Relationship Skillsn

Relationships are all about building trust.

In his research, Dr. Gottman observed that happy couples turn towards their partners approximately twenty times more than couples in distress during everyday, non-conflict discussions. In a newlywed study, newlyweds who were still married six years after their wedding had turned towards each other 86% of the time while in the lab. Those who were divorced six years later, however, had only turned towards each other 33% of the time.

Every time you turn towards your partner’s bids for emotional connection, you are making a deposit in what Dr. Gottman calls your Emotional Bank Account. You add value to your account when you create and build on positive moments between yourself and your partner. These little moments add up, reminding the two of you of the feelings you have for one another, and of your commitment to supporting each other through all of the experiences you share. If you find yourself lost amid the everyday stresses of life, your investment in an Emotional Bank Account drastically diminishes the probability that these stresses will climax in some kind of catastrophic fight.

By keeping Dr. Gottman’s tips about bidding in mind, you and your partner can feel that you are in control and dramatically increase the stability of your relationship. Dr. Gottman describes positive responses to bids as “turning towards” your partner: being mindful, aware, and responsive to the small interactions that the two of you have. When we bid for our partner’s attention, affection, or support, their response generates a critical outcome. As we become used to receiving a pattern of acceptance or rejection of our bids, our feelings towards our partner are an enormous determinant of the success or failure of the relationship! To begin with, we ought to ask a question: What does accepting bids tell the bidder? Here is Dr. Gottman’s answer:

When you “turn towards” bids, the bidder hears:

  • I’m interested in you.
  • I hear you.
  • I understand you (or would like to).
  • I’m on your side.
  • I’d like to help you (whether I can or not).
  • I’d like to be with you (whether I can or not).
  • I accept you (even if I don’t accept all your behavior).

In our next few blog entries, we will offer you some of his research-based methods for improving your ability to receive bids in ways that strengthen the trust in your relationship! For now, practice the skills we taught you in our most recent blog posts on Dr. Gottman’s Four Steps of Emotional Attunement & Intimate Conversation with your partner, and start feeling the trust you share grow. If you’ve found our discussions of trust helpful, look forward to the release of Dr. Gottman’s new book What Makes Love Last?.

Fear of Rejection

Rejection Fear -How your Beliefs Sabotage your Relationships.

Rejection Fear will sabotage your relationships.


Fear of rejection is a big obstacle to creating a lasting relationship.

Rejection Fear comes from past hurts of being rejected. I’ve seen people carry around rejection fears from seeing other people rejected, so it doesn’t even have to happen to you to affect you deeply.

Until you release this pain or fear that got imprinted into your subconscious mind from past experiences you believe that you will be rejected. What you believe is what you will create. You will always choose people to reject you…In fact if they don’t reject you , will find a way to reject yourself…You’ll come up with something like ,” You don’t really love me, you just love what I do for you”.

Our deeply held beliefs drive all of our behaviors. Many of our beliefs are unconscious and the only way we can identify them is by looking at our behaviors. Strong feelings hold these beliefs in place.

We can change this by going to the memories behind our unwanted actions and then changing the feelings behind them. With the feelings changed the “drivers” are gone and we can imprint new experiences that we’d rather have in their place.

This powerful process for change is called FasterEFT. It is a relatively new process which I find to be really amazing in the results it gets.

borderline personality, borderline personality disorder, relationship, personality disorder, emotional abuse

Borderline Personality Relationships-are you in one?

Borderline Personality Relationships


Are you in a relationship with a person with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Have you had intense passion and intimate feelings for a person with high highs and low lows?

Does this sound familiar: obsessing about him/her, yet no matter what you do, you can’t seem please the person?

If this applies to you, read further to see if you are in a relationship with a “Borderline Personality.”

– Your partner swings from extremes like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

– one moment passionately loving you in a way that makes you feel very special and in the next moment attacking you, threatening you and even raging violently.

– Being blamed and criticized for everything wrong in the relationship to the point that you are afraid to reveal what you really think or feel. You feel like you are in a double bind: you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. If you ask for anything you are told your needs are wrong or not important.

– Feeling that if you want to keep the relationship you have to deny what you feel to the point that you have become confused about what you really feel. You feel like you’re loosing your grip on reality.  Just when you decide you  have had enough the Borderline will throw in some caring behavior to throw you off balance and keep you confused.

– When you try to leave the relationship the other person makes declarations of love and devotion or makes threats to you like “no one but me will ever love you.” Emotional abuse victims can be convinced that no one else could want them and they stay in abusive situations because they believe that if they leave they will just be alone forever.

– The abusing person seems to have an uncanny ability to know what you’re thinking and can see into you with such amazing accuracy that you feel special in some way when you are with them much of the time. Longing for these loving moments when you feel seen keep you in the relationship.

-Emotional abuse can be more damaging than psysical abuse because the insults, criticism and accusations chip away at the person’s self esteem and their very core until they blame themselves for the abuse and sometimes even cling to the abuser. Often the abuser in this type of relationship has Borderline Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Traits.

Help is available


If you know anyone who is in a relationship like this please show them this article and let them know that they need help. Both people in an abusive relationship need help.  I work with couples in abusive relationships to show them what can be done to create a good relationship.  I also can give the person with BPD a referral to a therapist who is skilled in working with this issue.  Anyone who is truly committed to doing what it takes to change can change these destructive behaviors and learn how to have a good relationship.
Love Rewires,Life Coach Los Angeles, norman, Therapist Los Angeles

How Love Rewires The Brain

This article shows how love and novelty rewire the brain. To keep a relationship exciting, you must inject novelty. This novelty triggers the hormone dopamine which is the pleasure hormone. This article below shows how to do this.

How Love Rewires the Brain
(and Other Romantic Secrets of Brain Chemistry)

Norman Doidge, MD, PhD

There are several neurotransmitters that seem to be involved in novelty. Dopamine is often spoken of and aspects of norepinephrine are involved in novelty, too.

But basically, what happens in life is that if you keep doing the same thing of any kind, your dopamine chemistry is not being triggered.

Sometimes, when you hear people complaining about monogamy as being boring, it’s not that their mate is boring, it’s just that there’s a certain amount of routine involved in monogamous relationships or long-term, steady relationships.

It’s good to know about that and learn how to manipulate your dopamine to some degree. You should pay some attention to the fact that if you want to maintain a long-term relationship, you’re going to have to do certain things to inject some novelty into it.

People – and I am not inventing this – who are very good at love know how to do this. Part of the reason you might want to go on vacation is to be with your beloved in a totally new situation – a new place where you’re both doing a lot of learning. It’s turning on that dopamine chemistry that’s allowing you to discover new things in the beloved. Probably that is what a new suit and a new dress is about, too.

So, again, this is just part of knowing about the “Users’ Guide to the Brain” – just knowing about the art of life and that your brain evolved to learn.

It is not just for learning – it is for self-regulation, too. The brain has to be learning to feel fit. So you always have to be learning new things, and even within the context of a relationship, I think you have to be learning together to keep that relationship feeling really vital.

Putting Ideas into ActionJoan Borysenko, PhD
Bill O’Hanlon, MS, LMFT

Bill O’Hanlon: One of the challenges with long-term relationships is that they do get into ruts – and they say the difference between a rut and the grave is just the dimensions. Some relationships can get so boring that people want to leave or have an affair…just to get that dopamine hit again.I think Dr. Doidge is talking about the dark and light side of plasticity. The good news is that you don’t have to work on your relationship every day like you do when it’s new. It’s like driving to work every day – you don’t really have to think about it. That’s the good news about brain plasticity; you get really efficient at doing the day-to-day things you need to do.But we know relationships can be a challenge, so anything you can do to change it up is a good idea.There are two ways you can do this. One is to change the usual problems that you have. I remember years ago in a relationship of mine, my partner always complained that she felt responsible for doing everything about the house – noticing the repairs and doing them, calling the plumber, and calling the dentist for the kids… I was okay with that because, “I just don’t attend to that stuff.”But one day I thought to myself, “I’m so tired of hearing that complaint. I’m going to go around the house and list everything I can see. I’m really going to pay attention – because I usually don’t notice these things – and I’m going to get about five things done.” I’ll tell you, we didn’t have that argument for a year after that because I’d blown my stereotype!

So, here’s the question: What does your partner usually complain about that bothers him/her about what you do again and again? This is just one way of changing up the relationship.

There are three ways, or areas, which you can change. Change the viewing (and that, I think, connects to mindfulness). If you notice something new about your partner, it increases the satisfaction – your satisfaction and your partner’s satisfaction. “Wow, I never noticed that your hair goes like this…”

Change how you’re used to seeing someone. “That’s a different blouse you’re wearing today.” Or, “That’s interesting.” Or, “You got up at a different time.” Just view any change that they have made – really notice it rather than thinking, “Oh, that’s my partner, I know what they do, I know how they are.”

It’s all about changing the viewing, changing the doing, and changing the context. Dr. Doidge talks about going on vacation – but there are many ways of changing the context. You could rearrange the furniture in your house and that might change your interactions because you’ve been used to sitting in certain places – now, all of a sudden, this changes things.

Small changes just increase the interest and make a difference in the relationship so you don’t fall into those ruts.

Joan Borysenko: Dr. Doidge makes such an interesting point here about the need to continue to trigger high levels of dopamine because that gives us pleasure, keeps the relationship alive.

I’ll give you a personal example: I am not a cowboy boot kind of girl, but my husband loves cowboy boots and country dancing. So now, I have three pairs of cowboy boots. I know how to do the two-step and we go out from time to time for country dancing. That means I have an interest in something he has, but it’s still a novel thing we do together.

The question I would ask, first of all, is this: What are your partner’s hobbies? Is there something that, if you just give yourself over to it and try, that you could love and join him/her in doing?

The second suggestion would be this: Is there a hobby that, in fact, the two of you can take up together? That can add a tremendous amount of novelty and excitement to life. Also, it just takes you outside the bounds of your normal context.

AVOIDING CONFLICT,abusive relationships, anger, couples communication, couples counseling, Life Coach Los Angeles, Therapist Los Angeles, troubled relationships

To Cure Anger in your Relationship, Stop Avoiding Conflict!

Avoiding Conflict is the Biggest Cause of Rage and Anger in a Relationship.


As strange as this may sound,I have found working with my clients for the last 25 years that the number one cause of anger in a relationship is…. AVOIDING CONFLICT.

This is so paradoxical because men and women in a relationship often tell me that they are not wanting to “make waves” so they don’t address really important issues with their partner. From working with hundreds of couples in therapy and couples coaching for the past 25 years I can guarantee you that “not making waves” will cause the largest explosion because the more you ingore something the larger it looms, insisting to be noticed and dealt with.

Avoiding Sexual Conflict is a Big Mistake in a Relationship, causing anger to develop.

Sex is an important source of conflict among couples because one person often feels slighted in getting his/her needs to be honored met. A good relationship thrives because each person is devoted to meeting the needs of their partner. This is a win/win because it enhances intimacy and trust.

The biggest problem couples have: Not Sincerely Listening to your partner’s sexual needs.>

Anger is often the result of not getting your needs acknowledged and met.

Here is the biggest problem that I see couples who are trying to bond and create a lasting relationship have: not listening to what their partner’s sexual needs. Often times couples will ask about their partner’s needs but then wont’ follow through to see that they are met. This can be devastating and cause anger, bringing a lot of couples into therapy.

You have to do more than ask; you have to follow up with your partner and see if they got what they wanted and if not you have to refine the process , always moving in the direction of what your partner wants. If you don’t know how to meet those needs , don’t worry because you can seek and get effective help for this with a therapist or relationship coach who specializes in these issues with couples.

Sex is a communication between two people which can bring them incredibly closer and more intimate in their relationship or can alienate them from each other if it is not handled with open communication and follow through. Since sex is so charged with vulnerable feelings it must be discussed in a way that both people feel heard and valued in what they need from their partner.

Sex talk, more than any other part of sex is the key to intimacy. After the talking however, the most important thing is that each person’s needs and desires are not only heard and acknowledged but followed up with ongoing action.

In therapy and couples coaching I train couples to have constructive sex talk so that their intimacy and trust in each other can deepen and then how to follow through in meeting those needs.

emotionally abusive relationship,borderline personality disorder,emotionally abusive relationship,emotional abuse

Emotionally Abusive Relationship…Are you in a Relationship with an emotionally abusive person with Borderline Personality Disorder…Does your partner seem like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Recovering From Emotionally  abusive relationship often involves a person with Borderline Personality Disorder.


Emotionally Abusive Relationships often are with a person who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  The main characteristic of this kind of personality disorder is  that the person  becomes very controlling in an attempt to avoid being rejected.  Rejection is the greatest fear of someone with BPD.

Emotional Abuse Relationships have these characteristics:

  • In the beginning the person thinks you are perfect and professes love for you that they have “never felt before for anyone” They alternate between this state and rage at you.  When they are in the rage state you rationalize their behavior by telling yourself how loving and adoring they can be and your longing for that keeps you in the relationship.  They will give you just enough of that to keep you around.  That adoring behavior is very powerful and addictive because they have an uncanny ability to read you and therefore can make you feel “seen” maybe for the first time in your life.  As good as this feels, it is a sign that you are with a person with BPD.
  • The other person demands that you to put aside your needs to tend to their needs and no matter how much you give, it’s never enough. Then they criticize you for not doing enough to fulfill their needs using verbal assaults belittling, screaming, threatening, humiliating you.  They use fear to control you threatening to end the relationship .  You start to feel helpless and trapped.
  • Being constantly put down and accused of doing things you never did, yet when you try to leave the relationship they will try to keep you there by declaring love or threatening you.
  • You can never plan or count on social engagements because the person will change the plan or refuse to go at the last minute.
  • The other person reacts differently at different times to the same behavior that you exhibit.

The one thing that a BPD (border personality disorder) person needs the most is for their partner to set clear and definite limits. When a partner enforces these boundaries, it helps the partner to become more confident and the BPD person to feel safer, by knowing how far they can go. The limits actually help people feel safe because it teaches them how to behave so that they aren’t rejected.  An abusive relationship cannot continue when the partner maintains clear and strong limits as to what is acceptable behavior.

In order to know if you are in an abusive relationship, one must first be aware of these warning signs.

 Stages of an Abusive Relationship


1)  The honeymoon stage- you experience limerence which lasts 3 months to a few years.  In this stage you are obsessed and infatuated by your partner.

2)  The obsessively controlling stage- the BPD will cut you off from family, friends and hobbies (anything you enjoy on your own).  This is because the BPD’s biggest fear is being left.  She/he will see all your friends and interests as competition for your attention and love.

3) The BPD will become more desperate to control you and will make threats, both to commit suicide or to harm you or your family members, if you threaten to leave.

Abusive Relationship Recovery for the partner


Treatment for partner recovery is best initiated by trauma work.  I use EMDR  which is very effective to get the victim connected to their resources again.

The partner of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is  traumatized from living with the behavior and manipulation techniques used to attempt to control them and keep them form leaving.

Emotional abuse is like brainwashing- it systematically wears away the victim’s sense of self worth, and trust in their perceptions.  If  this feels like your relationship, please get the help of a therapist or life coach who is experienced in dealing with an abusive relationship.

There is Hope for moving forward


Many people rind themselves involved with a BPD because they are very charming and make you feel very desired and loved …at first.  It is natural and healthy to want to be loved.   They have an acute ability to tune in on the very things a person is most vulnerable about.  They use this in the beginning to get close to you and then later to threaten and control you.

In the Meantime the best thing to do:


In order to protect yourself from abuse you  must set and maintain clear boundaries.  Tell your BPD partner that you will not tolerate a particular behavior and that the next time they try it you will leave the house . The leaves the BPD with 2 choices,  either loose you or get help.  If you are afraid of inciting violence when you do this, then you need to have a heart to heart talk with yourself asking yourself why you are there.

Another effective approach is DBT…


There is  now a therapy modality that is very effective in helping a person heal from BPD.  It is called DBT and I work with several therapists who get excellent results in healing a person with BPD if the person is willing to make a commitment and do the work in therapy that is involved.

If a person is willing to make a sincere commitment to therapy and stick with it for at least a year, there is a very good chance that healing can happen.  I have a colleague who specializes in DBT and has had much success working with BPD.  Let me know if I can help in this way.

Common questions people ask me are:


Am I crazy or sick to be with a BPD?  The answer is NO.  You are probably just a nice and trusting person (maybe co dependent).  BPD’s are drawn to trusting people because they know that they can be more easily manipulated.
Although you are not the sick one you do need to learn to nurture your inner child self so that you are not so vulnerable to flattery.  When you have a strong inner self you can more easily see and resist manipulation and flattery.  You are also able to be objective about other people because  you don’t need them to be a certain way.  You will start to notice when people lie or have no empathy for other human beings.  These are the major signs of a BPD.

As part of your recovery you will discover why you attracted this type of person. You will then be able to start to heal yourself fo that you can have the  healthy relationships that you deserve.