Break-the-Cycle lesson proposes a framework of options for
growing and selecting mutually-satisfying (vs. toxic) relationships.
The lesson assumes you've made significant progress on
Lessons 1 thru 3. It is
divided into five sequential modules:
relating to yourself,
how to solve relationship problems
primary relationships, divorce, and ex-mate relations; and...
Relating to a
Note - Lesson 5 in this course focuses on family relationships, and Lesson 6 focuses on adult relationships with children.
Lesson 7 focuses on stepfamily relationships and problems.
Why Study This Lesson?
Overall, do your current relationships enhance or degrade the quality of your life? Would you like to improve the quality of your
relationships if you could?
We humans are social animals. Adults, kids, and infants need other people
to help fill a range of needs like companionship, affirmation,
love, support, learning, stimulation, and belonging. Many factors determine
our relationship satisfactions, and our society doesn't teach people how
to understand and manage these factors well.
The evidence is everywhere - divorces, domestic violence, abuse,
neglect, abandonment, "not speaking," affairs, crime, and so on.
any time the existence and/or actions of person "A" has a "significant
effect" on person "B," they have a "relationship." Using
this definition, how many relationships do you have now? Among them,
identify the the most satisfying relationship you have. Now think of one
or more stressful relationships. What makes the difference? This lesson
offers a practical answer.
You can only control your half
of any relationship. Do you know how to optimize your half now? Do you know how to identify "relationship problems"
and negotiate effective solutions? Can you choose "compatible" people to
relate to, and avoid "problem people?" Did the adults who raised you
know these things? Are you teaching the young people in your life how to
The main reason to study
this lesson is to raise your awareness of the
relationships that shape the quality of your life and your opinion of
yourself. Another reason is to grow your ability to analyze and resolve
"relationship problems" effectively. On a scale of one (very ineffective)
to ten (very effective), how would you rate your abilities to do these
two things now?
A third compelling reason to study this lesson is to help you evolve a
high-nurturance family (Lesson 5), and improve the lives of a
multi-generational fan of living and unborn people that you are affecting.
Status Check -
mentally review the top five of your current life priorities. Is
progress with Lessons 1-3 (reducing wounds / learning communication skills /
grief) included? With your priorities in mind,
rank how important improving
your relationship skills and satisfactions is now:
_ very important _
moderately important _ unimportant.
If you have limited time and patience, and/or you're a
visual/auditory learner, get a preliminary understanding of this
lesson by viewing all
the videos in YouTube playlists
4a (relationship basics) and
4b.(marriage and divorce).
They total about 15 hours. Most of the articles below include
one or more of these videos.
You'll get the most from investing time in this self-improvement Lesson if your true Self guides you and tyou choose an
undistracted time and place tro learn. You can enhance your learning by
finding a like-minded partner or group to discuss these learnings with.
Module 1 - Relationship Basics
This module exists because our wounded society struggles with
"relationship problems" without understanding what causes them
and how to
resolve them. This module will help you grow a knowledge base for the other four
modules in this lesson. Check each step off after you complete it.
__ 4-1) Preview the
lethal [wounds + ignorance]
cycle (Lesson 5)
__ 4-2) Review What's a "Grown
Wounded Child" (GWC)? (Lesson 1)
quiz to learn your current knowledge of
__ 4-4) Compare
these premises about you and relationships to
__ 4-5) Study
these Q&A items about relationships. How many
can you answer?.
__ 4-6) Learn the
distinction between surface needs and primary needs.
Consider Dr. Abraham Maslow's proposed "Hierarchy of
these ideas about how people's attitudes
affect their relationships
__ 4-9) Review this
perspective on gender preferences
__ 4-10) Compare
these requisites for a
mutually-satisfying relationship with your beliefs.
these ideas about liking and
disliking people to your ideas
__ 4-12) Learn
to distinguish anger from frustration, and
how to benefit from them.
__ 4-14) List the
most satisfying relationships you've had so far. Then identify why
you select them.
__ 4-15) Review
affects communication and relationships (Lesson 2)
__ 4-16) Preview
"...The Early Roots of Empathy"
__ 4-17) Preview - what's
unique about family
relationships? (Lesson 5) .
perspective on friendships,
and 8 options for improving them
Module 2 - Relating to Your Self
you treat yourself as well as you treat people you care the most about? My clinical observation over 30 years is
that most Americans treat themselves poorly - i.e. unhealthy diets, too
little exercise and quality sleep, too little preventive health care, and
choosing unbalanced lifestyles.
I propose this is
largely due to the pervasive [wounds + unawareness]
relentlessly degrading our society.
The purpose of this module is to increase your
awareness of how you treat yourself, and to motivate you to improve that.
__ 4-19) review this
perspective on your unique
personality (Lesson 1)
__ 4-20) review this comparison of true Self and
false-self behavioral traits. Does your Self (capital "S") guide you
in most calm and
stressful situations? If not, keep working on
__ 4-21) review this
perspective on spirituality
__ 4-22) review this
perspective on your wholistic health
__ 4-23) review options for improving _self-love and
_ self-confidence (Lesson 1)
__ 4-24) review options for
reducing excessive guilt to
normal (Lesson 1)
consider these options for forgiving yourself
review options for
reducing excessive fears to
normal (Lesson 1)
Are you :living on purpose"? Experience this brief
on what you do with your life
consider these ideas on awareness.
Then try this simple self-awareness
at random times for a week or more. See what you learn.
_ read this perspective on wholistic
health, and then _ rank yours from 1 (low) to ten (high)
Identify your current
as judged by your actions, not your words. Is maintaining your
wholistic health among
meditate on this research summary on
American self-neglect. Does
it apply to you?
are you a shame-based
You may have been taught that you don't deserve to care for
yourself. (Lesson 1)
consider these ideas on
respect. The rank your
self respect ("esteem") from one (low) to ten
_ review this sample Bill of Personal Rights.
Then _ draft your own , and use it in conflictual or
uncertain situations. Option - encourage any young
people in your life to make their own Bill.
__ 4-35) consider this news report on "bad
habits." Does it apply to you?
read this perspective on sleep
deprivation. Does it apply to you?
review these ideas on getting enough
healthy physical contact.
__ 4-38) read these reports on U.S. obesity,
emotional eating, and "fat
and happy." Do they apply to you?
read this perspective on the four kinds of
addiction. Do you
have an active addiction?
review these ideas about the skill of assertion
(Lesson 2). Then rank yourself as
an asserter from one (ineffective) to ten (very
effective). Do you usually rank your needs as equally important as other peoples' needs?
("No" usually indicates psychological wounds.).
__ 4-41) vividly picture the person/s you love most now. Enjoy the feeling of
respect, delight, and admiration you have for them. Then study your
reflection in a mirror. Do you feel the same about that
Think of someone you know who clearly values and cares for
themselves as much as for other people. Would people
who know you describe you that way?
Use this profile to gause how
mature you are
Pause, breathe, and notice your
What did you just learn about relating to your Self?
Module 3 - Solve Relationship Problems
Premise - a "relationship problem" occurs whenever the attitudes,
and/or behavior of one person significantly hinders another other person
from filling their primary needs. Our society hasn't learned to teach
people how to avoid or resolve relationship problems effectively - do
__ 4-44) review this article on
Asperger's Syndrome (difficulty relating socially)
Meditate on these ideas about personal
awareness. Are you aware?
Study these nine common barriers to
satisfying relationships. Are they affecting your life?
Compare these ideas about respect
with your beliefs
Review these examples of digging down
to identify primary needs (Lesson 2)
study this proposal for analyzing any
relationship or social-role problem effectively
KEY - review this framework for win-win problem
solving (Lesson 2)
__ 4-51) Read
this article on "...the roots of
and meditate on how empathic you are. Option -
ask others who know you to rank your empathic ability from
low to high.
review and try these options for improving communication with
adults and kids
Try these options for improving
__ 4-54) Study
this perspective on improving relationships with
Learn how "not hurting
someone's feelings" can harm both of you.
menu of common relationship problems
and options for resolving them.
__ 4-57) NEW
review this brief YouTube video
about what causes
"approach-avoid" relationships, and options for responding to
__ 4-58) review this menu of effective
responses to common irritating behaviors. (Lesson 2)
Consider these options for adapting to
interpersonal rejection, and creating an effective
Learn options for dealing with
scapegoating, being a "black sheep," and/or bullying.
Identify several "significant' relationship problems in your life
now, apply what you learned in this module, and see what
happens. Option - journal about your experiences.
Module 4 - Primary Relationships, Divorce, and Ex mates
Primary present and former primary relationships have some unique features. This module
focuses on optimizing such relationships.
__ 4-62) Review
these four factors required for
__ 4-63) Read this
proposal on the keys to a satisfying marriage and
compare it to your experience.
__ 4-64) Study
this worksheet on what needs typical mates
try to fill in their relationship.
__ 4-65) Study
these Q&A items on dating, marriage, and
divorce, See how many you can
__ 4-66) Consider
these opinions about divorce, and
compare them to yours.
__ 4-67) Review
these five epidemic hazards and these
common barriers to
__ 4-68) Compare
these ideas about marital love problems with your
__ 4-69) Mull
these courtship danger signs for
childless and stepfamily
couples. Divorce begins with unwise courtship choices.
__ 4-70) Read
this brief article on couples who
__ 4-71) Compare
this opinion about healthy marital
priorities with yours. If you and/or your partner feel you have "too
little time" to nourish your relationship, discuss
__ 4-72) Review these ideas about
respect and trust
__ 4-73) Consider
these ideas on improving communication
Review this timeless
research on couples' communication
__ 4-75) Review
these options for solving
any relationship problem
__ 4-76) Review
and discuss these ideas about marital intimacy
__ 4-77) Compare
this perspective on marital affairs
with your beliefs
__ 4-78) If
__ 4-79) evaluate
whether your religion nourishes or
stresses your relationship
__ 4-80) each of
you mates fill out this strengths/stressors profile
discuss it honestly together
My experience as a family-systems therapist for
33 years is that
trouble and divorce are caused by...
+ ignorance of
grieving, communication, and relationship basics (Lessons 1-4 here)
public denial of, and tolerance for,
the lethal [wounds and ignorance]
If this is so and you experience "marital problems," then
counselors, therapists, and marital programs who aren't aware of these
causal factors or minimize them. Such well-meaning helpers usually focus
on superficial issues, not the
- specially not on
Module 5 - Relationship with a Higher Power
Many psychological wound-reduction experts propose that a firm belief in
a benign (vs. stern, jealous, and wrathful) Higher Power is essential
(GWCs) are either...
indifferent to spirituality,
atheists or agnostics,
passive believers in a Supreme Being,
active believers who pray and worship
regularly. They may have a fear-based faith (e.g. fearing
sin, God's "wrath," and eternal damnation) or a nourishing faith in a benign,
loving, responsive God.
Some of the latter have a one-way relationship. They do not expect to
converse with God. Others are open to a two-way (mutual, interactive) relationship with
their Higher Power - i.e. having meaningful real-time dialogs.
Premises - a two-way spiritual relationship is achievable by anyone who
intentionally increases their
seeks to be guided by their true Self.
This is a complex topic which deserves its own Web site.
offered to increase your awareness and enhance your relationship with a
reliable, caring Supreme Being.
__ 4-81) With
your Self (capital 'S')
read this perspective on toxic and
nurturing religion (vs.spirituality).
__ 4-82) Meditate
and reflect: which childhood people - specifically - most influenced
your religious faith and practices? Why?
__ 4-83) Reflect:
were those people following someone else's idea of God, or had they
formed their own opinions from reflections and mature
__ 4-84) Do you
feel you were encouraged to explore and form your own understanding and
of worship, or were you required to accept someone
__ 4-85) Define _
"prayer," _ "effective prayer," and _ "answered prayer" out loud.
__ 4-86) if you
pray, do you listen for a response (thoughts, feelings, hunches,
and/or "senses")? If not, why? If so, do you
trust and follow your "still, small voice"? If not, why?
__ 4-87) Review
these proposed 12 steps for Grown Wounded
Children in recovery. Are you motivated to _ adapt these
steps to fit you, and _ live by them?
Do you depend on some Holy Scripture and
church official to interpret
God's guidance, or do you trust your own communion
with your Higher Power?
__ 4-89) Do you
think there are truly "evil" people, or are they highly wounded, unaware
of childhood trauma and parental ignorance?
__ 4-90) Define
the difference between religion and spirituality out loud.
Are you religious, spiritual, both, or neither?
Options - study "Conversations
With God" by Neale Walsh, and/or
When God Becomes a Drug, by Fr. Leo Booth.
__ 4-92) Take
this quiz again to assess what you've learned
here. Then (a) keep working
on Lessons 1-3, and (b) move on to
Lesson 5.- evolve and enjoy a
+ + +
re-study and discuss
selected topics here in important relationship
conflicts and/or on anniversaries.
This fourth self-improvement study guide provides 91 "assignments"
in five modules to help you
internal and external relationships - including with your Self and your Higher Power. It provides
practical options for analyzing and resolving common relationship problems.
These assignments will help you choose and evolve more enjoyable relationships
and significantly reduce stress. They're based on
having your true
Self guide you in all situations (Lesson 1),
learning to think and communicate
knowledge of relationship
fundamentals (Module 1 here).
Learn something about yourself
with this anonymous 1-question
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get
what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your