Upcoming Event!

Hi everyone,

We are reaching out to let you know that Milan and Kay will be doing a How We Love workshop in North Carolina this weekend. For all of the event details, please click here.

We would love to see you there!

Also, we are introducing a new Core Pattern CD to add to existing ones. The Controller-Avoider CD is now available on the website. You can get it here!

We will have new blogs from Milan and Kay coming very soon. We appreciate all of you and your support.

Holding Time – Part 3

Holding Time for Vacillators

Since a vacillator longs for connection you might think they would be excited about holding time. Since Vacillators want connection without being vulnerable it can feel like a risky proposition. What if I like it and my spouse never offers again? What if I feel too exposed? Asking directly for what they want or need is very difficult for the Vacillator. Some Vacillators may be too mad at their spouse to offer or accept a holding time.

We find Vacillators often express anger and are unaware of the anxiety and more vulnerable feelings under the anger. Vacillators must learn to find soul words on the feelings words list and ask for a holding time before the anger erupts. Often the anxiety is about something the Vacillator is ruminating on so be aware of preoccupied states and ask for help with the anxiety. This is a key to the Vacillator’s growth.

Vacillators like to feel needed and if they are not angry at their spouse they can hold their spouse quite comfortably. The Vacillator’s tendency to be in an “all good” or “all bad” mood or state of mind can make the Vacillator unpredictable in their willingness to give to their spouse. Vacillators can find more middle ground if they are willing to give or receive a holding time, when they aren’t “in the mood”.

Holding time for Controllers and Victims

Chaotic attachment and childhood trauma go hand in hand. This group usually had lots of difficult experiences and little to no comfort when they were kids. Tenderness can bring buried pain to the surface so these folks may unconsciously avoid comfort. Gentle, empathetic touch and kindness may make the Controller or Victim very uncomfortable. Their tears are deeply buried and holding time can bring them to the surface. It’s difficult to look back at painful memories but buried trauma is carried in the body and it takes a lot of effort to hold inside. Grief and comfort help heal these painful memories and free the body to be fully alive and relaxed in the present moment.

For women or men who were trapped as kids or sexually abused, holding can sometimes be a trigger. It’s important to discuss any negative feelings that arise during a holding time as these reactions can be reminders of childhood trauma.

It takes a level of safety to engage in holding and if there is physical or emotional abuse in the current relationship, it isn’t safe. Holding is a vulnerable giving of oneself into the arms of another. In some cases the regulation of emotions and the ability to have a calm conversation needs to be the first goal.

In the next few weeks we will give you some specific ideas for holding times. Write to us and let us know if you try these exercises. We would love your feedback.

Special Announcement
We are pleased to announce that the audio version of the How We Love book is now available at christianaudio.com!

Common Problems for Each of the Love Styles in Therapy

Common Problems for Each of the Love Styles in Therapy

Each of the love style responds in predictable ways to therapy. Here are some of the issues we see over and over. Therapists need to understand and be able to navigate these common issues.

Avoiders: Avoiders don’t see any problem with their past. They often have vague memories and say, “It was fine.” They may be annoyed when asked to identify feelings. When asked to explore emotions or try something uncomfortable, avoiders do better if given logical explanations as to the goals and methods for making progress and are reminded of the big picture routinely. Avoiders hate feeling inadequate (which they will feel a lot in therapy) and need reminders of what they missed as kids and how that is related to their current struggles.

Pleasers: Try to be the best client ever and have difficulty disagreeing with the therapist. Pleasers need to work on boundaries and speaking their mind, even with their therapist. As with everyone, pleasers want to make their therapist happy. They often keep an eye on their mate and monitor their reaction to anything they are saying to make sure they aren’t going to be in trouble with their spouse when the session is over. Speaking the truth and being honest even if it makes someone mad is an important step of growth.

Vacillators: Vacillators tend to idealize a therapist at first believing they are the answer to their problems. Their agenda is, “Fix my spouse, they are the problem.” Vacillators easily feel misunderstood and want to tell the therapist detailed stories to prove their point. This can take up the full hour. If the therapist doesn’t direct the session, the vacillator will! Vacillators feel deeply rejected and misunderstood when confronted by the therapist about their part in relational struggles. When challenged, vacillators quickly feel “all bad” and are filled with shame. This is a miserable feeling that makes them feel flawed and unwanted. They get rid of this feeling by getting angry and making others “all bad”. Accepting feedback and sticking with the process is important for the vacillator. Over time the vacillator often makes the therapist “all bad” when the counselor doesn’t see things the vacillator’s way. They tend to leave therapy in a huff and may try to find another therapist who will see only their point of view.

Controllers: Controllers often challenge the therapist authority feeling threatened by giving anyone else any kind of power. They may intimidate and test the therapist boundaries. I connect with controllers by helping them understand how the painful childhood experiences are at the root of the current anger they feel. Getting to the grief will be the most important challenge for the controller. Both men and women who are controllers are some of the most sensitive people under all that anger and intimidation. This trait just got obliterated in their childhood as it was not safe to be sensitive.

Victims: Victims are so use to living without hope they don’t often expect much from therapy. They need lots of encouragement that small changes can make a big difference. Of course, safety is the first concern. If the couple is a controller victim duo, the therapist should meet privately with the victim to check for physical or emotional abuse. The victim needs to learn to stand up to the controller, but may be in danger doing so. Safely is of foremost importance when working with a victim.

We will be in Pittsburgh this weekend! Hope to see some of you there!

Blessings,
Kay

Holiday Tips

Here is a great reminder from a blog Kay wrote last year on how to handle the Holidays!

Here is a good rule when you are going to be around difficult relatives. Predict what will happen. You know them well. Talk with your spouse or kids (if they are old enough) about what you predict. Then have a sense of humor when it happens. Give someone in your family a thumbs up….”see, there it was…my prediction just came true. The goal? You know you are an adult around your family and relatives if when you leave you are not disappointed, angry, or hurt. After all what did you expect?

Avoider: Learn to feel…black and white to color. Jesus came to earth because he feels love and desire. Ask Him to wake you up this holiday season to the importance of relationships. That’s what the coming of our savior was all about; winning our hearts and meeting our deepest need. It wasn’t about tasks as much as expressing love. Frozen, tundra heart of the avoider waits to be unthawed. It stings to unthaw a frost bit hand. Ask Jesus to melts the ice until you are free to live in the color of emotion and accept your needs as important and worth meeting.

Pleaser: Pleaser season giving giving, giving. Stop. Quiet. Look .listen. What can you receive? Ask for help. Sit with people and talk instead of cleaning or doing dishes. The holidays mean we are around relatives who might hurt us with insensitive words. Maybe someone in our own family won’t appreciate all the work and effort you have made. Jesus proved hurt and rejection aren’t deadly. Glorious birth, then rejection. Death before resurrection. No fear. Rejection can be transformed into resurrection.

Vacillator: No idyllic Christmas. Just real. Jesus birth was messy not ideal. Let the season be good and bad. It won’t be as good as you hope and something will go wrong. So when it does, don’t over react , go all bad and suffer. Let it roll off. Let good and bad live close together in the days ahead. Jesus came into our world a broken place and still He accepts us as broken. Learn to let yourself and those around you be imperfect and messy. It’s a part of life.

Controller: Holidays can be reminders of painful childhood times. Think about your feelings about Christmas. Are they overly idealized to make up for all you suffered as a child? Or do you just barely tolerate the holidays because of how miserable they were growing up? It’s time of a reality based redo. Try to make this Christmas something “little you” can enjoy. Remember your anger is a cover for tender feelings. Something will probably upset you so when it does, look for the vulnerable feeling when you feel angry.

Victim: Jesus tolerated the intolerable on the cross. He understands your pain. Find solace in His love. Find Jesus in the days ahead in His gift of creation. Look, see, hear, touch the wonder. You are His wonder too. He came to this earth for you because you are loveable, worthy and He rejoices when you become His child. He is a good parent and he desires you. Dwell on Romans 8.

Milan and Kay have welcomed two new grandchildren into the family in the past couple of weeks. Busy times full of love and gratitude!

We would love to have you join us in January for a local How We Love our Kids event at Grace Fellowship church. Please click on the events tab to find the event and see all of the details.

We have just introduced a new Secure Connector CD and audio download. Last year, Milan and Kay wrote a whole blog series on all of the traits of the Secure Connector and we received great feedback. They have recorded many of the thoughts and tips from that series on this new CD. All of the Love Style Lectures are on sale this month! This includes all of the individual Love Style CDs and downloads! Great stocking stuffers!!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to growing more with you in the New Year!

Vacillator-Controller Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change.

The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser

For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns.
– See more at: www.howwelove.com

Vacillator-Controller Core Pattern

Both the Vacillator and the Controller mistake intensity for intimacy. Often, that was their experience growing up. Fighting or intense arguing is a connection of sorts, in that two people are engaged, but what is lacking is the ability to regulate emotions and reach a resolution where both people feel heard, understood and valued. In many homes there is intense fighting without resolution. Everyone just moves on even though no one was truly heard nor was the problem resolved.

It may appear these two like to fight when in fact it’s just the only way they have experienced connection. Both like to be right, both move quickly to anger and both are stubborn and determined. The making up after a fight may be just as intense and sexual encounters are often used to “make peace”. Both spouses likely have come from homes where arguing and fighting were a part of normal everyday life, so neither sees the destructiveness of the Core Pattern, especially for the kids. This is one of the most volatile combinations and the kids suffer as a result.

The Vacillators’ tension builds up when they feel hurt, abandoned or misunderstood. The Controllers’ tension builds up whenever their control is threatened. It’s easy to see how a spark can quickly start a fire.

Blessings!

Controller-Victim Core Pattern

We are thrilled to announce that all of the new Attachment Core Pattern Therapy packages are now available. Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Milan and Kay have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of them. Additionally, each CD includes an extensive PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as a written description and interventions for change. The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator-Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Controller-Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller-Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator-Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider-Avoider and Pleaser-Pleaser
For the next few weeks, we will be giving you a brief description and overview of each of these Core Patterns. – See more at: www.howwelove.com

Controller-Victim Core Pattern

The Controller never feels completely in charge as the smallest things threaten their sense of power. To lose control would mean feeling vulnerable and weak as they did as a child. The goal of control is to keep vulnerable childhood feelings from ever surfacing. Over time, insecurities about losing control increase. To lower anxiety, the Controller exerts more power.

The Controller believes to get their needs met, they will have to violate, exploit and manipulate others taking what they want or have nothing. Any feelings of weakness or vulnerability are loaded with humiliation and shame and quickly submerged under anger.

The Victim submits to the Controller believing they will otherwise be left alone with no one to meet their needs. Accustomed to high anxiety, they accept mistreatment not fully recognizing the seriousness of the abuse. As kids, Victims learned to tolerate the intolerable. In adulthood, unbearable relational pain seems normal.

In the cycle of abuse the tension builds, the Controller rages, and then goes through a period of regret, apologizing and promising not to lose control again while minimizing the recent outburst. For a short period of time the Victim may have the power until they give in and decide to believe the Controller once again. Tension builds and the cycle repeats again and again. At times the Victim may take their anger out on the children when the Controller is not home. Drugs and alcohol are often used to sooth pain and anxiety adding to the chaos and unpredictability.

Blessings!

Attachment Core Pattern Therapy™ CDs

Hello every one! Perhaps you’ve been wondering why there has been less blog activity over the last few months? It’s because we’ve been writing and recording new material since last winter which I am excited to introduce to you today!

When two differing attachment styles come together in a romantic relationship, things can be wonderful at first. But eventually when our emotions settle back down to reality, a destructive Core Pattern of emotional reactivity begins to develop which inhibits communication and bonding. In our book: How We Love (WaterBrook 2006), we title this section “Duets That Damage!”

Recently we trademarked “Attachment Core Pattern Therapy” ™ and have written new material which greatly expands the “Duets” section from the book. Kay and I have produced sixty minute CDs explaining each of the Core Patterns and interventions for how to get out of it. Additionally, each CD includes a PDF file with a diagram of the Core Pattern as well as an extensive written description and interventions for change.

The new series includes:
• Attachment Core Pattern Therapy ™ Overview
• The Vacillator Avoider Core Pattern
• The Avoider Pleaser Core Pattern
• The Pleaser Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller Vacillator Core Pattern
• The Controller Victim Core Pattern
• The Vacillator Vacillator Core Pattern
• Less Common Patterns: Avoider Avoider and Pleaser Pleaser

Over the next few weeks you will be exposed to a description of each of the new products as well as their release date on our web site www.howwelove.com.

Love and thanks for your continued interest and support.

Milan

Differences between the Vacillator and Controller

Differences between the Vacillator and Controller:

There are similarities between the vacillator and controller. Of all the styles these two are the quickest to anger. It is easy to judge the anger and conclude these are the “worst” styles. Let’s remember avoiders, pleasers and victims tend to be dishonest and minimize the truth to avoid conflict. Lying isn’t one of Gods’ favorite character traits either. Each broken love style has different ways of defending against pain and each has different sinful tendencies.
Vacillators and controllers tend to be angry about different things. Vacillators are angry because they are disappointed and wished for something they didn’t get. Vacillators want connection and desire to be seen, heard and tended too without asking directly for what they want. Controllers are not driven toward connection as much as vacillators. Controllers get angry because someone has threatened their authority and made them feel powerless. Most often the need for control comes from a very painful childhood experience where feelings of humiliation, terror, despair, hopelessness, confusion were common. It’s impossible for a child to make logical sense of the daily interactions in a chaotic family. Bad things happen with no rhyme, reason, explanation or resolution. There is no relief for painful feelings.
Control is about keeping these painful memories from being re-experienced in adulthood. If a controller is in charge and keeps everyone in line, painful feelings can stay submerged. Powerlessness is a huge trigger and reminder of childhood and to be avoided at all cost.
We can see how the vacillator and controller display anger for different reasons. Depending on the degree of the injury both the vacillator’s and controller’s anger can be intense, scary, and overwhelming to others. Anger without ownership, resolution or apologies is destructive to all relationships. A read through the book of Proverbs is a wakeup call as to the destructiveness of unchecked anger. For both styles expressing the feelings under the anger is important. Usually anxiety, insecurity or hurt are the primary emotions that end up getting expressed as anger. Growth comes from seeing anger as a red flag to stop, get the list of soul words and identify underlying emotions.
Both vacillators and controllers have difficulty with vulnerable feelings. Vacillators want you to just “get them” and “know” what they want and need. Asking directly for what they want and need feels too vulnerable for a vacillator and they resist this step of growth. Controllers just want you to obey and agree and equate vulnerability with the powerlessness of childhood and resist any neediness except sex. Controllers are more cut off from the pain of childhood while vacillators are much more aware and willing to talk about painful experiences during their childhood years.
Vacillators easily feel abandoned while controllers easily feel threatened. Vacillators are triggered by unmet expectations whereas controllers are triggered by loss of control and the feeling of powerlessness. Neither of these styles likes anyone to disagree with them. Vacillators feel if others really understood them they would agree with all their thoughts and opinions so they feel misunderstood, rejected and abandoned when others disagree. Controllers see disagreement as a threat to their power and get angry to intimidate others into compliance.
Blessings,
Kay

New Love Style Audio Lectures Now Available!

We are excited to announce that the New Updated 2013 Love Style Audio Lectures are now available in both CD and audio download format.

Hear Milan and Kay discuss each Love Style in depth as well as how each style presents in relationships. Milan and Kay also go over growth goals and strategies for each love style to move toward being more securely connected.

For a limited time these CDs and downloads are available on howwelove.com for a reduced price. Don’t miss out!!

We thank you for your support and continue to pray for all of you on your journey toward healthy relationships.

Blessings!

Tips for the Holidays

Here is a good rule when you are going to be around difficult relatives. Predict what will happen. You know them well. Talk with your spouse or kids (if they are old enough) about what you predict. Then have a sense of humor when it happens. Give someone in your family a thumbs up….”see, there it was…my prediction just came true. The goal? You know you are an adult around your family and relatives if when you leave you are not disappointed, angry, or hurt. After all what did you expect?

Avoider
Learn to feel…black and white to color. Jesus came to earth because he feels love and desire. Ask Him to wake you up this holiday season to the importance of relationships. That’s what the coming of our savior was all about; winning our hearts and meeting our deepest need. It wasn’t about tasks as much as expressing love. Frozen, tundra heart of the avoider waits to be unthawed. It stings to unthaw a frost bit hand. Ask Jesus to melts the ice until you are free to live in the color of emotion and accept your needs as important and worth meeting.

Pleaser
Pleaser season giving giving, giving. Stop. Quiet. Look .listen. What can you receive? Ask for help. Sit with people and talk instead of cleaning or doing dishes. The holidays mean we are around relatives who might hurt us with insensitive words. Maybe someone in our own family won’t appreciate all the work and effort you have made. Jesus proved hurt and rejection aren’t deadly. Glorious birth, then rejection. Death before resurrection. No fear. Rejection can be transformed into resurrection.

Vacillator
No idyllic Christmas. Just real. Jesus birth was messy not ideal. Let the season be good and bad. It won’t be as good as you hope and something will go wrong. So when it does, don’t over react , go all bad and suffer. Let it roll off. Let good and bad live close together in the days ahead. Jesus came into our world a broken place and still He accepts us as broken. Learn to let yourself and those around you be imperfect and messy. It’s a part of life.

Controller
Holidays can be reminders of painful childhood times. Think about your feelings about Christmas. Are they overly idealized to make up for all you suffered as a child? Or do you just barely tolerate the holidays because of how miserable they were growing up? It’s time of a reality based redo. Try to make this Christmas something “little you” can enjoy. Remember your anger is a cover for tender feelings. Something will probably upset you so when it does, look for the vulnerable feeling when you feel angry.

Victim
Jesus tolerated the intolerable on the cross. He understands your pain. Find solace in His love. Find Jesus in the days ahead in His gift of creation. Look, see, hear, touch the wonder. You are His wonder too. He came to this earth for you because you are loveable, worthy and He rejoices when you become His child. He is a good parent and he desires you. Dwell on Romans 8.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to growing more with you in the New Year!