Why do relationships have to hurt so much?
We certainly don’t fall in love because we want to get hurt. But when’s the last time you had a relationship that DIDN’T hurt?
Even great relationships end up twisting or stomping on our hearts. It’s enough to make you wonder what the point of loving ANYONE is, if it’s going to end so badly.
Life skills coach Joyce Schafers wondered those very same questions herself. But she went even further. She asked:
Is the pain inevitable?
Or is there a way to keep the love and lose the hurt?
Her answer led her to examine everything she knew about relationships, including her own. She ultimately had to create her own counseling model, one that got to the root cause of what was REALLY going on.
In this week’s YBTV interview, you’re going to learn what she discovered about the cycle of emotional pain that’s keeping us stuck … and how we can break it.
What You’ll Learn
Whatever you needed emotionally and didn’t get as a child, that’s the one thing you’re still trying to get now.”
Even though she’s now a relationship counselor, workshop facilitator, and bestselling author, Joyce didn’t have easier than anyone else when it came to love.
She admits, “I had a series of failed relationships … all with alcoholic men, and they all ended with them leaving me for other women.”
Those experiences could have made her swear off men for good, but she took a different approach.
“I realized that I was the common denominator,” she says. “If I’m the common denominator, then there’s something within me that was creating the pattern. And so not only did I need to know what that was, I needed the pattern to end.”
We often think that bad relationships are the result of bad luck or bad men. But Joyce felt there was more to it than that. “I felt like there was a reason for it … and I really wanted to know what that reason was.”
That realization inspired the counseling model that Joyce uses today.
Today, she can happily say she’s broken her relationship pattern, thanks to the work she’s done on herself. “Once I really dealt with the issue, then I had a completely different experience,” she says.
And she helps her clients do the same through one-on-one work or her self-study program.
It all starts with understanding the cycle of emotional pain.
The reason there’s that cycle of failed relationships is because we’re trying and failing to get our emotional needs needs met…. What we needed and didn’t get emotionally as children is the exact thing we’re trying to get from our relationships.”
What emotional needs? you might be thinking. I had a fine childhood!
“If there’s a pattern of failed relationships now,” Joyce says, “it’s got to have its root in something, so something must have happened.”
Usually, that “something” dates back to our early years. “Very few of us escape our childhood without some form of emotional pain,” she adds, even if our childhoods were generally good.
What we then do is try “to get our emotional needs met through external means,” like our relationships. We look to our partner to give us everything we didn’t get as kids.
Unfortunately, you can’t get your emotional needs met by looking to someone else to heal you. “Emotional challenges require emotional solutions,” Joyce says.
She likens people who look to their relationships to get their emotional needs met as “empty cups looking to be filled.” No one else can fill your cup for you. Even if they try, you may be unable to receive their gifts of love and support. “Often, when we don’t meet our emotional needs ourselves and someone tries to fill us up, it just simply won’t work.”
So what DOES work?
Being able to name and identify your emotional needs is the first step. Ask yourself: “What is my trauma? What emotional need did it create within me?”
But “awareness can only go so far,” Joyce says. Breaking the cycle takes “the diligence to actually address the root issue and and have strategies to help you do that.”
She leads couples through a process of identifying their triggers and learning to manage them by recognizing that their old story is playing out.
“It really is about kicking that story to the curb and telling ourselves a new story,” she says.
The process is “extremely simple but not always easy, because we’re dealing with patterns that have been in place since our early childhood.”
That’s why Joyce offers a self-study course that leads students through the process, as well as working one-on-one with clients in person and via Skype.
It’s empowering to know that the key to changing your relationship patterns lies in your hands. You don’t have to change your partner. All you have to change is the way you deal with your emotional needs.
Find out more about Joyce’s coaching and programs.
Jump to Topics of Interest
3:06 Joyce’s personal journey through heartbreak to happiness
5:24 The power of taking ownership of your patterns
6:57 Awareness isn’t enough
7:49 The cycle of emotional pain
10:54 How your childhood affects your love life
12:35 Why your partner can’t fill your unmet emotional needs
17:31 The one unmet emotional need inside everyone
19:02 How to work with Joyce
20:47 The 2 things you need to make a relationship work
Joyce Schafers is a best-selling author, public speaker, workshop facilitator and life skills coach who specializes in relationship counselling. She fixes relationships in her office in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada and virtually, through her self-study course called Getting to the Root of the Problem in Your Relationship. Find out how you can work with Joyce.