My husband and I had been stuck in excruciatingly painful no man's land of blame, retreat and living worse than only roommates, each afraid to continue, because the thought of just making it worse, kept us stuck for over 10 years. I reached out to my pastor to see whether there was anything he recommended to trigger change and despite resistance to the bitter end, we made it to the Hold Me Tight Workshop led by Michelle Gannon and Sam Jinich, PhD.
Michelle and Sam's presentation, with the help of the EFT Volunteer Therapists there, created an atmosphere of compassion and safety, based on their own vulnerabilities shared, to allow us, as participants, to dig deeply into our own selves, to blamelessly and very openly confront very difficult history and emotions.
For the individual exercises and conversations, I didn't even see anyone else in the room, other than my husband and the EFT Therapist assisting us.
Presentations by Michelle and Sam were funny, thought provoking and very helpful, ranging from videos, images and skits, to illustrate how quickly we react from our defenses instead of allowing our vulnerabilities and our "inner voice" to be heard. Lifelong deep wounds were exposed and cradled and cared for in love and safety. My husband and I haven't talked, let alone talked openly, about our emotions that are behind those wounds ever! We both realized how many raw spots we have, and how much of the success of having a conversation about our emotions behind the reactions, depends on the safety we provide for each other. That's HUGE!
The two things that really stood out for me were that empathy requires us to stand next to the person hurting and reach down into ourselves to "re- experience" their feelings with them, without trying to make it better or offer solutions (very hard for a direct fixer like me), and that the extent of our willingness to be vulnerable determines the extent we can feel any emotions, good or bad. Fully embracing vulnerabilities is scary and counter intuitive, but the only pathway to finding intimacy and love. Every human being is worthy of and deserves to love and be loved wholeheartedly.
My husband actually thanked me that I didn't give up on getting us to the Hold Me Tight Workshop. Regardless of whether our marriage will continue or not, this workshop was extremely valuable for me, and I am planning on giving it as a wedding present to each of my children.
I was encouraged that my husband also saw the value, and I think gained some new insight into his part of the puzzle.
Thank you so much to Michelle and Sam and all the people there who helped us. The weekend has been a game changer! The love and compassion of all of the staff there was clearly felt and deeply appreciated.