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Relationship Alive!

Neil Sattin interviews John Gottman, Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Peter Levine, Stan Tatkin, Dick Schwartz, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Diana Richardson, Terry Real, Wendy Maltz - and many others - in his quest to dig deep into all the factors that keep a Relationship Alive and Thriving! Each week Neil brings you an in-depth interview with a relationship expert. Neil is an author and relationship coach who is enthusiastic and passionate about relationships and the nuts and bolts of what makes them last. You can find out more about Neil Sattin and the Relationship Alive podcast at http://www.neilsattin.com
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Now displaying: September, 2021
Sep 30, 2021

When you can't be yourself in your relationship and avoid the tough conversations that you might need to have, it erodes your relationship AND your sense of self. Today we're going to focus on how to lean into conflict in ways most likely to lead to deeper connection with others as well as inner alignment within yourself. Our guest is Jayson Gaddis, and his new book "Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High Stakes Relationships" is a masterpiece to level up your conflict-resolution skills.

If you’re curious to hear our first episode together, check out Episode 129 - Unlocking the Secrets of the Smart Couple.

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (lowercase) at checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Find out more about Jayson Gaddis's new book, Getting to Zero.

Visit The Relationship School website for more information about Jayson, his podcast, and the courses and trainings that he offers.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/zero to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Jayson Gaddis.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. When it comes to the relationships in our lives that matter the most, I want you to sit there and think for a moment about whether or not you're willing to really get into it with those people. Are you willing to have conflict when you don't see eye to eye, when you have a disagreement, when you have a values conflict, when you're not sure who should be doing the dishes and who should be balancing a checkbook, whatever it is, are you actually willing to go toe to toe as equals with the other people in your life? And if so, how well does it go? And if not, why do you avoid it? These are important questions to be asking because the quality of our relationships is often not only determined by the quality of our connection with those people, but it's also determined by our ability to come back from challenging moments, the resilience of a relationship.

Neil Sattin: And so for today's episode, I wanted to focus on that very thing. How do you work through conflict and create resilience, not only in yourself, not only fostering it in the other important people in your life, but how do you create a resilient relationship where you are able to be true to who you are, and where the person or people that you're in relationship with are also free to be true to who they are. And where somehow you manage to get through all of that, better for it, instead of in tatters because of your fights and inability to resolve them. So in order to have today's conversation, I wanted to feature Jayson Gaddis, who is the founder of The Relationship School, a colleague and friend of mine. He also does The Relationship School Podcast, and he is the author of this gem of a book called; Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships. If you're a long-time listener, you know that I read a lot of books for this show, and this book is a game changer. It is like you will be doing yourself a huge favor by getting this book, reading through it, working through the exercises, and...

Neil Sattin: I don't often truly feel that way, like sometimes, when we're talking about a book here on the show, I'll go through it and I feel like actually, I can kind of mine what's important for you, this is one that I want you to get and go through, it's that important. And when you do, let me know what you think. Let's dive in to chatting with Jayson Gaddis about his new book, Getting to Zero and How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships. Jayson, it's such a treat to have you back here on Relationship Alive.

Jayson Gaddis: Thanks Neil. So good to be chatting with you again and psyched to dive in.

Neil Sattin: Great. Great. So let's get started by talking about why we tend to avoid conflict, and I just want to say when I was reading Getting to Zero, this book was very triggering for me like as I was reading it through, I was like every page I was dealing with my own demons percolating up, because the very first thing that you ask us as readers to do is to think about a conflict that we've had with someone who's important in our lives. And so it's helpful to do that, of course, to put all the exercises and everything that you write into contacts, that will be really helpful, but it was really challenging and I got in touch with how hard it is to actually face in to the fire. So could we start by talking a little bit about kind of why people avoid conflict and why you might want to make a different choice.

Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, for sure. So I'll talk about two main reasons, and I'm sure you have many, and I'd love to hear those, but one is just in our biology, and it's the fact that we're social mammals and social mammals like to belong and we like to feel close to other people, and when we don't, it feels threatening and scary and shameful, and painful. And so conflict puts us up against that pain where it's like, "Ooh, if this doesn't go well, I might get kicked out of the group, I might not be included anymore or invited, this person might break up with me, I might break up with them." And that's uncomfortable, and social mammals don't like to be alone, and we don't do well on our own for long, long, long periods of time. So that's kind of in our DNA. And then there's the more psychological story about why we avoid conflict, and that's partly due to, it hasn't gone that well in our history, and that circles back to our family of origin, the neighborhood we grew up in, the friends we had or didn't have, the church we grew up in, sports teams we were on, or dance recitals we played, and all the negative experiences socially and relationally often don't get dealt with very well.

Jayson Gaddis: And then they compound over time, and then we enter into an adult relationship, and we've got a lot of negative memory around conflict and negative associations, and so we tend to do what we've always done, and that's usually moving away from conflict, which is avoiding or we might move toward it thinking that fighting harder and louder and getting bigger is the solution for some reason. So I think those are the two probably biggest reasons we avoid conflict.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, and conflict is uncomfortable. So you have to be in a space where you're willing to not only embrace that discomfort, but also, I think face your own discomfort with being uncomfortable, you have to look at why you would rather just check out and watch Netflix or pretend that something didn't happen or settle for whatever the situation is versus, Oh, it's actually really challenging to me to feel these feelings and to not know if there's going to be a positive outcome on the other side.

Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I like what you said there about just discomfort. It kind of boils down to that really, is a lot of us don't like feeling uncomfortable feelings, both emotionally and on a sensory level in our body, when we face off with another person or we have a trigger with a person, whether they're silent with us or aggressive with us. It's just so uncomfortable and people are like, Oh, you must really like conflict. I'm like, No, I do not like conflict. Let's be clear. Just like the next person, I just happen to have some tools and some ways through it that I've learned over the years...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Jayson Gaddis? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Sep 1, 2021

Are there ways to build trust in your relationship - even if you're in the middle of a crisis? How do you identify your relationship strengths - and use them in these most challenging moments? Today we have a return visit from Dr. Peter Pearson, co-founder of the Couple's Institute (along with his wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader), and one of today's leading trainers of couples therapists. Whether you're in a relationship, or a couples therapist, or both - today's episode is full of practical wisdom to help navigate the hardest moments that a couple can face.

Visit neilsattin.com/institute to join Pete Pearson’s and Ellyn Bader’s free webinars on how to use Confrontation in therapy!

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (lowercase) at checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

To join Ellyn and Pete’s free webinar series on "What do you say when..." - to handle tough situations in couples therapy, follow this link here.

Visit The Couples Institute website to learn more about Ellyn and Pete’s work with couples, and with helping therapists help couples.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/251 to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Peter Pearson.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

If you’re curious to hear our first episode together, about shaping a culture of honesty in your relationship, you can also check out Episode 24 of Relationship Alive - Why We Lie and How to Get Back to the Truth

And you can listen to our second episode together, which was about Relationship Development and getting unstuck in your relationship, if you click here.

And here’s our third episode together - Communication that Grows Your Relationship.

And here's our fourth episode together on how to work with Unmotivated Partners.

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today I want to cover how to handle crisis and conflict in your relationship, and for that conversation, we have a very special guest, a return visit from Dr. Pete Pearson. Along with his wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader, Pete is co-founder of The Couples Institute, one of the leading trainers of couples therapists. They are the co-authors of "Tell Me No Lies," a book about the dynamics of honesty and lying in relationships, and also the book, "In Quest of the Mythical Mate," which is a book that outlines their developmental approach to working with couples in therapy.

Neil Sattin: It feels a bit like coming home, having Pete here on the show, because he and Ellyn have been on Relationship Alive a bunch of times...

Peter Pearson: Hey, Neil, all I can say is it's good to be home again.

[chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Nice, nice. Well, we're going to try and keep things lighthearted as we tackle some pretty serious subject matter, because the reason that... There are maybe two reasons that people come to this show. One is they are in a relationship and it's going well, and they think, "Well, how could this be even better?" Or, "Maybe we feel a little stuck, and how do we get unstuck and turn surviving into thriving," at the risk of sounding a bit cliche. And then the other thing is people who are having a really hard time. It's not to say that there aren't other reasons that people come and find the show. I know a lot of people view Relationship Alive as a way to prepare for... They're not in a relationship, but they're preparing for the next one that comes along. But a lot of people come because they're in the middle of a crisis, something big has happened and they're looking for help. And often, in those crisis moments, we don't know how to turn to our partners, and so we turn elsewhere, and hopefully the elsewhere that we turn to is offering us something of value that we can take back to the relationship. So what I'm hoping that we can do today is to talk a bit about how we... If you're a couple in crisis, where the trust that you have in your partner is, at least in that moment, shattered, how do you rebuild from that moment? How do you get started?

Peter Pearson: Neil, first of all, I want to say, I hope today we can cover all those reasons why people tune in to your podcast. I think we could cover the spectrum today.

Neil Sattin: Awesome. Great, let's tackle it all.

Peter Pearson: Now, the question of trust absolutely is so foundational, because without trust, there is no future. You cannot plan a future if there is no trust. It's that fundamental, you have to have trust in relationship. If your relationship is going to improve, to grow, to evolve, and become what you hope it will be, it's all based on trust. So you nailed it right out of the gate, without trust, not much happens.

Neil Sattin: Right. And so that's the conundrum in a situation like this, where you... Ideally, you'd have this big safety net to catch you when some big crisis moment happens. And it could be something really serious, like someone discovers an affair, or your partner spent all your money. There are those big, monumental things, but then we've all... Or many of us have probably also experienced the little things that you think, it starts out as just a little tiny argument, it's not going to be a big deal, and then all of a sudden, boom, things have... Everything's blown up and it feels like your relationship is in jeopardy. And so those are the moments where you want to have a big safety net of trust, and yet those are the moments where you feel it the least in relation to your partner.

Peter Pearson: You're absolutely correct. And when you talk about big things, they can either be internal to the couple, finances or whatever, or they can be external. Like in California, wildfires are all over the place, so people are being devastated through fire, floods, earthquakes in California, so external... Medical emergencies. So a lot of things can be enormously disruptive to our relationship. And what I think is that, if couples are going to make a change or improve their relationship, there are three basic avenues that are catalysts for a change in relationship. And one is desperation, and that's the crisis that shows up, that's unpredictable, can't be foreseen, but it has an earthquake-like effect on the relationship.

Peter Pearson: When that happens, interestingly enough, a lot of couples start pulling together like a team. Here comes a fire, and you don't know if the fire is going to be at your house in 20 minutes or an hour, but all of a sudden you start communicating like champions with each other. Who's going to do what by when? And you count on the other person following through with their part of how we're going to get out of here with as much as we can. So couples often, in a crisis, will start communicating like champions. They don't have to look up, get communication strategies, they just do it because it's demanded and they respond. The problem is though, after the crisis has passed...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Pete Pearson? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

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