Kate Heavey's Blog - thoughts on Relationships, Bereavement, Loss, Alcohol Addiction and Binge Eating Disorder. And all that comes from living life.
This blog represents my
My views are influenced by my experience both professionally and personally and I stand on the shoulders of all who have come before me.
I continue to be passionate about my work and I am grateful every day that I have a job I love to do rather than one I have to do.
30 November 2021 - WHAT IS GOOD RELATIONSHIP COMMUNICATION?
Do you get baffled as to why you end up in the same loops or patterns when you are communicating with others?
Here are a few tips that might be helpful: -
Use open ended questions
These help exploration and provide more formation letting you know more about the other person’s perspective.
They would start something like ‘how did you….’ or ‘tell me about’ or ‘what is it like when’ etc.
Listen out for feelings
When someone is talking they invariably mention a feeling which may be causing them concerns. By trying to catch the feeling and asking person more about it you will generally find that person will feel more seen by you, i.e. ‘you mentioned sadness, tell me more about that’.
Validation Validation Validation
At times when adults were children they may not have been validated and so feel they have things wrong or they do not trust their own instinct. By always validating another person, i.e. I hear you, I can understand that, etc. old injuries can start to be healed.
Provide relationship stability
In order to grow and navigate change there are certain ‘conditions’ that are necessary for a relationship and these come from Bowlby’s attachment work. If relationships provide ‘safety, security and consistency’, change and growth can easier be navigated. If you think about therapy, this is very much what therapy provides, i.e. same time, same place, boundaries, etc.
At times we ‘listen to reply’ and are not actively listening to the other. We can also become defensive with ‘yes but’ and defences and unresolved emotions can be triggered. By pausing, and slowing down, you are likely to bring yourself into the present time and have a more wholesome response not so much based on old behaviour.
I statements demonstrate personal responsibility, i.e. I feel, I got that wrong, etc.
Dr Rosenberg in Non Violent Communication speaks about a 4 step process which helps with this: -
1. The concrete actions that are observed that impact on well-being (imagine a photo being taken and what everyone would see)
2. The feeling in relation to the observation.
3. What is needed to help move the feelings.
4. What is requested to help process the feelings / needs / desires.
So an example would be: -
When I saw you hide your phone I felt uneasiness. My need is for that to not happen when I walk into a room; is that possible?
This then helps to get emotions out in relation to events rather than supressing them where, later, they may turn into resentments (re-feeling incidents).
We all have a part to play in any co-created relationship.
What one thing could you do differently today to benefit communication in your own relationships?
17 November 2021 - UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF
We go to school and are encouraged to learn about facts yet how much are we encouraged to learn about ourselves; about our own emotional development? If you are lucky you may have experienced a 'life skills' lesson yet so many, especially generations back, have not.
Are you there for others and find it easier to focus on others problems rather than look at your own?
Do you have difficulty looking in the mirror as you do not embrace the person that stares back at you?
Are you experiencing low self-confidence or low self-esteem?
Are you highly judgemental of yourself (and others) and self-sabotage and self-blame?
Well there is an answer!
Begin to look at WHY you are still here; what YOUR strengths are as, in reality, the very things that you may feel are holding you back, may be coping strategies and defense mechanisms which have kept you alive.
Look inward and you will know that the pain you are feeling has been caused by life yet once you engage in your pain and start to feel your emotions, you can feel relief.
Practice self-compassion and self-kindness knowing that you have got to this point BECAUSE of your inner-resilience and your will to succeed.
Understand your coping strategies ARE working as they have kept you alive. YET they may not be working for you today.
What counselling offers......
A way for you to be more accepting of you. To see that your coping strategies were needed then yet might not be now. To know that you are good enough (and always have been).
I have learnt, through life's journey and my own counselling, to be able to smile at the mirror image coming back at me (most of the time! haha).
What would it take for you to embrace the image coming back at you in the mirror?
10 NOVEMBER 2021 - IMPACT OF TRAUMA?
Dr. Gabor Maté states: =
"Trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside of you, as a result of what happened to you."
Why is it so important that we know this?
Experiencing trauma as a child (remembering childhood trauma can be different to adult trauma, i.e. parents fighting, not being picked up on time, etc., as well as the big traumas like abuse and neglect) can mean that a child is left with a story that they are never able to complete and so therefore unprocessed feelings continue to be associated with the experience (the emotional experience to the trauma).
A child may shut down parts of themself which they feel contributed and internalise messages such as 'it's my fault', 'I am unlovable', 'I am bad' etc. It is the untold story that then becomes the trauma for the child as they have to find ways to separate from these overwhelming feelings and their experience, i.e. avoidance, dissociation, denial, etc.
Carrying trauma can mean that a child can never be their authentic self which means as an adult they will not be vulnerable to be authentic either. What we can then see is the symptoms of this trauma, i.e. addiction, perfectionism, behaving in a careless way, etc. as they have not internalised self-worth for the person they are so there may also be adaptions such as appeasing and withdrawing as the child that is now the adult has not learnt ways to navigate feelings.
Healing: Being able to control and tell their untold story (if they feel appropriate) and being listened to and heard whilst doing so. Empathic understanding. Validation of their own perspective and feelings. Providing consistency, safety and security (attachment repair). Enabling choice rather than exerting control. Being supportive and alongside rather than moving to a solution. Asking what the needs are. Boundaries; assertive so knowing where one person stops and the other starts.
How has your childhood impacted how you live authentically today?
What skills, if any, do you feel are missing?
29 OCTOBER 2021 - ARE YOU COMPASSIONATE WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS?
Do you find that you can be quite judgemental of others and this then impacts how you feel, whether in your home or work life, and how you relate? To a degree, we can all be judgemental, and it may be a protection for you, yet it is a barrier to being at ease with others in relationship.
So a different blog for today…. a compassion exercise.
THE COMPASSION BENCH
Imagine you are sat on a bench and you are going to have a few people come and sit next to you. First of all it is important that you settle, so take a few deep breathes and just be aware of your own sense of self and your own feelings and sensations. If thoughts come, acknowledge and just come back to your breath.
Invite a person or animal you feel totally comfortable with to sit down and notice your feelings as this happens. Could it be you feel contented? At ease? Peaceful? Connected? Warm? Etc. just notice the feelings within your body as you do this. As you sit there, wish the person what you are feeling. Be still together for a few minutes just breathing in the feelings. Then, let that person go wishing them to be safe and well ready to have another guest come.
Invite someone who is of service to you in life, i.e. a post person, a shop assistant, someone you meet on a commute or dog walk, and imagine that person sitting down. How do you feel? Maybe there is a sense of the unknown and you do not feel so comfortable. Again be aware of the feelings as you sit there in the company of this person. Offer the same thoughts to that person, that they be safe and well, that you wish them ease and comfort and let them go with kindness.
Invite someone in that you find discomfort with, or that you find irritating or annoying, and notice the difference in your feelings. Maybe there is more discomfort, uneasy, fear, etc. This invite may bring unpleasant feelings yet take a look at the person sat beside you; do the same action; wish them well, wish them kindness and watch their face as you do this. Does it soften? Do you soften? Just being aware of the energy created between you. Soften how you feel by just looking at one part of them, one part you can have compassion for. Again, thank them for coming and wish them a safe and well journey and ease and kindness. Be aware of your feelings as you see them go, have they changed? As they go off into the distance, take a few breathes ready to invite your final guest in.
Invite yourself to the bench. Notice the first feeling when I offered that to you. How does it feel to have yourself sat next to you? Do you want to hug or be self-critical? Think about what this person gives you on a daily basis. Just for a few moments think about your relationship with yourself….. and I invite you to do this with kindness and compassion. Can you feel kind and at ease knowing the journey this person has had? That you are your life experiences. Give this person compassion and kindness. Wish this person inner contentment, peacefulness and to be at ease. Once you have done this, it is time for you to see yourself go. Wish a safe and well journey as you see yourself go off into the distance… do you feel different towards you?
Just take a few moments to reflect on this exercise. How your feelings changed with the different invites....... how you felt with the guest arrival and the guest leaving...... then, when you are ready, leave the bench and go back into your daily life knowing you can do this exercise with anyone you come across. To detach with kindness and compassion; to wish every person a safe and well journey and to continue to wish this for your self too.
This exercise is one of inclusion. In daily life we can all come across people we may not warm to yet, if we look, we can wish well for others and offer kindness which would change the thoughts we hold, and maybe the power we give them.
Try the exercise for 10 minutes. Notice your feelings? What would be the difference in your life if you could have compassion for yourself and others and wish all who come in your path well and kindness?