Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Mammals Thrive on Connection" -- The Genius of David Richo

What a fantastic talk. This wisdom has to be aggregated and shared, and I encourage you to check out the links below, attend David Richo’s talks, read his books and patronize Shambhala Books and other sources that support and publish him.

Richo, David (16 February, 2013) “How to Be an Adult in Relationships of Trust,” (lecture), Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, Walnut Creek CA. ( ) Everything in quotes is © David Richo unless otherwise attributed. Other text is mostly my notes from his lecture with minor personal additions to his brilliant analyses, thoughts and interpretations. wc

“Once we live in the present, things become so much more matter of fact and we drop the blame-filled judgments.*”

We all start out needing to be held secure and safe in trust by someone who pays ATTENTION to our needs and feelings, ACCEPTS  us as we are, APPRECIATES us as valuable, shows AFFECTION for us and ALLOWS us to find and fulfill our deepest needs and wishes rather than “controlling” us in our early life. (These are Richo’s “Five A’s”) Wow! What a world it would be if we could all have this.

Everyone has “missing parts” (parenting and childhood aren’t perfect), and when we get the food, exercise and supports to grow into adulthood, we have the task of processing parts of ourselves that were unfulfilled, making sense of what happened, doing self-care and necessary mourning, grief work.

Everyone has reactions of (“SAFE”):
Fear and
Exuberance/ Joy/ Ecstasy.

When people in our childhood:
Omitted care
Prevented our needs being fulfilled
Didn’t come hold us and
Didn’t ignore our joy or celebrated it with us.

Video clips of David Richo on "Trust in Relationships" and "Being An Adult in Love" ()   (28 February 2013)

“Built into our human personhood is a gift from the universe. This gift is an ability, an inclination to make something good, growth-fostering, or useful out of anything that happens, no matter how painful or negative it is.”  

(Daring to Trust, Opening Ourselves into Real Love & Intimacy,  Shambhala Books, 888.424.2429, Boston, MA and Berkeley, CA, p. 167.)

It only hurts ourselves to “get back at” people we think caused our suffering or hold the bitterness of resentment and desire for revenge inside us. Forgiveness is letting go of the blame of others and healing the self to "trust ourselves, others and a divine higher power..." Whenever a “trigger” happens, look back to that original set of losses. Choose companions who help you work through childhood trauma, not ones who trigger them. (Romantic “across a crowded room” relationships and abusive ones that repeat the trauma)

Buddha's face from Thurber Aware  FB post (23 Feb, 2013)
We have the responsibility for our own feelings and recovering our capacity to trust. We can’t “make” the feeling of letting go happen – that is “grace.” Then we move on, "step up to the plate" and trust ourselves and others even though humans are not able to be loyal, loving or attentive all the time.

Adult Relationships are held in a 

Triangle of Trust

The top of the triangle is the self-knowledge and self-trust of each individual coming into relationships who are actively engaged in the process of “working on” ourselves and our confidence and self-reliance. This cultivation of self-worth, self-esteem and literally living through the traumas of the past, being in the present and hoping towards a future of connection with fidelity, truthfulness and integrity in ourselves is key to the process of healthy relationships with others.

Another corner of the triangle is the positive commitment to receive others’ faithful commitments with appreciation (the 5 A’s) and without abandoning others' connection with us.

The third corner of the triangle is handling and being present in“Disloyal Events” – when they happen, I will handle that event with proactive assertiveness and without harboring resentment  or acting in revenge or retaliation.  I/ we are committed to stay aware; let go of fight, flight or freeze reactions triggered from our past and respond by speaking up, processing and resolving issues and problems.

The center of the triangle is “We will grow from all of this.”

 “Trust in someone means that we no longer have to protect ourselves. We believe we will not be hurt or harmed by the other, at least not deliberately. We trust his or her good intentions, though we know we might be hurt by the way circumstances play out between us. We might say that hurt happens; it’s a given of life. Harm is inflicted; it’s a choice some people make.”

“The foundation of adult trust is not "You will never hurt me." It is "I trust myself with whatever you do.”
― David Richo, Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love and Intimacy

“The opposite of interpersonal trust is not mistrust. It is despair. This is because we have given up on believing that trustworthiness and fulfillment are possible from others. We have lost our hope in our fellow humans.”

― David Richo

MaybeSo, Facing the Facts—When a Loved One has Borderline Personality, quoting David Richo (October 26, 2010, 07:31:11 PM);prev_next=next (28 February 2013)

“Abandonment and engulfment are normal fears. Both arise in all of us-though one usually predominates in intimate relationships.  It is only when these fears become so intense as to affect our judgment and behavior that they become problematic for us.  Adult relating is in the capacity to commit ourselves w/out being immobilized by the fear of abandonment if someone pulls too far away, or by the fear of engulfment if someone gets too close.  It will seem as if these fears result directly from the behavior of our adult partner, but these are phantom fears from childhood.   What is hurting us is gone but still stimulates. We are reacting to the inner landscape of our own past, a landscape ravaged by archaic plunder that has never been acknowledged, restored, or forgiven.  Fears of abandonment and engulfment are cellular reflexes, and we are wise not to take our partner’s display of them too personally.  These fears are not rational so we cannot talk someone out of them or blame someone for them. Compassion from one partner and work to change by the other partner is the most effective combination.  Actually, an adult cannot be abandoned, only left, cannot be engulfed, only crowded. Once we live in the present, things become so much more matter of fact and we drop the blame-filled judgments.* (David Richo)” (My bold, wc)
(30 January, 2013 FB posting)

Good Reads, (28 February 2013) Relationships  ()

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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