Short Personal History

I have interacted with families, friends, clients and countless people around the world who struggle with their wounds in personal and professional relationships.  This also includes the masses, seen on television and read about in periodicals.  People who desire to be valued for who they are, not as celebrities, but as regular human beings.  I observed them acting out in ways that brought momentary attention, but just as quickly their bubble burst and they felt worst than before. 

In my professional career as an Executive Coach, I have worked with thousands of top business people and their families.  Success for them was measured at work ( the process, the income, sense of purpose and fulfillment) , not in the home.  Most said they loved their wife’s and children, but their obsession with success behavior betrayed their words.  Work relationships are often difficult, but a piece of cake compared to the miscommunications going on at home.

The problem “Why do people who love or care for others often hurt them?” has consumed me since adolescence.  At that time, I began to reflect on the world of relationships around me.  In my own life I struggled with inner feelings, that when expressed were often misunderstood or rejected.  I could not understand why people attractive to me, looked at me as a threat or a nuisance.  Why was I was unable to find someone who could understand my need to be chosen as someone worthy of their love, respect and attention?  I observed this same struggle in my parents & their friends, in siblings & their friends, in classmates, Army buddies, collage friends and professors.

It is not that we are without successful relationships and friendships some of the time.  What became clear was that people were unable to articulate a model that brought them healthy relationships all of the time.  We are just too willing to write difficult people off.  We do what feels ‘normal.’  If it turns sour, move on to the next person. We never asked the question, “Is it me, my viewpoint or my model for relationship that is holding me back from happiness?”

Today, with the healthy relationship models developed from my quest, I have a worldwide network of acquaintances, co-workers, mentors, and friends.  In my sixties, I can look back and see that the wounds (hardwiring) I received in childhood were behind the powerful inner drives to find out why relationship communications were so problematical for most people.  As Albert Einstein said, when asked about his achievements, “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.”  Like Albert staying power, who during his remarkable life was obsessed with finding a simple explanation for how the Universe works, I have been attached to the question of, “Why are relationships so difficult.”  

My early childhood wounds left an unfulfilled desire to be seen, understood, accepted, chosen and valued.  This turned into a lifelong odyssey to find the answer to why this happens. Daily experience showed me that it is not adults common desire to be in conflict.  In fact all one needed to do was read romance novels, watch TV sitcoms, documentaries & movies, and listen to the thousands of songs.  They are all about the desire to find love, make love work, and to fulfill a deep longing to be acceptable by others.

Love requires a cycle of positive and negative tensions to keep love evolving.  We love the feeling of being ‘right’, yet longed for a deeper connection to other people.  When we are only right and not admitting being wrong, other’s pull away from us.  On the other side of the coin books, movies and songs are made and published daily that reveal how difficult a healthy relationship can be.  Therefore, we are left with a bipolar psyche that says, “I need to be seen, understood, accepted, chosen and valued, yet this is impossible” because of the type of people in my life.

I will make a case that the bipolar psyche is a gift to humankind.

Survival Needs

The human race has core survival and safety needs in common, no matter where in the world they live or under what circumstance – climate appropriate clothes, water, air, food and shelter.  We have belonging needs – connection, acceptance and support.  In addition, each of us has self-esteem needs - self-image, status and popularity.  However, after thirty years of public speaking, counseling and almost three decades of that time as a practicing Executive Development Consultant, conspicuously absent is the glue that binds all of the above together.  What is missing in this picture is a model, a skill set and guidance on how to be successful in relationships with one another.  How to blend survival, safety, belonging and self-esteem need together.

When I am in the corporate setting, I hear stories from clients about relationship difficulties with their boss, co-workers or employees.  How the last company they worked for was unsympathetic to their complaints about a boss who was abusive or incompetent.  The times when ideas or work went unnoticed, and the boss who took credit for their contribution. 

In discussions about a client’s home life, or when talking to a friend, the story was similar.  If I ask what is not working or what is missing in their personal relationships, it runs the gamut from fear of brining up forbidden issues with a spouse, to children behavior pushing them to the threshold of their patience.  

Whether in the work place or at home, I often respond with the question, “What you’re really telling me is that you don’t know what to do to turn the conflict or tension around.  Moreover, you probable use the same behavior repeatedly, although it rarely solves the problem.  Is this true?”  The answer is always a blank face and then a whispered “yes.”  It astounds me each time, even after all these years, that we can become so easily deadlocked when in a stressful relationship situation.  

When I follow up with the question, “Describe the relationship with your boss, co-worker, spouse, or child as you would like it to be?”  A flood of words issue from each person that can be summarized by saying, “I would like them to do what I say, understand the problem from my position, be on my side once in a while and not get so defensive about everything.”  Underlying these statements is real desire of all people to be seen, understood, accepted, chosen and valued.  However, the reason we cannot go there is because of the model limitations imposed by our hardwiring when we approach people.

Summary

My process is centered on what prevents us from being seen, understood, accepted, chosen and valued and how to resolve this important life issue.  We will look at three levels of our psyches and why the third level is absent from most relationship theories.  

© Scott Taylor 2016