The Many Faces of Fear
Halloween is a time of year when we embrace fear, terror, and fiendish figures. We seek out elaborate haunted venues complete with creepy creatures and dark sinister music. Some of us decorate our yards with skeletons, witches, bats, and ghoulish characters. When the sun goes down, we disguise ourselves in costumes that often elicit screams or attention! We voluntarily seek out scary scenarios.
The Courage to Change
PIVOTing to a new path toward becoming a #HealthyAdult can also be scary. What’s even scarier is repeating the same unhealthy habits and getting the same results.
Embarking on a healing journey can bring up fear. The idea of choosing a different path in life can feel paralyzing because we’re forced to enter unknown territory. We cling to old habits – that we call Survival Patterns even though they no longer serve us. Accepting what we can’t control and accepting the fact that we need to give up unrealistic expectations IS HARD!
We do, however, have so much to gain by stepping outside our comfort zone and surrendering to the healing process. Becoming our healthy adult is exhilarating!
Those of you who know me, know I love a good costume theme party. Dressing up and becoming someone we are not for one night is a great and safe way to play pretend! Have fun this Halloween! Be safe and whatever essence you’re going for; spooky, sexy, surprising, or whatever, GO ALL IN!
Read All About It
In this issue, you can read about our PIVOT Coach Kelley Hattox and her love of Pop Culture, Pups, and PIVOT in our Coaches Corner! You can also read Coach Fernando’s thorough response to an inquiry about conflict within a couple who both want to be right. What’s more, our upcoming intensive dates are listed in our What’s Happening section.
PIVOT, Pop Culture & Pups Keep Coach Kelley On a Healthy Track
“If I had to live on a desert island and I could only have The Monkees or The Beatles, it would be The Monkees every time,” says PIVOT Coach Kelley Hattox, who is a huge pop culture enthusiast. Kelley was also recently intrigued to learn that Monkee Micky Dolenz was originally cast as The Fonz in Happy Days until Henry Winkler snagged the role at the last minute. “I’m all about pop culture,” adds Kelley.
Kelley and her husband Scott, a Marvel-licensed pop artist, are regulars at the nation’s biggest and brightest pop culture conventions, including San Diego’s Comic Con. The couple, who reside in Rancho Mirage, California, share an active and adorable 10-month-old toy poodle named Ms. Sophia Petrillo. Think Estelle Getty on The Golden Girls.
In her pre-PIVOT life, Kelly had a successful nearly two-decade career in the fast-and-furious world of entertainment publicity until the “boulder finally fell” and she began her recovery journey. During this time, Kelley was fortunate to encounter incredible mentors working in all facets of behavioral health.
Says Kelley: “I met a collection of wonderful people whom I truly respected, and I wanted to be just like them when I grew up!” She subsequently landed a series of jobs in the field, including serving as an interventionist.
As an interventionist who handled many different challenges for her clients, Kelley regularly referred clients to the Glass House and heard one success story after another. “The people I most respected and loved also respected and loved Lori Jean’s PIVOT curriculum. The more I dug into the PIVOT process, the more I realized that this was meant for me. Every fiber in my body was set on doing this type of work as a coach. The process makes sense from effective, logical, and emotional standpoints. It IS the organizational version of what healthy personal alignment looks like… think, feel and do in a thoughtful, purpose-driven and responsible way.”
Been There, Done That
“When it comes to therapy,” says Kelley, “you name it and I’ve done it. I started therapy at 15 years old – and I just turned 51. There’s nothing that even comes close to the PIVOT curriculum, which has brought me immense relief when dealing with complex relationships. I used to expect certain people in my life to show up differently, even though they were incapable of doing so. This work has given me a tool enabling me to drop my relationships into filters of reality.”
A New Paradigm
Why are so many people still suffering? Although today’s younger generation has a higher level of consciousness about emotional health, Kelley explains that we still reside in a world that was created before this awakening.“
I came from an era,” continues Kelley, “where our culture didn’t really support talking about your problems. You pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and moved on. What you were feeling was nobody else’s business. In many ways, this structure still exists because emotional health isn’t yet fully integrated into our educational and institutional landscape. When our public dialogue and our social infrastructure finally catch up to this new cultural way of thinking, we’ll see more and more people of all ages and from all walks of life experience greater emotional health.”
Our Clients Say It Best
Seek First to Understand
“What I have gained most from PIVOT is pure awareness. Before I was floating along. Now I have more awareness of what I am doing in situations, why am I saying the things I say, and why I am acting the way I am acting.
My coach Kayla has helped me understand where I came from. I am now able to recognize the ways I used to manipulate conversations and now shift into what goal am I trying to reach instead. I am better able to describe how I’m feeling and what I want. The awareness has helped me be more selective and strategic in my language.
The Pros of Patience
I can also hold onto myself in hard moments. I am able to remind myself that others have their storyline and history, so I can offer patience and understanding to why they are responding the way they are.”
Speaking of Relationships… a REALLY good read!
My wife and I are close, however, at times we both want to be “right.” I don’t understand how we go from a difference of opinions to all-out arguments. We stop hearing each other and it’s like we can’t stop ourselves. What do you suggest we do? -Mark C.
Mark, this is the kind of question that is usually met with statements like “do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” or “happy wife, happy life.” I wish that relationship dynamics were as simple as any quip or cute quote we hear in the quest to “help others.”
We are in a “dynamic” whenever we are in consistent connection to others. The resulting energy from a dynamic is the combination of two people’s individual developmental psychology (Inner Child, Teen, Adult, and what we at PIVOT call, the Healthy Adult). I appreciate that you are using the word “We,” which indicates that you understand that you are both doing this and not just placing the burden of change onto one person. Not knowing how to get off the merry-go-round can become exhausting and can create some corroding wear and tear on the relationship. The result is that you end up experiencing neither being right nor happy.
I am going to break down your question, so I can give you what I hope will be a meaningful response…
“…we both want to be right”
- This “need to be right” can come from developmental wounding. Sometimes it has variances For example: One of our parts of self feels like, “I need to be heard” or “not feel seen” or “not feeling good enough.” Another way this can manifest is that either you or your partner may have learned through parental modeling or had a parent that also had a “need to be right” and so we attempt to have a “re-do” or “corrective experience” by showing up as a part of self that needs to feel acknowledged or win over that parental figure. Why? Because being right was highly valued or a consistent theme of conflict in the family system. We are drawn to what’s familiar regardless of merit. We compensate by “fighting the wrong fight” and “getting locked-on target” to win individually and at the expense of the relationship.
- The PIVOT process has a specific section to help people find clarity around their developmental wounds by learning their Survival Patterns. Our clients start delving underneath their behavior and feelings resulting in a better understanding of why they do what they do. This is essential because we want to know what part of self has this need and why and, most importantly, how to repair it. Once this is identified for at least one person, ideally both, we can start helping you help yourself by finding the necessary individual repairs. Doing so allows each of you to start becoming capable of repairing yourself and to self-regulate. This way, at least one of you can start showing up in ways that result in different outcomes than your current pattern.
“…we both go from a difference of opinions to arguments”
- Simple Truth: CONFUSION LEADS TO CONFLICT
- Having a difference of opinion can be healthy for a relationship; the argumentative part is the cause for concern. When at least one person in the dynamic begins to understand why they do what they do and effectively takes care of themselves emotionally, the dynamic starts shifting. Language matters and sometimes there is a big gap between intention and perception. In other words, we sometimes mean something in one way and yet it is received in a completely different way, activating the other person. The activation usually happens because a person heard something through the lens of their wounds, feelings, developmental parts and did not get curious or ask for clarity, so assumptions are made (in milliseconds) based on our development. As a result, this person reacts to what they interpreted and not on what was said and how it was meant. Opinions become perceived attacks that we feel the need to defend. Now two people are activated and creating a dynamic of a sword and shield battle. We counterattack (sword) or defend ourselves and our argument (shield). Now we both compete to win and be right rather than collaborate or cooperate with each other.
- Staying curious and asking for clarity resolves this confusion. It might feel like longer conversations, and sometimes that’s true, yet such conversations require less energy consumption since you can have conversations that don’t have as much emotional baggage later. This saves you time in the way of managing and tolerating your feelings. With practice, you will both become more effective in the new dynamic.
“…we stop hearing each other”
- This is very common and there are some concrete explanations why. When we are in fight, flight, freeze or fawn (nervous system physiological survival responses, our ear canal attunes differently for self-preservation. The result is that we are only capable of hearing ourselves, or maybe not even hearing ourselves and we might be reacting on autopilot. Therefore, we sometimes can’t recall the content details of arguments, yet we can remember the emotions, feelings, and sensations.
- Activated vs. Triggered. When we are activated, we can still feel the heat of the threat, tension of our partner and respond. Once it escalates to being triggered, we physiologically lose that ability and we start reacting. Becoming aware of ourselves and what we are experiencing in real-time is very important. Understanding why, how and when we get activated then becomes valuable information to have, so you can individually on-board individual and/or relational repairs. This can look like slowing the pace, asking for time and space to revisit the conversation or asking for clarity of meaning or details. Once this starts to happen, both sides start having compassion for each other’s survival patterns in addition to respecting the other’s wants and needs. We can still have capacity even though we are activated. Once we are in a trauma response (triggered), we lose self-control. The goal is to find individual and relational ways to stay in that window of opportunity where we can sit with the discomfort yet take care of ourselves to manage, tolerate or own our feelings. It’s even better if both people in the relationship start doing this.
“…we can’t stop ourselves”
- Beyond our survival patterns and our nervous system responses, there is another layer to why people stop hearing each other AND can’t prevent conflicts.This layer is known as attachment. Even though this can easily become a sophisticated topic, I will share some simple truths.
- There is a common dynamic that we see over and over in the couples that become our clients. There is one person that relates, shows up and attaches in a more anxious way, while the other person runs a little more avoidant or ambivalent as a baseline. Sidenote: We can all exhibit different attachment styles at different times.
- When this attachment dynamic is present, we have one person with more “energy for conflict” than the other. The person that runs anxious has a felt sense and need to resolve and finish the conversations or conflicts NOW, so they are going to stay in the conflict, even passing the point of effectiveness or productivity. The other side of this dynamic – the person who might run more “avoidant” or “ambivalent” – can find themselves getting drained more easily during conflict. There are more individual reasons why people relate the way they do that have to do with their upbringing and past wounds. Since I don’t know either of you personally. I can’t speak to this, and if this dynamic feels familiar, the solve is to have two individuals do their personal growth work so the more anxious person can down-regulate themselves to a place of staying present and the other person who shuts down more doing their work to expand their capacity to stay present. This is a journey where we can help both of you individually and as a couple.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions for both of you to practice:
- If one of you becomes aware of a shift emotionally for yourself or for the other person and things are starting to “turn,” put your hand on your heart to support your own nervous system.
- Use “I” statements and stay away from “YOU” statements: What I see, what I hear is, what I believe, what I feel etc.
- Reserve “YOU” for questions and not statements. “YOU” statements can become perceived attacks to the other person when they are activated, which can escalate to the point where that person becomes triggered. Such statements also become perceived assumptions we are making for them. Instead ask questions like the following. This is partly how you ask for clarity. “How was that for you?” “How does this/that impact you?” “When is this/that good for you?”
- Ask for clarity. “What do you mean?” “Help me understand” “What does that mean to you?”
- Stay curious. “Tell me more” “I am curious about” “This is obviously important to you, so I would like to hear it.”
- Don’t use judgmental words about communication, bad, good, positive or negative. Communication is either effective or ineffective. (not clear)
- If one of you feels smothered or like shutting down, ask for what you need in that moment. For example: “Hey this is becoming hard for me, and I am not going to be effective. I need to take a step back and come back to this in ___hrs.” The person asking for space is the person responsible to state the amount of time needed and follow through with coming back to the table.
- Consider engaging with PIVOT individually or as a couple to improve your dynamic of being able to repair what sits underneath this dynamic for one or both of you. When we have a better understanding and a better relationship with ourselves, this spills over and improves every other relationship in our lives – loved ones, work, leisure, and anything else where relationships are forged.
- I hope this was useful and that you find something in my response that is reparative and effective. Know that we’re here for both of you!
Right On Schedule
Upcoming Glass House Intensives
Men’s 1.0: 2022:
- Nov. 7th – Nov. 11
Women’s 1.0: 2022:
- Oct. 24th -Oct. 28th
- Nov. 28th – Dec 2nd
- Dec. 12th -Dec.16th
Healthy Adult 2.0: 2022
- Nov. 14th – Nov.18th
WEShred x WEPivot Retreats
- 2022: Nov. 4 – Nov. 6
*Personalized PIVOTS – Individual, Couple’s, and Family Intensives can be scheduled at The Glass House between retreats.
We are hosting luncheons once a month at The Glass House located in Petaluma for anyone interested in what we are doing and who want to see our healing retreat center! Our next luncheon is Thursday, November 3rd. If you live in the area or are going to be in Northern CA, give us a call and come visit! Call admissions to sign up and to learn more.