jason:
It’s good to have you. Where are you located? Give our listeners a sense of geography.

Susan:
Just North of San Francisco, California, a little town called Sebastopol.

Jason:
Oh, okay. Good. Beautiful place up there. Great, well, why are relationships best mended quickly? Is it resentment builds if problems aren’t addressed right away?

Susan:
Well, that’s part of , but the deeper scientific reason is that if they’re not repaired quickly, your nervous system stays agitated and your mind holds on to false pictures of your partner. So, stereotyping in a negative way, like ‘he doesn’t ever listen to me’, ‘I’m never enough for her’, those stereotypes can get imbedded if we don’t repair quickly. We can do it as my co-author John and I have learned. We can do it in five minutes or less once we learn these tools.

Jason:
Right, so how do we do that? It’s really what happens though before you answer that next question, you know, it’s that self-talk keeps playing over and over about the incident, right?

Susan:
We call them your reactive stories. So, the first thing is what we’re talking about here is the fact that couples or anybody in a close-type of relationship trigger each other’s deep fears like the fears like I don’t matter, I’m not good enough. These are things we don’t usually think in our conscious mind, we don’t usually think that’s what’s going on. The self-talk is usually my partner has let me down, why doesn’t my partner see that I need this? You know, there’s stories about the partner. So, what we teach couples, I’ll just use the couple metaphor, but this can be used for friends, parents, and children, even in the work place.

We teach people is that you all have triggers, because you have unfinished business from your childhood that created in you fears about yourself, fears about whether you really can get your needs met in the world. So, of course we bring this into the couple relationship where you have these fears and they can, it’s like the past is wreaking havoc with your present adult relationship, but the present adult relationship is where you ar no, so it’s where you actually have a chance to heal all of this old stuff.

Jason:
Right, absolutely. Okay, good. So, how quickly are you talking about? Like, is there is sort of a time frame that’s ideal? Because, if you’re constantly dealing with things instantly, then doesn’t that inhibit you from moving forward as well?

Susan:
Right, you can’t deal with every trigger instantly. It’s not really what we mean when we say five minute relationship repair. What you can do instantly is call for a pause in the conversation when you’re both triggered and you’re starting to throw accusations at each other or defensive conversation at each other. When you’re starting to dig yourself into a hole, we teach couples to notice the early warning signs of being triggered like that negative self-talk also certain body sensation and feelings and then agree that when you notice that kind of thing going on, you call for a pause. So, that’s what needs to be done quickly. The repair has to come after you both have calm down and there’s a calming step in there and then there’s a repairing step. The repair can happen later on in the day when you’re not in the middle of something.

Jason:
Okay, yeah. That’s a good way to look at it. So, how does the repair portion occur?

Susan:
There are a number of self-awareness activities that are preparation for the repair portion. So, the repair portion, I’ll kind of cut to the bottom line and then I’ll tell ya how we get there, the repair portion looks like basically what you wished you said to your partner if you had felt really save, if you hadn’t been trigger and your fears hadn’t been acting up and coloring your perception of the situation like I can’t do anything right with this person, you know, that’s a sign that you’re triggered. So, you pause, you calm yourself down. You take out this one page fill in the blank repair statement worksheet and we give these work sheets out free on our website.

Jason:
Please give that out. Where can people find that?

Susan:
It’s FiveMinuteRelationshipRepair.com, same as the book title, you can actually download the whole free workbook, which is all the worksheets that are in the book, so that you can reprint them for using them more than once, because you’re going to need to repair more than one fight if you’re like most couples. So, the repair statement is like saying, here’s what I wished I said if I had been more conscious and aware of what’s really going on inside of me if I hadn’t been on automatic and just acting out of a fear place and it might look like something like this, “I’d like to repair what happened when I…”

I might say, walked out while you were talking, so that’s what I fill in the blank with. Right in the middle of the conversation, somebody walks out, you know, I’ve had enough, so now they come back and they’ve calmed down and they say, “I like to repair what happened when I walked out. When I heard you say you have to remind me three times, a story came up in my mind that I’m not good enough for you.” See, first the story comes up in his mind that, boy, I can never get it right with her, she’s never satisfied, but when they get a chance to do all the worksheets that prepare you to give an effective repair statement, you learn what the core vulnerable feeling is, like fear that I’m not good enough. So, you fess that. That’s the, you know, I’ll give you that much now and just see if you want to ask anything else.

Jason:
Yeah, very interesting. You inserted gender into that comment you made. How does it differ among the genders these issues and how they should be dealt with or is there a difference?

Susan:
I think the difference is more, in terms of what kind of childhood you had in terms of security versus insecure attachment. I don’t think it’s as much a gender thing, although in our book we have done an Eric, a typical couple, we followed them throughout the book, and Donna is more of a preoccupied pursuer attachment style and Eric is more of an avoidant withdrawal attachment style. Those terms come from the attachment literature in child development.

Very often you will see things divided along gender lines because of the roles that we are conditioned into. Women are conditioned to have their self-esteem and valuing based on how loving they are, how lovable they are, how well their relationships go. Even in the modern day where women are in the workplace in full force, we’re still less identified for our feelings of ‘I’m a good person’.

We’re less identified with achievement where as the male role has typically been, as you know, you gotta get the job done and be a performer and a provider and even though those old roles are breaking down, it’s still part of the male self-image to be good at doing things. It’s not so much ‘am I good at being a great partner’. Women are more worried about that because of our gender conditioning. Your childhood conditioning is way more of a factor then your gender conditioning, but before are there.

Jason:
Oh, got it. That’s interesting, so the childhood conditioning more powerful than the gender conditioning.

Susan:
I believe so.

Jason:
Right, so elaborate on the childhood conditioning a little bit more if you will and just take us down that. How can we tell, I mean, it’s important to know how our partner was conditioned. I mean, are there some questions you can ask them about their childhood that..

Susan:
That’s a great idea what you just said. We have in our book, we have a thing called a little exercise where you would sit down with your partner or you can just do it by yourself if you’re single or doing it alone, it’s called a self-guided tour of childhood and it looks at what children need in order to grow up healthy and things like, we you protected as a child? Did you feel like there was somebody you could go to when you were scared to get reassured? So our listeners can follow along in this. Were you given guidance as a child? Were you shown how to do things? Did your mom show you how to trend a needle? Did your dad take you out and show you how to hammer a nail? That kind of thing. So, that’s another basic need. Another need is..

Jason:
Okay, so, what are the answers to those questions. Tell us.

Susan:
Okay, so if you were not protected, let’s say, and not attended to, if you weren’t touched much, some of the questions have to do with being touched and attended to in a loving way. If you were not attended to in a loving way, like you cry and the parent sticks a toy in your face and tries to pacify you, you would grow up with avoidant attachment-style, which is a little bit like Eric who walks out when his partner’s voice starts to raise, because his nervous system is getting flooded. He didn’t grow up with a lot of emotions in his family. It was just achievement and getting the job done, even for little kids. I couldn’t go to mom and cry. That’s the avoidance style.

The preoccupied style has a more inconsistent parenting style. Sometimes as a little one, I was loved and cherished and other times I was completely ignored, my care giver put his or her needs first, maybe there was an addiction in the family or some emotional upheaval or something. So, it was real inconsistent, so those kinds of people will be more preoccupied like always watching. Is my partner into me? Are they going to respond to my needs?

So, you can see, you put the preoccupied together with the avoidant and there’s going to be some kind of fireworks. There’s a lot they can learn from each other. That’s why people partly get together now in this day and age to learn and grow and heal. So, opposites can attach like that even though you go, “Oh, fireworks, I don’t want that.” But, we show people how to take those differences and use them as a portal to healing that old stuff that you didn’t get in childhood, you can give that to each other right now.

Jason:
Is it true, I mean, do opposites attract? When you look at the Myers & Briggs for example, you know, they sort of do it, I can’t remember how, but like opposite in temperament and the same in character or something like that. They sort of dissect that a little bit more, but I haven’t quite figured out if opposites in couples either just drive each other crazy or if they’re attracted to that like where as one partner is sort of spontaneous, maybe irresponsible, and whimsical, you know, that’s not all bad even though the whimsical part is kind of cute and the other is really planned and stayed, and punctual and they are opposites, do they drive each other crazy or are they actually good for each other?

Susan:
Well, let me tell you how that works. It’s not so simple as opposites attract in some obvious way, although like what you said, the playful versus the very task-oriented, they could find each other together and have a good relationship even though there’s sparks. Any two people, forget about, you know, the stereotyped meaning that you might give opposites attract, any two people after they’ve been together for awhile, first of all, they start to really depend on each other and need each other and then their differences begun to show, because everybody’s different and then what begins to happen is some particular difference starts to show up as a threat like Eric needs more time to work and to do solo things. Donna needs more time to be close and tender, so there’s the person that needs more face-to-face time and then there’s the person who needs more space. Space versus togetherness.

That wasn’t an issue when they first got together. They seemed very similar. I mean, they seemed so like not opposite, you know, “Hey, we got so much in common.” But any two people over time, there will be some kind of difference that emerges and the more we take that difference personally, like her need for face-to-face is overwhelming to me. My God, she’s never satisfied and then it plugs into that, “Oh, I’m not enough.” His need for along time is out in his shop all the time, that plugs into her unmet needs for feeling safe and connected, so it’s not like they were opposite in the beginning, these oppositional things emerge because we take a normal difference personally and it begins to get exaggerated, so then the more he needs his space, the more she’s after him all the time to be together and vice verse and they get artificially polarized. It’s actually a very unfortunate thing, but at least it gets their attach so they get into a couple’s counselor and start doing some healing work, but it’s all about taking your differences personally and then learning how to work with your differences in a new way.

Jason:
Okay, very good. These are great distinctions. I really like it. What else should people know?

Susan:
The biggest thing is know that everybody has these emotional triggers. We all have some kind of, no matter how secure we were, what great parenting we had, there’s some frustration, some need that wasn’t met and we’re still, that’s still working us in our adult relationships, so everybody gets these old fears triggered. We might not call it that, but I think it’s very important for us to own up to the fact, hey, everybody gets triggered, try not to be ashamed of it, and let’s start developing a language where we can talk about it.

So, what we recommend that people learn to do is saying, “When that happened, I was triggered.” We might not realize it right in the moment when we’re triggered, although the sooner the better if you can just say, “Hey, I’m getting triggered, let’s call for a pause now.” That’s like a super useful skill, because if you don’t pause, you’re going to keep arguing and dig the hole deeper. So, one key thing everybody needs to know is we all have trigger and it’s good to know what the early warning signs are of those triggers.

Jason:
Are those triggers necessarily a bad thing? I mean, they must have some real value in some way and can we rewire our brain, can we change them?

Susan:
Yeah, they have a value and yeah we can rewire our brain and change them. The value is that it points to old pain and old trauma or old neglect or abuse that hasn’t been healed and so a lot of marriage counselors now, John and I in this book we show you how to do it yourself even without a counselors. You can use these triggering episodes as a doorway into deeper healer, because we’ve got some actives that help you go back and remember what that little child felt like, offer that little child in yourself; it’s like inner child work; some compassion and learn how to do that with each other. Learn how to do these deep sharing processes where you can put your hand on the other person’s body while they’re feeling something and basically rewire that person and your own nervousness to give that adult, the child in the adult, the things the child actually didn’t get when he was two years old.

Things like loving touch, loving attention, soothing voice tones, eye contact, those simple, we call them co-regulation actives, activities that calm and regulate your nervous system when it’s agitated and teach couples how to co-regulate each other and basically means saying we’re going to be okay here. I love you. Soothing voice tones, reassuring words, looking them in the eye, maybe giving them a pat or a hug. Even though we’re triggered, let’s hug for a minute and then let’s pause and try to calm down and we’re get through this together.

Jason:
Yeah, that’s great. That’s super powerful. I mean, that’s just incredibly powerfully obviously, so..

Susan:
We give people the scripts for learning how to say those words, but they have to do the prework for those words to be actually sincere and deeply felt.

Jason:
Right and what is that prework again? I mean, we’ve gone over that, but is it creating a triggering episode, you know?

Susan:
Yeah, analyzing a triggering episode and we look at what was the triggering stimulus like my partner rolled their eyes or my partner walked out, what went on in my body. So, we help people identify, okay, my body sensations when I get trigger are – rapid heart rate, etc. What story went on in my mind, ‘I’m not important to this person’ is one example of a story or ‘I can never get it right with her’, ‘a failure as a husband’. So, basically the worksheets look like it’s like identifying all the different elements of a triggering episode and they are actually things that then you probably, let’s say, did wrong during the argument, when you go back and repair, every single fill in the blank corrects what you did wrong and says the same thing from a deeper, more vulnerable place, which is actually a truer place. We totally believe in honest here, but not the blunt honesty, ‘you’re so selfish’. That’s not honesty. Honesty is coming from the deepest place about what you feel and what you need. That’s the kind of honesty that we’re promoting.

Jason:
You talked about the gender programming versus the childhood programing, right, and how the childhood programming is the more powerful of the two, but we have a couple of generations now of single-parent households as the popular norm. So, how does that play into this, this single parent situation? What does that generally do? Of course, it’s not, it doesn’t apply in all cases I’m sure.

Susan:
A number of single parents with this material dealing with their kids, because kids and parents trigger each other. It’s not to say you should treat your kid like a spouse, but kids need these skills too.

Jason:
You can talk about it from that point of view, that’s great. When I asked the question, though, I was thinking it from the point of view where you talked about how, you know, the couples’ want to find out about each other’s childhood, to understand these factors. So, if you just know right off the bat that this person came from a two-parent household or a single-parent household, what would that tell you right away, if anything, and then whether or not they had siblings, like, those are really quantifiable things, right? So, I’m looking for shorthand.

Susan:
Yeah, those aren’t huge. In our work, those aren’t huge factors. You could, you know, the more siblings in the family, the more maybe you’re apt to be in avoidant person, because no body got very much attention in that family. I mean, if it’s a single parent sometimes the more the parent was kind of preoccupied with you, because that’s all they had was you. Let’s say you are the only child or something and the other parent is absent. There’s factor that probability statements to them, but those things are far too numerous to try to detail.

Jason:
Right, right. Good stuff. So, Susan, give out your website one more time.

Susan:
FiveMinuteRelationshipRepair.com and you can order the book there and you can also down the free workbook. Of Course, he book is available anywhere, you know, Amazon and so forth. If you want to get coaching with me, you would go to SusanCampbell.com, beause I’m a couple’s coach and I try coaches.

Jason:
Fantastic. Good stuff. Susan, closing thoughts?

Susan:
Closing thoughts. Remember that even if you’re not in a primary type of relationship right now, there’s still some relationship in your life that’s your teacher and let’s just know that all relationships are our teachers, so you can pick up this book and discover how to use some of the other button pushing relationships in your life for healing and mutual benefit.

Jason:
Great advice. Dr. Susan Campbell, thank you so much for joining us.

Susan:
Thank you.

Announcer:
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*