Intimacy in Relationships – Glue Group with Paul Bialek

Notes from the first Glue Group meeting with Paul Bialek on Intimacy in Relationships. Paul has been trained with Stan Tatkin and therefore comes from that school of thoughts.

– What did you learn about relationships from your parents?
I learned that grief was not to be expressed collectively. To some degree, pain (and tears) was associated with shame. When one is not well, one goes away and experiences pain away from the group so not to negatively impact others.
I learned to be the emotional peace-maker, but then to build resentment and eventually lash out.
I learned to be scared of anger because it meant violence.

– Don’t apologize for the way you react, because these reactions are hard-wired into your system.

– A lot of the way we react are the sum of childhood and past relationship memories that actually don’t have much to do with what is happening here in the present. A good way to fight in the present is to watch your partner in the eyes as you speak.

– When arguing it is important to know when to break from the downward spiral. Often times speaking at nauseum over an argument we have had many times doesn’t get us any further. In that moment it is helpful to know how to sooth your partner.
That can be done with the use of humor: do you know how to make your partner laugh or smile right now?
Maybe that’s deciding to stop talking and just holding each other.
We tend to go to what sooth us, but that’s usually not the way that the other will be soothed. It is really helpful to study what will help the other person regulate.
In figuring out how to sooth a partner, it is important to check that we are correct about our assessment of what might be soothing, and adapt with the feedback.

– The relationship comes first (which is different from the other comes first, which would be a co-dependent relationship). Why would you sooth the other? Because a healthy relationship is the goal. It’s about the sum being stronger than on their own. Having each other’s back. Wherever I go in the world, I feel supported.

– Ex: Gillian tells Paul: “you looked at my funny” Paul answers: “No, I didn’t”.
In this situation regardless of what actually happened, Gillian is right, because Paul had an impact on her. You can not deny how you are impacting someone else, whether you intended to or not.

– Concept of Mutuality: when both partners agree on the relationship coming first (not the kids for instance). The relationship becomes an eco-system, i.e. “is this good for me, or is this good for the relationship?”. Regardless of how close or distant you are in a relationship, your state becomes your partner’s state and there is nothing you can do about that.

– Do you know how to greet your partner in a way that they really like? Do you know if your partner wants more closeness or more space? (Exercice of walking up to each other).
How to you get to a place where you can find out?
If you want to amplify a good state, do you know how to do it? -> figure it out!

– Do you know what is a core thing that you each want to hear? And do you know a physical think that you can do for your partner?

When shame (// self-sabotage) in a situation, we need to find a way to make it less shameful while maintaining boundaries. Can you fight for the relationship? “I see how hard you are trying” can be a statement about

– What do you do when your core needs meets a core wound?
-> Practice I FEEL statements

– Money, kids, sex, mess, and time are usually what we disagree on. It’s not about getting to think the same but finding a fair way to disagree about it.

(Picture: Human Intimacy Painting by Teal Swan)