Core Fears Test –from The DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

This is very helpful information for the serious student of themselves and their own relationships.
Appendix B from the book The DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley
Identify Your Core Fear
1. Identify the Conflict: Identity a recent conflict, argument, or negative situation with your spouse, friend, child, neighbor, coworker, etc.—something that really “pushed your buttons”, or upset you. Think about how you were feeling and how you wished the person would not say or do the things that upset you.

2. Identify your Feelings: How did this conflict or situation make you feel? Check all that apply—but star the most important feelings:
___unsure ___uncomfortable ___frightened
___apathetic ___confused ___anxious
___puzzled ___worried ___horrified
___upset ___disgusted ___disturbed
___sullen ___resentful ___furious
___sad ___bitter
___hurt ___fed up
___disappointed ___frustrated
___wearied ___miserable
___torn up ___guilty
___shamed ___embarrassed ___other

3. Identify Your Fear: How did this conflict make you feel about yourself? What did the conflict “say” about you and your feelings? Check all that apply, but star the most important feelings.

___rejected The other person doesn’t want me or need me. I am not necessary in this relationship; I feel unwanted.
___abandoned The other person will ultimately leave me; I will be left alone to care for myself, the other person won’t be committed to me for life.
___disconnected We will become emotionally detached or separated; I will feel cut off from the other person.
___like a failure I am not successful at being a husband/wife, friend, parent, coworker; I will not perform correctly; I will not live up to expectations, I am not good enough.
___helpless I cannot do anything to change the other person or my situation; I do not possess the power, resources, capacity, or ability to get what I want; I will feel controlled by the other person.
___defective Something is wrong with me; I’m the problem.
___inadequate I am not capable; I am incompetent.
___inferior Everyone else is better than I am; I am less valuable or important than others.
___invalidated Who I am, what I think, what I do, or how I feel is not valued.
___unloved The other person doesn’t care about me; my relationship lacks warm attachment, admiration, enthusiasm, or devotion.
___dissatisfied I will not experience satisfaction in the relationship. I will not feel joy or excitement about the relationship.
___cheated The other person will take advantage of me or will withhold something I need; I won’t get what I want.
___worthless I am useless; I have not value to the other person.
___unaccepted I am never able to meet the other person’s expectations; I am not good enough.
___judged I am always being unfairly judged; the other person forms faulty or negative opinions about me; I am always being evaluated; the other person does not approved of me.
___humiliated The relationship is extremely destructive to my self-respect or dignity.
___ignored The other person will not pay attention to me; I feel neglected.
___insignificant I am irrelevant in the relationship; the other person does not see me as an important part of our relationship.
___other_______________________________________________

1. Identify Your Reactions: What do you do when you feel (__insert the most importabt feeling from question # 3)? How do you react when you feel that way? Identify your common verbal or physical reactions to deal with that feeling. Check all that apply, but star the most important reactions.
___withdrawal you avoid others or alienate yourself without resolution; you sulk or use the silent treatment.
___escalation emotions spiral out of control; you argue, raise your voice, fly into a rage.
___try harder you try to do more to earn others’ love and care.
___negative beliefs you believe the other person is far worse than is really the case; you see the other person in a negative light or attribute negative motives to him or her.
___blaming you place responsibility on others, not accepting fault; you’re convinced the problem is the other person’s fault.
___exaggeration you make overstatements or enlarge your words beyond bound or the truth.
___tantrums you have fits of bad temper.
___denial you refuse to admit the truth or reality.
___invalidation you devalue the other person; you do not appreciate what he or she feels or thinks or does.
___defensiveness instead of listening, you defend yourself by providing an explanation.
___clinginess you develop a strong emotional attachment or dependence on the other person.
___passive-aggressive you display negative emotions, resentment, and aggression in passive ways, such as procrastination and stubbornness.
___caretaking you become responsible for the other person by giving physical or emotional care and support to the point you are doing everything for the other person, who does nothing to care for himself or herself.
___acting out you engage in negative behaviors, such as drug or alcohol abuse, extramarital affairs, excessive shopping or spending or overeating.
___fix-it mode you focus almost exclusively on what is needed to solve the problem.
___complaining you express unhappiness or make accusations, you criticize, creating a list of the other person’s faults
___aggression or abuse you become verbally or physically aggressive, possible abusive.
___manipulation you control the other person for your own advantage, you try to get him or her to do what you want.
___anger and rage you display strong feelings of displeasure or violent and uncontrolled emotions
___catastrophize you use dramatic exaggerated expressions to depict that the relationship is in danger or that it has failed.
___numbing out you become devoid of emotions, or you have no regard for others’ needs or troubles.
___humor you use humor as a way of not dealing with the issue at hand.
___sarcasm you use negative humor, hurtful words, belittling comments, cutting remarks or demeaning statements.
___minimization you assert that the other person is overreacting to an issue; you intentionally underestimate, downplay, or soft-pedal the issue.
___rationalization you attempt to make your actions seem reasonable; you try to attribute your behavior to credible motives; you try to provide believable but untrue reasons for your conduct.
___indifference you are cold and show no concern.
___abdication you give away responsibilities.
___self-abandonment you run yourself down; you neglect yourself.
___other __________________________________

2. Look at the items you starred in response to question 3. List the three or four main feelings. These are you core fears.
Core fear #1__________________________________________________
Core fear #2__________________________________________________
Core fear #3__________________________________________________

Remember that most core fears are related to two main primary fears:
1. the fear of being controlled (losing influence or power over others).
2. the fear of being disconnected (separation from people and being alone)

More men fear losing power or being controlled, and more women fear being disconnected from relationships with others.

3. Look at the items you starred in response to question 4. List your three or four main reactions when someone pushes your core fear button.
Reaction #1________________________________________________
Reaction #2________________________________________________
Reaction #3________________________________________________
Your responses to these exercises should help you understand your part of the Fear Dance: your core fear button and your reaction. Remember that it’s very common for your reactions to push the core fear button of the other person in the conflict. If the other person can figure out his/her core fears and reactions, you will see clearly the unique Fear Dance the two of you are doing. But even if the other person isn’t able to be involved in the process of discovering his/her part of the /fear Dance, you can take steps to stop the dance. (See chapters 4-8)

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Trust–information from Beyond Boundaries

Broken trust is a huge barrier to our relationships. The more truth we learn about it, the more we can be set free! “The truth will set you free.”

The following is taken from the book Beyond Boundaries by John Townsend, chapters 1,2 and 7:

You and I are “drawn” to seek out relationships with others. This isn’t really an option. We are simply designed this way by God. Our draw to relationship can be for companionship, business, love, or romance. The draw is strong and compelling. But it is not always well-informed, healthy or full of good judgment.

The Trust Piece
For the draw to work as it should, any good relationship must have trust at its core. Most of us can handle relational problems, such as messiness, irresponsibility, or even high control. But when trust is not part of the equation, you simply don’t know who is sitting in the chair across from you. It is the problem that must always be dealt with first.

Trust is the ability to be vulnerable with another person. When you trust someone, you feel certain that person will keep your best interests in mind. You believe that they are who they say they are. You feel that the deepest parts of you will be safe with them. You expect that they will be there for you no matter what and that they will love you even when you are not so lovable.

Such trust is not a luxury, it is an essential. Without trust, relationship cannot flourish.

Perhaps you are regretting you ever trusted the person who caused your relational problem. If so, don’t do that. You may have missed some warning signs, (which will be discussed later in the book) but understand that your draw to relationship is a part of you—a good and divine gift. You can mature it, educate it, and train it, but it doesn’t go away. Your best and highest situation is to be drawn to people and to also have clarity on the character of who you’re drawn to at the same time.

A break in trust in relationship is when you no longer experience or believe that the other person will always fundamentally be there for you, and you doubt that they are who they say they are. When that happens, you have lost trust.

The two trusts
There are two types of trust in a relationship—functional trust and relational trust.

In functional trust, you feel you can depend on the other person’s behavior and commitments. There is no discrepancy between words and actions. Functional trust is essential; it means you can be away from the other person and know there will be no surprises, ethical issues, or indiscretions in your absence. You don’t have to monitor or check up on each other.

The second type of trust, relational trust, goes deeper. Relational trust refers to how safe it is to trust the other person with your vulnerabilities and feelings. For example, what does the other person do when you admit a weakness, reveal a need, admit a mistake, have a failure, or talk about trouble from your past? When these issues manifest themselves in a relationship, the other person should understand that it was a huge risk for you to talk about them in the first place.

Because it is deeper and more personal, a break in relational trust is a more serious problem than a break in functional trust. A financially irresponsible person—someone capable of breaking functional trust when it comes to money—may yet be trusted for how he feels toward you. You wouldn’t want to trust him with your finances, but you can trust his concern for you in other areas.

However, the reverse is not true. Someone who is responsible in areas related to functional trust but isn’t safe with relational trust—responsive to your feelings and needs-is simply not someone you can safely get close to.

Sooner or later, the passage of time unearths the flaws or weaknesses of the people in a relationship. These flaws cause a rupture in functional trust when someone lies, becomes irresponsible, or reveals a behavior or a secret that causes problems. Flaws or weaknesses cause a break in relational trust when the person becomes emotionally disconnected, controlling, critical, or self-absorbed.

When Trust Is Damaged
Trust—functional or relational—is the thread that holds two people together. When trust is damaged, the thread is severed and the disconnection begins.

When you can no longer be assured that the other person is truly for you and relational trust is broken, several things happen that impact how you experience life.

1. Withdrawal—You become careful instead of careless. You are more reserved about discussing personal information. You avoid situation s in which you might feel vulnerable, open, or exposed. The experience of feeling safe enough to share your needs has been distorted, so you don’t take relationship risks. In some cases, the withdrawal progresses from feelings of loneliness to actually feeling dead or frozen inside. You feel nothing, or you have the sense that something is broken inside.

2. Movement to task—If your trust is damaged, you may also over invest in tasks related to work, career, school, activities, hobbies, and service. That is, you stay active in the world, but you find it much safer to “do” than to “connect.” You may pursue good goals, but stay away from the personal end of life.

3. Unbalanced “giver” relationships—It is common for a person to be the “giver” in all relationships and to avoid the “receiving.” That is, he or she will listen, help, guild others but keep away from bringing his or her own needs to the table. This often includes codependent relationships as well, in which you rescue and enable others instead of letting them take responsibility for their lives and choices. Rather than 50-50, usually when trust has been damaged, it swings toward the 10-90 ratio, as a way for the person to stay safe from being vulnerable.

4. Bad habits—Trust issues can often lead into troublesome behavior patterns. These can include eating and sleep problems, obsessive behaviors, or addictions.

Fortunately there are situations in relationships in which trust can be reestablished relatively quickly. For example, if the offending person does something hurtful, but it is not too serious and is a rare or one-time event, all it takes is for the person who experienced the offense to call attention to it. “It made me angry…. My feelings were hurt when ……” Those sorts of statements, plus patience and concern, will prompt the other person to see what they have done, mend their ways, reconnect, and move on. These are usually glitches, events that aren’t a character pattern.

Unfortunately, there are also times when the person’s inner character is not what it should be, when the patterns are deeper, and when the trust damage is more serious. These are situations in which appeals for the restoration of the relationships may go ignored, and conversations don’t work. That is when you must draw boundaries—for your interests, for the sake of the relationship, and for helping the other person as well.

A couple of comments from Chapter 7
You may have heard that you become like those you’re with and take on their characteristics. The psychological term for this is fusion

We all have some kind of response to our formative environment. Sometimes we take on the troublesome characteristics we grew up with, and sometimes we react against them. When it comes to relationships neither approach offers real solution, though the person who acts in opposition can at least identify that there is a problem to solve. But neither response by itself will fix the root problem. This is because both stances are fear-based, not growth-based.

Fusion is about fear. It occurs when a person adopts the family dysfunction out of fear of going against one’s parents and or disagreeing with them.

Reacting in opposition to family dysfunction is also fear-based. She is afraid of being swallowed up and engulfed in a sick system, losing herself, so she does a 180 degree turn away from the patterns of her parents.

It’s not a blame game nor is it disloyal. It is an attempt to understand what is going on at a deeper level so you can grow, forgive, change, and heal.

Take time to connect the dots between your past and your present. It takes work and often courage, but it is well worth the effort.

(cp: No parent is perfect. There comes a time when all of us have to recognize and forgive our parents for their failures, some of which are much more serious than other parents’. Otherwise we get stuck.)

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Filed under Fear, Growing up, Love, Maturity

A Big Picture Of Emotional Healing

A quote from The Patriot Post, 8-26-2011:
“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1780

This sounds very familiar to me….but rather than cultural development, I’m thinking about emotional healing from the natural downward progression of the sins of the fathers being passing on to the 3 and 4th generation.

To change the direction of the spiral, the first generation (grandparents) must do the hard things, break the cycles, confess and humble themselves in order to break the bonds to actual factual sin….so that….

The second generation (parents) can work on the emotional fallout that came from the parents’ or grandparents’ sin(s) which robbed and hurt them, especially when they were vulnerable little children ….so that….

The third generation (children) can put into practice healthy balanced principles that their parents have taught them from their own experiences,(often following the parents’own parenting years) ….so that….

The grandchildren can grow up in a healthy balanced atmosphere during their formative childhood!!!

It requires trust in those teaching us and in God who is guiding us!!

Now the cycle is completely broken!! But if any of us drops the ball and goes back to making sinful self-destructive choices which will start a downward spiral again, then the healing process must starts all over again. May God help us to quickly see ourselves and repent and ask God the Holy Spirit to help us turn and start up the spiral again!!!

I’m so thankful that my grandparents and my mother started me on the right road. They broke some cycles! It’s my job to keep headed in the right direction, so that my family members can positively build on what the generations ahead of them have done!

Our individual decisions will start or keep our children going up or down the spiral! I want to keep our family’s spiral headed up!

This is reality. It’s easy to quickly tear down and destroy. It takes time to rebuild.

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Filed under Dysfunctional traits in families, Growing up, Knowing ourselves, Living emotionally only, Maturity, Uncategorized

The Mystery of God

I’m reading a book called IDOL LIES by Dee Brestin. Here is a thought from her book that has really spoken to me, taken from pages 91-93.

….A six-year-old may not understand a parent’s reasons for depriving him, and he may truly suffer. “Is it possible we are all six-year-olds when it comes to understanding the ways of God?”

The Mystery Of God
When my firstborn, J.R. was three, he and I had the respiratory flu. I was trying to watch him and his newborn brother while resting on the sofa. When all was too quiet, I found J.R. sitting cross-legged behind the bathroom door with orange powder around his mouth and an empty bottle of baby aspirin in his lap. In a panic, I called Steve and he told me to give him syrup of ipecac right away to make him vomit. As the ipecac took effect, I held my little boy, rubbing his back as he retched over the toilet. He thought I was punishing him—a cruel and unusual punishment. Between his violent spasms of vomiting, he would gasp for air and plead, “Mommy! I’m sorry! Please stop! I promise I’m sorry!”

I was not bringing judgment but mercy—but at three, he could not see it. Likewise, when God shakes the world of a believer, it is no longer judgment but mercy. We have stones in our hearts, and shaking can loosen those stones so that they may be removed. God’s purpose is healing.
End quote.

God has done a lot of work in my heart making some of my own stony places flesh. The first experience was very painful…something I never want to go through again…but neither would I exchange what I learned during that time for anything! I know I still have areas that need to be “made flesh” yet. But I have learned and I am still learning that God is completely trustworthy! He will do nothing that will not be for my good. Even if it hurts at the time.

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Filed under A redeeming God, God can be trusted, Growing up, Knowing God, Knowing ourselves, Maturity, Trust, Uncategorized, Value of crisis

The Other Side Of Divorce

I would like to make a very serious suggestion. If your marriage is in trouble and/or you are even thinking about divorce, make yourself go through a “Divorce Care” seminar. The realities of actual divorce may motivate you to do the hard work on your marriage. No matter how painful the work on the marriage, the pain of divorce is greater…and if you have children, the pain is never ending. No one said relationships were easy, but they are worthwhile. God is our example. His relationship with us has not been easy…but apparently He thinks it’s worth it! I believe HIM on the subject of relationship!

So, please understand this post is not to debate the validity of divorce and remarriage. It’s not about accepting and/or approving divorce and remarriage. It’s about facing our society’s reality. There are some very real truths in this DVD I viewed with a friend of mine at the one Divorce Care group meeting I went to.

Video #7: New Relationships

95% of you are going to remarry, but there is a 76% failure rate of second marriages, 87% failure rate of third marriages, and 90% failure rate of fourth marriages.

The problem is entering a relationship too soon. People use the relationship as a medication.

Children are very stressful to a second marriage. You don’t cease to be a single parent even in a second marriage. It is a combustion ready to blow.

If you are not humble, not willing to serve, don’t get in a blended family.

Step children are often abused. The new husband may have a porno problem that never showed up during dating.

Avoid being a statistic!

Illusions:
I’ve learned from my past mistakes. No. What you learned is that you made a mistake. It’s very hard to learn what the mistakes were! Previous pain can make it very difficult to let go of control.

Someone else can make me happy. Not true.

Wait before entering a relationship! Everyone hates the answer to how long to wait.
In general, allow one year of healing for every four years of marriage. Hard work may pare down the time, but this is a wise statistic.

If you don’t wait, you can’t heal. You either heal or get hurt again. And the hurt gets worse.

If you enter a rebound relationship and you’re not ready for it, you will have an even greater sense of failure, plus you’ll know you are hurting someone else too.

Regroup and heal before a new relationship. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, (your name), plans to prosper you….”

You are making decisions in an emotionally unstable state. It may take five years to regain stability.

Am I living more in the present? Just because you shared your past with someone and they were understanding doesn’t mean you are experiencing intimacy. Intimacy comes when sharing dreams.

Overcome any tendency to rescue or need. Choose companions, not a nurse or a doctor. Stay away from needy people.

What is my response to loneliness? Am I content with my present state? Can I be alone without being lonely? Can I live by myself happily?

Do I have a problem-solving attitude or am I in panic mode? Am I emotionally reacting to old stimuli?

Have I identified personal weaknesses? Am I working on it/them? Rebuild yourself first. Your future relationship depends on it.

How do I approach my past adversity? Am I thankful for the lessons learned? Thankful for the trial? Much wisdom is much sorrow. (Proverbs…)

Am I willing to be accountable? Find a same sex person who can come up any time and say, “Are you okay with everything? How are you doing?” Go through a counseling time. Understand what has happened to you.

If there are any feelings of hope for reconciliation with an ex-spouse, you are not ready for a new relationship. You will still feel married.

For reconciliation to work, all third persons have to be removed. Don’t even do casual relationships while waiting to see what happens to your marriage. Join a support group and be in safe relationships. The group may meet to eat out Friday and Saturday so you’re not looking for a “date” for the weekend. No coupling in the support group.

Cooperate with God. God must be God –not other people.

Is my divorce final? “Well, it’s only a piece of paper…. The marriage is over already really.” Is it? Is a car registration only a piece of paper? You’ll be arrested for a stolen car if you don’t have it…! Married people do not date.

Have you developed a personal sexual code of ethics?

Tony Evans:
Fire in the fireplace is wonderful but fire in the curtains is BAD!!
Sex in marriage is to be wonderful, but sex outside of marriage is a disaster!

Waiting for sex gives you time to find out—Do I love this person’s character?
This is foundational to a future relationship!

Second time virginity. Be the purest person you can be.
When dating, be prepared for the expectation of sex.

How well do you know the character quality of this person?

Could you be happy and successful and satisfied in your single state? We can be complete as a single person!

You’re ready for another relationship when you don’t need another relationship. God is enough.
Don’t enter a relationship out of neediness or pitifulness. Then if someone does come along it’s a sweet addition to life, not a necessity.

Evans: God will take you to where your future spouse is. God knows where the person is located. Don’t seek a spouse. Seek the Lord! Find the Lord, He’ll find the mate.

The consequences of moving too fast are painful.

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Jesus Christ has no dark side. In Him is no darkness at all.

Two comments I read this morning during my quiet time that are very meaningful to me from the booklet “The Promise of Security” by Beth Moore:

“Although we may have something unhealthy deep inside of us, those in whom Christ dwells also have something deeper.  Something whole.  Something so infinitely healthy that, if it would but invade the rest of us, we would be healed.”

“Jesus is NOT unhealthy.  Not codependent with us.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  This thought never grows old to me:  He has no dark side.  In Him is no darkness at all.”

End quote.

The more we are like Jesus, the healthier we will be, not only spiritually but emotionally! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit can be trusted!!   God is love!    The Father loved us enough to be the ultimate giver.  Jesus was willing to experience and feeling every temptation we will feel so He could show us the way.  And the Holy Spirit will enable us to do what we cannot do in ourselves when we humble ourselves and ask.  

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Filed under A redeeming God, God can be trusted, Knowing God, Knowing ourselves, Love, Why Jesus came to save us

Some simple thoughts about salvation and sanctification

I’m not a theologian, but I’ve been thinking recently that in a nutshell, our prayer in salvation is “Lord, please save me from my sins and from death and hell!! Our predominant attitude is an attitude of “respect” toward God. “I NEED You!”

In sanctification (aka perfect love, the abundant life, the deeper life, etc) our prayer is “Lord, please save me from myself!” Our attitude is one of not only respect, but of starting to love and trust God in a deeper relationship…even enough to let him change us!! “I WANT You!”

God is completely healthy and “functional”! He wants to help us change any broken or damaged areas of our hearts and minds into being healthy and functional! Knowing God in relationship is our model for human relationship!! What works in our relationship with God works in our relationships with people. What we learn that is true about relationships with people, will be true in our relationship with God too. However, sometimes we have a damaged or dysfunctional experience and/or training in our human relationships and we transfer that over to how we relate to God. That is where the challenge comes in! Will we determine to trust God and change in spite of our feelings…or only trust our own emotions and understanding?! Lord, help us to remember that You only have good planned for us!! You want us to grow and mature!

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Filed under Knowing God, Knowing ourselves, Living emotionally only, Relationship principles, Respect, Trust, Uncategorized, Why Jesus came to save us