Couple Connecting in Nature at Night

Do you know HOW to connect with others? With yourself? Do you know WHAT to do to connect?

Humans have a primal (survival) need for connection. The quality of our connection with others is determined first by our skill set. Our most intimate relationships will invite us to deepen our connection to self.


For intimacy you would need the following ingredients, steps, or skills:

  1. Self-awareness:  what’s happening inside/outside
  2. Self-reflection: what’s working/not working
  3. Self-regulation: 
    1. How to down regulate or up regulate
    1. Differentiation, Self-regulation, & Attachment – Ability to hold onto Self (David Schnarch, author of Intimacy & Desire:  Awaken the Passion in Your Relationships)
  4. Self-expression: Ability to articulate/verbalize aspects of your internal world, in a calm, clear, energetically clean manner & ideally to be received as such.


It gets more complicated & challenging when bringing your Self to share with the “other” that matters to you. 

Trust, safety, & respect are prerequisites for intimacy.

Taking your armor off or laying it down, exposing your heart, & allowing for your Self to be seen requires a safe context & sufficient skill set


Cultural Conditioning (Family, Church, School, Work, etc.)

  • Gender socialization
  • Work pressure, distractions, family pressures
  • Relationship expectations & contracts, conscious or unconscious,  
    • Love Knots: “If you loved me…. then….”
  • Inability to connect & tendency to avoid/distract – “emotional unavailability” often “adaptive” functioning that CREATES more conflict versus avoiding it.
  • Unclear, unkind, or tricky communication strategies related to power struggles.

This is an impossible load for relationships to handle. 


  • When the context is not safe & people are not yet skillful, each person becomes dominated by striving, protective parts that don’t lend themselves to intimate vulnerability.  Instead these parts will trigger protective parts in our partner/person.  When there is not enough Self Leadership, the connection lessens or conflict increases, or both.
  • One way to view protective parts is through the lens of John Gottman’s work on couples that are in trouble:
  • “4 horsemen”:  stonewalling, criticism, contempt, defensiveness
  • Ignoring/rejecting bids for connection in daily interactions
  • Rejecting attempts to repair the relationship.
  • Chronically describing your relationship negatively
  • Highlighting the hurtful things your partner has done in the past.
  • The antidote is to become Self Led (8 C words), learn how to connect inside, tend & befriend, & unblend from activated parts, many of which are in conflict with other parts (“on one hand….&….).  Gaining clarity about your internal conflict helps you better negotiate with others.
  • More on this in future episodes.  But for now….


Do a “U Turn” to #connectinside.

  • What are you thinking, feeling, sensing, doing? 
  • What need, fear, wound, or dream is at stake? 
  • What “usual suspects” are coming up to protect you? Can you tend & befriend them?  Their energy, emotion, & message is a gift.

When intimacy is shaky, get curious about what is driving behavior (yours or theirs).

  • Are you resonating with fear? 
  • Are you resonating with the present moment?  Here, here, now, now, what is possible? 
  • Are you connected to your heart, your truth?
  • Are you in a state of contraction or expansion? 
  • Do you need time/space to “rest & digest” & have you communicated that? 
  • Are you focusing on growth, co-creation, & empowerment? 


There is a shift happening across generations.  Old patterns of living & relating are being questioned, assessed, & when needed or desired, updated.  You may not have learned the basic skills, steps, or ingredients of intimacy & you CAN now.  To explore this topic further or to grow your relational skills… reach out to #reset!


The Gottman Institute:

The IFS Institute:

#resetwithrenee #coach #naturalstatetherapist #showmestatetherapist #cyclebreaker #woundedhealer #recoveringfamilyhero #generational #transformnottransmit #homecoming #cptsd #cptsdrecovery #cptsdhelaing #traumahealing #authenticity #ifs #ifstherapy #ifscoaching #emotionalintelligence #mentalhealth #wellbeing #selfhealing #relationships #rupturerepair #intimacy #healingversuscoping #connectinside #wholehearted