Episode 51 - Barry & Janae Weinhold: Understanding and Healing Co-Dependent Relationships
Doctors Barry and Janae Weinhold are mental health professionals who focus on identifying barriers to unconditional love and providing people with effective tools for removing them. Authors of “Breaking Free of the Co-Dependency Trap” the Weinholds offer a radically different approach for understanding and healing the problems associated with co-dependency. In our conversation you’ll learn of the Weinholds personal struggle with co-dependency as well as the wealth of experience they have amassed in their more than 60 combined years of experience teaching, training and counseling. Listen in as they describe their twelve step systematic approach to understanding and breaking free of co-dependency that begins with trauma in our youth, is nurtured by cultural norms and stereotypes and often misdiagnosed as “illness”. And don’t miss the exercise at the end of our program for you to try at home.
Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August, and today on the show we’re going to be talking about the trap of co-dependency and how it shows up in relationships and how it shows up in our lives. We’re talking with Barry and Janae Weinhold and, did I say that name right, Janae?
Janae Weinhold: You did.
Chip August: Good, so, okay. So I was saying it wrong for a while there. And they are authors and counselors and psychologists, and well I’ll read the whole bio in just a moment here, but they’re experts on this whole trap of co-dependency and they’ve written a wonderful book called Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap. So welcome to the show Barry and Janae.
Barry Weindhold: Thank you Chip.
Janae Weinhold: Thank you Chip.
Janae Weinhold: Research that’s coming out now about attachment around infancy, and what they’ve identified now is that the ability of a mother to attune with her child really determines whether or not the child experiences a bonding relationship with her or whether there is a connect/disconnect kind of relationship.
Barry Weindhold: Anything that doesn’t get finished in that early stage will then recycle in our adult relationships and it’s really like the unconscious desire that people have when they enter a relationship to get close enough to finally finish what didn’t get finished early on in their life, and so there is a strong need for this attachment, this resonance and attunement.
Barry Weinhold: All feelings are good and they’re important to us and they each have a function in our lives, and if we don’t know how to use our feelings effectively then we’re cutting off a big part of who we are, and so like anger for example, what’s anger, what’s a function of anger? Well we see it as something that’s kind of a signal telling us that there’s something that we’re needing and wanting that we don’t have.
Chip August: Between them, Dr.’s Barry and Janae Weinhold have over five decades combined experience as licensed mental health professionals and they have almost 60 years combined teaching experience. They’re co-founders of the California Institute for Conflict Resolution and Creative Leadership near Asheville, North Carolina, and they specialize in the areas of developmental psychology, trauma, violence prevention, conflict resolution, cosmologies and consciousness studies. Barry is a professor maritus and former chair of the counseling and human services program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He’s also the founder and director of the Kindness Campaign, a nationally acclaimed violence prevention program in over 600 schools and communities. And Janae is a consultant in children’s mental health and a former adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Both have served as United Nations consultants and are trainers with a sister non-profit Keyov, Ukraine, and they are the authors, or co-authors of 31 books. So welcome, welcome, welcome to the show.
Barry Weinhold: Thanks again, Chip.
Janae Weinhold: Thanks Chip.
Chip August: I want to, I want to just kind of dive right into the beginning here and talk about co-dependency because the terms is thrown around a lot, and I’m not always sure what people mean by it. I notice in the intro to your book, one of the things you say is co-dependency is present in an estimated 98 percent of the adult population, you know, and I kind of wonder what that means, you know, what, so, can you tell me what is co-dependency, what are we talking about?
Barry Weinhold: Well we looked at, in fact the reason we wrote this book Chip is that when, actually when it was originally written, and this is the second edition of it, we saw a program on television where somebody was describing co-dependency as a, basically a terminal illness that you never recover from, and we almost screamed at the television saying, “No, no, that isn’t the way it is.” And so we wrote the book basically seeing co-dependency as a developmental issue, that it’s the result of the failure to complete certain important or essential developmental tasks during early childhood, and because those don’t get finished they just show up again in all of our relationships, and I think it’s the way in this culture we parent children that causes co-dependency, and we don’t like the term ‘co-dependency’ either, we talk about co-dependent behaviors as being more accurate as co-dependent behaviors show up in adult relationships.
Janae Weinhold: It’s not an idea to me, it’s not some kind of terrible curse that you’re going to have the rest of your life, it’s not some illness and we don’t like it used as a diagnosis ‘cause it’s very disempowering and it leaves people kind of hopeless, and one of the things that’s been consistent in the feedback about this book is that people write us what we call our Dear Barry and Janae letters and they talk about how hopeful the book was, that for the first time things that they though weren’t curable or treatable or healable now appear something that they could really clear from their relationships.
Chip August: So if I hear you right what you’re saying is something happens in our past, in the way that we’re raised and something is missing in our, basically deep inside which then can show up sometimes in certain behaviors that don’t serve us, and we can, if we want to put a tag on those behaviors we could call those behaviors ‘co-dependent’, but what we’re really talking about is we have behaviors that don’t serve us in love and we can learn better behaviors. Is that what you’re saying?
Janae Weinhold: That’s absolutely correct, and some of the most recent research that’s coming out now about attachment, this is like a whole new field of study around infancy, and what they’ve identified now is that the ability of a mother to attune with her child really determines whether or not the child experiences a bonding relationship with her or whether there is maybe a connect/disconnect kind of relationship. And if there is that kind of steady connection and any little disruption in that, what they call the, you know, different terms all coming out of quantum physics language, talk about attunement, emotional synchrony, and when there is this kind of close attunement and the child experiences a steady connection people just move through this stage and they don’t have co-dependent behaviors when they grow up, but in our culture because it’s parenting practices, as Barry said, most people experience some kind of a disconnect that actually leaves traces of trauma in their nervous systems, and so these are the things that often get triggered when people go back to try and create a really truly intimate relationship as an adult.
Chip August: And I think, now its been a long time since I took a developmental psychology course I must admit, but I think what you’re saying that these, it’s sort of like there’s an essential stage we need to go through as a child, and if we don’t go through that stage we will in a way kind of stay stuck there until we finally actually experience that, and so you’re talking about sort of the stage of really bonding at a deep and intimate level with a parent, and if that gets lost or gets screwed up in some way, we’re…
Barry Weinhold: That’s right.
Chip August: we’re kind of stuck in that trying to find it.
Barry Weinhold: Anything that doesn’t get finished in that early stage will then recycle in our adult relationships, and it’s really like the unconscious desire that people have when they enter a relationship to get close enough to finally finish what didn’t get finished early on in their life, and so there is a strong need for this attachment, this resonance and attunement that Janae spoke of and it, I mean it looks sort of dysfunctional, but if you understand where it’s coming from it’s highly functional. It’s like a basic, the basic learning style of human beings is to repeat something over and over again until they get it right, ‘til it’s something integrated, and if something didn’t get integrate because of what we call ‘developmental trauma’ in that first stage, then it will show up again particularly when the relationship gets close enough and safe enough for it to shows its heads again.
Chip August: Now the kinds of things that might cause that developmental trauma, again this is just mostly reading from popular literature these days, as I understand it can be as simple as parents who aren’t maintaining eye contact with their preverbal children, it can be that, sort of that lack of actual conscious attention ‘cause a parent is too stressed or too busy or because they’re handing the child of to the childcare , it’s such frequency that they’re, it’s literally that kind of stuff we’re talking about, right?
Janae Weinhold: Absolutely, you are right on with that. And because it’s so common in our culture and it happens to everybody it’s become sort of invisible, and it’s really only apparent to people that something happened way back when they get in a relationship where both people really want it to work and then they bump up against these obstacles, there’s, you know, people have anxieties about the other person leaving or the other person comes too close, but there is something in there that disrupts their desire and their high motivation to have a really close relationship.
Barry Weinhold: And then what seems to happen is that when it doesn’t happen naturally and normally the way people hoped it would they start to try to control the relationship to make it happen. And that’s when it gets fairly dysfunctional and where people begin to feel kind of boxed in and they feel like they’re not really able to flow freely in the relationship anymore.
Chip August: So maybe you can help me here understand, I get a little lost sometimes because when I read co-dependency literature, in my mind I find it very difficult to distinguish the symptoms of true love and the symptoms of co-dependency. I notice, I deeply love my partner, I’m on my third marriage, but it’s like 12 years we’ve been together, I’m just crazier about her today than I was yesterday, and if she’s in pain, it hurts me, you know, if she’s not happy it’s really hard for me to be happy knowing that she’s not happy. I don’t see this as pathology, I see this as love. I mean, you know, I really, I genuinely care for her and I genuinely care for her well being. Now I also have to say, it doesn’t cause me suffering this thought, you know, the thing I’m describing isn’t unpleasant, it’s part of what I look for in a relationship. But then I read a co-dependency book it sort of says, well, if other peoples feelings leak into your feelings or they have to be happy for you to be happy, that’s co-dependent, and I kind of get lost knowing, what am I supposed to look for that will tell me when it’s pathology versus just, I just love this person?
Janae Weinhold: Well I think what you’re describing is the difference between a co-dependent relationship and an interdependent relationship because they can look very much alike. The difference between the two of them is if there is this like deep fusion that you’re describing and the person is aware and conscious that they have gone in and fused with the other person and they still know who they are and they can maintain some sense of boundaries, that’s really interdependent, and it can look very much like the co-dependence. People who are truly, you know, acting out co-dependent behavior are totally unconscious of what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I don’t hear that in the description that you’re giving me.
Barry Weinhold: I don’t either, and I think anyone who has reached a sort of interdependent relationship is free to get lost in the love of that relationship and doesn’t find that frightening in any way…
Janae Weinhold: Threatening.
Barry Weinhold: limiting or they don’t feel controlled or consumed or in any way limited in their life. In fact, they feel, as you expressed it very beautifully, they feel enriched by that kind of love.
Janae Weinhold: Right, and it’s deep empathy what you’re describing, that the person who’s struggling with co-dependency is more about sympathy and that’s where they really can’t distinguish between what is mine and what is not mine, and so they start to act out in ways that violate the other persons boundaries and their own attempts to identify who they are and to become separate humans or separate individuals.
Chip August: Could you describe some of those ways? How would like, what kinds of behaviors would indicate to you, “Wow, we better look at co-dependency as an issue here”?
Janae Weinhold: Well it’s very interesting that one of them, the biggest symptom that we found, and having been together now, we’re in our 24th year, what we know is that we have some area where we’re starting with another piece of co-dependency, is that the energy in our relationship just goes dead…
Chip August: Mm.
Janae Weinhold: and there isn’t that spark, there is not that kind of exchange of energy where we feel enlivened, where we feel sexually attracted to each other, it’s just deadness, and that’s a time that says, “Oh boy, we better pull back here and we better look at where have we go lost and what issue or what, you know, component of our lives”, and then look at what is feeding that from the past that has kind of a allowed us to lose ourselves.
Barry Weinhold: And we see that the deeply intimate and soul fused relationship is one where people are helping each other whatever wounds, whatever things that they brough to the relationship that weren’t finished and they’re cooperating with each other and to do that, that is a very deep sense of love and intimacy that emerges out of that process.
Janae Weinhold: So one of the things, another thing that people look for, besides, you know, as I said, the relationship going dead, is that there is this loss of focus on individual purpose and mission and passion, that it becomes kind of a caretaking relationship and a lot of concern about the other person’s welfare, but virtually no concern about, you know, the need for some kind of internal direction.
Barry Weinhold: And ambition. I just though of another descriptor is, there’s a certain bandwidth in a relationship that everyone is comfortable with, and then if say you decided to go to something independent of your partner and your partner resists that and acts against that and tries to control you to keep you from doing something that is fulfilling for you, that is another sign of co-dependent behaviors coming in, that they can’t afford to let you go do something on your own, they’re so fused with you that they can’t let go.
Chip August: This is all very helpful. I want to pause for a moment and give a chance to our sponsors to chime in and give a little support to them and get a little support from them. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August. We’re talking about the trap of co-dependency and trying to break free from it, and we’ll be right back after these messages.
Chip August: We’re back. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August. We are talking to Barry and Janae Weinhold. They wrote a wonderful book called Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap. They’ve actually written a number of books on this subject and subjects around it. And we’ve just been talking about co-dependency and what it is and what it isn’t and how you know if you have it. One of the things that I was really struck by, I’ve been a grateful member of 12 step work for a long time, I’m a, I do Alenon, I know it’s an anonymous program but I’m willing to be not anonymous about that ‘cause I grew up in an alcoholic household and I want people to know that there is help. But one of the basic tenets in recovery work seems to be, you know, you’re in recover but never recovered, and I notice in your book you actually talk about, no, you can recover from this, you can not only be in recovery, you can recover. So can we talk a little bit about that process?
Janae Weinhold: Absolutely, and I think it’s important to emphasis that having this behavior is not identity. You know, there’s like this sort of cringe when people say, you know, “Hi, my names Janae and I’m an alcoholic”, because I think an alcoholic is a period of life but it’s not our whole life, and to define this like that just limits people so much, so anyway, with that as a prereclosite I also want to say that I think this process that Barry and I want to share with people is really a process of becoming conscious, because as I said most co-dependent behavior is unconscious and so this is really, what we want to describe for you is the process of becoming conscious about co-dependency, and we’ve written our own kind of 12 step program for recovering from it.
Barry Weinhold: Yeah, it’s sort of a self directed method of recover that kind of expands on the traditional 12 step process. It starts by asking people to recognize what are other co-dependent patterns that are showing up in their life, and in our book we have a chapter on each of these 12 steps that kind of outlines and expands on them, but we have many kind of self inventories that help people identify what might be considered to be co-dependent behaviors that are showing up in their life. And then understanding the causes of the problem, understanding that these unhealed developmental traumas from early on are what is really what’s causing the problems to show up in the relationships.
Janae Weinhold: Then it’s time to unravel these co-dependent relationships and just connect these symptoms that we have with problems that have come from the past and look at the things that, if this happened then this is what I need, what I need in order to heal that.
Chip August: Mm hmm.
Janae Weinhold: Another really important part is working with projections. Boy, when we happen to, just basic kind of work it is so easy to blame everything, all our problems on other people and that’s about the best formula I know for being stuck.
Chip August: Oh yeah.
Barry Weinhold: And when you get through that one, we have to also get through the problem of blaming ourselves, the, what we call self hate and criticizing ourselves for the mistakes and imperfections we have and not forgiving ourselves for those.
Janae Weinhold: We also find that in intimating power plays and all the manipulation, the drama triangle and these other kinds of games that we use in order to get our needs met without asking directly, this is a huge part of the recovery and it’s one that we’ve spent a lot of time on because we find that all this game playing is so prevalent in our culture.
Barry Weinhold: And then a big key to the recovery is being willing to ask for what you want and need from your partner 100 percent of the time. You don’t necessarily have to ask all the time but be willing to and be open to not expecting your partner to mind read and kind of figure out what it is you need, because people have a resistance to asking directly because they fear that perhaps our partner will say no and that would be devastating, we have to feel some of these feelings that we had maybe early on when we experienced these first developmental traumas which were very overwhelming to us.
Chip August: I also think we have an unrealistic expectation that love includes knowing what your partner’s thinking…
Barry Weinhold: Exactly.
Chip August: “If you really knew me then you wouldn’t, if you really loved me…”
Barry Weinhold: You hear that a lot in co-dependent, or with co-dependent behaviors. “If you really knew what I’m like, you wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have to ask…”
Chip August: Exactly, exactly.
Janae Weinhold: And the other thing is it’s like “Well if I have to ask for it…
Chip August: Right.
Janae Weinhold: it doesn’t mean anything…
Chip August: Right.
Janae Weinhold: It’s only when you can know without my asking that I can really take it in.
Barry Weinhold: It’s like a false test we give people in a relationship.
Janae Weinhold: The whole piece of that emotional work too is just so, so important, and learning to feel our feelings again and to express them in healthy ways, I mean most people have feelings, but what they do with them can be really destructive and it isn’t energy that’s channeled in healthy directions, so when you can move from just being like raw kind of energy and anger and put it on the path of purpose and passion it has a whole different role in our lives.
Chip August: I’d like to talk about that for a moment. Speaking as a man, and a man raised in America, I feel like most of my ‘be a man’ training is that I should disengage myself mostly from feelings, you know, that real men just sort of put their feelings on a shelf and do the job that needs to get done. You don’t really picture John Wayne crying over his beer talking about his feelings, you don’t really picture, you know, most of our images of maleness from American men don’t include feelings, so, what I, and then I grew up in an alcoholic household and learning to numb out my feelings was a survival technique…
Barry Weinhold: Right.
Chip August: You know, I could definitely put aside all that feeling of humiliation and low self worth by just like walling it up somewhere, you know. Okay, so now, here I am an adult man and I’m listening to this show and I hear you talk about the importance of feeling work, how does one begin to get their feelings back? How does one, where do you begin, how do you find your way back in to becoming aware of and familiar with and have a vocabulary for one’s feelings?
Barry Weinhold: Well we think it starts with, first of all, understanding the function of our feelings. That’s one thing we should’ve learned in Kindergarten but we didn’t, is that all feelings are good and they’re important to us and they each have a function in our lives, and if we don’t know how to use our feelings effectively then we’re cutting off a big part of who we are, and so like anger for example, what’s anger, what’s a function of anger? Well we see it as something that’s kind of a signal that’s telling us there’s something that we’re needing and wanting that we don’t have and we’re angry about it. And so if you start to get angry, you start to say, “Okay, I’m angry about something. What is it that I’m needing and wanting right now”, and if you can, you know, answer that for yourself that’s great because then you can go and ask for that directly instead of being angry about it, see, but people sometimes would just rather be angry about it. And often for men, and I’ve worked a lot with men, my practice was devoted to working with men and I’ve been in a lot of self help men’s groups, and anger often covers deeper feelings for men. It’s okay for them to be angry, but it’s not okay for them to feel sad or to feel scared, and we know that the function of sadness is loss, and if we truly lost something in our life it’s certainly important to cry about that and to feel that sadness deeply, and if we don’t then we really, I usually use the phrase that ‘nobody died from feeling their feelings, but a lot of people have died from repressing their feelings.’ In fact, I think it’s the reason why men don’t live as long as women, is because they repress their feelings and culturally they’ve been taught to do that, and I think it’s a very serious problem for men to be able to recover the sense of their feelings inside, and sometimes when I’ve worked with men I’ve also done things like breath work with them to get them out of their head, into their body and where they can feel their feelings in their body, and that’s often opened up a big well of feelings for many men that couldn’t express them because their head go in their way.
Chip August: Mm.
Janae Weinhold: Had they had two sons and two grandsons that’d also like to be an advocate for boys because I think a lot of this training on repressing feelings starts with the mother, and I know that the research now show that men who are the most happily married and able to have satisfying relationships with adult women were boys who had closeness with their mother, particularly through their teen years they were still able to be affectionate and to have hugs and have that kind of physical with her, and that’s really what sets foundation for, you know, a happy relationship with a woman, you know, as adults.
Chip August: There’s a beautiful quote from a book by Pat Conroy, he wrote beach music, The Great Santini and Prince of Tides, and in beach music he wrote, “We men die because our faces aren’t watered enough.”
Barry Weinhold: Oh, that’s a great…
Janae Weinhold: Oh, that’s powerful.
Barry Weinhold: and that’s so true.
Chip August: Yeah.
Barry Weinhold: Yeah.
Chip August: We need to take a short break and once again give a chance for our sponsors to tap in here. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August. Do come back after the break because Barry and Janae have an exercise that they’d like to leave you with and maybe help your relationship, so we’ll be right back.
Chip August: We’re back. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August, and we’ve been talking to Dr.’s Barry and Janae Weinhold. They are experts in co-dependency and we’ve actually been talking about a book that they’ve recently revised called Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap. We’ve been talking a lot about sort of what the sources of co-dependency are and, you know, where it comes from and what’s the kind of path to recover. I want to, I want to kind of look at the other side of this for a little bit and just talk for a few minutes about, so what does a healthy relationship look like? What does a conscious healthy committed relationship look like?
Janae Weinhold: Well that was a question that we had when we started our relationship and we realized that we brought a lot of unhealed trauma and things from previous relationships, and so four us the first step is really about realizing that we brang some baggage to the relationship and acknowledging that because I think there’s a tendency to want to hide that, to put on like the happy face and, you know, to try and be that person that the other person thinks we are and, you know, some kind of like artificial image but, so we decided that we had these wounds and that we were just going to work on healing them, and putting them out on the table right up front I think stopped the, our development of a lot of defensive behaviors that are mostly designed to hide what it is that the other person can see anyway.
Barry Weinhold: I remember my daughter when she was just getting into her first relationship, she ended up in a relationship with somebody with a lot of alcoholism in their background, and so she had a lot of pain with that but began to work her way out of it and she finally left the relationship, and she said, “From now on when I get, think about going into a new relationship I’m going to interview them first. And I’m going to ask them, you know, what kinds of things, what kind of relationship did you have with your mother, what’d you have with your father, what kinds of issues do you think you would bring into the relationship that aren’t healed”, and she really did put people through the paces and fortunately found a very loving man and is now married very happily, and I think she got it.
Chip August: Yeah, I think that’s a pretty wise approach actually…
Barry Weinhold: Yeah it is, mm hmm.
Chip August: I notice the whole dance of intimacy is we sort of lie to the other person, you know, we try to put together our, we try to put forward our best look and they try to put forward their best look…
Janae Weinhold: Try to be the person on our resume.
Chip August: Right, exactly right, and then you find out who the real person is, and so…
Janae Weinhold: Yeah.
Chip August: No, I think your daughter was onto something there.
Barry Weinhold: That’s also a trap for a lot of men…
Chip August: Mm hmm.
Barry Weinhold: Because they do, they make forming a relationship a project…
Chip August: Right.
Barry Weinhold: and they put forth their best face and then it turns out that they feel trapped because they realize that they have sold a partner on somebody that they’re not…
Chip August: Right.
Barry Weinhold: and that’s really then a scary place for a lot of men.
Janae Weinhold: I have to say, Barry didn’t do that, he was really straight up with me when we got together. So one of the things that we did because I had been married and divorced, Barry was married and divorced and then he was widowed, we just closed the exits and said we’re going to figure it out, so we use a lot of tools that we already had, but we seen a lot of our relationship developing more tools that we’ve shared, you know, with our clients and with our students who we were teaching, and then we’ve written about it in our books, but that closing the exit somehow provides safety so that these deeper issues, I mean we’re talking about trauma during the first six months of life, that’s a lot of unraveling to do and people don’t just like unzip it in a place where they don’t feel safe, so that closing exit part really provided the safety so that we could trust each other. And then we also learned how to see each other mirror, that so many of the things that I thought, you know, were wrong with me, wrong with Barry, were actually just reflections of myself…
Chip August: Yeah.
Janae Weinhold: and we’ve become sort of this pair of mirrors for each other, and when we get done it’s like there’s hardly anything that’s really about the other person, almost all of its about ourselves, so being able to turn that mirror around and look at ourselves has been another really big part of it, and we also developed a lot of tools and conflict resolution, we’ve actually written a book about the developmental sources of conflict and how to resolve it from this very early place and out of that they learn to redefine intimacy, kind of like other people grew up with this idea that intimacy was all the good times that you had and it was sort of those transcendent moments where you feel like, you know, you sort of touch the sky, but we also found there is another kind of intimacy that we call ‘depth intimacy’ where we do deeper kind of healing with each other and it’s more like our souls touch, and we found that to be actually more satisfying a lot of time than the other kind because it was so heartful and we were so naked with each other in the rawest emotions and to find this unconditional love coming back and forth between us was, well it was just really powerfully healing.
Chip August: This all sounds so wonderful. We could talk for hours and hours and hours, but we’re starting to run out of time here. So if people wanted to get in touch with you or they wanted to see more of your books or they just wanted to know more about you, how could they do that?
Barry Weinhold: Well probably the best way to do that would be to go to our website, it’s a very extensive website and includes all the different things that we’re up to including the Kindness Campaign and you can get access to that www.weinholds, the plural of our last name, w-e-i-n-h-o-l-d-s, dot org, o-r-g. And that will have on is also a place to email us there and get in touch so we can have some interaction if necessary.
Chip August: Terrific. And listeners, you’ll find on our website, personallifemedia.com, links to weinholds.org and also texts and transcripts of this, of this interview. In fact, for texts and transcripts of any interview on the Personal Life Media Network just go to persoanllifemedia.com, that’s all one word, personallifemedia.com. Also listeners if you have ideas for me or you want to just give me some feedback or let me know how I’m doing, you can reach me at [email protected], or if you prefer to leave a voice mail, you can leave a voice mail for Chip August by calling 206-350-5333. Please leave your name, please leave my show name, Sex, Love and Intimacy and your question or comment, please leave your phone number and/or an email, and just know that when you leave a message on the voicemail system it indicates your agreement for us to use that message on air if it looks like we could use it for promoting me, so just be aware that leaving a message means that you’re giving us permission to use it. Thanks. I, Barry and Janae, you’ve been terrific guests. I always like to have my listeners have something they can actually, you know, an action they can actually take out of the interview, and so usually my guests offer some kind of exercise, some kind of thing they can do at home that will enhance love or intimacy or sexuality, and we talked about this a little bit and you guys seemed to think you had one, yes?
Barry Weinhold: Well we had one that we use a lot with people. It’s a simple exercise but is very powerful because I think part of the challenge is to connect the dots. “How did whatever happen to me growing up really cause me to have the problems I’m having now?” And so this exercise is, we call it ‘the two lists’, and it’s a writing exercise. And so we ask people to think about their early childhood and think about the things that happened to them and think about the things that they wish would’ve happened to them that didn’t. They wish they’d of, for example, for me, my parents never told me they loved me. It was sort of like expected that they put food on the table and a roof over my head and clothing on my body, that that was a symbol that they loved me, but it would’ve been nice to hear it. So list, make a list of all the things you wished you would’ve heard from your parents or other significant others in your life growing up that you didn’t hear or didn’t experience. It’ might’ve been things that you wish they had done for you or done with you, and that’s the first list and Janae will give you the second list.
Janae Weinhold: The second list is all of the things that happened in your childhood, this is like before you left home, that you wish you hadn’t experienced. These are typically things that people do to you or things that people said to you that were harmful and hurtful, and now when you look back you realize that they had a deep impact on the path of your life. And so with these two lists, then you can identify a lot about the early sources. So what does your list mean Barry?
Barry Weinhold: Well the list of the things, the sins of omission, the things we wish we had gotten that we didn’t get are all the things that come very early in our life usually. You can trace them back to probably that first six months or so where we didn’t get enough of something, which we call resonance or attunement or bonding, and so as you begin to list those things and look at them then those are things that you’re still looking for, they’re still out there in your consciousness and wanting to have them completed, and so that’s where you begin to build strategies with your partner on “how am I going to get these completed in my relationship? Does it mean I have to ask for my partner to help me get these?” Well yes it does.
Janae Weinhold: Some of the very common needs that come from, needs that come from that co-dependent stage of development have to do with connection and that can be framed in different language, it could be acceptance or affection, appreciation, a belonging, cooperation, closeness, a feeling of community or family, companionship, consistency, particularly empathy, you know, if we don’t, if we have this deep need for somebody to listen empathically to us and really have that eye to eye, ear to ear, kind of brain to brain connection, where we can be seen and be known and be heard and understood, those are all the kinds of things that we needed when we were in that stage of development and they’re just emerging now as, you know, adult needs, but this is where they’re anchored.
Barry Weinhold: And then Janae, what about the second list, what does that represent?
Janae Weinhold: Well these are typically things that happen, not during the first six months in life, but during the second period of development which we call counter dependent, and this is usually from about six or seven months to the age of three years, and it really identifies different kind of trauma that we had and trying to become an individual person, where we’re going through this development of a sense of self, this is who I am versus this is who you are, and a lot of these traumas are, you know, anchored in shame and they really become barriers to having this deeper intimacy because this kind of trauma leaves us wanting to avoid other people, so we see these two of kind of the same coin with two different sides and all of this has to do with really the first three years of development and the kind of approach or the way that we view the world about our role in it and how the world is going to respond to our needs.
Barry Weinhold: So the first list we’ve written about mostly in our book called Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap, and then the second list we’ve written about in another book called The Flight From Intimacy, both of which are published by New World Library and available in all bookstores.
Chip August: Well I want to thank you both very much for making this time and for being on the show. You’ve been great guests, you’ve had a lot of interesting information here.
Janae Weinhold: It’s been great being with you Chip.
Barry Weinhold: Yeah.
Janae Weinhold: Thanks so much for inviting us.
Chip August: And that brings us to the end of this show. I want to thank you all for listening. You’ve been listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August, and I hope you’ll listen in again.