♥ DAILY LOVE TIP – Saturday January 7, 2012

Big Hello out there to all you wonderful readers,

In the last post I said I would share a bit about the theory of Imago Relationship Therapy and how to talk about and share your Frustrations and to do what we call Restructure Frustrations into Behaviour Change Requests (BCRs for short).

It’s important to note that we teach this work as a Process/Skill at the end of the whole weekend Imago Couples and Individuals Workshops and there is intensive pre-teaching through the earlier parts of the weekend so that the different steps make sense. This article is teaching you the concept in general.

Also I do want to name that there are many different models teaching different ways of working with frustrations and conflict that are valuable as well. For me, I have found using the Imago theory and Skills and TOOLS very profound and life-changing….. We are going to meet people that frustrate us in many different areas of our lives and I think having TOOLS that equip me to respond consciously, kindly and compassionately is a necessity. In my opinion everyone benefits from learning and knowing this work and having these TOOLS. 

For the full teaching and intensive processing work I recommend that you attend an Imago Getting The Love You Want Couples Workshop or the Keeping The Love You Find Workshop for Individuals that are presented in many countries around the world and follow up with coaching with a certified Imago therapist. For more information you can also check out both of the books by –

Dr Harville Hendrix

Dr Harville Hendrix. 

The concept and the quote that captures it that I see is central to the Imago Relationship Therapy model and work of Dr Harville Hendrix is “Conflict is ♥growth trying to happen”. I thank and honour Harville for his brilliance for this piece in helping us to really understand relationships and the frustrations that threaten the ♥LOVE-ing and respecting space between people.

It is really wonderful to be able to re-frame conflict as giving us an opportunity to grow and to see it as a gift and not something that we have to fear and run from if we have the consciousnesses and the ♥TOOLS.

Imago teaches that under all reoccurring frustrations there is an UNMET NEED for the person with the frustration and a GROWTH EDGE for the person they have the frustration with.

The theory is that all frustrations contain a hidden desire, a need, a yearning and we teach people how to unpack the frustration and translate the desire into a REQUEST for a CHANGE in BEHAVIOUR.

Usually when there is a frustration people share it by criticising /complaining/whinging /whining /blaming /nagging/attacking and the like……raised voices and eyebrows,….. finger pointing, aggressive body postures,…… and often with sarcasm, contempt and  superiority….. Many of THE SCABS get used! (for the Grads of the workshops a quick review – test yourself before looking…)

By THE SCABS we mean:

C-riticism, C-ontempt
B-laming, B-elittling
                                      S-haming, S-uperiority

It is even more detrimental as people usually don’t just complain about and criticise the behaviour, they mostly word it so that it comes out that there is something ‘wrong’ with the character of ‘the other’ which they attack them for….For instance: –

“You are messy and lazy’ rather than something like ‘I’m frustrated that you have left things in what I consider to be a mess’…… 

People need to learn to re-word their criticisms and complaints into what they NEED.

..…… and I need you to put things back in the fridge and cupboard and clear and wipe the bench after you’ve made a sandwich….. 

We need to say specifically what we want and to be brief and to the point, and instead of saying what they are doing wrong and don’t want – tell them what doing it right would look like for you, and make a non-demand request of them.

And the most important part of making a non-demand request is – it means they can say YES or NO!

And do you know why that is♥ In essence if you ask something of another and they don’t have the choice to say either YES or NO then you are in the position of demanding and they will feel controlled! Just think about it – if you don’t have a choice as to how you answer/respond to someone’s request then it will feel like you are being told what to do!!

being curious

Throughout this whole process it is important to stay CURIOUS!  

We teach –  all conflict is held in place by UNMET NEEDS from childhood….And that we need to go underneath to find out what is fueling our frustration/irritation.

There are two people in any frustration/argument/conflict –

a) the person with the frustration and
b) the person who frustrated/is frustrating you

For the Person with the Frustration

You convert your frustrations into BEHAVIOUR CHANGE REQUESTS (BCRs) – a REQUEST for a CHANGE in BEHAVIOUR.

And by the way – NO you don’t have to do this around every frustration you have. We suggest you consider doing this process where the frustration lasts more than about 10 minutes and/or it is reoccurring between you and ‘the other’. Then it is most likely linked to history – and is touching an unmet need usually right back into childhood.

1. We apply the 90/10 rule:
10% is about present and what ‘the other’ did – they are actually doing something and are not just an innocent bystander, and
90% is about history.

It is useful to ask yourself the question – What felt like that as I was growing up♥ It is more about the feeling rather than just the actual incident. For instance, in the above example of you being frustrated by someone leaving “mess’ on the bench….Pay attention to the feeling you have when this happens and then ask yourself – What felt like that as I was growing up♥ 

For Person who triggers the Frustration

There is Gold Hidden for YOU and it can feel a bit like ‘panning for gold’ as often there is much sorting and sifting to go through to find the treasure that is in it for both of you.

 Whatever it is that ‘the other’ most wants and needs from you (as expressed in their frustration) will be the hardest for you to do and give .

 He/she will be asking you to move into the LOST PARTS of you – in other words parts of you (behaviours, actions, characteristics, feelings……) that you didn’t develop when you were growing up.

 You will most likely feel inner resistance/blocking/judgement to meet the need of  ‘the other’ because such behaviours are not natural, normal and comfortable for you – if they were you would already be doing them and you wouldn’t be in this frustration cycle with the other person.

 You need to give/do the behaviours requested by ‘the other’ as a gift. In other words, there is no ‘price tag’/ conditions – they don’t have to give back or do anything for you in return. This is what unconditional LOVE is. This is one of the hardest things for people to do as most people grow up learning and experiencing conditional LOVE – which also means that they are ‘wired’ to expect that this is what LOVE is…..so moving into experiencing/doing/giving unconditional LOVE is a profound step/gift.

Hendrix introduced the term S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G as people must go beyond what is comfortable or natural and enlarge their repertoire of behaviours. Stretching can sometimes feel like being asked to act like someone else. This is why it feels so hard!

Doing behaviours that are not natural and normal for you  S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S you towards wholeness. And when you do an action/behaviour ‘the other’ requests they experience HEALING (that is, getting their need met) and you experience GROWTH (that is acting in ways that aren’t natural for you).

In the Imago model Harville distinguishes between “HEALING” and “GROWTH”. For healing to happen we need ‘the other’ to meet our need and with growth we are growing and expanding into parts of us that didn’t develop as we were growing up.

In relation to my request for people to comment on the blog my unmet need is for people to comment and to be there for me in that way – I’ll repeat my REQUEST –

Would you (meaning any and all of you out there in blog community land reading this) be willing to commit to making a comment on the blog a minimum of once a week/fortnight/month – whatever works for you – for the next month or so♥

My upbringing taught me I’m supposed to be strong and self-sufficient and to not need others and to be able to carry on regardless and to not ask for what I want as there is not enough to go around. Living in a family where there were 5 kids and I was the oldest girl and our father was sick from when I was 2 till he died when I was 11 taught me all these ways of being. I was taught and got approval and acceptance for looking after others and to take care of their needs and to not have any of my own……

One way to know whether you are in the arena of growing is whether there is a feeling of s-q-u-i-r-m-i-n-g” – doing something that makes you feel exposed and uncomfortable… and usually there will be self-judgment and criticism…..and sharing this information about my childhood is making me s-q-u-i-r-m………So this as well is a growth edge for me to advocate for myself and to ask – especially when I have asked about this before.

So as well I am S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G in asking.  I’m guessing this could feel like a quantum leap for some….Consider that there is a G-R-O-W-T-H  E-D-G-E here. Could be the one of voicing your opinions and being heard and seen and to experience that your opinion matters………..could be committing to an action and following through….

Remember that what I have described is just a summary overview of this process. The full process has many more specific steps to it. For most people this stuff is hard to get and to be able to do the full process with full undefended consciousness can take a long time – as long as a year or more even with regular practice…… as remember we are re-wiring some very old survival patterns and character styles in doing this.

MIRRORING TOPIC: Share with someone what this post brings up for you, triggers in you, how it impacts you and have them ♥MIRROR you for a minimum of 5 minutes. Then swap and you ♥MIRROR their sharing.

I’m imagining all sorts of questions may come up for people – so please ask whatever comes up as I’m sure many others will have the same questions.

Wow this post has been full on to write! Does it make sense to you♥ Hope it does and is useful to you. I would appreciate your input around its usefulness to you as well as any ideas of how to make it clearer.

May you be experimenting and  S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G and S-Q-U-I-R-M-I-N-G and taking new steps to live the life of your dreams – and getting your precious needs met, encouragingly LOVE Susie.

Sometimes it is just tooooooooo hard to follow the steps and stay conscious……thought this was hilarious!! 🙂 🙂