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Talk to Me Like I'm Someone You Love: Relationship Repair in a Flash Spiral-bound – December 24, 2009
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Dr. Dreyfus offers invaluable lessons that are both insightful and applicable in this book. The premise of "relationship repair in a flash" involves asking the reader to imagine the all-too-familiar moment during a tense conversation or argument with a partner that quickly becomes an emotional downward spiral. Just when you feel as though you've successfully made it to the point of no return, or the point where each of you exhibits your chronic emotionally unhealthy pattern, Dreyfus suggests a way to pause and redirect yourselves back from "conflict to connection." How do we do this? Flashcards! By removing the emotional charge that is carried by voice intonation or body language, Dreyfus finds that the mere act of reading a written message in the midst of such tension is surprisingly powerful. Dividing these moments into nine sections, there are a total of 101 flashcard ideas (she also explains how to come up with your own), each with an incredibly evolved explanation of the psychology behind the message for both the "Sender" and "Receiver" of the card.
So, for example, let's take a look at my current favorite card. "Rather than just criticize me, can you tell me what you want in a more positive way?" This card is indexed under the "Setting Limits" section and Dreyfus explains that the power in this card comes from the fact that the Sender isn't getting defensive and disagreeing with the criticism, but rather asking for his/her partner to make communicating their desires more important than being a critic. As Dreyfus also explains, many of these cards could easily fit under different categories; to me, this card, when successfully used, could easily "shift gears" (an earlier section of cards). And, wow, finding even one card that speaks to my relationship woes feels so very precious!
In addition to the subject matter, I am impressed by the way Dreyfus articulates HOW to use this book, even addressing what to do when your partner doesn't want to use the cards. I also felt that at first glance the number of flashcards in this book might be daunting, but Dreyfus clearly explains ways to pick up on which cards are relevant to you and your partner. On page 87, she gives away a therapy secret by explaining a fantasy scenario and corresponding line of questioning she goes through with every new client. She quickly gets to the point by saying "I go down this road because I want to know one important thing -- how your early universe related to you when you were vulnerable." This gem of insight has the potential to seem like magic in gaining a new understanding of where your partner is coming from in his/her reactions to intimacy and vulnerability.
For those who are looking for a deeply intellectual book on couples' psychology, as well as those looking for a quick and easy fix for a long-term struggle, this book has it all. Dr. Dreyfus illustrates a language around relationships, both to ourselves and others, that has rarely been this profound or accessible. Bravo!
Reading this made me realize things that I have done t foster the environment between us, and what I can do to change it. The flash card system is genius. Our words can get tainted with emotion, twisting our original intent. Flash cards allow us to put the words out there without tone of
voice, body language or facial expressions to clutter our intention.