I have a Dream……and my heart aches :(

by susiesheartpathblog on July 3, 2011

DAILY LOVE TIPSunday July 3, 2011

Greetings dear Friends

Shelton and I presented the "KEEPING THE LOVE YOU FIND" Imago Workshop for Individuals/Singles/Couples based on the work and book of Dr Harville Hendrix this weekend in Melbourne, Australia and again had the privilege of sharing with some very courageous and committed people who participated.

It was so heartening to hear one ‘30 something’ young couple share with much enthusiasm (especially the husband) about how they will do anything it takes to keep their marriage (of three years) loving and thriving. This is especially valuable in that this young guy shared that his regular circle of mates would not regard his attending the workshop as an appropriate thing to do and in fact would consider it as evidence that there is something wrong with their marriage and that it is in dire trouble and at risk. The accepted behaviour amongst his friends is to keep the “happily ever after.....” facade
showing.....

To share with his friends that he has attended this workshop feels very risky to him even though he guesses most of them are having difficulties as well..... And this couple are both highly educated and have professional careers.....so I’m hunching their friends are in this same category as well.

This attitude is sooooooo distressing to me! My heart aches and I truly want to sob when I hear this. Yes sob!....How are we going to educate society and normalize that everyone needs relationship and marriage education when this is such a regular comment we hear and a prevailing way of thinking♥ And from educated people as well!

I can feel a soapbox appearing in front of me......

or as I said to Shelton – I can feel a blog post coming on! LOL!....... I didn’t intend to write about this so I guess it needs me to write about it right now. I am going to take the liberty of expanding this topic as it is probably the most central and passionate one for me and the reason I do the work I do. In fact it is interesting to note that a part of me was going to apologize for taking up your time to share about this by beginning with -  Excuse me but I am going to take the liberty of expanding this topic……..How indoctrinated we all are!!

I specialize as a therapist working with relationships and a high percentage of my therapy practice is helping people to reconnect and have HOPE that their LOVE  can be resurrected and teaching them the TOOLS to do this.

The appalling statistic is that couples generally seek help of a therapist or marriage counselor 6 YEARS after the initial appearance of the issue/problem in their relationship. That is 6 years TOO MUCH of detachment and disengagement and criticism and resentment and often outright disliking of each other.

We consider RELATIONSHIPS and Learning the SKILLS and TOOLS as The 4th "R" of EDUCATION.  EVERYONE needs to know and be able to use the best communication TOOLS and skills. EVERYONE needs to learn them - we are not born knowing them! And we need to regularly update our learning.

We have around a 50% divorce rate in both Australia and America which means about every second person you meet will have experienced the heartbreak and pain of separation and divorce. And whatever they experience their children will as well – and usually more intensely than the adults as they still love both parents. That’s an awful lot of heartache and misery. And the children don’t get to choose how their parents talk to each other and treat each other. They have to put up with witnessing and being around the hurt and pain even if it is withdrawal and detachment…… coldness and being resentful and blaming hurts too even if no words are used. Children are energy ‘sensates’.

Another guy in this same workshop who had been recently divorced after being married for about 20 years shared so poignantly about his pain at his marriage ending (and also the pain of his children) and did a process of saying goodbye to his marriage and the dreams that will never be. All the participants had a very real experience of the gut-wrenching ache and grief that is part of most separations and divorces.

Unfortunately Divorce like Death is another of the ‘D’ WORDS that people tend to sanitize and only talk and feel about behind closed doors. Are you ‘squirming’ and thinking how come
she is talking about this and not the usual ‘LOVE and light stuff’♥……..Are you  thinking of separating and ending your relationship♥ Are you having an affair and turning your energy to someone else with the fantasy that will ‘fix ‘everything♥ Do you continue to put up with the same destructive behaviours between you and your partner and turn a blind eye to it♥ Do any of these describe your friends or family♥

For me ignoring and putting up with relationship problems and not seeking expert help is similar to having a throbbing toothache of the severity that needs a root canal or the like and doing nothing about it other than taking analgesics for it for years…….well I guess we do have an epidemic of people taking antidepressants and other addictive and numbing substances in our society!!!

The dream that I am most passionate about is decreasing the divorce rate in Australia by half by the year 2015. I’ve put this out before in the last few years and in fact have it posted on our website but very, very few people make comments or pick it up.

Recently we’ve had a lot of press in Australia and on Facebook about live exporting of cows to Indonesia and the abusive way they are being slaughtered and it seems everyone was up in arms about this and commenting vociferously and campaigns being mounted right left and centre and people sending emails and signing petitions and posting and re-posting info!! And yes I am a vegetarian – almost a vegan - and I do care about their suffering. Or, it could have been saving old growth forests or whales or dolphins or wolves or aboriginal rights or climate control or many other topics and people vocally and loudly protest and ‘carry the flag’!!!!

Yet what has and is still happening in our society is this topic gets ignored.....and we still have people predominantly believing what the young guy above shared. My hunch is after posting this article only trickles of people will make any comment!! Ughhhhhh!!!!..........in fact I would be willing to bet on it!

Why is this♥....I just don’t understand it. There is ‘a  war’ going on in many people's homes and using weapons that hurt and harm - their words, their criticisms, all the ways they defend and attack and emotionally and physically abuse their loved ones; the ways they are harsh and unkind and unloving and withholding. The chilling line at the beginning of the movie  "The Prince of Tides" that we show in our workshops is a good description -

"I don't know when my parents began their war with each other, but I do know the only prisoners they took were their children..."

Are you willing to join me and make a stand for happy and loving relationships/marriages and Homes being a safe haven for families and the need to be educated to do this♥ Does this
topic interest you♥ Are you willing to speak out about this topic♥.....to send this article on to your networks♥.....to share about your experience♥ Will you share your answers to the following questions in the comments below……..…

Would you be willing to comment on what you think and how this affects you so I know that I am not alone in this♥.....even knowing that others have read this and it matters to them would be great......and encouraging....  

Questions for you:

a)    Do you share with your friends that you would attend/have attended a relationship education workshop and/or marriage/relationship counseling♥

b)   If you have what has been the response♥

c)   If you don’t feel comfortable doing so what stops you doing it♥

My most important message is DIVORCE IS PREVENTABLE if you have the TOOLS. People CAN and NEED to be taught how to have happy and successful marriages/relationships....... And “Happily ever after” does happen.....

Footnote: This article is intended for people everywhere whether you live in Australia or America or wherever. Our focus for this project on halving the divorce rate is on Australia at the moment.....and EVERY relationship that is loving and happy contributes to this coming about.....

LOVE from a ‘revved up’ Susieand with respect and gratitude that you have read this far...

PS: I am not willing to remain low-key about this topic anymore. I am determined to get the word out about this and would appreciate your help. .....And yes I own up – I am not a “well-behaved woman” :O)

________________________________________

"Well-behaved women rarely make history..........." Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, Nothing is going to get better, it's not."
~ Dr Seuss, The Lorax

This is a revolutionary view of relationships:
rather than leaving it to find yourself, you find yourself through it - being
the right partner is more important than picking the right partner
."
  ~Dr. Harville Hendrix

When there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person.
When there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house.
When there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. 
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. ~ Chinese proverb

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" ~ Nelson Mandela.

_____________________________________________________

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Comments

Gina says:

Hi Susie: Keep your dream alive! I am a huge fan of conscious, loving relationships and trust that I am headed in that direction. They are essential to our evolution as a species, and certainly to my growth as a human being. So far I have helped the divorce rate in America by not being married, YET, and am working on being and becoming an extraordinary partner (aka Harville H.). I am ready to continue my partner training inside of a beautiful, conscious, spiritual relationship!

Look forward to more discussions on this and all,
Gina
PS: I have been through couples therapy (with an Imago therapist in Illinois) and was happy to share about the experience with my friends and other couples. My then fiancée, was not so eager to share…

Hi Gina♥, I appreciate hearing your voice and every voice inspires me to keep the dream alive. Congratulations on doing the Imago work as preparation for getting into long term committed relationship. Working “on being and becoming an extraordinary partner (aka Harville H.)” is such a noteworthy and remarkable consciousness/attitude to have. I love how you put that as well as “……I am ready to continue my partner training inside of a beautiful, conscious, spiritual relationship!“ Wow that is one blessed man that you will bring into your life. I’m curious about how old you are and how and what began your journey of working on becoming “an extraordinary partner”. Celebrating you,…♥LOVE Susie.

Laurel says:

Dear Susie,

I told everyone I knew that I had done a fantastic workshop, and we as a couple used IMAGO in our marriage. Three couples we know have now done the workshop (one of five years marriage and two of ten year marriages). While they were initially concerned about “what it meant if they went/were seen there”, we told them that it was about learning to talk to each other so that you heard what your partner was trying to say. (We have all had that endless conversation which goes on for years in a marriage).

In my experience of your workshops, IMAGO is not just about couples counselling. It is a tool to communicate clearly with spouse, children, workmates, friends. It is a way to express yourself without becoming frustrated by people attributing different meanings to your words. It can feel awful to feel misunderstood by others, especially when my intention is good. It also means that one part of a couple can positively impact (make incredible changes to) a relationship by using IMAGO tools.

For me, IMAGO means that in relationships with people, I can consciously listen to understand what they are trying to communicate (free of my emotions or my understanding of the meaning of words). I can use the IMAGO tools to think to myself “this is your take on things; this is how you feel about things” without actually getting involved with “your stuff” (which you inherited from your childhood, not mine!!). It makes me understand that your frustration, anger and hurt belongs to your past, not our present or future. IMAGO means that I can move beyond what is happening “now”, and we don’t have to revisit this misunderstanding ever again in this form (yay!). Best of all, IMAGO means that I can have a fulfilling role in your emotional life, by being your non-judgemental listener, who actually hears what you are trying to communicate. We automatically build an empathetic (oh, what a word! What beautiful emotion!) connection because I can be there for you, without trying to protect my interests at the same time. You feel loved by me, because you feel heard.

This has been true for me in my (happy, free-to-be-me) marriage; my corporate workplace; with my friends and family. IMAGO is a relationship tool of the most amazing kind.

So yeah, loud and proud, IMAGO workshops are the sign of a strong marriage, that respects our childrens’ right to have a happy and loving model of what it means to be in relationship with another human being.
Laurel

Hello ALL♥
I am HEART-ened by ALL these Comments. Thank You! Thank You! – ALL you beautiful people. Keep them coming. This is just the beginning. Changing people’s and society’s attitudes takes time. A reminder that the BIG DREAM is decreasing the divorce rate in Australia by half by the year 2015. The most important message is DIVORCE IS PREVENTABLE if you have the TOOLS.
People CAN and NEED to be taught how to have happy and successful marriages/relationships……. And “Happily ever after………” does happen…..
LOVE from an encouraged and GrateFULL Susie♥♥
IF WE DON’T CHANGE DIRECTIONS WE’LL END UP WHERE WE ARE GOING !!
“Never doubt that a small, committed group of thoughtful individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

Rob says:

Susie, I have followed you guys for a few years now and find more passion in what you are doing – thank you,
I believe it is important to expose the monumental significance of the effect of DIVORCE on kids and other partner. I believe – as you commented – that there is NO REASON for most relationship disconnections to result in Divorce.
I also believe it takes both parties to want to be prepared to look within at their issues.
I resonated with the feedback of the guy who “shared so poignantly about his pain at his marriage ending (and also the pain of his children) and did a process of saying goodbye to his marriage and the dreams that will never be”
I am drawn more and more to saying to you and Shelton “How can I assist with this work” as the disruption in kids and parents lives caused by Divorce is huge.
When you are back in Perth, we must catch up and see what contribution I can make to HALVING the Divorce rate.
Best wishes and Love – Rob

Glenys Anderson says:

Totally agree Susie. Lets halve the divorce rate. I share your vision. I was really sorry to hear about your brother. My thoughts and love are with you. We are about to head off on our road trip. I will keep you updated with our adventures on email and maybe we will connect somewhere. lots love, Glenys xxx

I hear you Susie – this really gets me going too – there are days when I get so disheartened experiencing people – friends – living in relationship pain that do not know how simple it is to gain the tools that can help them. I know I can’t make them go to a workshop but sometimes I really want to make them!!!
Brett and I share with everyone the work we have done to rebuild our marriage and hope that by our friends and family seeing how good things are with us now it will inspire them. We have had some success in getting friends to join us in a workshop or two – in fact for your workshop last weekend I was attempting to coerce a friend and my sister (who I know will just get so much out of it) to go to your workshop by promising to fly down to Melbourne and go with them – I would have done it too but they both said some other time. When I get that response from people I hope for their sake they have the luxury of some other time. Other responses I get include – it’s too much money; we don’t have the time; why go to a workshop when we can just read a book; its not like either of us have had an affair…There is a lot of scepticism and reserve around the whole topic.
So for me it is a balance of not harping on about it so much that people cross the road to avoid me but ensuring that people know that they can get information from me if they want to take the next step – I forward your newsletters regularly to friends and family and put your website as a link in emails.
For me it is like when you come back from a holiday to a wonderful place and tell everyone about it so that they can experience it too.
SPREAD THE WORD I SAY…

Freea says:

Dearest Mummy <3
Keep spreading the word and when you need lifting up, I'm here to remind you that what you are doing does MAKE A DIFFERENCE! I'm so deeply grateful for the parenting you and dad have provided me as I don't squirm at words like death or divorce. Death is just the body passing, the soul lives on and whilst it was the hardest part of my life to have dad die, I know he is in me and is still truly proud of me as you continue to be in body form. Divorce, well, it is totally tragic that so many people who meet "the one" decide to walk separate paths. I know I can be like a bull at a gate but I'm lucky to have you remind me when I need to swallow my pride and own up that I'm being a cranky moody person. I'm so lucky to find Lee and am grateful for everything he brings to me, including getting me to look at who I am at such a deeper level and helping me to heal parts of myself.
Always have deep faith in what you do Awesome mummy. You make a difference to so many people, past, present and future and your work ripples out into the community.
I'm looking forward to you coming back to Perth to share lots of fun and playful times and remember why families are born and bred. Love you Freea xx

Tammy Amor says:

Dearest Susie
What a mammoth dream you have! I can feel your pain and frustration, anguish and despair, and on a very small scale, have tried to get the message out there that there is help available and it CAN heal and enrich your marriage, or even save you from divorce… Which is the path David and I were about to embark on. “It’s great that you guys found something that works for you, but I don’t think it’s for us” seems to be a common answer. The response is like I’ve just tried to sell them a marketing scam. It’s painful to know that those dearest to me could turn their relatoinship around and live a more peaceful, content life. I feel blessed that we were given an advert by our marriage counselor about your workshop, as she threw her arms in the air and said “I don’t know what else to do with you guys… Give this a go…. Otherwise you need to separate”. I feel blessed that David and I felt the pain of separation was too much to bear that we both said “What have we got to lose♥ Let’s do it”. We lost nothing but our imminent divorce. I feel blessed to have met Susie and Shelton and the others who participated in the workshops. I feel blessed to be touched by other couples journeys, from anger and despair to love and connection.
Susie… I know you’ve helped us and many other couples and individuals too… So don’t lose heart… You’re doing GREAT!!!
Thank you xox Tammy

Annie says:

I agree that it is extremely sad. I cannot hear about someone getting married without thinking about those same dreams that they share now, ending.
Annie

How heart breaking ♥Annie :( Susie♥

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