Episode 44: Dr. Janae Weinhold tells us how being “COUNTER–Dependent” can destroy our relationships”
In this eye-opening interview, we hear from Dr. Janae Weinhold about the flip side of Co-Dependency, a newly emerging term called “COUNTER-dependency.” We learn how to detect the characteristics of COUNTER-dependent behavior in ourselves (it is more subtle than you might think!) and what we can do to heal from these unconscious behaviors to create deeper love and intimacy in our lives. We discuss “Developmental Traumas,” how to detect them, how to heal them in ourselves, and we also look at how we can see counter-dependent behavior in our culture and society as a whole.
If you are wanting to understand what blocks you from having greater self-love and deeper intimacy in your life – listen to this interview!
Alisa Kriteman: Do you know someone who has trouble being close to others? Has to be right all the time? Expects perfection in themselves and others? Never asks for help even when it is really necessary?
This week on “Just for Women” we are going to talk with Doctor Janae Weinhold, profession counselor and co-author of “Flight from Intimacy” and “Breaking Free from the Co-Dependency trap”.
Janae Weinhold: It is just as necessary for us to have limits as it is for a two or three year old child. If you don’t set limits: they just break everything, they run everywhere, they get into everything, they are rude,, they are arrogant, people don’t want to be around them. And that is kind of what we find as a couple.
It is really easy to understand co-dependency when we have counter dependency as a contrast. So on the co-dependant side people cling and are needy. On the counter dependant side people don’t want to have needs and they tend to push other away, especially if it is getting really to close.
Alissa Kriteman: Welcome to “Just for Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex.” I am Alissa Kriteman. We are here to help you look and see what might be getting in the way of your achieving all your love, sex, and intimacy dreams. To day on the show we have Doctor Janae Weinhold, co-founder of the Carolina Institute for Conflict, Resolution and Creative Leadership. She is the co-author of “Breaking Free from the Co-Dependency Trap”, as well as “The Flight from Intimacy”. She is a professional counselor and former adjunct professor at the University of Colorado.
So welcome to “Just for Women” Janae.
Janae Weinhold: Well, thank you, I am really happy. This is the first time I have been on an all women’s show. So this is pretty exciting for me.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah! Actually, I have to be honest, a lot of men listen to my show.
Janae Weinhold: Well I would imagine. If they are really wanting to find out “What is it that women want?” This is exactly the show they should be tuning into to.
Alissa Kriteman: Yes, there are a lot of very smart men out there. It is really funny. Okay. So, great, thank you for being on “Just for Women”.
I read the “Flight from Intimacy”. It felt like a revelation for me to really start to understand what was going on in my relationship when things would come up and I didn’t understand why I was reacting to a certain thing, or my partner was reacting to something. Your book is so beautiful in how it lays out what might be going on and how to heal it. So I am very exiting to talk to you today.
Janae Weinhold: Well great, because I think this is one of those ideas whose time has come.
Alisa Kriteman: Yes. And you know, we know so much about co-dependency. We have heard about that a lot in our society and any kind of self help realm where there is this fear of rejection, and not trusting yourself, and being a victim, kind of , needy. But you are talking about the, kind of, flip side of that. You are talking about counter dependency. So talk to us about how that is different from co-dependency.
Janae Weinhold: It is really easy to understand counter dependency when we have this co-dependency, kind of, as a contrast. So on the co-dependent side people cling, and- As you said.- they are needy. On the counter dependency side people don’t want to have needs and they tend to push others away, especially if they are getting really to close. Where the co-dependent person might be acting more weak and vulnerable, those on the other side with the counter dependency issues they tend to act very strong and vulnerable and they want to put on good front. They have this kind of veneer that says, “I am strong. My life is working really great. I have this good job. I am driving the right car. I have a trophy partner.” It is really, kind of, like the American persona. Everything is going great.
On the counter dependent side these people tend to be more self centered and they are addicted to activities that are what we would call “uppers” versus being, kind of , others centered and addicted to people when they are co-dependent.
So the kind of addictions that we see with people who are counter dependent are so different. Except in our culture, they are not really not really recognized as addictions or recognized as normal. That is what we do in our culture.
Alisa Kriteman: Isn’t that funny? It really is. When I started to read you book I looked at some of the behaviors of counter dependency and I couldn’t believe it because there I was. You know, some of the things that I do in my life. You really think it is normal, like having anxiety or being distracted. I started to talk to my friends about this and they are like, “Oh, I am such a procrastinator”. We don’t really realize that these are things that are in our mind that are taking us away from being effective powerful completely empowered people in our lives.
So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about, “What are some of the counter dependent behaviors?” I mean, you said the type of person, the characteristic. They want to be strong g and put up a good front, but really there is a lot happening underneath. So what is going on underneath this, sort of, bravado type facade that is happening with counter dependent people?
Janae Weinhold: Well, mostly what is going on underneath this veneer is that people are afraid and they have been wounded. What they are really afraid of is getting to close and that getting to close brings up memories of times when they were abandoned or they were abused or they were used in some way. So it is really a trauma reaction and it has been so helpful for me to see people doing co-dependent kinds of things.
That isn’t judging them and having some kind of belief that there is something wrong with them. What I tend to do is look at what is right at their behavior. So it is really a reaction against something. I don’t think most people are very conscious of that. It is like whatever they are afraid of is also unconscious. So this is just a coping mechanism for helping people stay safe.
Alisa Kriteman: So something happened in their childhood. You talk about developmental traumas as the key to understanding our behavior as adults. So talk to us about, what is a development trauma.
Janae Weinhold: Well, there is really, again, two sides to the coin. First, there is developmental trauma during infancy. This would be the period of development when people are experiencing natural co-dependency. During this time the child is learning to bond, particularly, with the mother. There is this experience of deep communion, of resonance, of emotional sincerity, of that mother being really tuned into everything that child is feeling and needing and being able to meet those needs in a timely and lovable way.
Hardly any of us got that. So when we have trauma during that period of development what we tend to do is we are trying to recreate that symbiotic experience that we had with our mothers with a partner. We want our partners to be this perfect parent, to be there always available, to always meet our needs, and to mind read and know exactly what it is that we are thinking.
So that is one half of the developmental trauma.
But in the counter dependency stage it is quite different because during this stage the child is going through a process of becoming separate from the mother. It is the whole individualization process that Paul Young talked about.
In this stage the child has to figure out how to operate with an autonomous self, how to function independently, and how to go out in this world on the internal power. The way that our parents manage our efforts to be separate has a lot to do with the kind of trauma that we experience and the kind of behaviors that we have as adults in relationships. So if, for example, our mothers are like my mother- She really didn’t want me to leave the house. We lived out on a little farm. I loved being outside where all the men and the tractors were. She was always pulling me back inside. So I had these messages that said you can’t be separate.
The other kinds of things that parents do that interfere with this separation process is they punish you. They either use an emotional or a physical punishment. They keep the child from wandering out to far. Or sometimes they give the child double messages that say you can go out but you can’t go to far or you can go our but you can’t do it differently or you can’t think differently. You can’t become some person that I would disapprove of.
Well that keeps up all stuck in these, kind of, stages where we go back and forth between being co-dependent and counter dependent it is , I think, some kind of curse that we are all struggling with in our evolution.
Alissa Kriteman: This is why so many people are unhappy and suffering. It is like we are born and all these messages start happening. It is a wonder that we can even have intimacy and relationships now; which is why I love your book so much.
Janae Weinhold: Yeah, I think that there is a lot of really wounded people ;but they don’t know that early wounds are causing so much of the suffering.
Alissa Kriteman: So let’s talk about that. So here we are. You are an adult. You are saying that during infancy there are these really specific things that need to happen as children. Most of us didn’t get them. And I am sure our parents were doing the best they could. They don’t even understand that what they were doing, how they were trying to pull us into there world, was actually, sort of, messing up our natural evolution and growth process.
So here we are. We have some of these issues. We get easily bored. We don’t accept help from other people. We are striving for perfection. And we think that is normal. How do we start to develop new behaviors or heal from these counter dependent behaviors that are really squelching us from getting what we want?
Janae Weinhold: The first step that seems to work most effectively is just finding the dots
and connecting them. That is what you have done. You have been able to connect the dots between you behavior at the present time, your struggles in your relationships, with things that happened in your childhood.
When people can connect those dots; that is often like the light bulb going off in your brain. All of a sudden everything that they have done and all of the struggles that they have had with partnerships, with children, with colleagues, it all starts to fall in place because it is like “Aha, Now I know what was going on.” So that part is really important. And people want to know, “How can I heal? Okay, I’ve got it. I had this trauma. Now what do I do about it.” I think people just don’t have time to sit and read 500 books on the topic. We really want to know, what can we can do about it here and now.
The thing that Barry and I have found to be most effective is that we find people that are willing to work on it. Now if you can find a really great partner like I found in a husband that is wonderful. But other people don’t. They work it out with their pets. They work it out with their brothers and sisters. They work it out with life long friends. They find even a colleague at work, where they spend more time, actually, then they do at home. They decide that they are going to close the exits and they are going to work on the conflicts that hold them up.
Alisa Kriteman: I mean, I hear what you are saying. Is that really wise? Some of the things that we might not even be aware of in our upbringing, our ability to be intimate and fully empowered adults. Is it wise to do that with friends and family? Especially, with family is the place where a lot of the trauma happened. Or do we really need some sort of therapist or professional?
Janae Weinhold: I think both/ and is really the ideal combination. I have a sister that is eleven months younger than me. We got divorces within about five or six years of each other and she now lives close to me. We have worked a lot on our stuff. It is kind of a double edge sword because on one hand we really understand what happened to each other. On the other hand we also can trigger each other.
So we take those issues and we work on them. We have women’s groups were we work on them. Barry and I have actually used a combination of relationship work and therapy work. When things get too much, we can’t get through them we get stuck; then having that outside person to help us is invaluable. But, you know, when you talk about colleagues these are like really special people. They are not casual friends. That is not really a good idea. Someone we trust. Someone who wants to become as consious about all this as we do. And you know someone who would really commit to staying together because you are already good friends so it is just like taking that friendship or that relationship another step.
Alisa Kriteman: So how would that look? Say you and I were married and something comes up. I want to give my listeners a great way as a women- Say I am the woman and you are my husband. I want to approach you with something that has come up that I am noticing about myself. How would I even approach that?
Janae Weinhold: Well, the first thing I do is to notice that I am having an over reaction about something. So let’s say you made a twenty five cent comment and I had a fifty cent reaction to it. So maybe you said something about something I did, you know, some project that we worked on together. You made some comment that hurt me and rather than kind of brushing it over I would say, “I know what you say wasn’t hurtful but the way that you said it is hurtful. Is there a way that you could say that to me maybe in a more objective way without the, kind of, critical tone or the judgmental tone?” Some might be bitter and say, “I don’t know what that would sound like. I thought I was being non judgmental.”
Alisa Kriteman: So here we go.
Janae Weinhold: Really our partners are very teachable. If we don’t expect them to mind read and figure out exactly how to say it. I might start out by saying,” Okay, This part of what you said or this part of what you did was really effectively; but I had a question. I wasn’t sure about this part. You said it in a certain way. Did you mean something by saying something else of did I miss interpret it.” So there is more of an air or attitude of curiosity, of inquiring, and through that I am able to say, “Oh, well gosh I can see why you would say that because it did come out kind of side ways. Maybe it wasn’t the most effective way to have stated it.” So we kind of go back and forth in looking at it in an objective way.
One of the things we really try to do is to use nonjudgmental language. So If Barry would say,” When you spoke to that student in that kind of critical tome of voice I got this feeling in my stomach because I thought that that student was going to go away fro here hurt.” That is saying to me in an objective way, non critical way, “When you spoke to the student and you raised you voice a little bit and there was a little bit of an edge of emotion with it; I was wondering if there was something that was going on with you. Did that person say something that triggered you? Or what were you feeling when that happened? It is more about trying to learn about me rather than worrying about, you know, this would be the counter dependent perspective, “Gosh, I am worried about what this person thinks. He will go home and tell all of these people that I did a bad job.” Oh, we have projected something other than the perfect person veneer.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, exactly and I can see how that really does take a lot of practice. It takes a lot of being in the moment and noticing what is going on, noticing your feelings, noticing my own feelings, getting into that place of not being so critical.
And again, yeah, I love what you said about how we can have partners. You know, in a relationship it is the number one place where we want to have intimacy. We want things to go well. We want love, connection, support, all of these things and yet we as women, it is so important for us to steer how that is going to go. So I really like that; taking a nonjudgmental, non critical really just noticing, “Hey, I noticed this and I am curious about that.” So I think that is really important to cover.
Okay, so you talk about developmental traumas and how they are really these things that happen all over the place in our childhood. We don’t really realize them. Some of the ways that we can catch our self be curious, things of that nature. Talk to us about what are some of the things that are mental traumas that happened that we might not even be aware of. Or what are some of the signs in our normal life that we think are normal but you are saying, actually check that out. Go deeper.
Janae Weinhold: Well, one of the things that I watch for that is related to this over reaction is the common reactions to trauma are: to want to run away- That is the flight from intimacy. The other one is the urge to fight. In other words, that feeling of stem rising up in me and I am ready to kind of come back at people to defend myself and make the other person wrong. So I have this big head of steam. That is quite different from my urge to just run out the door.
Then there is another reaction that is very common and that is the freeze reaction. The is the place where it is like I lose my voice and I kind of collapse down inside myself. The other person can yell or they can say critical things and it is like I just stand there and take it. I don’t have the ability to say or do anything. So I kind of like retreat down inside myself.
So if I see myself doing any of those three things then I know I am having a post traumatic reaction, that there is something going on other than this deal. That I am touching into some of these old . I am in this process of regressing. I am going back, remembering, or reenacting something from the past.
I have done this a lot with Barry. My fist husband he was more like my father. but I have worked on a lot of my traumas with my mother with Barry. It is very interesting because when he watches sports he has this great ability to focus, he just lasers in. So he can really work on something. When he watches sports he has got that laser turned down so that it is about an inch wide. I can be moving around him. I can talk to him. I have all this activity and he doesn’t see any of it or hear any of it.
What that reminds me of is my mother who had this kind of distant far away look in her eyes. She was a dissassociative person. So I ma triggered right back into being this little girl who is saying, “Mom, mom, mom are you there? Don’t go away.” So we worked a lot on that one. He has been probably my greatest person to help me clear that trauma of having this kind of absent mother. Even though she was physically present, she was emotionally absent. I could always see it in her eyes.
So that is just an example of one of the kinds of things that we do.
Alissa Kriteman: Interesting, emotionally absent but physically present. I think a lot of the time, you know, you wouldn’t think that that is abusive because it is not physical or sexual; but you talk a lot about emotionally absent parents and the big effect that that has on us. You just gave a really great example of that things. So as we as women are going about our life it is time…And why your book is so timely is because maybe we weren’t physically or sexually abused but there is that emotional component of our parents doing these things that we don’t even realize have such a big effect on our ability to be intimate.
So we are going to take a break Janae. When we come back I want to talk to you about how we can talk and look at how counter dependency is showing up in our society as a whole.
Janae Weinhold: Okay great.
Alissa Kriteman: So we are going to take a break. I am Alisa Kriteman your host on “Just for Women: Dating, Relationships, and Sex”. I am speaking with Doctor Janae Weinhold. We are talking about counter dependency, how to identify it, how to get some freedom from it. We will be right back.
Alissa Kriteman: Welcome back to “Just for Women: Dating, Relationships, and Sex. I am Alisa Kriteman. We are speaking with Doctor Janae Weinhold, professional counselor and co-author of “Flight for Intimacy”.
Before the break we were talking about co-dependency; what it is, how we can detect it and how we can heal from it.
Now I want to talk to you Janae about- You mention in your book that society is counter dependant. What do you mean by that?
Janae Weinhold: When a whole group of people do something together it becomes a cultural issue. I mean, yes we have personal counter dependency and how it plays out in relationships and how it plays out in family. But the truth is our families fit inside a culture and our whole country was founded by people who wanted to get away from something. I mean, people mostly moved here from Western Europe and they came here because they were dissatisfied with some kind of depression.
So it was just so interesting to look at how all of these people then settled along the east coast and when the neighbors smoke stack got to close they packed up and they kept moving west and west. When they couldn’t go no further west then they went to Alaska. They went to Hawaii. So there has been, I think, a cultural tradition of trying to get away from something, trying to be free of something. That is kind of at the heart of people being on a cultural level.
So we have this background but we also have this tradition of somehow Americans kind of appointed them, or maybe I should say anointed themselves, as being the special people on the planet. Right now we are about 8% of the worlds population; but we are using close to, now, 80% of the worlds resources. So this whole picture of us as ugly Americans is being seen around the world as most of the problems of the world aren’t with countries that are hogging. It is Americans who have become hogs. We are hogging all the worlds’ resources. That is really the whole counter defense leniency thing. It is about entitlement.
Alisa Kriteman: Also…It is really funny. I get what you are saying. You know, the self centered person putting on a good front, they are very strong, and have these uppers activities; which we can talk a little bit more about. But yeah, we can really look at America as that as well. We think we are so strong. We can go into any country. We are going to transform them, and show them the light, and bring them democracy. Really, we are probably the most insincere greedy, you know…
Janae Weinhold: Needy
Alisa Kriteman: needy settled people.
Janae Weinhold: Right
Alisa Kriteman: So I can start to see now. So how do we as a country, as a society, I guess how you heal that is by taking the individuals and having the individuals heal. Yeah?
Janae Weinhold: Well if individuals didn’t want to heal then we did it as a group. So it is just interesting to think about America. Barry and I lived in Europe twice, once in Central Europe and once in Western Europe. And people over there see us as adolescents,; that we haven’t quite grown up in that culture.
You know, what things are two year olds working on? Well, they are working on having their little egos subdued because two year olds tend to be a little bit grandiose. They are also entitled. They have this feeling, you know, I am special and somebody owes me something. I actually deserve more than my share because I am so special. There is also this sense of omnipotence that two year olds have, you know, this is power without limits and kind of exaggerated confidence. Then there is…Have you ever watched a child go from walking to running? There is this euphoria; this kind of frantic manic behavior, trying to do a lot of things at once, this fast pace of life, and nobody wants to sleep.
So if we don’t complete these tasks in our two year old stage. And we don’t finish them when we are in that twelve to sixteen, which is kind of a repeat play. Then we just grow up to be a culture that says, “We’re number one. We’re entitled to more than our share. You can’t set limits on me. I can go anywhere. I can start a war with anybody. I can take their natural resources. Nobody can stop me.”
We have a lot of friends who live out of this country and they are saying, “You all are about to get your come back.” I am like, “What do you mean?” They are like, “Well the world is getting a little bit upset that you guys are ruining the whole planet.”
So I think there is some kind of quiet agreement among countries that says,” Well maybe you all need to have a little economic recession. Maybe you need to have something to show you that you can’t have more than your share,”
Alisa Kriteman: Yeah, it is interesting. The parent becomes other countries and even the planet itself.
Janae Weinhold: Our parent is the planet, yes.
Alisa Kriteman: I love you have expanded out this. Clearly, clearly, things that go on with individuals but really looked at our culture as a whole. And what is going on. It really helps to not be so upset and crazed by it. A lot of people they just get so upset by what is going on with politics and around the world. But when you look at it from your point of view it actually makes sense.
Janae Weinhold: It is just as necessary for our country to have limits as it is for a two or three year old child. If you don’t set limits with them, you know, they just like break things and run around everywhere, they get into everything; they are rude, they are arrogant, people don’t want to be around them. That is kind of like we have become as a culture.
I don’t think most Americans are aware of that. How many of them are really aware of their own unresolved issues around their own co-dependant development. But I do think that our government leaders are- They are bigger than life examples of us. Our Job is to look at our self and say, “Oh no, I see myself in George Bush. How am I like George Bush? How am I like Dick Cheney? How am I like Hillary Clinton? How am I like Barrack O’bama? How am I like John McCain.” These are all people who are sort of caricatures of us at a personal level and they are shining the mirror in our faces now.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow! I hadn’t really thought about that,. That is what we do in a relationship. We want to point our finger and say, “You are bad. You are wrong.” And we hardly take the time to say, “Wow! How am I like that?”
Janae Weinhold: Right, and I think, you know, I didn’t really go to that place until I was in my forties because in my first relationship, my first marriage and other relationships that I had, I did a lot of thinking that I was the right one and everybody else was the wrong. But after you have had several relationships and then end up the same way, or at least they end up feeling the same way, the outcome is so similar, then it is like, you know, some of this must be about me. That is the turning point in a person’s life.
Alisa Kriteman: That happened to me last year. I was in this relationship and it ended. I was like you know what I am getting older I actually have to address this now. If I want to get married and have children, which I do, I really had to take a stop and look at what was going on. What were the patterns? What was I missing about myself?
The light wasn’t coming on.
Which is shy I am so glad that I have this show and that I can share with women my journey as well: to waking up, to being an empowered woman, having a fantastic relationship with amazing sex and amazing intimacy, and finding books like yours and information like yours that really start to put the puzzle pieces together.
Janae Weinhold: Well, I think women are actually the pioneers in this field. So it is great that you have a show where you encourage women to do this. Because I don’t think relationship is man’s primary occupation. They are really, kind of, wired to be the doers.
And women are really wired to do the relationship thing. So that whole idea of having to teach our partners how to do it and assuming that it is not going to come natural to them.
That has been a really important piece for me.
Yeah, for sure. I also want to say, I think this has been one of my biggest Ahas being in a long term relationship. I tried so much to put all my unresolved issues with my mother issues onto Barry. Even though he is really important, kind, and has a lot of strong feminine qualities; I really found that it took healing all of this with women.
So I have myself a women’s group. I have myself connected to other women. I don’t try to make my husband into my mother. Even though in some ways he might be able to do that, it just has never worked.
That was probably one of the things that caused my first marriage to fail. I had a huge expectation on my not very emotionally available husband to be my mother and he just couldn’t.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, well that is very interesting that you say that because I was researching the divorce rate in America and this woman, Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Spring Field Missouri, she said that the divorce rate in America for first marriages is 50%. Check this out. She said that the divorce rate for second marriages is 67% and that the divorce rate for third marriages is 74%.
So clearly,… Right? We have of the first marriages that aren’t happening are failing, 50%. Then second and third marriages the rate is even higher. What would you say is going on with that? I would think people get smarter as they have more and more marriages, but maybe we are just more and more unconscious.
Janae Weinhold: Well I think one of the real big problems Alissa is that people don’t have good tools. I think a lot of really sincere people with good intentions, who want to have a good relationship, is why we talk in our book about the problem. The last part is really about helping people connect the dots and giving them things where they can personalize the information. And when they don’t have the skills they get into the relationship and they start to feel like failures. So every time they enter into a new relationship I think there is a lack of confidence because if they are not going to relationship school and they are not really finding out “What is it that makes a relationship work?” other than trial and errors then they just get disappointed.
Then they get caught up in this whole cultural attitude that we have that is what I call “the throw away mentality”. So if your car doesn’t work you get you get another one. If you don’t like your house you buy another one. Throw away all those clothes. Those are last years clothes. Let’s get into a throw away relationship and go get another one.
But I think underneath that is really just a lot of unskilled behavior. Our books are really designed to help people develop some of those skills. But people really want to have to do the work. I think that is the critical thing. I know Barry and I got through this. We were going to close the exits and we were going to do whatever it takes to make this work. It just wasn’t going to be a throw away.
So we spent a lot of time experimenting and doing our own trial and error, but the outcome always was that we were going to make it work. We were going to keep transforming ourselves and the relationship as many times as we had to in order to get to that.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, because, as you say, when you are in an intimate relationship that is when resolved issues come up and a committed relationship is the perfect place to start working through some of this stuff. But really it takes two. It takes that commitment. I am not going to walk away. I am not going to run away. We are going to work on this suff and understand that that is the design of a relationship.
Janae Weinhold: Yes, and I think that what it requires to do this in a committed relationship is something that Barry and I did. We just redefined intimacy. Most of the programming that we had from the movies in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s was always this idea that intimacy meant that: you were feeling close, maybe you were feeling euphoric expansive experiences, you were always in the flow; and being able to sustain that was what intimacy was about. Heck no body can really sustain that when we have all this trauma we are dragging around with us. So we just decided that we would define everything that we were doing as intimacy.
There are moments where we have these euphoric expanse experiences and we are able to sustain them for longer and longer periods but when some unresolved trauma comes up it throws us down into the depths. It used to cause separation. Now what we do is we dive down into that well. We have learned how to share our wounds. When we are able to help each other do some healing work we experience, not that expansive kind of intimacy, but what we called stepped intimacy.
That is a kind of sharing were we are really present for each other in a way that nobody else was able to do while we were growing up. In that moment we have a feeling of our souls touching. It is so satisfying and the more that we have been able to do that the more that when we have a conflict we don’t get afraid. We trust that we can go down into that
well and we can do another round of healing and find that deep hear connection. We find that new expansive experience. We are riding a roller coaster except the highs and the lows have got so high and not so low. It has just got kind of a wave and ebb and flow.
Alisa Kriteman: Yeah, it sounds like if we can be that vulnerable and intimate with each other and heal those wounds; of course it would smooth out, of course it would go away. It is just a matter of taking the time an offering the love that is required not only for ourselves but for our partners too. It is like this whole process. Getting into a relationship is going to take all that. I really like that.
Janae Weinhold: One of the things that is really critical about this is the choice. People say, “Ew, who wants to go in and feel all that old stuff? Who wants to deal with that trauma?” At some point I think people reach this threshold where they recognize; you know what if I don’t do it I am going to suffer and if I do do it there is the hope of at least not suffering as much.
So, I mean, why wouldn’t we do it other that we…? I mean are we just going to spend all of our life being lonely, separate, yearning, and kind of unsatisfied.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, it is interesting. We talked about the counter dependence. Counter dependence you are strong, your are putting on a good front, but deep inside you are dissatisfied. You would actually have to stop and make it okay so say, “You know what? I think there is some trauma here? I think that there is something that I missed as a child that I need; which would break up the whole counter dependency thing.”
Janae Weinhold: The way that you are saying it Alissa- It helps- is exactly the way to help people say, “Oh, I am not crazy. I am not stupid. I am not broken. I had some trauma.” Oh it is trauma. There is not judgment about trauma. Trauma isn’t something that there is any blame for. It just happened.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. I think. I don’t know. I think it was definitely in my culture growing up and definitely in my family. You know, there was this weird… There was something wrong with you if had a problem. We were supposed to be these little warriors, that nothing ever bothered us and not to have any emotion.
I see this now as an adult trying to have an intimate relationship. That is why your book helped so much; because I started to see things that I thought were just normal behaviors and how they interrupted my ability to actually be loving, kind, present, and calm. Like here I am this empowered woman and then thinking that all of these behaviors, that
actually cam from a childhood trauma, were normal behavior. This is why it is so important for us to read this book particular “The Flight from Intimacy”, to start to understand, you know maybe some of those behaviors aren’t the most healthy.
We have to rap up, but before we go I wan to ask you about… You talk about counter dependant verses interdependent sex. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?
Janae Weinhold: Well the counter dependent version of sex is really what I call fast sex. It may have to do more with the quantity rather than the quality. It is not really about making a connection. It is interesting because my son referred to this. He called it “sport sex”.
Alissa Kriteman: Well there is another term for that but we won’t say it.
Janae Weinhold: Yeah, well that was the term that he used. It is where a lot of people are because they just don’t trust themselves to have an intimate connection; that if they do they are going to get hurt. So on the interdependent side it is much more about being able to communicate what we need in a sexual way and in an emotional way.
I have found that when I am feeling really emotionally connected to Barry that we have a much better sexual connection. If we try to have a sexual connection without that feeling of that shared experience of where we are and kind of being on the same page, it just doesn’t have the same kind of quality to it. There is just something shallow about it.
So in some way we have found that if we do this deep healing thing where we have the soul connection that has been as much and maybe even more satisfying than having a really good sexual experience. It is that deep emotional connection that I think women want. I think men want it to but they just have trouble knowing how to get there.
So if women can be more vulnerable and they can be more passionate with the guys they are with, and know that a lot of them are just plain struggling- It is like they are learning a foreign language- and not have such high expectations; women are more likely to get what they are looking for.
Alissa Kriteman: That is interesting. You have echoed something that we have heard a lot with experts who have talked about men and how it might occur to women that men are being insensitive and checked out, on purpose. They are doing things on purpose. Really, what we are starting to see, and understand, and realize is that men are really just trying to figure it out themselves.
They are nervous. They get freaked out. Here they are trying to approach this woman; trying to approach having this amazing sexual experience. They are not geared toward being in their body or talking about their feelings. So how is that going to happen?
How that is going to happen is when the woman is going to start to steer a little bit. She can start to talk and understand what is going on over there with the man.
So it sounds like what you are saying is that we have to relearn how to have sex and to go a little deeper into the quality. So what would you recommend for women who are trying to have more quality?
Janae Weinhold: Well, I think the important thing is to help separate nurturing from actually having sexual intercourse. That is the big thing that men don’t know how to do. They don’t know what nurturing means. They don’t know what cuddling means. They often learned how to have sex by masturbating. So the whole idea of putting another person into their sexual experience…
There is a step in there that they miss that girls seem to get. Girls get nurturing from their mothers. Most boys don’t get nurturing from their mothers. So girls have to train them. They have to give them the nurturing that the women really want. They have to teach them; this is what it feels like. I think that they are very teachable because inside that man is a little uncuddled boy.
Alissa Kriteman: That is so cute.
Janae Weinhold: Yeah
Alisa Kriteman: That is so cute. It is interesting. I just did a weekend workshop with David Data. Do you know him?
Janae Weinhold: I sure do.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. He is doing some amazing things, doing exactly what you are saying, teaching people how to have sex that is hours long: that includes breathing, and looking into each other eyes, and facing each other, looking at each other, being heart connected. It is a lot of what you are saying. Facing that fear of being that conscious and that connected to someone; and being sexual.
Janae Weinhold: Right, and I think in order for men to do that most of them have to cross over some trauma. Mostly it is the trauma of either not getting what they wanted or getting something but it was the wrong kind and delivered in a hurtful way. I think men have a lot more trauma then we ever really recognize.
Alissa Kriteman: Really?
Janae Weinhold: Absolutely.
Alissa Kriteman: And we probably don’t hear about it because men aren’t geared towards having men’s groups necessarily and talking about these traumas. Where as, women, I mean, that is kind of ingrained in us to do that kind of thing.
Do you think in the coming years we are going to hear a lot more from men about healing trauma?
Janae Weinhold: I do. I also feel a lot of hope; because I see the younger men have gotten much more involved in parenting their children. So they are learning about that nurturing experience through their parenting. Women used to be the primary people involved in nurturing children; but I just see so many young men who are so physically and emotionally present with their children. I just feel a lot of hope as a result of that.
I think even grandparents are watching their grandchildren being parented differently by their own children. So we see, I think, evolution at work. We see the young children who are coming in and they are so emotionally available and their parents are reaching to that.
Through that I think a lot of grandparents are being transformed. The grandpas, imparticular, are finally learning what it is like to have that deep nurturing connection with a child and then maybe with their wives.
Alisaa Kriteman: Yeah
Janae Weinhold: Yeah
Aliasa Kriteman: Oh, Janae you are fantastic. We have to rap up here. So tell us how we can find you and your husband Barry, and all that you are up to.
Janae Weinhold: We have a website. It is www. Weinholds.org. We are located near Asheville North Carolina. We are in the process of revising our website. We will have a lot of the new podcasts and interviews that people had. We will be also putting up a Youtube channel. So we have six hours of television shows that are now on what is called “The Weinholds” at the Youtube channel. So in the course of about the next few weeks we will have about six hours of Youtube videos where people can see us in action. We are talking about co-dependency and counter dependency and our new books. So people can see us in action.
Alissa Kriteman: That sounds fantastic; love Youtube. Also, tell me a little bit about the institute. Are you guys training people in your work with how to deal with these issues with counter dependency and co-dependency? What is the institute about?
Janae Weinhold: This is the Carolina Institute for Conflict Resolution and Leadership. It was founded in 1987 back when we lived in Colorado. It is the vehicle that we have used for our professional work for quite a long time.
When we taught at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs we did a lot of training there. A lot of students went through our training program. Since coming to Asheville we don’t do private work with people any more.
We don’t do therapy, but we do do coaching. I work a lot with people in the child care profession; helping them head off some developmental trauma in these young children that they worked with. We also do training here through our local area health education center. We have a lot of training that are going on and we present local and regional conferences.
So we are pretty active for people who are supposed to be retired. I mean, change tires and head in a new direction. That is what we have done.
Alissa Kriteman: I am so glad that you didn’t hit Florida and start golfing and whatever.
Janae Weinhold: We were tempted.
Alisa Kriteman: It is so necessary. So thank you so much for creating these amazing books with such beautiful insight and content in helping people identify and heal these developmental traumas that really have gone unnoticed for such a long time. It really is such a major major piece in helping women and men be empowered in there lives and have the relationships and love that they really want to have.
Janae Weinhold: Well, it is has been really great talking with you Alissa. You are so right on and so sharp. It is still really hopeful that there are people out there doing the kind of work that you are doing.
Alissa Kriteman: Yes. We are growing and we are finding each other.
I just want to say before we go; that listeners remember that you can email me at [email protected]. I love your comments. You can ask any questions. And offer ideas for topics you want to hear. Also, there are text and transcripts of this show and other show s on the “Personal Life Media” network. Just go to personallifemedia.com.
Don’t forget that you can pick up a copy of my book “Four Corner Stones To Living Your Dreams” on Amazon.com.
So Janae thank you so much. Maybe we will have you back again and talk about co-dependency next.
Janae Weinhold: Well that would be great. We can also talk more about how to parent children. That is another great topic I love to talk on.
Alissa Kriteman: I love that. Also, maybe get more into, you know, when you are already a couple, You are all ready in a partnership. How to turn the boat around. Maybe if your boat is heading is heading down the river and over the waterfall.
Janae Weinhold: Well that is something that I have had some experience in.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah! I think that is a huge piece of this. Not being able to admit our foibles and our problems, you know, the things that we might not want to share with the world but it is time.
Janae Weinhold: It is time. That is the counter dependant thing. We have these problems and we don’t want anybody to know about it.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. Yeah exactly. Awesome. So Janae thanks so much for being on “Just for Women”. I am going to go.
Janae Weinhold: All right. Thanks again.
Alissa Kriteman: Tune in next week for more juicy news.