You discovered how to repair intimate relationships and increase the quality and frequency of love making earlier in our series. Now find out how to heal relationships with your children, co-workers, parents and even departed loved ones in Part 6 highlights of my radio conversation for A Lasting Love with Nancy Dreyfus. Nancy is a veteran couples therapist who created the revolutionary book with flashcards, Talk To Me Like I’m Someone You Love.
Hadley: Tell us how we can use simple flashcards to improve interactions with the people we care about most.
Nancy: Many people had a difficult parent or maybe both parents were difficult. Imagine if you had a reactive parent hold up a flashcard that says, “I realize I’m over- reacting. Can you give me a minute to get control of myself?”
You’d fall to your knees if you got that message. When people take appropriate responsibility, everything becomes beautiful. Nothing you do is so terrible. I highly recommend using these cards between parents and children. Instead of nagging at a child, you hold up a flashcard. This mitigates voice tone, which people tune out.
Hadley: Holding up a perfect message eliminates the subtext in tone of voice. We see how couples and families can use these flashcards. What advice do you have for dating singles to use flashcards with a date?
Nancy: Just read the book, see all the cards and just say what’s true to your date. I advise singles on the first or second date to talk about important issues. If someone blames their partner for their breakup without taking any responsibility, tell them you notice this.
Hadley: Ask what love lessons you learned from your marriage and your breakup. Save the sob stories. They only propel you to a deeper understanding of what you learned from the pain.
Nancy: You start on day one by dealing with what seems odd, so you never have to walk on egg shells around someone. People may be startled by your forthrightness, but they will like it. If they don’t, you decide if they’re a good match or not.
Hadley: And listen to what people say when you ask them a serious question, without thinking you can change them. Let’s talk about another barrier to love. When we get upset about an issue with a partner, we’re often responding more to an unresolved issue in childhood. I’ve thought of another way to use these flashcards, to heal a relationship with a departed parent or loved one.
Nancy: That’s brilliant. Imagine that your departed parent shows you a card that says, “Tell me the truth. Am I responding in the way you need me to right now?”
Hadley: Then tell them what you really needed from them. It’s never too late to tell them and heal your relationship, even after they’re gone.
Nancy: It brings tears to my eyes.
Hadley: I encourage you to add these flashcards to your love toolkit that builds trust and understanding in any relationship and also sparks a lasting fire of love with your romantic partner.
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