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P R O C E E D I N G S

554
MP3: MP1026 CD: C1026
I
s your love life warm, aectionate, and nurturing, or
are problems and tensions zzling out the spark you
used too feel? Do you need some help to achieve im-
portant breakthroughs in your personal love relationships?
Come discover your love style, and learn the secrets of re-
storing and deepening your family relationships.
Well, its 3 p.m. and I have three more hours in my
day. My rst appointment this morning went well. I think
I can get her business.
Te second and third appointments felt like a bowot
(big old waste of time), and I am denitely not happy with
my results so far.
I think I will make some maintenance calls for the
rest of the afternoon and check in with some customers I
havent seen in a while.
Its not all about new business. I have to stay con-
nected with my current base as well.
I know, Ill go to the Plaza Building, grab some pas-
tries and coee, and drop into Dr. Clevelands oce. We
havent connected for a while.
All eyes turn toward you as you walk though the door.
Oh, my gosh, you are amazing! Te front oce sta
breaks out in applause and says, How did you know we
were dying for a mid-afternoon caeine and sugar hit?
Between patients, Dr. Cleveland sticks his head around
the corner, smiles, and thinks to himself, Good move.
Te natives were getting restless. A few moments later, he
says, I have three more patients, and well catch up in my
oce. I read something in the Journal this morning that I
want to run by you.
By now your emotions are starting to soar, and youre
saying to yourself, I love this job. Your talk with Dr.
Cleveland goes very well as you wax eloquently about the
current economic climate and how your additional ser-
vices and products will strengthen his nancial position.
After making an appointment for a future meeting to se-
cure more business, you walk to your car and feel like life
is sizzling for you. Youre excited and pumped and you
drive home with the sound system blaring. You feel on top
of the world.
Kay Yerkovich, M.S., M.F.T., and Milan Yerkovich,
M.A., are co-authors of How We Love, a book and
workbook on attachment and bonding. Milan is a
pastoral counselor and ordained minister. Kay is a
licensed marriage and family therapist. Milan worked
for the Center for Individual and Family Terapy as
a marriage counselor for three years and is now the
full-time director of Relationship180, a nonprot
organization devoted to counseling individuals and
families toward healthy relationships. Te couple
also speaks nationally and internationally, helping
people understand their relationship diculties and
inspiring them to follow a dened path of growth.
Milan and Kay Resources Inc.
24211 Puerta De Luz
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Phone: 949.830.2836
E-mail: yerkovich@cox.net
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle?
Kay Yerkovich, M.S., M.F.T. and Milan Yerkovich, M.A.
P R O C E E D I N G S
555
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
You pull into the drive way, go through the door, and
say, Hi, honeyHi, kidsIm home! Andthere is
no applause. In fact, your wife has that stony look on her
face that lets you know the Cold War is still on. Te boys
begin to ght over the newest Wii game. Youre thinking
to yourself, Tere is denitely no sizzle here. In a fright-
ened introspective moment, you conclude, Te love in
my marriage has zzled, and I have no idea how to solve
the relational problems that plague us.
Sound familiar? Many women and men who are top
producers, achieving amazing accomplishments in busi-
ness, struggle to nd the same success in their personal
love life. If we all naturally knew how to love, Kay and
I would each be out of a job as counselors, writers, and
speakers. All of us who have been married or in a com-
mitted relationship for more than a few years will admit
that achieving a great relationship with our partner is a bit
more challenging than we imagined.
Every marriage has nagging problems calling for our
attention. Many people end up thinking that their rela-
tionship is dicult because they married the wrong per-
son. Te fact that many people are on their second and
third marriages proves that no marriage is tension free.
Sometimes our personal relationships seem to run fairly
smoothly until we hit a crisis or face dicult circumstanc-
es. Stress always makes underlying problems more appar-
ent. In the next few pages, we will be sharing some new
and strategic principles with you that if you apply them
to your life daily, you will have a much higher chance of
increasing the quality of your relationships.
Over the years, many couples have come to us for help.
We routinely ask several questions, no matter what situa-
tion they describe. Last week I met a couple, Kathy and
Jim, for an initial session. I asked them what Kay and I
ask all the couples we see in our oces. Tell me about
the chronic irritations that happen over and over between
both of you. Perhaps its the same old ght that never gets
resolved. Maybe its a pattern of relating that recurs again
and again. Where do you get stuck? I asked.
Kathy looked at Jim and they laughed. Tats easy,
she smiled. It happened in the car on the drive to your
oce. Im always the one bringing up the problems, so
Jim is always telling me I am controlling. I was mad at
him because he didnt know what he wanted to talk about
in our counseling session. Hes too passive. I want him to
initiate more and try harder. Jim chimed in, I do try. Its
just never enough for you.
Kathy looked at me. See? Now he will pout and with-
draw and nothing will get resolved. I summarized, So
no matter what problem you want to discuss, this is your
same old dance, the repetitive pattern that happens over
and over. Is that correct? Kathy and Jim both nodded.
Te second question that we ask our clients and audi-
ences is Do you have a memory of comfort? By that we
mean, do you remember a time when you were a child that
you were distressed, depressed, sad, hurt, or angry and you
could bring your feelings to your parents? Tey in turn
would then provide the adult perspective, love you, and
tell you things would be okay, and you felt reassurance
and security. Do you have such a memory? If you dont,
youre not alone. Probably 70% of people we ask do not
have such a memory.
We try and x our marriages without a proper diag-
nosis of what exactly is broken and exactly how it should
then be xed. We often focus on the surface symptoms
without understanding the roots feeding those symptoms.
When something is broken, you cannot repair it unless
you understand how it works. People who understand the
internal workings of computers x computers. Mechanics
who understand how an engine works x your car. We
try to x our marriages without ever taking a look at how
they work.
As relational counselors, we feel we have learned a revo-
lutionary approach to improving your marriage. Our ap-
proach can help you to achieve important breakthroughs
in your personal love relationships. With them, you can
gain insight and tools to become an expert in diagnos-
ing and xing the problems in your marriage or any other
important relationship in your life.
P R O C E E D I N G S
556
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
Do you really know your partner and how he or she
works? We believe that you dont know your partner all
that well unless you become a student of his or her child-
hood, because thats where love lessons begin for all of us.
Most of us have about 18 years of love lessons from the
homes we grew up in. Yet we have never stopped to ask,
What exactly did I learn, and how is that impacting my
ability to love now?
Did I have great modeling and teaching from my par-
ents in how to listen and resolve conict? Did a parent
draw me out and help me develop the ability to self-reect
and put words to my internal feelings and experiences? Did
they know when I was distressed and upset and oer the
kind of comfort that brought me relief? Were my parents
comfortable expressing and allowing a wide range of emo-
tions without those emotions becoming destructive? Did
I experience close bonds that made me feel secure, valued,
and known? Was it about performance or relationship?
Did I leave home knowing my strengths and weaknesses
and having a good estimation of my abilities? (Tryouts
for American Idol suggest many parents have trouble with
this.) Was I given freedom to make choices, decisions, and
have an option? How were mistakes handled? Did I learn
to cope with stress eectively and manage dicult situa-
tions? Did my parents apologize when they were wrong?
Can you? Most of us cannot answer a resounding yes to
all these questions. If we can, we may be in the minority
who entered adulthood and marriage with a positive or
secure love style.
It makes sense that our experiences growing up, good
and bad, create beliefs and expectations about relation-
ships we carry into adulthood. We leave our families with
an intimacy imprintan underlying blueprint that
shapes our behavior beliefs about love and relationships.
Drawing on the powerful tool of attachment theory, we
rst learned ourselves and are now helping others see how
these early imprints form a love style that governs how
we relate as adults. A few of us have great love lessons and
enter adulthood with well-formed relational skills. Most
of us, about 75%, are missing some skills and have never
considered the love style we adopted before we ever met
our spouse. In fact, we say your marriage problems started
before you ever met your spouse, and your marriage is
usually as easy or as dicult as your childhood.
Couples and families entering our oces for help
initially share myriad dierent presenting problems. No
matter what the surface problems are, we have discovered
that when we focus on deepening the couples bond and
connection by addressing each persons love style and ca-
pacity for emotional intimacy the presenting problems
often resolve.
If you are reading this article, then you are one of
those people who are used to following successful busi-
ness routines every day. Well, here are some new tools
to put into your tool bag to use regularly, and if you do,
you will be well on your way to becoming even more
successfulrelationally.
First, lets take an inventory to determine what love
style you might be. Make a check mark by any phrase
that describes you, and add up the check marks for each
section.
Section 1
It seems as if my spouse needs a lot more than I do.
o Tings that are upsetting to my spouse seem like no big
deal to me.
o I dont have many memories from my childhood.
o I would describe myself as an independent, self-reliant
person.
o I would rather work on a project than sit and have a
long conversation.
o My spouse complains that I dont show enough aec-
tion.
o When something bad happens, I get over it and move on.
o I need my space in relationships and feel annoyed if
someone wants to be with me a lot.
o I like to make decisions on my own.
o I feel uncomfortable when someone is very emotional,
especially if I think I am supposed to help.
P R O C E E D I N G S
557
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
o In my family growing up, everyone sort of did their
own thing.
o I have siblings with whom I have little to no contact as
an adult.
o I have never felt particularly close to my parents.
o Nothing gets me too bothered or upset.
o I rarely cry.
Score:__________
Section 2
o I am usually the giver in relationships.
o I am good at keeping the peace.
o I nd I am able to anticipate the needs of my spouse
and meet them.
o Sometimes I am dishonest to avoid conict.
o I am afraid of making my spouse upset or angry.
o When there is conict, Ill give in just to get it over
with.
o I dont like to be alone.
o It really upsets me when I feel someone is mad at me.
o When someone requests my help, I have trouble say-
ing no, so I sometimes nd my self overcommitted and
stressed.
o I had a very critical (and/or angry) parent, and I tried
very hard to win their approval.
o Sometimes I get mad, but I usually dont show it.
o I am on the cautious side, and I wouldnt call myself a
risk taker.
o I had an overprotective parent who worried a lot.
o I had a parent that never stood up for himself or herself
and passively accepted poor treatment.
o When I sense others are distancing, I try harder to win
them back.
Score:__________
Section 3
o I feel like no one has ever really understood what I
need.
o I was instantly attracted to my spouse, and our early
relationship was intense and passionate.
o I hope for more in my relationships and am often dis-
appointed as time moves on.
o When my spouse tries, I feel it is too little, too late.
o I am a very passionate person and feel things deeply.
o I could describe many examples of how my spouse has
hurt and disappointed me.
o I can really sense when others pull away from me.
o I want far more connection than I have in my marriage.
o I like the feeling of making up after a ght.
o When people hurt me long enough, I write them o.
o If my spouse would pursue me a lot more, things would
be better.
o I dont like to be alone, but when my spouse is around
I feel angry and empty.
o My parent(s) still drives me crazy.
o Sometimes I nd myself picking ghts, and Im really
not sure why.
o I make it obvious when Im hurt, and it makes it worse
when my spouse does not pursue me and ask whats
wrong.
o It seems like I end up waiting for my partner to be
available and pay attention to me.
Score:__________
Section 4
o I grew up in a family with serious problems.
o I have to keep my mate from knowing certain things
because he or she would be angry.
o I have a history of staying in (or being in) destructive
relationships.
o I suer with depression and/or anxiety, and it makes it
hard to cope.
o Others say Im in an abusive relationship, but I dont
think its that bad.
o A lot of the time I feel like Im checked out.
o For most of my life I have felt unworthy and unlovable.
o My parents had drug and alcohol problems.
o One of my parents was abusive and the other passive.
o I feel as if I functioned as the parent in my home grow-
ing up.
P R O C E E D I N G S
558
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
o My spouse mistreats me, but I stay because it would be
worse to be alone.
o I was physically, emotionally, or sexually abused during
my childhood or observed these things happening to
others.
o I get nervous when things are calm because I know it
wont last and Im waiting for my spouse to get angry
or critical.
o Sometimes it feels as if life isnt worth living.
o I dont let myself cry, because if I started, Id never stop.
Score:_________
Section 5
o Growing up, I had an angry parent (or sibling) who
threatened me, intimidated me, and/or was violent to-
ward me.
o No one protected me from harms way when I was
growing up.
o My spouse does things behind my back.
o I feel angry when other people try to control me or tell
me what to do.
o I have problems with alcohol, drugs, pornography,
gambling, or overspending.
o My life is constant stress with one problem after an-
other.
o Sometimes I try to control my temper, but I feel too
angry to stop.
o My spouse does things that make me jealous.
o I lose my temper a lot, especially at home, but my
spouse (or kid) deserves it.
o I have hit or pushed my spouse (or I have come very
close).
o I change jobs a lot.
o By the time I was a teenager, people knew not to mess
with me.
o By the time I left home, some family members were
afraid of me.
o My spouse ignores me when I ask him or her to do
things a certain way.
o My spouse starts most of our ghts because he or she
doesnt listen.
Score:__________
Tere is one positive love style, the Secure Connector,
and ve insecure or problematic love styles: the Avoider,
the Pleaser, the Vacillator, the Controller, and the Victim.
Tey are harmful because each love style programs us to
respond and behave in ways that hinder us from bond-
ing and nding the intimacy we so desire. Knowing how
these love styles dier is crucial since they are responsible
for all the complicated challenges people face when con-
necting with one another. In fact, you can think of your
love style as your way of relating that runs counter to inti-
macy. Many problems in our love life are a result of these
broken love styles. Which section did you score highest
in? Section 1 describes the Avoider. Section 2 character-
izes the Pleaser. Section 3 lists the traits of the Vacillator.
Sections 4 and 5 represent the Victim and the Controller.
Here is a brief description of each of these styles. Ten,
look at the charts that follow to more fully understand the
dierences and pinpoint your style. Even if you believe
that you had a great childhood, you may see yourself
below.
Te Avoider (Section 1)
Avoiders often come from performance-based homes
that encourage independence and discourage the expres-
sion of feelings or needs. Kids respond to insucient
comfort and nurturing by restricting their feelings and
learning to take care of themselves. So as adults, they
are self-sucient and avoid emotions and neediness. Te
spouses of Avoiders have similar complaints. I dont get
much aection, and my spouse doesnt seem to need me. I
cant get close. In close relationships Avoiders often com-
plain that their partner is too needy and smothering.
Te Pleaser (Section 2)
Did you have an overly protective or an angry, criti-
cal parent? Did you try hard to be good in order to
P R O C E E D I N G S
559
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
avoid criticism or to keep the fearful parent from getting
anxious and worried? If so, you are probably a Pleaser. As
kids, Pleasers dont get comfort; rather, they end up giv-
ing comfort to the parent by appeasing the angry parent
or calming the fears of the worrying parent. As adults,
Pleasers continue to monitor the moods of others and
give, give, giveto keep everyone happy. Over time they
become resentful because they are good care takers but
dont really know how to receive. Te spouses of Pleasers
say, My mate is too clingy and always wants me to be in a
good mood. Pleasers are too nice and wont stand up for
themselves. Pleasers often feel like they try hard to keep
everyone happy and are not appreciated for their eorts.
Te Vacillator (Section 3)
Te Vacillator has a parent who connects in a sporadic
and unpredictable way. Time and attention is more about
the parents needs than the childs needs, but these kids
get enough connection to make them desire more. Te
problem is that they wait and wait for the parent to show
them some attention again. By the time the parent is in
the mood to give, Vacillators are tired of waiting and too
angry to receive. As adults, Vacillators are on a quest to
nd the gratifying, consistent connection they missed as
kids. Tey idealize new relationships thinking, I found
it! As soon as real life sets in, and they have to wait for
their spouse to be available, Vacillators become angry and
critical, devaluing their partner. All good turns to all bad.
People married to Vacillators say, I feel like Im walking
on eggshells and always getting a mixed message, such as
Come here or Go away. I cant make my spouse happy.
Vacillators complain, My spouse hurts me over and over,
and Im tired of being ignored.
Controllers and Victims
Tese folks come from chaotic homes in which connec-
tion is not just unavailable or sporadicIts dangerous.
Tese parents often have serious problems and were raised
in troubled homes themselves, so they dont relieve stress
but are the source of stress.
Victims (Section 4)
In chaotic homes kids learn to tolerate the intolerable.
In fact, the intolerable becomes normal. More compliant
kids react with fearful submission and learn early on to
avoid setting o out-of-control parents and might cope by
dissociating and not being all there. With few positive
experiences, little condence, and lots of anxiety, Victims
often end up marrying Controllers because its all they
know. Controllers blame their spouse for their problems
and think, My spouse is manipulative and sneaky and
cant be trusted. Victims declare loyalty but live in fear of
setting o their spouse.
Controllers (Section 5)
More feisty kids from chaotic homes ght back
and learn the lesson: control or be controlled. As kids,
Controllers experience many negative feelings about re-
lationships, such as fear, humiliation, shame, guilt, and
inadequacy. Control is maintained to keep these feelings
from surfacing in adult relationships. Anger is the overrid-
ing feeling that governs the life of the Controller and keeps
others in line. Often, Controllers and Victims marry since
these are the only roles they know.
Why It Can Be Dicult to Identify Your Style
Does one or more of these relational styles stand out?
If you are still struggling to identify your relational style,
dont be too alarmed. Tere are several reasons you might
be having diculty. First, it is common for people in our
seminars and oces to identify their husbands or wifes
attachment style before they can see their own. If you are
struggling in your marriage, focusing on the behaviors of
your spouse can make it dicult to observe your own ac-
tions. If you cant decide, ask your partner or kids. We feel
sure they would love to help you out!
Identifying your imprint requires introspection, which
may be part of the problem. If you were never asked to
stop and reect on your feelings and experiences growing
up, you may have diculty assessing your behaviors and
beliefs. Perhaps you strongly relate to one of the styles, but
P R O C E E D I N G S
560
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
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s
s

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s

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s

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o
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p
t
.

U
n
a
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a
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n

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m
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o

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a
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d

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o

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o
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r
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n

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t
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s
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R
e
s
p
o
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e
:


D
e
t
a
c
h
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s
,

w
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t
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a
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A
v
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o
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L
E
A
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R

P
a
r
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n
t



F
e
a
r

b
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t
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r
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g
.

P
a
r
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s

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y

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r
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e
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t
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o

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l
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h
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x
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y
.


O
r

p
a
r
e
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t

i
s


a
n
g
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y
,

c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l
.


C
h
i
l
d

m
a
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a
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s

p
a
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t
a
l

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r

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r

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y

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y

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e
i
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g
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d
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I
n
t
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m
a
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y



W
a
n
t

c
o
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e
c
t
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n

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o

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l
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y

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t

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s
a
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n
.


M
a
y

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e

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e
a
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l

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n

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l
o
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e
.


G
i
v
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s

a
n
d

a
p
p
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a
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s

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o

m
a
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a
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n

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o
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e
c
-
t
i
o
n
.


B
u
r
n

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E
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o
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p
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s

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o

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d

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s

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i
t
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e

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n

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e
t
u
r
n
.

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o
a
l
s

S
a
f
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t
y
,

H
a
r
m
o
n
y
.


I
f

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t
h
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s

a
r
e

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a
p
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,

I

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a
n

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e
l
a
x
.


I
f

I

k
e
e
p

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t
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s

c
l
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s
e

a
n
d

h
a
p
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y
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I

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n

t

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e

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b
a
n
-
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d
.

P
r
o
m
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F
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l
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A
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r
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r

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e
c
t
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g
.


W
o
r
r
y
.


A
n
g
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r
,

i
s

u
n
d
e
v
e
l
o
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d
.


T
r
i
g
g
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s

A
n
x
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y

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n

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t
a
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,

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,

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r

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r
e
a
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.


I
n
-
t
e
r
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s
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t

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r

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s
s
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l
.

R
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
:


P
u
r
s
u
e
s
,

t
r
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e
s

h
a
r
d
e
r
,

g
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v
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s

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o
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e
,

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o

c
a
l
m

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a
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t
y
.

V
A
C
I
L
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A
T
O
R

P
a
r
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n
t



S
p
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c

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c
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a
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d

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s

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s

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d

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o
d
s
.


U
n
p
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e
d
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c
t
a
b
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e
.


M
o
r
e

a
b
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u
t

p
a
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t
s

n
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e
d
s

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h
a
n

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d
'
s

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e
d
s
.

I
n
t
i
m
a
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y

L
o
n
g
s

f
o
r

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n
t
e
n
s
e

c
o
n
n
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n

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y

c
a
n

F
E
E
L
.


I
d
e
a
l
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e
s

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h
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n

d
e
v
a
l
u
e
s
.


E
a
s
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y

d
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s
a
p
p
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d

a
n
d

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s

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d

a
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d

b
e
t
r
a
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e
d
.


M
o
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e

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i
k
e
l
y

t
o

d
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s
p
l
a
y

a
n
g
e
r

t
h
a
n

h
u
r
t
.


E
x
p
e
c
t
a
t
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n
s

H
i
g
h
l
y

s
e
n
s
i
t
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v
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r
a
v
e
s

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t
t
e
n
t
i
o
n
.


M
i
s
t
a
k
e
s

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n
t
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n
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y

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o
r

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n
t
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m
a
c
y
.


D
e
v
a
l
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e
s

w
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e
n

d
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s
a
p
p
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i
n
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d

a
n
d

i
n
t
e
n
s
e

g
o
o
d


f
e
e
l
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n
g
s

a
r
e

g
o
n
e
.

G
o
a
l
s

T
o

f
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l

s
p
e
c
i
a
l

a
n
d

e
x
c
l
u
s
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v
e
,

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e
n

a
n
d

u
n
d
e
r
s
t
o
o
d
.


A
v
o
i
d

c
r
i
t
i
c
i
s
m

a
s

i
t

m
e
a
n
s
,

m

f
l
a
w
e
d
,

u
n
l
o
v
a
b
l
e
.



P
r
o
m
i
n
e
n
t

F
e
e
l
i
n
g

A
n
x
i
o
u
s

i
f

c
l
o
s
e

(
t
h
e
y

w
i
l
l

l
e
a
v
e
)


A
n
x
i
o
u
s

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f

a
p
a
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t

(
a
b
a
n
d
o
n
e
d
,

n
o
t

s
e
e
n
)
.


S
h
o
w
s

a
n
g
e
r
.


U
n
d
e
r
n
e
a
t
h
,


c
o
n
f
u
s
e
d
,

d
i
s
a
p
p
o
i
n
t
e
d
.



S
a
d
n
e
s
s
,

g
r
i
e
f

u
n
d
e
r
d
e
v
e
l
o
p
e
d
.
T
r
i
g
g
e
r
s

W
h
e
n

o
t
h
e
r
s

d
e
p
a
r
t

t
h
i
s

t
r
i
g
g
e
r
s

f
e
e
l
i
n
g
s

o
f

a
b
a
n
d
o
n
m
e
n
t
,

w
a
i
t
i
n
g
.

C
l
o
s
e
n
e
s
s

t
r
i
g
g
e
r
s

a
n
x
i
e
t
y
:


m
a
y

s
a
b
o
t
a
g
e

b
e
c
a
u
s
e

a
c
c
e
p
t
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n
g

m
e
a
n
s

I

w
i
l
l

g
e
t

h
u
r
t

a
n
d

b
e

m
a
d
e

t
o

w
a
i
t

a
g
a
i
n
.

R
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
:


M
i
x
e
d

m
e
s
s
a
g
e
s
:

C
o
m
e

h
e
r
e

(
I

n
e
e
d

y
o
u
)
.


G
o

a
w
a
y

(
I

m

m
a
d
)
.

C
O
N
T
R
O
L
/

V
I
C
T
I
M

P
a
r
e
n
t

C
h
a
o
t
i
c
,

c
o
n
f
u
s
i
n
g
.


P
a
r
e
n
t

s
o
u
r
c
e

o
f

s
t
r
e
s
s

r
a
t
h
e
r

t
h
a
n

r
e
l
i
e
v
e
r

o
f

s
t
r
e
s
s
.


M
a
y

b
e

d
a
n
g
e
r
o
u
s
:


a
b
u
s
e
,

n
e
g
l
e
c
t
,

v
i
o
l
e
n
c
e
,

d
r
u
g
s
,

a
l
c
o
h
o
l
.

I
n
t
i
m
a
c
y


A
d
r
e
n
a
l
i
n
,

c
h
a
o
s

n
o
r
m
a
l
.



C
a
l
m
=
a
n
x
i
e
t
y
.
.
.
n
e
x
t

s
t
o
r
m

i
s

c
o
m
-
i
n
g
.


M
o
v
e

t
o
w
a
r
d
s

c
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
r

(
a
n
g
e
r
,

r
a
g
e
)

o
r

v
i
c
t
i
m

(
p
a
s
s
i
v
e
)
.


A
d
d
i
c
t
i
o
n
s

t
o

n
u
m
b

p
a
i
n
.

E
x
p
e
c
t
a
t
i
o
n
s


C
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
r
:


M
y

w
a
y
,

I

m

r
i
g
h
t
.

C
o
n
t
r
o
l

o
r

b
e

c
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
d
.


V
i
c
t
i
m
:

T
o

s
u
r
v
i
v
e
:


u
n
w
o
r
t
h
y
,

u
n
l
o
v
a
b
l
e
,

c
a
n
n
o
t

s
u
r
v
i
v
e

o
n

m
y

o
w
n
.

G
o
a
l
s

M
a
i
n
t
a
i
n

c
o
n
t
r
o
l

o
r

s
t
a
y

u
n
d
e
r

t
h
e

r
a
d
a
r

.


P
r
o
m
i
n
e
n
t

F
e
e
l
i
n
g

C
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
r
:


A
n
y

v
u
l
n
e
r
a
b
l
e

f
e
e
l
i
n
g

q
u
i
c
k
l
y

s
u
b
m
e
r
g
e
d

w
i
t
h

d
i
s
p
l
a
y

o
f

a
n
g
e
r
.


V
i
c
t
i
m
:


F
e
a
r
,

d
e
p
r
e
s
s
i
o
n
,

h
o
p
e
l
e
s
s
,

p
o
w
e
r
l
e
s
s
.


(
M
a
y

o
n
l
y

f
e
e
l

a
n
g
e
r

w
i
t
h

c
h
i
l
d
r
e
n
.
)


B
o
t
h

s
t
y
l
e
s

h
a
v
e

n
e
v
e
r

g
r
i
e
v
e
d

c
h
i
l
d
h
o
o
d

p
a
i
n
.




T
r
i
g
g
e
r
s

C
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
r
:


C
r
i
t
i
c
i
s
m
,

c
h
a
l
l
e
n
g
e

o
f

a
u
t
h
o
r
i
t
y
.



V
i
c
t
i
m
:


A
n
g
e
r

i
n

o
t
h
-
e
r
s
.



R
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
s
:


C
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
r
:


r
a
g
e
,

i
n
t
i
m
i
d
a
t
e
,

b
u
l
l
y

t
o

r
e
g
a
i
n

c
o
n
-
t
r
o
l
.

V
i
c
t
i
m
:


D
i
s
s
o
c
i
a
t
e
,

t
a
k
e

a
b
u
s
e
,

t
r
y

h
a
r
d
e
r
,

m
y

f
a
u
l
t
.


P R O C E E D I N G S
561
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)












F
r
o
m

t
h
e

B
o
o
k
:

H
o
w

W
e

L
o
v
e



b
y

M
i
l
a
n

a
n
d

K
a
y

Y
e
r
k
o
v
i
c
h



c
o
p
y
r
i
g
h
t

2
0
0
7




w
w
w
.
h
o
w
w
e
l
o
v
e
.
c
o
m















A
w
a
r
e
n
e
s
s

a
n
d

R
e
f
e
c
t
i
o
n

S
k
i
l
l
s




































A
v
o
i
d
e
r



















P
l
e
a
s
e
r


















V
a
c
i
l
l
a
l
t
o
r




















C
o
n
t
r
o
l
l
e
r






















V
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.

P R O C E E D I N G S
562
Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
you cant connect to the family histories that commonly
produce that imprint. One woman at our recent seminar
said, I t the description for the Avoider, and a few char-
acteristics of the Pleaser, but I came from a great family, so
I dont understand why I relate to these imprints. Our an-
swer to her was, Just focus on the imprint that describes
you, whether or not you understand its origin.
We also nd that people from chaotic homes see them-
selves on every page. Even though the chaotic imprint of-
ten produces a Victim or a Controller, it can also result in
a person who bounces around from one style to another,
depending on what stage of life and what relationship he
or she is currently in.
Damaging Duets: Stepping on Each Others
Toes
Can you begin to imagine what happens when these
combinations collide in marriage? When partners bring
their individual imprint into the relationship, they eventu-
ally clash and become what we call duets that damage.
While every couple who come to our workshop feel their
problems are unique and somehow special, in reality, all of
us are very much alike and we behave in similar ways. Each
of the various combinations of attachments styles will pro-
duce a very predictable core pattern or reactive dynamic
that, when understood, can be changed. For the sake of
time, we will review the most common combinations.
Te Core Pattern Between the Vacillator and
the Avoider
Initially these two styles attract one another. Te
Avoider likes the Vacillators energy and zest for life.
Vacillators like the Avoiders consistency. Yet, the Avoider
and Vacillator each handle childhood hurts in opposite
ways. Te Avoider gives up the desire for connection and
becomes self-sucient. Te Vacillator makes more con-
nection a primary goal. When the Avoider marries the
Vacillator, a predictable pattern develops. Te Vacillator
pursues the independent spouse trying to get attention.
Tis overwhelms the Avoider (who has not had enough
connection to even know what it is), so they disengage
and retreat. As the imprints collide and begin reacting to
one another, the Avoider feels constantly in trouble for
disappointing the spouse. Avoiders retreat to take care of
themselves, as they have always done.
Tis withdrawal agitates the Vacillator, whose anger in-
tensies, feeling rebued and abandoned. Displays of an-
ger and disappointment make the Avoider retreat further.
Over time, the chase scene picks up speed and intensity,
leading this couple on a perilous, roller-coaster journey.
In one of our recent workshops, roughly one-third of the
couples attending were this dynamic. It is common and
very predictable.
Te Core Pattern Between the Pleaser and the
Vacillator
Pleasers have been trying to make others happy since
way before they meet their future mate. Initially, future
mates nd Vacillators to be delighted and thrilled by their
eorts to please. Te Vacillator responds in ways that
make the Pleaser feel successful, and the Pleasers anxiety
is eased by all this success. Te Vacillator has often grown
up with a parent who is dicult to predict and please.
Initially, the Pleaser is just about the nicest person the
Vacillator has ever met. Vacillators keep waiting for the
angry outburst, and when it doesnt come, theyre hooked.
Tey have found a consistently nice person, and they are
thrilled.
As the imprints collide, the Pleaser cannot keep up
with the idealized expectation of the Vacillator. As Pleasers
make mistakes and feel irritability from the Vacillator,
their anxiety returns, and they become concerned with
avoiding conict. Initially, they try harder to make it
work, wanting to again feel the Vacillators pleasure and
praise.
Vacillators are disillusioned when the initial passion
begins to wane. Tey want someone to understand them
and want them, not just please them. Te Pleasers anxious
scurrying around makes them feel placated, rather than
known and valued. Tis isnt what they expected, and over
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Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
time the Pleasers eorts become annoying. Te Vacillator
becomes more agitated and upset. Te Vacillator doesnt
understand that Pleasers dont know how to connect in
a reciprocal way because they dont know how to receive.
Since Pleasers did not grow up learning to have feeling
words readily available to describe their emotions, and no
one was asking about their heart, they cannot relate on
this level.
Pleasers try to x any negative emotions by doing nice
things so that their spouse is happy. Moving toward the
dicult feelings of others (or their own) makes them anx-
ious because they dont know what to do. Since Vacillators
dont understand these deeper dynamics, they feel more
and more unloved, and more and more disillusioned and
angry.
Pleasers keep trying; after all, they have been pleasing
their whole life. Over time, resentment begins to build.
Since they rarely express anger openly, it may be expressed
in passive ways. Pleasers feel they are walking on eggshells,
and while their eorts may make the Vacillator happy for
a while, it wont be peaceful for long. If the pattern con-
tinues long enough, Pleasers resentment may build to the
point that they avoid or leave their spouse. If the couple
remains in this pattern for years, their marriage is often
lled with bitterness and resentment.
Te Core Pattern Between the Avoider and the
Pleaser
Tis one describes Milan and me for the rst 15 years
of our marriage. Initially, Pleasers like Avoiders because
Avoiders dont have a lot of feelings, are not volatile, and
are not too hard to please. Avoiders do not appear to be
overly angry or anxious, and often the Pleasers parent was
either anxious or angry. Te Avoider enjoys the Pleaser be-
cause the Pleaser is so attentive, something that was lack-
ing in the Avoiders home when growing up.
Problems start when the Pleaser interprets the Avoiders
distance and independence as anger or indierence.
Pleasers need to know their eorts are making their
spouse happy, or they begin to get anxious. Avoiders dont
show much response. Pleasers try harder, pursue, and want
more response. Avoiders feel smothered by this anxious
pursuit and disengage further. And so the chase goes.
Both the Pleaser and the Avoider are uncomfortable with
negative emotions, so problems are rarely addressed in an
honest way.
Of course, there are more combinations, but were lim-
ited within the scope of this manuscript. Once you un-
derstand the traits of each style, it is easy to see how they
collide, not only in marriage but in the work environment
as well.
Change the Love Style and Heal the
Relationship
What bugs you the most about your spouse? Most
likely the behavior that irritates you is due to a childhood
wound inside of your spouse and relates to their broken
love style. Seeing the injury under the behavior has the
capacity to turn irritation into compassion. For example,
Milan is a Pleaser. He felt too needy and smothering to
me. It bugged me. Milans biggest complaint was that I
was distant and didnt really need him because I was too
self-sucient. Over time, Milan realized how my child-
hood home had left me emotionally barren, and self-su-
ciency was my only option. He began to have compassion
for what I missed.
As I became a student of Milans childhood, I real-
ized he lived in a constant state of anxiety, anticipating
the next angry explosion. His pleasing tendencies started
very young as he tired to keep the peace. I began to have
compassion as I realized no parent ever saw his anxiety
or comforted him. In fact, each broken style is formed by
painful childhood experiences and contains unmet needs for
comfort and relief.
Avoiders have no memories of comfort, as the expres-
sion of feelings was not encouraged. For years I was un-
aware of my feelings or needs, and it never occurred to
me that comfort could bring relief during stressful times.
Learning to feel and need again was the beginning of a
deep healing in my marriage.
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Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle? (continued)
Pleasers are caretakers and focused on others. Tey are
so used to being in the giving role that they have diculty
owning and admitting their painful feelings and initially
nd it hard to ask for and receive comfort. As Milan
learned to admit his anxiety and receive comfort from me,
our bond deepened.
While Vacillators would say they want comfort, they
are often too angry to receive it. Really letting their de-
fenses down to receive is dicult for the Vacillator because
the thought of having to wait for connection to happen
again is distressing. Fear of abandonment is always a
theme for this love style. Vacillators are often too mad at
their spouse to see the wounds or need for comfort in their
spouse. Seeing the sad events in their spouses childhood
and oering comfort is healing, as it lls the Vacillators
need for connection.
Controllers and Victims are probably in the most need
of comfort and most defensive against receiving it.
Childhood was so painful, they dont ever want to go
back there, but both styles have deep storehouses of un-
comforted pain inside.
Te Comfort Circle
Te comfort circle is the universal antidote for heal-
ing injured attachment styles and destructive core pat-
terns. Just like painting by the numbers, this is bonding
by the numbers. If you learn to follow this pattern every
day, you will become a happier, more aware person, youll
develop a higher capacity to love, and your family will love
you for it. Are you ready to begin? If so, close your eyes
and imagine a circle with four steps, and then re-open
them so that you can continue reading.
1. Seek awareness.
When you are hurt or distressed inside, take some time
for self-reection to understand your internal emotions.
Some of the most common are anxious, embarrassed,
ashamed, nervous, worried, scared, fearful, panicky, furi-
ous, angry, listless, depressed, lonely, abandoned, dejected,
grief, feeling heavy, confused, and ashamed.
2. Engage.
Once you have identied a feeling(s), you need to en-
gage with your partner in such a way that you speak the
truth and openly acknowledge the identied feelings and
emotions. Tis involves pushing past your tendencies to be
fearful and hide. Reality is your best friend, which is true
in the business world as well as in our relationships.
3. Explore and nd out more.
As your partner listens to you, he or she will need to
be disciplined enough to simply listen and ask more ques-
tions. Just like a good sales presentation includes probative
questions that help you identify a customers needs, so too
great listening is endearing and informative. Te listener
learns to ask thoughtful questions to further clarify the
inner emotions. Some common questions are these: Tell
me more, I want to understand. Have you ever felt this
way before? How about in your childhood? How does
that make you feel? Te natural tendency will be for the
listener to quickly try to x the problem. It is, after all,
what you are used to doing daily in your jobs. Here the
goal is to deeply understand the emotions, empathize, and
then to validate the persons experience. Some common
validation statements include these: Wow, you have had
a hard day; that would have been totally embarrassing.
Im so sorry you had to go through that. I could totally
see how you would feel that way. No wonder you are
agitated; that was a very distressing thing for her to say.
Even if you disagree with your spouses position or conclu-
sions, his or her feelings are very real. Perceptions are your
spouses reality even if you disagree. Once you have then
validated your spouses feelings and emotions, ask the all-
important bonding question: What do you need?
4. Resolution brings relief and comfort.
Most of us are used to xing things that are broken.
Our tendency is to provide solutions for the others prob-
lems. In order to build relationships that sizzle, we must
learn to resist this tendency. After asking, What do you
need? we must learn to wait for the answer that comes
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Your Love Life: Sizzle or Fizzle?
from the other person. Te other persons needs will al-
ways be dierent from what you imagine they should be.
While counterintuitive, you need to give your spouse time
to come up with what he or she thinks would give relief
and comfort. Most couples do not know how to do this
because they have never been trained to do so. Remember
the comfort question we presented earlier? If you have no
memories of comfort as a child, you simply will not know
how to comfort others as an adult. Nor will you know how
to bring your needs into a relationship for your comfort.
Comfort is the single most important ingredient to build-
ing intimacy, safety, and security within a relationship.
If this circle is not repeated over and over, unfortunately
the relationship will zzle and continue to deteriorate to-
ward a lower level of distrust and pain. But the wonderful
result of completing the comfort circle will be increasing
trust, love, and bonding. Your injured attachment styles
will begin to heal, and you will begin to move toward a
state of earned secure attachment with your partner. Tis
will, in turn, allow you to learn to feel more fully your
emotions (both happy and sad) and you can repeat the
circle.
When this circle is repeated over and over, week af-
ter week, month after month, security develops, bond-
ing takes place, and the relationship begins to grow and
change from zzle to sizzle. When partners learn how
to give and receive comfort, things really begin to change
into a relationship in which the love life becomes warm,
aectionate, and nurturing.
Life is stressful; work is stressful. As we own our broken
style and learn to give and receive comfort, an amazing
thing begins to happen. We begin to look for relief from
our spouse instead of using the many addictive behaviors
we often employ to nd relief. We deepen the bond as we
care for the injured places in our spouse and in ourselves.
Hi, honeyHi, kidsIm home!
Im so glad to see you. Welcome home.