Hold me tight

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  • “Christian love must be chased after, aspired to, and practiced.” ~ Gary L. Thomas.

The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection.

EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship. It walks the reader through seven conversations that capture the defining moments in a love relationship and instructs how to shape these moments to create a secure and lasting bond.

Case histories and exercises in each conversation bring the lessons of EFT to life. Over the course of a weekend we will alternate between presentation format and exercises done by you and your partner. You will receive your own copy of a workbook and there will be staff on hand available to assist you at your request. The workshop is honoring and inclusive. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

Sat: 9am-6pm Sun: 9am-4pm. Then you are more like me somehow. And it makes me want to reassure you. Taking the above steps forges a renewed and true partnership between lovers. Now a couple has common ground and common cause. They no longer see each other as adversaries, but as allies. They can take control of escalating negative conversations that feed their insecurities and face those insecurities together.

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I like it when we both agreed that this conversation was too hard, that it was out of hand, and scaring both of us. It feels very powerful for us to agree that we were not going to just get stuck the way we usually do. Even if we are not quite sure where we go next, this is a lot better. But it does mean that they know how to stop a rift before it widens into an unbridgeable abyss. It takes practice, going over an unsettling past encounter again and again until it makes coherent sense and, unlike the original event, can draw a possible supportive response from the other partner.

Once couples have mastered that, they can begin to integrate these steps into the everyday rhythm of their relationship.

Hold Me Tight

Normally, when my husband misses my signaling for connection, I can step back and reflect on our interaction. I am still balanced and can choose how to respond. But sometimes, I suddenly become so raw and vulnerable that the universe instantly narrows down into what feels like a life and death struggle. I react harshly to create some sense of control, to limit my helplessness. All my husband sees is my hostility. Then we press the mental rewind button and replay the incident. They feel the ground shaking sooner and they are able to escape it faster.

They develop confidence in their ability to take charge of moments of disconnection and so shape their most precious relationship. It will take a while though before most couples develop the abbreviated, almost shorthand, de-escalation language of Auntie Doris and Uncle Sid. Kerrie and Sal provide a detailed example of the ins and out of the de-escalation process.

They have tried negotiating about this but deals get made and broken. They have been sniping at each other for about ten minutes in my office. I ask if this sniping is the usual way they relate to each other. Usually I just stay real calm. I prefer politeness. And I go off into my head when he does his aggressive thing. But just recently I have felt more and more cornered, so I just come out swinging to get him to back off for a while. They agree.

Sal, an articulate corporate lawyer with a touch of gray at his temples, launches into a diatribe about how deprived he is in this marriage. He is offered no affection, attention, or sex. He is not listened to. He is mad and he is entitled to be mad. Kerrie raises her eyes to heaven, crosses her legs and begins to wave her red high-heeled clad foot up and down. I point out how the pattern is occurring right here.

He is getting mad and demanding attention. Kerrie breaks the tension here, openly laughing as she recognizes her own strategy. Kerrie of course hears only that she is the problem and must work to fix her deficiencies. The tension returns. We talk a little about attachment and love and how our primal programming dictates that when Sal feels disconnected, he will aggressively reach for Kerrie, and she, seeing only his anger, will defensively withdraw to try to calm herself and the relationship.

Each began to fit their fights, rifts and everyday hurts into this pattern. But there was something missing. It is clear that Kerrie sees Sal through a narrow prism of distrust. She does not really understand the impact her distancing has on him in the here and now and how it pulls him into their cycle. Okay, so there is this wired-in need for contact and I can be kind of cool, that is my style. But I have been a pretty good wife to you.

This is a real issue with us. It comes up all the time. Sal starts into an elaborate set of points about how he is not really so demanding. Kerrie is off in some other world before he finishes his first rational sentence. We need to change level of dialogue here and get a little more emotional engagement. I ask him if he remembers how he feels, waiting for Kerrie to come to bed. He takes a moment and then retorts. Wondering if and when she is going to deign to turn up! You sound angry but there is a bitterness here behind the sarcasm. What does it feel like to be waiting for her, feeling that she does not care how long you wait or may not come at all?

After a long silence, he answers. So I turn it into straight anger.

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  5. But what does it feel like to be waiting? Kerrie moves her head back in surprise. She furrows her brow in disbelief. She fits me in the cracks in her busy schedule. We used to always be close before going to sleep. If I try and talk about it, I just get dismissed. Lying in bed by myself, I go into feeling so unimportant. It feels like I am all by myself here. I remember listening to him talk in the first session about his lonely childhood, mostly spent in expensive boarding schools, while his diplomat parents traveled the world.

    I remembered him telling me that Kerrie is the only person he has ever felt close to or trusted and that finding her had opened a whole new world for him. As I reflect these thoughts and his own words back to him, I legitimize his pain.

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    Then I ask how it feels right now to talk about these difficult feelings of being pushed aside. But you feel hopeless. It is scary for most of us when we are unsure of our connection, when we cannot get the person we love to respond to us. It is scary. She can take her time. And this time when I look at Kerrie, her eyes are wide open. She has leaned forward towards her husband.

    I ask her how she is reacting to the things her husband is sharing. You are. You feel alone? I have never ever seen that in you.


    Hold Me Tight

    We talk about how strange it is for her to hear about how her being less accessible impacts him and that he now lives in a world where he misses her and is scared that he has lost his place with her. Kerrie looks like she is struggling here. Her husband is not the man she thought he was. That it mattered to you so much that I come to bed. When we fight it sounds like it is all about how you want more sex. I just thought you wanted to be in control.

    And then his anger is too much for me and I run away more. And then we are stuck. I never got that I had that impact on you. That you might be feeling alone in the dark. Kerrie and Sal are really beginning to see the power they have over each other on an emotional attachment level. He protests her distance. She protests his aggressive ways of trying to connect with her. Sal and Kerrie start to see, in a concrete way, how they hook each other into their negative pattern. This fabulous book will be of great benefit…to couples trying to find their way to better communication and deeper, more fulfilling ways of being with each other.

    Harville Hendrix, Ph. Sue Johnson has … created a whole new way of helping couples cope with serious relationship issues that has proven time and time again to be highly successful.

    Hold Me Tight - Dante - Goods and Bads

    Sue Johnson has finally written the indispensable book for every couple in love. Powerful message! Every relationship has a chance to succeed as long as each person is understood and heard. I would recommend the book to anyone who is trying to build deeper relationships in their lives. I learned a lot by reading this book and have continued to refer back to it when feeling stuck in a bad pattern in a relationship.

    Better than any relationship book. For people who really want to LOVE. Realizing that we are all broken in different places, the author uses other couples dialogue to guide us back together. This book helps in all interpersonal and group relationships. When we can see ourselves clearly, we can then validate others!

    Give this as a gift to as many people as possible and the world will be a better place. Hold tight to this book. This book may change your life. A guidebook for every couple. This should be required first reading for every couple in trouble. Maybe even required reading for anyone considering a committed relationship in or out of societally defined marriage.

    Practical, useful and proven approach for couples. Johnson has at last put words to the latest research into happy marriages for the average person. I read the first few chapters, bought three more copies one for my spouse , and gave the other two to friends who were in stressful moments with their own spouses. One couple now reads from the book to one another each night, and like I did recommended it to two other couples before they got through the first 3 chapters.