So often in relationships we are quick to focus our unhappiness on our partner. It’s their fault things don’t get better, right? It’s way too easy to blame others & not look at ourselves. Today I  invited Dr. Abby Medcalf on the show because I like her convictions about looking at yourself & what you can do to make things better, whether or not your partner is interested in improvements.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP BETTER?

So often in relationships we are quick to focus our unhappiness on our partner. It’s their fault things don’t get better, right? It’s way too easy to blame others & not look at ourselves. This episode takes a look at what YOU can do, whether or not your partner is interested in improvements.

Dr. Medcalf is a relationship expert, author, motivational speaker and thought leader & fellow podcaster who helps thousands of people create connection, happiness and fulfillment in their relationships (both work and personal) through her books and programs. Abby is known for her straight-talking, science-based approach. As a self-proclaimed “research junkie” and PhD, Abby combines the latest evidence-based approaches with her no-nonsense vibe to bring you strategies and tools you can actually use in your day-to-day life. 

I’m so glad you could join me today Abby (you respond)

I really enjoyed your TEDx talk in part because we both know that everyone who comes to our office arrives believing that communication is the big problem in their relationship, but you say there’s a bigger problem…

Abby: Yep. Same as you. Everyone comes in saying our problem is we don’t communicate, and number one. We both know, you’re communicating all the time, whether you like it or not, you might not like what you’re communicating, but you’re communicating, that’s number one. 

But number two, the real problem is competition. And we learned this from a young age. We saw our own parents do it and we say things like, it’s your turn to put away the dishes. I took Jack to piano practice on Monday. It’s your turn. You have to take Sophie to baseball on Friday. You know, you spent money on this. 

So I’m going to spend money on this. There is so much tit for tat. There is so much keeping score, watching what our partners are doing or not doing, comparing it to what we’re doing, which of course is always much more, always better and living in that place.

So when that happens of course, you’re treating it. It is, it’s a competition, and in any competition, one side has to win and one side has to lose and we don’t want to lose. So you’re literally setting your partner up to failure. You literally want them to fail on some level, because in your head, it means you’ll get more. 

And when I say this to couples, as you might imagine, or individuals, they immediately were like, no way, and I say yes, and I’ll tell you something that happened recently. I had illustrated this really well. I had someone, a couple which I was working with and he just got a big promotion. 

He’s been wanting in Europe, he’s going to be traveling quite a bit and he told her in the session. And he said, oh my God, I have this great news, I’ve been saving it for here. I’m really excited. They hadn’t seen each other in a little bit. And he said, you know, I had a promotion, I’m so excited. 

And her reaction was, she said, great. I guess I’ll just be home taking care of the kids while you’re, you know, traipsing across Europe, that’s the competition. So he got this thing, that means I’m going to get less. And we do this all the time. We keep score, we watch what they’re doing. And it’s a big problem.

Rhoda: When I look back at my younger self, which is not all that virtuous, I really can relate to what you’re saying. And we don’t do that at all anymore. I mean, we haven’t done it in a couple of decades, but I remember feeling so grumpy about not feeling that things were fair. 

And oftentimes when couples came in, they both feel that way, that they’re both doing too much and they both feel it’s not fair, what the other person is doing, which suggests to me that perhaps they’re just both overworked as opposed to one person’s getting off easy.

Abby: Right, and it can feel that way, because we have different capacities, right? Everyone has different capacities. And I would say, especially in heterosexual relationships, but this is true in all relationships I work in, people, you know, we look at our partners and they’re not doing as much as we are as women. And we know, you know, the research is all out there, right? 

Married women, we don’t live as long as married men live longer. Right? When women get married, we live less. We know that when women get married, they end up with about, depending on the research, you look out about six hours more a week of work at home. 

So we know this, this is happening, but the thing is when we start comparing, and this is what I see all the time at night, I used to do it too in my relationship. We, you know, oh, it takes me this many hours to cook, and do all the grocery shopping, and yeah, you do the lawn. But the lawn takes, you know, once a week for, you know, an hour. 

And meanwhile, I have all these hours and we’re comparing hour to hour and that’s problem number one. You know, you don’t marry your husband, because he mowed the lawn well, that is not why we get married, yet that’s what we’re complaining about. Right. 

We’re complaining about all the things and we’re comparing and really, you know, I got married because he makes me feel safe. He makes me feel cherished and loved. He looks at me like am magic. You know, these are things that I want and need, and if I’m just going to compare hour to hour, where does that fit in?

Where does that important, really the most important thing, where does that fit in? So we end up, especially in those child, you know, rearing years, the younger ones, right? I have teenagers now. So it’s a little better, and it’s not so intensive. 

Rhoda: I have grandchildren.

Abby: Oh, there you go. I probably should at my age, but I was a little late to the game. But you know, we start to really, you know, it does get easier granted, but especially in those younger years, it’s so easy to think. Well, I did this and you’re not doing that, and all of that focus on what our partners aren’t doing is a big problem. And I’ll throw in right now. 

There’s actually some, you know, important brain functioning that relates to this and what I explained to clients particularly, there’s something called, you know, your reticular activating system or your (RAS) for short, and your RAS is a filter between your conscious and your subconscious mind.

So basically, anything you’re thinking of consciously, your RAS picks up on it and sends it to your subconscious, to look for it, to go look. And the easiest example of this is if you’ve ever bought a new car and you see that car everywhere, like even if you just thought of it, you know, the car is literally everywhere you look, that’s because consciously you thought of a gray BMW and your subconscious said, oh, I need to look for gray BMWs. 

And suddenly they’re everywhere. Well, in that same way, if I think, oh, my partner is always nagging me, guess what? I am going to see them nagging me everywhere. That’s what the RAS will show me and even more scary than that is the RAS will filter out, because the brain is very economical. It will filter out anything that doesn’t match. 

So when my partner is loving, when they’re appreciative, when they say, thank you, I’m Teflon. I don’t even notice it. And that’s why, as you know, we’ll have a couple in the office and he’s saying, I told you the other day, I said, no, you didn’t. Yes, I did. And they’re doing that thing where they have a completely different memory of something it’s this, well, it’s partly this, it’s this RAS in overdrive.

Rhoda: Yes. And your brain hangs on to the negative, because they want to save us from tigers, etc, exactly. Blaming is such a burden on a relationship. So another idea you share is that if your partner won’t change, then you are very clear about what you can do about it. Share your insights on this with my audience, please?

Abby: Sure, absolutely, and this really relates to how another part of our brain, this is the work of Timothy Wilson, a great book, stranger to ourselves, but basically our conscious brains process information at a rate of 50 bits per second, and our unconscious brains process information at a rate of 11 million bits per second. 

So your partner doesn’t hear what you say. They hear what you mean, and it is this misalignment, that’s the problem, when you align this, you can really change the relationship. So for example, someone will come in my office, let’s say a woman and her husband is not doing what she wants or doesn’t hear her or something. Right. 

So I give her a tool, I’m like here, go do this. And so she goes home and here’s the problem. She is in my office, like feeling motivated or inspired. Great, that tool sounds good, dah, dah, and the drive home, it’s already getting worse, right. And she’s starting to think, oh, we’ve had this problem a long time. 

I don’t think Abby really understands, or you know, some little tool isn’t going to really fix this, or we’ve made changes before, but they never stick. And so that doubt, here we go, starting to go. So now I go home, I see my hubby. I start a great tool Abby gave me, and he isn’t seeing the tool. He’s not hearing what I’m saying. 

He’s feeling he’s got 11 million bits is picking up on the doubt, on the resentment, on the worry. And so he goes, well, she’s acting nice now, but let’s see how long this lasts. So he doesn’t change and do a thing, he’s waiting and sure enough, it’s a week goes by, he hasn’t moved and I’ve been doing all this wonderful thing.

And so I go see, doesn’t work, and then they come back to me and say, Abby, your tool doesn’t work. And I’m like, no, that is not what’s happening. What’s happening is you need to go back with the tool with a hundred percent commitment. You can’t go back waiting. 

That’s conditional. It’s like giving someone a gift only to wait for them to say how wonderful we are. It’s not really gift; we’re not really fully committed. It’s a test. And guess what? People hate tests and they’re going to … right? No one likes to be tested. 

So they’re gonna give you the middle finger, so to speak for, you know, in a whatever way they do. And they’re not going to play along and they’re going to feel controlled and manipulated and none of that works. So you have to go in with the full love.

Rhoda: Yeah, I agree. Say some more about how doubt harms our ability to repair our relationships?

Abby: Oh, doubt. So really I break down, you know, the brain really works really with just two things, love and fear. That’s pretty much it. So you’re either coming from a fear-based emotion, like doubt, resentment, worry, anxiety, depression, right? 

Overwhelmed. Those are all fear-based or you’re coming from a love-based emotion, patients, understanding, compassion, appreciation, gratitude, love, right, you can see it. It’s actually not that hard. 

And it’s what I’ve been using for many years with my clients and with myself, it really helps me, you know, if I’m talking to my partner and, you know, I’ll check in, how am I feeling right now? Oh, I’m anxious. Oh, I’m angry. 

Oh, I’m controlling. Controlling is usually mine. You know, there’s something where I’m being a control enthusiast and sure enough, that is what… again, that set 11 million bits, our partners pick up on it and it really creates a problem. So right from that level of creates a problem. And then as what you sort of alluded to quickly before, which is true, our brains are built for negativity. 

Yes. To run from the tiger and all that. Our brains are hardwired this way. And the more you feed it, the more you get it. So because of the way the brain works and I don’t… do you want to really quickly go through this? 

Rhoda: Yes.

Abby: Can I do that? Okay. So here you go, right…. 

Rhoda: I think the brain is where it’s at, 

Abby: So there’s a three-part loop that we get stuck in. So let’s say, my partner comes to me and says, hey, you know, I want to talk to you about X. So my brain immediately sees this, or maybe they just make an authentic comment even, you know, Hey, well, how come our front yard doesn’t look as good as the Jones’s or why did you do it this way? 

Why, you know, anything, all of these things ticks off something in our brain called, amygdala which is where, you know, our fight flight or freeze responses, our parasympathetic nervous system response. And everyone I think relates to that fight flight freeze. 

So our partner says this thing, we feel defensive. We feel angry, or we kind of cower. So we either fight, you know, or we’ll maybe cower and be submissive about it, or we’ll just say yes dear, and hope it goes away.

But we do one of these fight flight or freeze things, right? When the amygdala is activated, it in turn, because again, our ancient brain, our prehistoric brain thinks that we are about to get eaten by a lion. So that amygdala gets fired off, and then it fires off a second part of the brain called your hypothalamus, which is also in your limbic system, which these guys are together. 

And your hypothalamus then sends out stress-inducing hormones, like cortisol, Neurocrinefrin adrenaline, those kinds of things, because you’re supposed to run or fight or go hide, and you have to have all that energy right up front, so it sends out all these stress inducing hormones so that you can do all that. 

When that’s activated, it activates a final and third part of the brain called your hippocampus and your hippocampus tracks what happened and forms it as a memory to use later.

So, you know, okay, he said this, I said, this, you know, we were outside. It sorts of puts out altogether or wraps it all up and throws it as a memory. And the hippocampus job is to remember things. It usually a little more negatively. So that again, 200,000 years ago, if we saw tribe coming up to our tribe, our first thought shouldn’t be, oh, they’re here to borrow sugar, right? 

A cup of sugar. They’re here to kill us. So we go in that negative thing. But what happens is that, all those stress hormones, I just mentioned from your hypothalamus, those shrink and shrivel your hippocampus. 

And so what happens is, first of all, don’t perceive things as they are you, overestimate threats and underestimate opportunities, that’s what that does. Again, for survival, and I know it gets scarier and you see things very negatively.

And the memory you have is more negative than what actually happened. And so, as this continues to shrink and trivial the hippocampus, what happens is since you’re not remembering things correctly and you’re seeing them really negatively, it lights up the amygdala again, because it thinks there’s still a danger, that the tiger is still here. 

We’re still about to get eaten, which then does the hypothalamus again, which then creates more of the stress hormone, and that’s the cycle your brain gets in. And that’s why it’s hard to stop thinking negatively and why you end up thinking things that aren’t true. You said this, you knew it would upset me. 

You knew what you were saying, when you said that, of course it got me or you meant it this way. You’re lying now, when you say you didn’t, right. All of it, you can… I mean, everyone’s listening, going, yes, that’s exactly what I do. And that’s where that comes from, because you have remembered it incorrectly. 

You have misremembered what happened, you’ve taken in the information. It is again, your hippocampus is not working correctly, is really what’s happening. And the more this happens, the more you’re in the cycle and the more bad things you see. So having doubt, seeing the one bad thing actually makes you see more bad things from a brain perspective and you can’t stop.

Rhoda: Which explains the fondness people have for conspiracy theories as well. It’s almost like a conspiracy theory about your partner or Q Anon or whatever, and I love how you split it into love and fear. It’s certainly simple, but there really are those emotions, and you kind of have to decide which one you’re going to come from. And that fear base is so powerful in the culture at large, and it explains so much. Wonderful description. 

Abby: Well, let me go even farther with that, if you like that. So the fear part of our brain really is this amygdala, this, you know, people call it your reptile, your lizard brain, all kinds of things, right? So this fear part of your brain, that fight flight or freeze. 

So the thinking part of your brain is your prefrontal cortex, this other part of your brain, and that’s where your values, your judgment, your problem, solving your rational, thinking, all the good stuff lives. 

Okay, in a functional MRI or a pet scan, when you look at the brain, when the amygdala is lit up, when this fear part of your brain is lit up, the pathway, it looks like the prefrontal cortex has a blanket over it. 

This is why you cannot think of all the great tools, right? That, you know, Rhoda or Abby taught you when you’re in the fight, when you’re in it, when your partner comes at you, that’s why you fight flight or freeze.

You don’t even remember, you know, hours later you’re like, oh, I should’ve said this, or, oh, I should’ve done that, or why did I over react? Or why did I say that? Because later, when your parasympathetic nervous system has come on and cooled, you know, and calmed everybody down, that’s when the prefrontal cortex can light back up. 

So you literally can’t access. Now here’s the good news is that, and again, another reason not to think of doubt all the time, because when you’re taking up that pathway in the brain, again, you can’t get to the good stuff, but the opposite is also true. 

So this sort of, I call it the love part of your brain, which is technically your neocortex, which is adjacent, which is where we think you know, appreciation, gratitude, well, spirituality, we believe lives in the brain. When that part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex and the neocortex, when those are lit up, the amygdala can’t light up.

So the more you practice the love side, gratitude, appreciation, thoughtfulness, kindness, calm, meditating, you know, occupying your brain and flow state. The more you do those things, the more you’re not going to activate the amygdala. And I can’t say enough. 

So every thought you have matters, every time you allow your brain to just be a two-year-old and run around the room and think whatever it wants and go off on these long tangents of negativity, you are creating that in your world, you are stopping the more positive love-based things from coming in. But again, you can do that the opposite by occupying your brain the other way.

Rhoda: That’s right. Wow. That’s great stuff. I completely agree with you, that power struggles are an obstacle in relationships. Would you talk about how our brains get hijacked when we argue with our partners, and can you explain that a little bit more? You’ve touched on it for sure.

Abby: Yep, and let me add something, you know, there’s this work of Paul Walker, it’s a wonderful book about complex PTSD, but it applies here too. When we’re in that thing with our partner. And again, so we see any disagreement with our partners as a threat. 

Our brain doesn’t know the difference between life or death, and especially God forbid, you get, you know, you have a partner, like maybe it’s in the morning, right. It’s first thing. I’ll get to Paul Walker in a minute. Maybe it’s first thing, and you notice they’re acting a little strange and you say, Hey, are you okay? 

And they say to you actually, no, and I really need to talk to you, but I can’t do it right now, you know, after work. Okay. Which first of all, my man knows not to do, because I’ll kill him.

It’s like Oh, no, we’ll be talking right now. So you might notice that, and this might even happen if you go to work and, you know, your boss says, Hey, I’d like to see in my office at two, right. It’s nine, you know, you’re like, so you know that feeling when you’re… so talk about hijack. So get this. So, you know, that feeling when your stomach drops out, most people recognize that they’re like, oh yeah, my stomach… that’s actually the blood rushing to your legs to run. 

That’s what that is. Because a stress hormone is burst into your system. You see this as an attack. Again, a Tiger is about to eat me. So the blood rushes to your leg to run, that’s that feeling, you get that sinking feeling in your stomach.

And you’re certainly not hungry, and sometimes you’ll even have diarrhea or just an upset stomach, right? Because you’re not supposed to eat and want to sit around and eat when a tiger is attacking you, your pupils dilate. So you can run in the dark. 

You don’t even realize this is happening, your heart starts to beat a little faster, again, so you can run faster. Your breathing gets a little more shallow, again, so you can hide and not be heard, you know, you’re really quiet. 

You might notice that you sweat when you get really anxious, that is again to cool your body as you run or so that if a predator or another person goes to grab you in a fight, they might slip off from your slick skin. All of these things are happening and you’re standing there with your iPhone and your coffee, right.

And don’t realize what’s going on, and you’ll notice that it’s very hard to concentrate. So you might go back to work or you might try whatever’s next in your day, but your brain keeps going back, because your brain is screaming. 

A tiger is about to eat us. A lion is going… what are you doing looking at that Excel sheet? Like what? Are you insane? And so we’ll constantly pull us back to the negative thing because we’re supposed to run. And so one of the easy, and again, so you are hijack now, your brain is hijacked. 

And one of the problem is that as therapists, we often give our clients, all these thinking exercises to do when, you know, take a breath, do this, counter this, think of all the things right. Doesn’t work. So because your brain is hijacked, what you have to do is unhide jacket first, and then you can think of all the good things. 

And there’s a few ways to do that. There’s grounding exercises, which are very effective, like picking a color and then look, you know, blue, and then naming it out loud, everything blue you can see in a room, that will ground you to the time and space, right. A grounding exercise, or you can… one of the things I tell them to do is run. 

So, you know, when I work with executives, I tell them they bring sneakers to work. I’m like run up the stairs at work, like a Tiger’s about teach you. And remember when a tiger is running after something or a lioness is running after something, it’s not hours long, it’s 30 seconds. So that’s all you need, is this burst of very hard energy to burn off that stress hormone, to burn it off. 

So jumping, I have a jump rope in my office. I got some jump rope for 30 seconds. It’s very effective. You don’t have to do it. You can box jump. You can jump. It has to be explosive, that’s all. So if you were to run up a flight of stairs, you only need to run up, it’s depending on how fit you are, maybe two flights of stairs. 

You just have to run as fast as you can, like hard as like, again, like really believing something’s behind you, that’s gonna eat you. And it will burn off that hormone. Also, of course, taking a deep breath with a slow exhalation ignite, you know, turns on something called your vagus nerve, which is your body’s kind of velum. 

You know, your kind of natural relaxation response. It operates your rest and digest. It sorts of turns that parasympathetic nervous system on, these are all things you can do, believe it or not, that are very effective.

And then you can, okay, all right, what do I got to, you know, okay. You know, and then have a, oh what is that tool? Then you can think, so doing something in the middle of the hijacking is very important, but we get hijacked all the time with our partners. 

You know, everyone listening can feel this feeling of, I just saw red, or I couldn’t remember anything. Sometimes we can’t even remember the argument. How many clients have come in your office Rhoda, who don’t remember? We were fighting. We almost got divorced last week, but I don’t remember what it was about. 

And that’s because of the stress hormone. Remember what we just talked about that hippocampus, it’s not really putting things in. It just remembers the feeling of it. It doesn’t remember the particulars, because your prefrontal cortex wasn’t turned on.

Rhoda: This is really great stuff. It is. Thank you so much. Explain why it’s important to take your focus off your partner and stop trying to fix them and you had something you called SAC rule, that I thought was interesting?

Abby: So at the end of the day, you got to take the focus off your partner. The more you focus on them, the more you’re not focused on yourself. And this is about your side of the street. First and foremost, this is about you really focusing on what you’re doing, not what they’re doing. 

And by the way, sometimes that can just mean… so in a bigger picture, it means that you are shared resource with your partner and when you’re draining them, you’re draining yourself. So that whole thing of, you know pull your weight, do your fair share, you’re just both drained at that point. 

That’s not helping anyone. So some of the ways sometimes to take the focus off, because you’re thinking, well then am I going to do everything? Do I have to do? No. So I always say, do one or two things.

One is, you add resources, get a cleaning person, if you already have a cleaning person, have them also do your laundry or have them come another time a week. If you don’t have money, ask, you know, Hey, woman, mother of the kid, I barely know my kid’s best friend. 

Could you please carpool, could you take the kids on Monday and Wednesday? And I’ll take them Tuesday, Thursday. You’ll get two free mornings, you know, you’ve got to look at resources outside the couple to come in and not always look to your partner to do the other half or whatever you think that is, or you can subtract. 

So I say, you can add or subtract. You can subtract. You could take things off the plate that you feel so sure need to be there. You know, I was just talking to a woman the other day, you know, she’s very into her kids eating really helpfully and cooks for hours and hours, these healthy meals.

And she’s very upset that her husband won’t help and it’s not important to him. He would just assume, you know, order Domino’s pizza and have sex more often, you know, and not like have the kids, right. 

And I always say to people, you got to decide what’s really important. You know, if you’re divorced, that’s going to be a lot harder and take a lot more time. And guess what? Your kids are really not going to eat healthy freak. If that’s the case, you know, like it’s not worth it. 

At some point, I get it. I’m with you. It is the healthiest thing. Of course it is. But figure, you know, maybe order in healthy meals, maybe choose, you know, two nights a week, maybe cook really big on a Sunday and you eat leftovers during the week. I don’t know, but you can’t keep doing what you’re doing and expect different results.

It’s not going to happen. You got to let go of things. Maybe little Johnny doesn’t also have to take piano and cello and soccer and Spanish. And you know, like I get it. They’ll still get into college. You won’t ruin their life. It’s okay. You know, it’s gonna be fine. 

It’s like somewhere, something has to give, I have to tell you, my parents were… I have a little immigrant parents, they were not worried about cello, like we were just worried about food on the table, right. And, you know, I did just fine. You know, I get it. It’s a different world right now, but I’m just saying, it’s not… it can’t all be there. 

So that’s the first two, you know, add and subtract. And then this piece about SAC is in your relationship. It’s SAC. I say, don’t offer suggestions, give advice or criticized (SAC).

Don’t SAC your relationship. And we do a lot that. We give a lot of suggestions and a lot of advice. Oh, did you remember the kids coats? You know, did you get the rain coat? Did you get the thing? Did you do the… and we end up in a really bad place. 

And of course, sometimes like people look at me and go, well, what’s left. I don’t understand. I can’t do those things, what is there? And what you want to really focus on is asking questions, but not interrogating questions, open and a questions. 

Yeah. you know, why did you do that is not a question, and don’t ask any why questions. So let’s say, and this happens a lot, let’s say, my partner comes to me and says, I’m feeling neglected. So, you know, I don’t feel like you’re paying enough attention to me.

What I might do is then list all the… see the keeping score, the competition. I might list all the ways I am paying attention, but what are you talking about? I did this, I did this, I did that. I did this, I did this. I don’t understand, or, you know, you’re not doing enough around here. 

And the partner goes, I did this, I did this, right. There is the competition to keeping score. It’s not effective. It doesn’t work. If you did this at a job, you’d be fired, because it’s bad. It’s just bad. It doesn’t have a good result, and really you’re missing the point. 

If your partners coming to you and saying, I feel neglected, then why aren’t you answering that? Why aren’t we talking about that? And it doesn’t mean I have to go, oh yeah. I’m so sorry, let me do more.

That’s where people go, because they get exhausted, again, that’s the competition, but ask and the defensive ask a question. Can you tell me more about that? Don’t be afraid of it. Lean in, be loving. My poor partner feels neglected. I’m supposed to love this person. 

So what is going on if they feel neglected? It might be something very fixable, if I ask a question. So, well, tell me more about that. Can you tell me more? Can you give me some examples of that? And again, listen like you’re wrong and be incredibly curious. 

You can’t feel like, you know the answer, you can’t be ready with your response of all the ways they’re not, because we’re not keeping score and we’re not defending. My partner feels neglected and I believe them, believe them. They feel neglected, just believe it.

So, okay. Or you might not think it’s fair. That’s fine. But it’s not about that. It’s about what they feel. It doesn’t mean by the way; you have to do it all, because again, maybe I’ll get a resource for something else. So I can do this with my partner more, whatever it is that they might ask for, there isn’t… it’s just that we start again with that competition. 

We get so worried that we’re going to get taken advantage of, and by the way, so you’re married to this person. You have kids with them, or you have a long-term relationship with them. You bought a house, whatever, and you’re worried about getting taken advantage of, really? 

Again, that’s the fear part of your brain. That’s the doubt. And I say a lot that we need to have faith in love instead of fear. You know, faith means, having belief in something you can’t see. And this fear, I don’t know if they’re going to take advantage. I don’t know what that is, but I’m believing it. I’m having faith in all this fear that bad things are gonna happen. 

Things are going to go back to the way they used to be. He’s never going to change. She’s not gonna… our relationship won’t move, because she won’t do anything all fear-based and you have no proof of it. I know things have happened in the past. I get it. But guess what? Things change. Like things change all the time. 

Rhoda: So the last episode that I just recorded and published was; silent resentments and unasked questions are engines of unhappiness. I love the title. 

Abby: Isn’t it true? 

Rhoda: It’s so true, and I make memes that say, exchange criticism for curiosity. But I would totally agree with you. So while you’re at it, would you explain why asking open ended questions has the ability to improve all relationships?

Abby: Everywhere. It changed my life completely, it’s amazing. So imagine ask me my favorite thing my partner knows to ask me is if I’m upset about something or I’m complaining about something or whatever, he’ll again, not fixing it, not giving me any suggestions or advice. right. 

Which is sometimes hard for men, and women too, but men also, he asked a question. It might be, you know, is there anything I can do right now to help you feel better? If I could say the perfect thing right now, what would it be to help you move past this? 

What have you tried that hasn’t worked? By the way, if someone is complaining about something and you ask that, they love to answer it, people love to tell you what hasn’t worked, you will have a long conversation right from there.

For The Complete Script Listen To The Episode!

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