Oct 2, 2017
David describes the three assumptions of the Interpersonal TEAM
- We cause the very relationship problems we are
complaining about, but don’t realize this, so we blame the
other person and feel like victims of his or her“badness.” David
describes a man who endlessly complained about his wife during
therapy sessions--she didn't like having sex with him, she spend
money behind his back, and never bragged about him when they were
out to dinner with friends. He had even taken notes for years on
all the “bad” things his wife had been doing every day throughout
their marriage, but overlooked the many hurtful and self-centered
things he was doing to break her heart every single day.
- We do not want to have to look at our own role in any
relationship conflict because it is too painful to have to confront
our “shadow,” to use a Jungian concept, and because we
want to do our dirty work in the dark. So we will deny our role and
angrily punish anyone who tries to shed light on our role in the
problem. David describes a severely depressed woman who complained
that she was the victim of "loneliness in marriage," a concept
she'd just read about in a popular women's magazine. She explained
that her husband would not and could not express his feelings, and
felt that he was to blame for their marital problems as well as the
severe depression and loneliness she’d been struggling with for 25
years. And yet, in a therapy session when he tried to express his
feelings, she exploded angrily and told him to shut the F__ up!
When Doctor Burns asked her to reflect on what had happened in the
session with her husband, she angrily threatened to fire him if he
ever brought up the topic again!
- The first two principles paint a dark picture of human nature.
The third principle is more optimistic—namely, that we have
far more power to heal a troubled relationship than we
realize, and this can often happen quickly, but there’s a
stiff price to be paid. First, we have to be willing to stop
blaming the other person so we can examine and pinpoint our own
role in the conflict. Second, we have to focus all of our energy on
changing ourselves, rather than trying to change the other person.
This can be extremely liberating and joyful, but it involves the
exceedingly painful death of the ego. The Buddhists have called
this type of enlightenment “the Great Death.’
In the next podcast, David and Fabrice will show you how to
transform your own troubled relationships into loving ones--if
that's what you want to do!