TU133: Holding Your Own 1: Messy but Secure Relating

by | Oct 26, 2020 | Attachment, Emotional Intelligence, Episodes, Mindfulness, Narcissism, Personal Growth, Relationships, Therapy | 0 comments

Show Notes

Holding Your Own with Challenging Personalities – staying secure in relationship with those high in narcissistic, borderline or anti-social traits.

Session 1

Can my messy and loud relationship qualify as secure functioning?  It's not that easy to tell.

Most of us have never felt as uneasy as we all do right now. Maybe it’s your job or lack thereof, or your kids melting down trying to figure out school chaos with COVID, your significant other's depression or anxiety, or trying to take care of your parents.  But the stakes double-down if you are close to someone with a challenging personality.  Don't cringe, we aren't going to over-simplify, pathologe or blame the other person.  That's the normal pop-psychology fare and it doesn't help either party – the person googling to get help with strained and challenging people, or the person who mostly inadvertently makes it hard to be close.  We use system thinking to look at everybody's part, empowering you to consider and take the necessary actions to improve your circumstance.

If we do this correctly, in the end you will understand yourself better, have a sense of how you got here, understand the other with clarity and compassion, and be ready to improve things.  That may be a new energized focus on yourself, a safety plan, couples work or the courage to leave and stay gone.

Co-hosts Ann Kelley and Sue Marriott have launched a new series titled “Holding Your Own.” Together, they’ll unpack how to navigate strained relationships both during and after this pandemic. The goal of this series is to bring you the skills and practices that you can use right now to make sense of yourself, and the people around you. In this way, we can build and maintain secure and healthy relationships and improve every aspect of our lives.

Why a podcast series?

Our normal episodes serve as great snack packs of information about a wide range of topics, but don’t often let us go into as much depth as maybe we could. We had originally planned to create a course on narcissism and healthy relationships that would really allow us to dig deep and unpack this all at a level that a regular podcast just wasn’t able to do. But given the nature of the content and the times we’re living in we decided to bring you all that course FOR FREE in the form of this new mini-series that we’re doing here at Therapist Uncensored! We’re still working out all the kinks on this new format for all of you so feel free as always to hit us up with any feedback on how this new format is working!

Our plan is to release episodes much more frequently through the series and then go back to our every other week format.

Nobody fits in a box!

In this session 1 of the series we set the stage and call out pathological use of labels and diagnosis.  We begin with secure but messy relating.

 What is secure relating?

Secure functioning couples can look quite volatile or pretty chilly, so how do you know what is healthy working things out and when things turn more destructive?

David Elliott and Dan Brown's 5 conditions which build secure attachment.

of a secure relationship, we’ll use the anagram PASSED.

  • Protection: Does your partner, or whoever you’re in a relationship with, have your back? Not all the time or during every fight, but just in general.
  • Attunement: Is your partner paying attention to you? Do you know their inner life and vice-versa? Are you aware of each-others mood states?
  • Soothed: If you’re upset, can your partner comfort you? Are we calmed by the presence of our partners, or again whichever relationship we’re looking at?
  • Support: Do each of you support each other in being your best selves? Can the relationship stand some differentiation? Does your partner help you grow in and of yourself?
  • Expressed Delight: Do y’all like each other? Are you happy to see their car in the driveway when you get home?

Dan Siegles 4 s's reinforce this point

Safe Seen Secure Soothed

Discussed the 4 types of couple conflict validating volatile conflict-avoidant and hostile.

Your relationship with any one person won’t stay in the healthy or unhealthy zone all the time. Instead it’s about finding and naming patterns of behavior, and trying to actively shift those patterns towards things thaSat we want.

This episode is really about laying the groundwork for future episodes in this series, and introducing y'all to our new format. Stay tuned for more ASAP!


5 Conditions that Promote Secure Attachment handout by David Elliott provided to Therapist Uncensored.

Attachment Disturbances in Adults Comprehensive Treatment & Repair (2016) Dan Brown and David Elliott

(This is Sue's favorite textbook on attachment currently)

Five conflict resolution styles in couples   by John Gottman



TU59: Are You Cool, or Just Cut Off? Dismissing/Avoidant Styles of Relating in Adulthood

TU60: Preoccupation in Relationships – Signs and Solutions to Anxious Attachment

TU61: It’s Not Crazy; It’s a Solution to an Unsolvable Problem – Disorganized Attachment

TU111: Navigating Narcissistic Relationships – Gaslighting Manipulation and Grandiosity Called Out

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