Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director of LA County’s Child Welfare Agency, recently asked me to appear on his weekly podcast to discuss what he calls “The Baby Fix,” which refers to the habit of distressed couples have a child in an effort to mend their problems.
Dr. Sophy is also Author of “Side by Side: The Revolutionary Mother-Daughter Program for Conflict Free Communication” and a frequent radio and TV guest expert.
In the interview, Dr. Sophy asked me to talk about: Why do people feel that having a baby will fix a bad relationship? What are the 3 most common problems she sees in relationships in crisis? What are the 3 most common fixes that I recommend recommend?
I told Dr. Sophy and his audience that most couples conflict about sex, money matters and/or chores. I went on to say that the “overt” topics that couples fight about are rarely the true issue; in fact, the overt topics act as a smokescreen and actually blind the couple from seeing the real issue at hand. The real reason conflicts don’t get resolved is because couples haven’t identified the actually core issue. I discussed how to use my “Stripping Away the Content” technique to help you decipher the real issue.
I explained that the “real” issues invariably stem from unrecognized/unhealed childhood wounds. I gave the example of a patient named Susan who went ballistic during a dinner date. Her husband kept checking his watch throughout the meal. Finally, she flew into a rage, saying, “If you can’t wait to get away from me, let’s end the date.” I explained that this woman’s childhood wound–that her father never had time for her–caused her to misinterpret her husband’s behavior–He wasn’t trying to escape her, he was just checking his watch to make sure to feed the meter on time!
I said that Old Wounds cause us to misinterpret, distort and overreact to our partner’s words and actions. When we overreact, blame and attack are soon to follow. The tragic result is that we drive our partners away and destroy our relationships. In fact, Susan’s husband has begun to not want to spend time with her, which only deepens her childhood wound and fuels more fighting.
My methods, which are covered in detail in Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First): A Step-by-Step Guide for Resolving Relationship Conflict, enable couples to break free of this destructive cycle. When you identifying the early wound and then share (not vent, scream, dump!) your painful feelings from the past with your partner a radical shift occurs. When your partner doesn’t feel blamed and attacked, he/she becomes your friend and ally who is here to help you heal the pain of the past. As old wounds are healed, your intense emotions settle down, you stop driving your partner away. In this cooler climate fighting magically stops.
Recordings of this podcast will soon be available, and I’ll be notifying everyone with a link as well as posting it on my site as soon as possible.