Relationships mother and son


We chase them – we lose them – we fall for them – we sing about them – we cry about them – we cling on to them – and often when we’ve got them, we don’t appreciate them!

“Relationship” is a verb, not a noun.   It is a doing word.  We do relating.   Conscious relationship is a team game.  As well as being an individual you are also required to become a team player.  The rules change when you enter a relationship and most often there is no coach to instruct the players.  We fumble around in our reactions and our projections and often all that is needed is intervention by someone who has perspective.

There are principles that underlie successful and nourishing relating:  at home, at work and in the world.  These can empower you to heal yourself and your ways of connecting with others and transform the quality of your life.

We are always in relationship, so let’s make it a magnificent and rewarding experience!


Relationships are not there to fulfill our egoic wants and desires, not to shield us from our deepest fears:  they are there to help us unfold our inner magnificence and to become whole once again.

There is no subject at any school that I know of, or ever attended, that covers emotional intelligence. We learn the 3 r’s and come away uneducated in matters of the heart.  No teacher taught me how to handle my anger when my best friend went off with my boyfriend after our matric dance; no class prepared me for the grief I was to feel when my father never came home and my mother cried every night for months.

Somehow I learned to swallow my pain, keep it hidden inside, certainly not reveal it to anyone.  I learned to keep a straight face, laugh when I wanted to cry, pretend I was just fine when I was broken inside, and give out all sorts of double messages.
How did these lessons serve me in my adult life?  They brought nothing but hurt and confusion.  In my adult relationships I laughed when I needed to cry, and was seen as uncaring; I hid my fears and vulnerabilities behind a strict tough exterior and was called hard and unfeeling, and I seldom got what I needed because I had absolutely no idea how to be authentic or how to ask for what I so desperately wanted behind my nonchalant, brassy attitude.
So guess what – today I am teaching emotional intelligence with a passion.  If what I have learned through many years of relationship boot camp including 2 divorces can make it easier for one other person out there it will be worth it.
Most of our relationships are dysfunctional because we do not know how to share our vulnerabilities or our feelings and we do not know what an intimate, loving relationship looks like.  We do not have too many good examples around us – certainly Hollywood is found wanting and very often the relationships we witnessed growing up also.
I work in the field of drug addiction and I know for sure that most addictions find their source in dysfunctional family structures.
So where does it go wrong after you have walked down the isle to meet the partner of your dreams?  Everyone dreams of a loving relationship that is filled with trust and sharing and intimacy and mutual support as well as lots of fun and good sex.
What we have to recognise is that each partner also enters the relationship with a sack of baggage that produces distortions in the way we see and hear and relate to each other.  We often come from dysfunctional primary relationships where we as children absorb the conflicting attitudes and negative behaviour of our carers and then unconsciously act these out with our partners.
So the question is:  “How can we have more love and less pain?”
Journey with me from in-sane relationships to sane relationships.
This is a 4-step map to guide you to conscious loving that will grow you as a person and grow your relationship into one that is mutually supportive and conscious and the steps are not difficult.  All that is required is a willingness to step out of your pain into new ways of being that produce peace of mind and conscious choices, and then lots and lots of practice with the new way of Being.  Life brings many opportunities to practice, so don’t let that be a worry – just be willing to change.


 1. S = SAFETY

Safety is one of the paramount issues in a relationship.  How often do we hear couples saying that they walk “on eggs” around each other because it is not safe to tell the truth.

When we hide things from each other and we stuff our truth and cannot speak it we go into all sorts of negative holding patterns to avoid conflict.  We may lie to each other, or we may withold and go into sullen silence, or withdraw into other avenues of expression such as keeping ourselves too busy to relate, or falling into addictions such as alcohol or drugs, or have affairs or get absorbed in our cell phones.

Learn how to create a safe environment in your relationship where you never have to be afraid to tell your partner anything and can breathe deeply knowing that you are safe.

2. A = ANGER

When we are angry we mostly perceive that we have not been heard or seen or validated.  Learning to ask to be seen, or heard or appreciated can unfold anger into deep conversations that lead to safety and intimacy.  Anger uses up a lot of energy in a relationship that could be directed towards mutually supportive and creative common goals.

Learn how to manage anger in a constructive way.


Negotiation is about win-win communication and not about “I win and you lose”.  When one partner gives in through submission it is never a win-win situation, one becomes the victim and the other the perpetrator; one becomes the enemy and the other becomes the attacked. Negotiation takes a different form when we feel safe and know that we can speak our truth without anger.

Learn how to negotiate so that everyone wins.


Empathy is the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and feel how they are feeling from their point of view, without giving up my own personal truth. In this way I hold both my own truth and that of my partner. Empathy is a way forward to embrace another opinion that is different to ours and to learn and appreciate the differences. This leads to team work and mutual respect in a relationship and obliterates power over and control.

Learn to be empathic so that your relationships can become creative and open.

When we practice SANE RELATIONSHIPS we step into productive, creative relationships where we experience harmony and ease and can experience the full force of love at its most powerful.