While I generally send out a monthly newsletter on the
1st of each month, every now and then, the creative
forces of life conspire and it's fun to go with that creative
My colleague, Margaret Paul, writes a wonderful e-
newsletter, with articles that are often kindred in spirit to
the ones I share here. And this past week, her article,
7-Step Foolproof Guide to Creating a Terrible
Relationship, caught my funnybone and my attention.
While at one level, Margaret's article was written
tongue-in-cheek, sometimes when delicate messages
are viewed with such a lens, it is easier to see the
deeper truths in the clever, even somewhat humorous
Margaret's article inspired me to write it's mirror article-
-the yin to its yang or the yang to its yin. I am sharing
both Margaret's article and my mirror article, "7-
Step Guide to Creating a Really Grounded
Relationship here side by side, since the two
articles together do paint a very worthwhile pictures of
what makes relationships work and what makes
relationships not work.
comments and contributions are welcome, as always.
7-Step Foolproof Guide to Creating a Terrible Relationship
by Dr. Margaret Paul
Why randomly create a terrible relationship? By
following my 7-step foolproof guide, you can make sure
you do it every time!
1. Take no responsibility for your own
Make sure that you do not take responsibility for your
own feelings and your own sense of safety and
security. Make sure you ignore your feelings enough
so that you create an empty black hole inside that
needs to be filled by sex, things, or by someone else's
love or attention.
2. Find someone to do it for you
Look for someone to fill your emptiness, someone to
make you feel loved, happy, safe and secure. A good
way to determine if this is the right person is if he or
she comes on REALLY strong, promising you the
world, or at least great sex.
3. Once you find the right person, be sure to
behave in one of the two following ways:
a. Completely give yourself up
Completely put yourself aside, focusing all your
attention on the other person's feelings and needs.
our hope is that if you are wonderful enough and
sacrifice enough of yourself, the other person will give
you the love you are seeking. Be sure to completely
ignore your own feelings and needs, no matter what
the other person does. Be the best caretaker you can
be or try to have control over getting the other person's
love and approval.
b. Demand the other person live up to your
Start slow, gradually building to becoming more and
more demanding of the other person. If he or she
doesn't meet your expectations, be sure to criticize,
blame, chastise, berate, threaten, ignore, yell at,
belittle, lecture, debate, and argue with your partner.
Your job is to gain control over getting the other
person to completely give him or herself up and focus
only on filling your emptiness and needs with their
love, approval, attention, sex, devotion, time, and
adoration. Be the best taker you can be, making sure
you keep your partner feeling guilty and responsible
for your feelings of security and self-esteem.
4. Be the victim
As your relationship starts to decline, move more and
more into thinking and behaving as a victim of the
other person's choices. This will lead to more fights or
to distance, lack of passion, lack of fun, and a
complete inability to communicate about anything,
even minor situations. In any discussions, be sure to
seek to be right, win your point, and make your partner
wrong. After all, this is a competition for who is the
good one and the right one. Or, just collapse and give
in, a great way to be a victim.
Start to spend less and less time with your partner,
spending it alone or with other people, or in front of the
TV. Convince yourself that your misery is completely
your partner's fault, and that you picked the wrong
person, again. NEVER EVER take any responsibility
for your own feelings, needs, behavior and choices.
Never forget that you are the victim.
6. Get your partner into counseling
Seek counseling to get your partner to change. DO
NOT enter counseling to deal with your own
controlling behavior of being a taker or caretaker.
Rather, be sure to tell the therapist everything your
partner does wrong, using the therapist's office as just
another arena to prove that you are right and your
partner is wrong, or you are the good one and your
partner is the bad one.
7. You did it!
Congratulations! You have succeeded in creating a
terrible relationship! Now you can miserably and
righteously leave your partner and do the whole thing
again! You get to complain to all your friends about
what a terrible person your ex-partner is and get
sympathy for all you've been through. What a reward
for all your hard work!
To read more of Margaret's articles, go to....
7-Step Guide to Creating a Really Grounded Relationship
by Linda Marks
This article is Linda's response to Margaret's reflections.
1. Take responsibility for your own feelings.
We all get triggered sometimes. Often our partners,
because they are such deep mirrors for us, trigger our
difficult feelings. Appreciate the gift of your partner's
presence and mirror. It's an opportunity to heal
oneself in a deeper way that will allow more
connection, intimacy, peace and quality relatedness.
2. We are responsible for our own healing work.
A partner can walk with us on our journey. And with a
partner we can co-create a shared journey. AND there is
always our personal journey and our own inner work--
and that is ours to live, ours to do and ours to own.
3. Once you find an earnest, sincere person you
can connect with--whose company you enjoy--and
where there is a mutual desire to co-create a
a. Be yourself. And know that to be loved by
your partner is to be loved for who you are in the most
essential ways. This does not mean being sloppy and
being expected to have your partner look the other
way. It means being sincere, honest,
human...honoring and communicating your own
feelings and needs. Sometimes you and your partner
will be on the same page and things will go smoothly.
Sometimes you will disappoint your partner because
no two people are always on the same page.
Sometimes your partner will disappoint you because
no two people are always on the same page. And
there will be enough good will and love that you can
take those moments where you disappoint one
another and say, "oh well--just one of those
moments..." and keep going forward, appreciating all
the moments when you do connect and can dance
gracefully with one another.
b. Have your own desires and dreams and
If your partner loves you, s/he will want you to realize
your desires and dreams, just as you will want your
partner to realize his/her desires and dreams. And
develop commonly defined desires and dreams you
can articulate and co-create together. This is very
different than focusing on filling a voide, focusing on
"what I can get" (the "taker" language Margaret writes
about), or giving out of fear rather than sincere love
and spaciousness. Do what you can to honestly love,
see and honor your partner each day rather than
criticize, judge or blame your partner. And do this
because you feel good about yourself and have the
space to love your partner because you fundamentally
love and honor yourself.
4. There are no victims.
We are all human. Open, honest communication from
the heart--with a listener trying their best to hear from
the heart can get underneath misunderstandings,
miscommunications, mistakes--the human foibles that
we inevitably find ourselves in sometimes, just
because we are human and works in progress. Focus
on good will. Try to put yourself in your partner's
shoes so you can have empathy for both yourself and
your partner. Both of you are good people. Honor
your own truth and don't give yourself up. And don't
beat up your partner with your truth either. There is a
balance of honoring yourself and your partner--and
both of your truths.
5. Stay engaged.
If it is hard, don't withdraw or abandon your partner. If
it is hard, go get help. Or better yet, put a third party
facilitator in place early on, so you have the help there
for when you need it. Better the third party get to know
you when you don't need the help, so they know you
both when you hit your trigger points and need to do
your inner work and relational work. Take
responsibility for your own feelings, needs, behaviors
and choices. Make the commitment to one another
that neither will be the first to leave. And learn about
both taking space to get grounded in yourself when
you need it--which fuels your connection to yourself
and provides more space to appreciate your
partner...and having relational space, where you focus
on and deepen the connection by being with each
6. Don't make your partner wrong.
Have your own counselor for your own self-work out of
self-love--out of a commitment to have the support,
feedback and space to keep growing, healing,
learning and being a better human being. This is a gift
you give yourself out of self-love. And because you
give yourself this gift, you also give it to your partner.
7. Keep working your relationship.
It takes a lifetime to know your partner and love them
all the way. Stay with your partner. Walk together on
your joint journey. Keep walking along your own path
towards personal learning, growing, healing,
expression and fulfullment. And learn about how two
"I's" can also join to be a "we"--strengthening both the
"I's" and the "we."
I remember Margaret saying that intimate relationship
is the PhD in the school of life--in the school of being
human. Enjoy the good moments and learn from the
hard moments. And in time, a solid, safe, stable
foundation for the relationship grows. Be a good
gardner and take care of your relationship each
season. It's worth it.
Share your thoughts....
The Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network
programs for the 2007-2008 season are posted on