STAY UP TO DATE : READY TO TAKE THE INITIATIVE & JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER?
August 28th | COM EX: THE ART OF COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR EX
Post-divorce life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. What drove you nuts in the relationship with your spouse are the same things that are going to drive you nuts when you’re trying to co-parent in two separate households. So says Sonika Tinker and Christian Peterson, dynamic husband and wife relationship team experts who join Rick in discussing what he likes to call “com ex,” or communicating with your ex. The duo share with listeners some creative approaches to developing a good divorce. Sonika, a co-author of The Good Divorce Book, believes that instead of focusing on wanting to get away from your ex, find a point of connection, underneath the resentment, hurt, sadness animosity where there’re love and a wish for goodness for your ex – especially for the sake of the health and well-being of your children. How to deal with an uncooperative ex? Have experimental conversations where you just listen, rather than try to deliver your own point, offers Christian.
[smart_track_player url=”//securemedia.iheart.com/media/station_content/676/2016/08/mp3/default/divorce_talk_radio_0_1472578675.mp3″ title=”COM EX: THE ART OF COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR EX” artist=”August 28th 2016 | Rick M Goldberg” image=”https://www.rickmgoldberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/player_picture_rick.png” color=”#454545″ social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” view=”mobile” social_email=”true”]
[Start] [0:00:26] Segment 1
Rick: Good morning everybody! And welcome to our show. We are here every Sunday morning at 8:00 o’clock as usual here in KPRC Radio 950 on the dial. If you’d like to call in to the show this morning, you could always call in at 713-212-5950.
Well, as you know, I was in New York City last weekend and we recorded the show up there and it has been good to be back in Houston. The weather has been a little dicey but kind of getting through it.
Last week, we had a really good conversation about conscious uncoupling. And we talked about that sort of in honor of the fact that that new terminology came about just a couple of years ago when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin decided to split up. So we talked about conscious uncoupling.
And this week, we’re going to talk about something that I call com-ex, not comic but com-ex. It’s what I call how do we communicate with our exes? Com-ex. And in my practice, I find that exes generally take a real F this attitude toward their exes. And I could tell you, it’s totally not healthy for the kids at all when you treat your ex in that kind of a capacity.
And I try and liken it to a business. Let’s say you’re partners in a business and your product is your children. You’re partners. Your product is your children. And you want that product to sell. You want it to thrive. You want it to be vibrant in the community. And so, if one of your partners – if your partner can’t make it to a school event, do you just completely not tell that partner about the event and what they missed out on? Do you play cold like that or do you communicate so that your business, your child can continue to grow?
So, we’re going to talk about all things today around communicating with your exes, and I brought in some experts to help me do that. And they pleasantly decided to join me all the way from Northern California. I want to you to meet Sonika Tinker and Christian Peterson. They’re a dynamic husband and wife team and they’re relationship experts and they have a really interesting program they founded called Love Works. And it’s a relationship training offering real cutting-edge relationship solutions.
So, Sonika and Christian, welcome to the show this morning.
Sonika: Thank you very much.
Christian: Thank you so much. Thanks for having us.
Rick: You’re welcome. And I really appreciate you all getting up so early on a Sunday. It has got to be 6:00 AM out there in Northern California so I really want to say thank you for getting up so early.
Christian: Yeah, you’re welcome. It’s nice morning out here.
Rick: Well, Sonika, why don’t you take the lead and tell our listeners a little bit about you and what you and Christian are doing in the area of relationship, coaching, and counseling?
Sonika: Well, as you said, we’re relationship trainers, relationship experts and we’ve been working with singles and couples for a very long time to support them to create fabulous relationships. And of course, most of the people we see come to us when their relationship is in trouble, which includes a lot of the people you’re talking about here, married people that have children.
And so, we have had the privilege and honor actually of getting to support a lot of people going through the process of divorce and helping them deal with their exes. And in fact, I co-wrote a book with some friends of mine, Andy Silvert and Becky – I can’t say her last name. I’m really sorry. But it’s called The Good Divorce book.
Rick: It’s good to know how to pronounce your co-author’s name.
Sonika: I know it is. It is. Well, I’ll look it up here. Anyway, we all wrote a book really about how to have a good divorce because as you said, it’s really essential for not only the – just the health and the well-being of the people who are divorced but also the children.
Rick: Well, and you have your lovely and good-looking husband, Christian, by your side out there. Christian, how did you get into this game and how did you two decide to get together and form this partnership to help couples and exes better communicate?
Christian: Well, by the time Sonika and I met some 12 years ago, Sonika had already been in this field for 20 years probably. And I at the time was more new to it but I had serious passion for figuring out how to make love relationships work out and really because whereas I hadn’t been married before legally but I had been in relationships and I could never really make them work. So like out of my own failure I guess to make a long lasting relationship work out in a way that I felt satisfied about, really that’s what spawned my passion to first figure it out for myself.
And then in noticing how big of an impact relationship had on my own happiness and well-being and my sense of being a successful man in the world, when my relationships were suffering, it was hard for me to feel like a successful man in the world.
Rick: Yeah. I totally understand that.
Christian: Yeah. And really, that is what – it impacted me so much more than most of the other things, other aspects of my life. So at some point, I just decided to – I took on the quest in life that I am going to master and figure out this love relationship communication sex portion of life and get really good at that.
Rick: That’s great. Tell our listeners if you would a little bit about your experience, both of your experiences, working with divorce couples.
Sonika: Well, we work with lots of divorced couples and we also personally been through it and are going through it ourselves. This is my second marriage, so I have been through divorce. We co-parent our children and have our kids with us half time. Our kids are now 14. Our oldest son is 18 and kind of off on his own now.
So, we kind of have both sides of it, sort of the personal side of having been through a divorce and going through this whole co-parenting process and dealing with an ex. And we also have like I said work with lots of other people who are going through divorce.
And the biggest thing I think that has – that I’m kind of passionate about actually is I watch people who in the throes of divorce, all of the attention is wanting to get away from this person, like you’re wanting to divorce from your ex and not be in relationship anymore. And not many people think ahead of time about the consequence of having a separate family and having to – and one of the things we always say is like when you divorce your partner, if you have children, you are still in relationship with that person probably forever. We like to think it’s going to be over when our kids are 18 but I’m not sure that is even the case, that we’re still in relationship.
And so, a lot of the things that drove him nuts when you were in relationship with your partner, when you were married, are the same things that are going to drive you nuts when you’re trying to co-parent in two separate households.
Rick: Yeah, I can relate to that. My two kids are 27 and 29 and we – when my – when their mother and I divorced, they were I think 15 and 17. And we had a pretty regular dialogue and pretty regular communication and it really didn’t end until about 4 or 5 years ago from the regularity of how much we communicated was when I after we married my daughter off. So we were – a lot of communication together on financial issues, putting the wedding on, everything like that. And we did it really gracefully and beautifully and really some great co-parenting.
And then I found that after that, we really just didn’t have that much really opportunity and really need to be in touch that much anymore. And we see each other from time to time and talk every now and again. But at some point, it does actually dissipate.
Christian: Yeah. And as you said, that’s by the time your kids are on their late 20s.
Rick: Exactly. Exactly. So you have a little ways to go as your kids are 11 and 14.
Sonika: Fourteen and eighteen.
Rick: Fourteen and eighteen, that’s right.
Christian: But still, yeah.
Rick: For our listeners that are just tuning in, this is Rick Goldberg. You’re listening to KPRC 950 this morning. We’re talking with Sonika and Christina, two relationship gurus from Northern California. And of course, if you can’t listen to our show live, you can always download our podcast at KPRCRadio.com. Go to the little button that says Media and Podcast and we’re here every Sunday at 8:00 AM.
We’re going to – you all are going to stick around through the remainder of the show. And when we come back, we’re going to talk to Sonika and Christian about what your mom never told you about divorce. So stick with us. We’ll be right back.
[Start] [0:14:40] Segment 2
Rick: Welcome back everyone to Divorce Talk Radio. This is Rick Goldberg and I am your host. Joining me today if you’ve been listening in so far is Sonika and Christian, two relationship gurus who are married to each other, who are up and early with us from Northern California.
Sonika, so what did our moms fail to tell us about divorce?
Sonika: Well, it’s a really great question. And I’ll start actually by saying how my experience, which I think is true for a lot of people’s experience given all the conversations I’ve had with people who gone through divorce is you have this initial relief at not being with your partner. So you anticipate more harmony and you’re going to get more of what you want.
And then in the very next frame, there is being hit with the reality of what that means. Now all of a sudden, I’m not just ending my relationship especially if you have kids, I’m not losing my family. I have my kids now, have time potentially or maybe full-time and the burden financially of that, finances are either split up or one person is now responsible in the way that they want before which means time taken away from the kids.
And then really also, the impact, which it never dawned on me the impact on just losing my family but not only having them have time but also the impact on the children, of going back and forth having two houses with very different rules, very different setups, having to move their stuff back and forth, and the impact and the consequences of all of that.
Christian: I’ll just add. And that’s even in a harmonious case. In our case, we co-parent with Sonika’s ex and it’s pretty harmonious. We’re all pretty great communicators. We do this for a living as well. Sonika’s ex is pretty great about it. So as such things go, really harmonious and still, the kids, it’s like they can’t quite land anywhere. They’re always moving three days next, three days after or seven days after or whatever your particular split schedule is. They’re always moving.
Our daughter actually now is – she literally has a suitcase with her clothes like she came up with that. And it’s working. It’s not like traumatic and awful but it’s also not the same as living in one place like you can just – any adult listening, you can just imagine if you were moving every seven days, every three days. You have to pack up your stuff, go somewhere else and all your favorite belongings, the favorite things in life, the little comforts of life that we get attached to. If they weren’t there, you only had them half of the time or you had to carry them with you.
Rick: Yeah. I’d like to talk at some point about how we as parents can ease that burden for our kids. But we do have a caller on line one. Luis, are you with me?
Luis: Yes, I’m here.
Rick: Good. So – and if you’re out listening right now, you could call us too at 713-212-5950. If you have a question for either myself, Sonika, or Christian. But Luis, thank you for calling this morning and what’s on your mind?
Luis: Well, first of all, thanks Rick. I love your show. And I’ve been divorced for about ten years so I’m kind of through the emotional trauma of it. It wasn’t – just a little background. It wasn’t – it was – I didn’t want it and she did. And so, it drove me into doing a lot of self-searching to figure it out and initially to fix it so she would come back to me. But now, I’ve just – I’ve totally accepted and relaxed and I have moved on.
But one of the things that hasn’t shifted was that there seems to be – we seem to have this addiction to the animosity that I find I’m defensive of and so I expect it and that it creates in her. So I’ve been doing men’s work for a while and a lot of self-searching so I feel that I tried to own almost everything that she might say about me and I look at it really closely.
But what my question is, is when you have somebody you’re dealing with who is not really into self-searching or becoming more conscious, what can I do on my end unilaterally to affect a real change such that my kids don’t have to feel like they need to pick somebody? So that’s really – I hope that’s clear.
Rick: No, that’s a great question. Christian and Sonika, I’ll let you all sort of take the first part of that.
Christian: Yeah. Well, I want to acknowledge that that’s awesome that you’re doing your portion of the self-searching and empowering yourself. It sounds like that’s good for you for doing it. And that sometimes, in all honesty, sometimes that’s the best you can do. And another thing that’s really useful in dealing – so say – let’s just you’re dealing with an ex who is by all objective standards, if there were such a thing, annoying or contentious or disagreeable and even if all your friends agree like often the best you can do is simply not to add fuel to the fire.
Christian: Often an ex will come in with – it’s almost like ready to pick a fight from all kinds of reasons.
Rick: But it sounds like Christian, that Luis, because he said he’s addicted to the animosity, he is carrying around a gas tank with him because he is like addicted and excited about lighting it on fire whenever like the first hint of animosity or resentment comes about.
Luis: But what it is, is it fear in me that I expect it to come and I think expecting it creates it or co-creates it? So in truth, I would love – I remember many, many lovely things that we shared. We were married for a long time, together for 16 years. I loved the woman dearly. And so I want to just take those things and just like nurture them. I really do. And I become very – like an amoeba when the light comes on. I just – I know it’s coming and I expect it. I don’t know how to release myself from adding to that dyad between us.
Christian: I’ll tell you a great simple thing you can try out. It might be more difficult to do than actually what we tend to do is hear it here. It’s simply, next time she comes with something at you, all you do is you say, “You’re right.”
Rick: Even if she is not right?
Christian: Yeah. Seriously. It’s like – well, often, we have this – it’s like this propensity to fix everything that doesn’t sound right to me in my head. So it’s like if you – all of us are having a conversation and Luis calls in and then Luis says, “The capital – I was in Belfast the other day, which is the capital of Great Britain.” And all of us knows here that that’s not an accurate piece of information so we all correct him right there.
It’s like when you hear erroneous information like that, see if you can just let it hang in the air. Not having to fix it right that second. And that’s often what happens in intimate relationships with a communication like that. She says something about your kids but you’re like, “No, no, no, that’s not what I see.”
Christian: That’s not what I see. They are different with me and that’s not what they’re saying to me.
Christian: Instead of having to fix it right then, which is what in a micro way, adds fuel to the fire, just let it hang there. It’s OK if it doesn’t get fixed right this second.
Rick: I think that’s good feedback especially from three men, men of which are known to be fixers. But let’s get a female perspective. Sonika, where do you sort of fit in on all this?
Sonika: Well, there are a couple of different things to say about this. One is one of the things that I noticed is that keeps animosity going in divorced couples. I heard it beautifully spoken by a woman once. She said, “I’m afraid if I soften then I’m going to fall in love with you again.” And they’ve actually done a research to show that once in love, always in love. The brain still lights up the love centers long after divorce.
And so, I think there’s a way. And I get to see this over and over and over again is for the person who left, “I’ve got to keep making sure I justify my reason for having left by continuing to hate you, by continuing to not let – to keep coming up with reasons to justify my decision. And I got to keep myself out of love space. I can’t let myself go there because I got a whole new life now.” Of course, all that’s happening unconsciously in the background.
Rick: Yeah, that’s really – I really love the metaphor that you created. So what do you do for the people that you’re working with that are experiencing that? How do you help them get that love back into themselves and into that relationship?
Sonika: So the first thing we do is support people to look for the positive intent. We have really discovered that underneath every bit of resentment, hurt, sadness, animosity, underneath all of it, underneath every fight is a positive intent. And I got to say that kind of saved me in my own relationship with my ex is that I’m always looking for the positive intent underneath the places where we disagree.
Christian: It’s a way of doing the personal growth work on their behalf even if they are not doing it.
Rick: We have just about a minute and a half left in this segment. Is there anything Sonika or Christian you could offer Luis as a little parting shot of how to sort of let go of that addiction to animosity that he and I’m sure a number of men and women out there still want to carry?
Sonika: Assume some place in there she loves you and assume everything she says where you disagree that there’s something positive underneath that. So if she is saying something you totally disagree with about the kids, assume that there’s a desire for love and goodness in there, and that is the place where you can connect because you both love the children and you both care about them and you both want the best for them, and to do your best to find that place and thank her for it. And that is where you will find a point of connection.
Rick: Really well said. Luis, I really want to honor and thank you for calling in this morning and getting vulnerable and opening up and asking your question. We have to stop right here for a minute. But when we come back, we’re going to join Sonika and Christian again and we’re going to talk about what couples with children should be aware of when they are considering or going through a divorce. So stay right with us. We’ll be right back for the second half of our show.
[Start] [0:28:36] Segment 3
Rick: Welcome back everyone to Sunday morning version of Divorce Talk Radio with Rick Goldberg. I’m your host this morning and we’re talking all things divorce with Sonika and Christian. That Fleetwood Mac’s song reminds me of a book that I just finished reading called Making Rumours. Anyway, it was written by Ken Caillat, Colbie Caillat’s dad who is the producer of the Rumours’ album back in the mid ‘70s.
And if you don’t know the back story, when that album was being produced and when they were recording it, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, they are going through a horrific breakup in their relationship. John McVie and the piano player is escaping me right now, Christine McVie, they were going through a terrible breakup. Mick Fleetwood’s wife was sleeping with his bestfriend. And all of that energy and all of that emotion that they were all experiencing, the betrayal, the hurt, the anger, it went into all of their songs. And they were essentially expressing their feelings through their music.
And it just kind of reminds me of how difficult it is for a parent to help their children really express their feelings as they go through a divorce. So Sonika and Christian, I’d like to kind of tap into some of your resources a little bit. What can parents do to really help their children feel during this process and not take on so much of their parent’s angst and anger but just experience it and feel? What can be done about that?
Sonika: It’s a really great question. Well, there are two places that – there are two ways to answer that question. One is depending on the age of your children, it can be really useful, I know we did this with our kids, is get them into their own therapeutic situation especially if they are holding a lot. You can put – have them have a safe space to be able to talk about their feelings especially if there’s animosity between the exes. Children often feel very torn and in the middle of all of that tension. They feel a loyalty to both of their parents. And so, they will hold any unresolved tension between the divorce couple.
Rick: And interestingly enough in a survey that I just read just a couple of weeks ago, children really take on the fact that they’re responsible for their parents’ divorce. It’s really sad but that is what they say that it’s their fault. They take that on and they keep it with them I believe for a great deal of their life.
Sonika: Yeah. And for some, the divorce is really traumatic. And we all know, trauma has a profound impact on people’s emotional development, their health, their ability to form successful relationships. So it can be really helpful for them to have a separate place outside of their parents to be able to process their relationship and their experience.
Rick: If you’d like to call in and ask a question of Christian or Sonika or even myself, you could reach us at 713-212-5950. And indeed, we do have a caller, Heather, on line 2. Heather, are you with us?
Heather: Yes, hello. Good afternoon.
Rick: Hey. Thanks for calling the show. Where are you calling us from?
Heather: Auburn, California.
Rick: Auburn, California. Is that near Sacramento?
Rick: Nice. I actually – I’ve lived in Houston for probably about 30 years and I just figured out I’m going to date myself. But I actually went to high school in Sacramento so I’m very familiar with the area. So Heather, are you divorced? Are you going through a divorce? Single? Give us a little bit of your background and what you might be interested in hearing about.
Heather: Sure. Thank you. I am divorced or I’ve been divorced now for three years and separated for six years. And what I’ve done with my children in our particular situation is we have done what’s called the sand tray kind of therapy, which is founded by Carl Jung. I think that’s where it all started. And I found that to be like that separate phase that Sonika is referring to for them to express what they’re feeling and a way of creating their world with toys in an open kind of a sand box area.
But also, two, interest. Always looking for more resources and more things to bring to my children as we are always constantly working on our – in balancing our emotional states as their father is involved with them still and me. And so yeah, what other things do you recommend?
Rick: So you’re asking like what are the kind of resources might be available to …
Heather: For beyond like that type of therapy if there are other therapies maybe that Sonika and Christian are seeing as being really effective for children or even both too for parents like me to read up on and practice with the children.
Christian: Yeah, that’s a great question. Hi, Heather.
Heather: Hi, Christian.
Christian: It’s funny you should mention the sand tray therapy. We actually did that with our kids too. It was really – well, it seemed to be really effective. And another thing is – actually, where Sonika and I met is a place called The Option Institute founded by Barry Neil Kaufman and his wife, Samahria Kaufman. And they work a lot with and they specialized in autistic children. But their philosophy as a parent towards children is amazing and highly effective.
So a couple of things you can do from them is one read pretty much anything he wrote but particularly, there’s a book he wrote called Son-Rise, about their story with an autistic child. It’s not particularly about divorce I want to say or a divorce situation. But their philosophy to move with children is highly effective and really beautiful and loving inside challenge.
And another thing, they also offer, they train coaches and men – they call them mentors. They’re not still therapist or coaches or counselors. They call them mentors. And they practice their own system and they call it The Option Dialogue Process. So if you can find – I mean this is good for kids who are old enough to carry on a conversation. It’s not something you would put a 3-year-old through.
But if your kids are, I don’t know, 6, 7, 8 or older, if you can find an Option Dialogue mentor, you could go Google that or look up their website. It’s Option.org. If you can find an Option Dialogue mentor, like that is – they have a great ability to – like to be an advocate for the kid while at the same time helping the kid elicit what’s going on in their own mind with all this confusing material that’s going on around them and really help them get clarity.
Heather: Thank you, Christian.
Rick: How old are your children, Heather?
Heather: Yes, thank you. I have a 6-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl.
Rick: And what are their names?
Heather: His name is Devin and her name is Ana.
Rick: And I always find – I always love asking moms or dads this. You’ve got two kids living in the same house pretty much raised by you their entire life. How are they different and how are they similar?
Heather: Between the two – between their personality?
Rick: Yes, between their personalities.
Heather: Gosh! Yeah, that’s a fun question. So, Ana as the 10-year-old and she is very passionate and certainly shares her emotional states openly which I do appreciate because it certainly helps me better support her. And I will say and share this because it might be helpful for other single mothers out there too is that she and I have this quiet time in the evening together after her little brother goes to sleep where I just lay next to her and we’re in a quiet state and ask her how she is doing. And that’s not every night, right? Because that’s not possible.
Heather: Most nights we do take that time together just to – for me just to listen to what she has to say. And being 10 years old, she is at that phase where – and given our relationship, she is at that phase where she is very open to asking those questions too. And not just even about her and her father and my relationship but even just general development like growing questions like those fun questions about boys that tend to come up as being change when you’re ten.
Heather: And then – so her personality, very outgoing, loving, open, and then she is very nature-based too.
Heather: That’s definitely a place of calming for her.
Rick: And what are two or three words, we’re coming up to the end of our segment, that could describe Devin?
Heather: Athletic, jovial and brings life into our life.
Rick: That’s really nice. When you are describing what you and Ana do together, you reminded me of a story that I heard by a really good author and lecturer. She is an Indian woman, Dr. Shefali Tsabary. I may not have said her name right but you can – she has got some TED Talks but she has a book, two books out. One is called The Conscious Parent and the other is The Conscious Family. It might be called Conscious Parenting. But I think those, when you’re looking for books and things like that to wrap your arms around, that’s a woman who is a single mom also. I think she has a 12-year-old. It just talks about the spiritual approach to parenting and it’s a really fantastic book and I really highly recommend it.
We’re going to take a break right now. Heather, I really appreciate your call.
Sonika: Yeah, thanks for calling, Heather.
Christian: I know. Good luck with everything.
Heather: I want to just add something really fast too, which is there are lots of library books now written for kids about divorce that can be a really great way to stimulate conversation.
Rick: Great. We’ll talk about some of those right when we come after the break. So stick around. We’ve got one more segment to go and we’ll see you on the other side.
[Start] [0:43:39] Segment 4
Rick: Welcome back everybody. This is Rick Goldberg with our final segment here on Divorce Talk Radio. Really exciting show. I really value the people who had been listening out there in the what’s the great media world, the ethersphere, the stratosphere, you know who you are. And we appreciate you.
And also, I really want to acknowledge and appreciate my two guests, Sonika and Christian. They have been gracious enough to come on the show all the way from Northern California. They’re a married couple. Sonika is also a certified neurolinguistic programming professional and co-authored the book, The Good Divorce, which she mentioned a little bit earlier. Christian is a certified life coach and has a bestselling book himself out called When You Love Your Woman. And again, I want to thank you both for coming on the show this morning.
Sonika: Thanks for having us.
Christian: Yeah, thank you so much.
Rick: We had a call a little bit earlier. It was a gentleman by the name of Luis, and he was very profound when he talked about how he carried this resentment around and it was really hard for him to shake that. And what I thought I’d give you all an opportunity to talk about is what can people do to kind of rid themselves of the resentment and the animosity that gets in the way of effective communication with their ex?
And I guess the sub-point of that, I’ll give you a 2-part question, what can they do with that resentment and animosity they carry and then what does it mean to do your own personal growth work? We hear that a lot. But what it mean to do that and where can people even begin? So let me throw that back at you Sonika or Christian, whoever wants to start. Go ahead.
Sonika: Well, first of all, I just – I want to sort of underscore a point here that’s sort of in your question which is really how essential it is for us to do our personal growth or not just for us but really especially for our kids. A lot of us are willing – in divorce experiences, we’re fine to keep having an animosity with our spouse – with our ex. But what we don’t realize is that our kids are holding all of that tension.
I get to see it so much. We have some people we know who are divorced. They’ve been divorced, I don’t know, five, six years. They’ve got several children and they could barely speak to each other. They can’t be in the same room. They are harboring so much resentment and past hurt, still fighting in court. And the kids hold all of that. You can watch their own holding of all of that tension and energy in their own bodies. This is similarly not fully expressed and it’s – and it breaks my heart actually to see that kind of impact.
Christian: Well, it’s an example of – that’s an example of parents who are not doing what you just called your own personal growth work.
Rick: So what does it mean?
Christian: They still are all – they still have tons of animosity and tension.
Sonika: But really what we want support people in is to do your own work, get to a place where you can take responsibility for your part of the breakdown in the relationship. Find that place of forgiveness and use your past relationship as a portal to self-discovery and becoming awake to your own part in the play of things. And when you move yourself from place of victim to power, it opens up so much more possibility in your relationship with your ex and being able to model that for your children and it allows you also to move very differently with your ex.
So instead of looking for opportunities to fight or not get what you want and perpetuate that whole piece, you now can instead work more cooperatively to come up with win-win solutions and to create for yourself a good life both separate from your children as well as for your children.
Christian: Yeah. Your second question would be like how do you do that?
Rick: Yeah. How do you do that? I was going to ask you again.
Christian: I mean there are multiple good ways to do it. You can – we offer programs like that. You can find us, LoveWorksforYou.com. You can call us. We do personal coaching. We do programs where people come both – where everybody comes together, both people who have been married and who are married support each other. You could get a life coach. You could do – if you’re a man, you could do men’s work. I’m part of an organization called ManKind Project, which has men’s support group.
So I go to men’s support group every other week in my local community and chances are, if you are listening to this, there’s one of those in your community. So you could check that out, MKP.org.
And you could take really – if you’re new to this and you don’t know where to start, you could technically go to an actual bookstore like a Barnes & Noble’s. Go to the self-help section and just pick the first book you’re inspired to pick off the shelf and start there. That would help. There are all kinds of good communication techniques like nonviolent communication. It’s a big strain or big school of thought inside communication. That’s really helpful.
Sonika: You could also get the book that I co-authored, The Good Divorce with Andrew Silvert and Becky Shook-Wotzka. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there about how to create a good divorce including a whole chapter I wrote on how to deal with an uncooperative spouse which is all about taking responsibility and doing your personal work rather than trying to shift and change your ex.
Rick: Yeah. So how do you deal with an uncooperative spouse? I know there are thousands of listeners that would like to know a little bit of – get a little bit of your secret sauce on that.
Sonika: Well really, pretty much a lot of us have experiences in life with people that we feel like are uncooperative. So the first thing really is to look at, so this is one of the first things we do in our work with people is to notice that when you are in relationship with an uncooperative spouse, you’re going in. We’ve kind of spoke to this a little bit as well. You’re kind of going in expecting to not be appreciated and to not get what you want.
So, one of the best ways to play with shifting all of that with an uncooperative spouse is just ask the question, how would I be if I knew I could get what I want here? How would I be if I knew there was something we could come up with here that would work for both of us? How would I be here if I knew I really was a good person and I really was appreciated and the other person is just feeling like they’re not going to get what they want?
Christian: Another great thing to do with an uncooperative spouse, if you can get the chance, that’s not always the case, maybe you move the part, whatever, but if you can, when you have conversations with them, try to go at least for some experimental conversations. Go into them not with the purpose of delivering your own point. Just basically zip it yourself and just listen. Pretend for a second, just pretend that you don’t already know everything they’re going to say and you’ve heard it a million times before. And ask them, what is it you really want? I’d really like to know about that.
Rick: I like that. It’s such a loving way to go about it.
Christian: You can be sure that your ex, even if he/she is a grumpy bastard, they’re not out to ruin their own life of their kid’s life. Nobody is trying to do that. We’re all trying to come up with the best way of life that we can do for ourselves. They are too.
Rick: That’s true. If you want to hear more, read a little bit more about what Sonika and Christian have to offer, you can go to LoveWorks.com.
Christian: Actually, I’ll correct you right there. It’s LoveWorksforYou.com.
Rick: LoveWorksforYou, thank you.
Christian: All spelled out.
Rick: I appreciate that. You sound so much, Christian, like a good friend of mine that has a company here in town called Danish Inspiration Furniture. I think you both have to be from the same part of Northern …
Christian: I’m from Denmark for sure.
Rick: Nice. Well, I want to close with this. We write emails to our exes. We send text messages. We send information back and forth, sometimes through applications like My Family Wizard. We even have the opportunity to sit in the bleachers together and watch events that our children are participating in. And we could spend almost an entire day communicating with our exes. So it’s critical that we make sure that we communicate in the clearest and the most effective way possible.
And so, I was tinkering around with this the other day and I developed what I call my 7 C’s of Communication. And it’s basically just a checklist for making sure that everything that’s coming out of your mouth, everything that’s being transmitted through a text message or an email is direct and to the point so that your ex gets the message, if not loud and clear, they get it at least nice and clearly.
And so, I’m going to leave you with my 7 C’s of Communication. Be clear. Be concise. Be concrete. Be correct. Be coherent. Be complete. And be curious. It’s not a bad little list and we’ll make it available for you shortly into the week on our website, RickMGoldberg.com.
So once again, I’d like to thank you for joining our show. Thank you for listening out there. We’ll see you next Sunday, KPRC Radio 950 at 8:00 o’clock. Take care.
[End of transcript]