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#35077 - 12/13/10 12:51 PM Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust
AlTurtle
Retired Therapist
Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 908
Loc: Northwest Washington State, US...
So I turned to Sandra and said, "What do you think is the first Topic?" She said, "Silly, it's the Lizard and Safety. You can't teach Validation until you teach why people don't want to do it." So here goes for Topic #1.

I've heard it said that the Power Struggle , that active or passive fighting stage for almost all couples, is nothing but the Triumph of Reactivity over Reflection. I like that.

So I offer a positive and useful way of looking at, and resolving, your reactivity and theirs as well. Tis all about Panic and avoiding it. I see every problem in relationships, mine and yours, starting with a move toward Panic.


From my Glossary :
Panic – A physical state of tension characterized by reactivity initiated by the brain's survival mechanism – the Lizard. I often refer to "My Lizard's gone wild." This state is visible and measurable. It is often characterized by fleeing and withdrawing, silence, distraction and inattention, submitting and placating, or aggressive pushing and fighting. People move away from and avoid where they feel Panic and tend to stay away.


The paper, while captures all the critical points, is not book-reading finished. I bet it has lots of typos. Sandra and I have often spoken of adding a whole pile of examples.

So read the paper ( link to the article , link to print a PDF of it , link to the chart you may need while reading the article).

After reading it come back here and bring your examples, questions, wisdom.

_________________________
Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle

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#35083 - 12/13/10 01:04 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle]
SIHW
Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 517
Loc: Monterey, Ca
Welcome Welcome Welcome...it's very refreshing to have an expert here that is willing to interact and participate with all of us. Thank you for offering your Time and experience Al.
_________________________
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepair to die.
"Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."

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#35086 - 12/13/10 01:11 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle]
OurHouse
Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 3027
Al:

Great article. I had known, in passing, about the lizard concept, but this really fleshed it out for me. So the summary says:

• In the last 6 months when I am with my partner I thought "my lizard is not safe" what percent of the time?
• What percent of the time am I fleeing, freezing, submitting, fighting?
•Or conversely, what percent of the time is my lizard playing, mating, nurturing, and doing creative work."
• In the last 6 months, what percent of the time has my partner been lizard-safe: i.e. fleeing, freezing, submitting, and fighting?
• When I first fell in love, what were the percentages of safe and not safe?"


I'd like to answer because I see us operating in lizard fashion with each other, but we are each taking different approaches.

Question #1: I'd have to answer 80-90%. Sad but true.

Question #2: I mostly freeze or submit. And resentment has become a HUGE issue. When I first read about "freezing" I thought "oh no, that won't be me. I don't do the deer in the headlights thing". But there are other ways of freezing, and mine is usually to avoid directly answering questions because I don't want to engage in the resulting argument, and/or to smooth over before something can explode. Or to just say "I don't know why I think XYZ". Yup, I'm a freezer. My husband on the other hand, seems to be more in the "flee" category. He's the one who will try to end an argument by minimizing what I say, telling me that his pain is worse than mine and finally, by just leaving the room. Just this morning, he told me he asked me if he was supposed to feel guilty about something (me working more hours..he's been unemployed a long, long time). In the past, I would have "smoothed over". I'm trying not to do that. So I said that I wasn't responsible for his guilt. We talked about feelings and actions and I said that I believed feelings are feelings, they are not right or wrong. And that we had no control over others' actions. And he said "so now you're not responsible for me and I'm not responsible for you. How is that a marriage?"

And I said "I don't know". Of course I know! I can't believe I said that! What I said isn't the definition of a marriage but I didn't want to get into that argument with him.

Question #3: I'd have to assign the same percentages to him.

Question #4: I don't know about him. But I think part of me always felt unsafe because I've always been a "smoother". So maybe 30% on this one.

Great article and very thought provoking. It's frightening to think that I'm so near ultimately hanging it up with him over what boils down to terrible communication and resentment built up over the years.


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#35088 - 12/13/10 01:19 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse]
believer
Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 20510
Great, great article. I hope everyone here gets a chance to read it.

I have a question about ways to nurture your lizard by yourself. Don't want to TJ this thread though. Should I post on the Turtle website?

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#35121 - 12/13/10 02:20 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: believer]
AlTurtle
Retired Therapist
Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 908
Loc: Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: believer
I have a question about ways to nurture your lizard by yourself. Don't want to TJ this thread though. Should I post on the Turtle website?


Don't think this is a T/J (I had to look it up). I think this is on topic. Learning to "friend" your own lizard, learning to nurture your own Lizard, seems every important to me; in fact, I think it is a crucial set of skills. Has a lot to do with personal boundary skills. AND it involves taking over the responsibility for your own emotional safety.

Share more.
_________________________
Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle

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#35126 - 12/13/10 02:27 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle]
OurHouse
Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 3027
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: believer
I have a question about ways to nurture your lizard by yourself. Don't want to TJ this thread though. Should I post on the Turtle website?


Don't think this is a T/J (I had to look it up). I think this is on topic. Learning to "friend" your own lizard, learning to nurture your own Lizard, seems every important to me; in fact, I think it is a crucial set of skills. Has a lot to do with personal boundary skills. AND it involves taking over the responsibility for your own emotional safety.

Share more.


Makes sense to me. If you fight your own lizard, then you are at its mercy. But if you recognize the fight/freeze/submit cycle, you can probably short circuit it, right? Kind of like knowing the early signs of an asthma (or panic) attack and knowing what steps to take to alleviate the situation to hopefully not have to down the meds to ward them off.

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#35149 - 12/13/10 04:03 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse]
believer
Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 20510
Yes, I'm talking about panic attacks. The lady in the laundromat part explains it perfectly.

I had them years ago, took meds and they went away.

Fast forward, had one last week. Was at the mall and it came out of the blue. I wasn't thinking about anything. Had to leave the mall and was shaking so bad, felt like a couldn't breathe and was about to die. Did get medically checked and all is fine.

I have done extensive work on Boundaries and been doing well. Am happy and have a very good life.

The only thing different is that I did end a long term relationship because I don't want to marry again.

When I read this article, it struck me that it IS my lizard.

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#35197 - 12/13/10 06:39 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: wiser_now]
Amadahy
Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 3472
struggling with fear today - it is binding my heart. Things were great with H this weekend and yet...I am terrified. waiting, always waiting for something bad to happen...I wasnt like this before DDAY. I wasnt like this before i lost my boss and the whole world changed I wasnt like this before H assulted me and I was raped by the man I cheated on my husband with ...and his friends...I wasnt like this and then somehow I lost control of life and now I am scared.. Now I am scared all the time...

Sometimes I fake it pretty good, act like I am normal. But always there is fear of the unknown. Always there is fear of the next bad thing. fearing fear itself....

when things are going good the panic and fear gets worse - much worse. I am waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

Most people thing I am a happy and outgoing person but in truth I am constantly scared and on the verge of an anxiety attack.

I know I am going to get fired today
I know I will probably get attacked again while I walk in the parking lot
I know i screwed something up and my husband will be unhappy when I get home

and sooo I am so fearful that I do forget and my husband gets angry
I am so upset I screw up on the job and my boss gets upset and well

while i dont get attacked in the parking lot = it lends to the stress that then causes the other areas to fail.

Most of the time I desperatly wish I could stay home with my family where I feel safe (most of the time). i hate having to go to the office because I do not feel safe away from home.

- zoloft doesnt seem to be working and i dont like taking drugs anyway...


Edited by SisteReed (12/13/10 06:42 PM)

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#35201 - 12/13/10 06:54 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: Amadahy]
herfuturesbright
Member

Registered: 09/15/10
Posts: 17282
Loc: The Castle Aaaggghh...
(((SR)))

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#35212 - 12/13/10 07:20 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: herfuturesbright]
believer
Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 20510
SR - Glad you made it over here. This stuff is really GREAT!

Thinking about and praying for you.

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#35213 - 12/13/10 07:23 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: herfuturesbright]
AlTurtle
Retired Therapist
Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 908
Loc: Northwest Washington State, US...
Ah. Sistereed. Breathe. Wow. No sense in telling a person is in a war zone that they are gonna be ok. Breathe.

Beautiful examples of how the Lizard works. It has almost no contact with reality. Each Lizard lives inside its person's thoughts. Your job is to feed it "safe" thoughts or perhaps temporarily feed it enough meds, or other activities, to get to be able to breathe.

I used to think of milieu-therapy, putting people into a place where they would breathe peacefully. Finding for each person where that place was. Sending them there.

When I was a kid I had a severe set of panic attacks after I saw a particularly scary movie. (Original B&W The Thing) I couldn't sleep. My parents took me ice skating each night at 8pm for a week. My Lizard was too tired for panic and I slept. Pretty smart of my old man! Still it left scars.

One mistake I made and found was to wait for others to make me feel safe, to address my Lizard. That waiting frightened my Lizard. I think it wants its own cortex to solve to problems, to take care of it.

Please give yourself (your Lizard) some Peace. Breathe.


Edited by AlTurtle (12/13/10 07:27 PM)
Edit Reason: Add an afterthought
_________________________
Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle

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#35223 - 12/13/10 08:06 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle]
TACticGAL
Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 1206
Loc: DFW, TX
In the last 6 months when I am with my partner I thought my lizard is not safe what percent of the time?
Scarily, almost all of the time... probably 90%. No wonder I ended up on the verge of a breakdown and having panic attacks.

The thing that jumped out at me when I read your article the first time, a month or two ago, is that my lizard was screaming at me that I wasn't safe, and I kept trying to reason with it that I was... but the lizard was right, his lies never stopped, and the behaviour that made me feel unsafe never stopped. I just was trying to make it alright with sheer willpower.

What percent of the time am I fleeing, freezing, submitting, fighting?
I think I freeze. Like OH, I don't do the rabbit in the headlights, but I will watch what I say and do, trying to not draw attention to myself or the problem

Or conversely, what percent of the time is my lizard playing, mating, nurturing, and doing creative work.
Very little... and until I read your article, I couldn't figure out why my libido with the now-Ex#2 was completely gone. And in looking at this question, I have gradually through this relationship stopped all my creative things, and lost sight of nurturing my daughter. I don't think I ever really knew how to nurture myself.

In the last 6 months, what percent of the time has my partner been lizard- safe: i.e. fleeing, freezing, submitting, and fighting?
He fights. With words, but it's clearly fighting, and probably 30%, with another 60% fleeing since I lowered the boom.

When I first fell in love, what were the percentages of safe and not safe?
I *felt* safe all the time with him at the beginning. New I see I wasn't really safe then, either.

But it begs the question, how do you really know?
_________________________
Let me not be so vain to think I'm the sole author of my victories and and a victim of my defeats. -- ze frank

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#35237 - 12/13/10 08:38 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: TACticGAL]
believer
Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 20510
I'm starting to get this.

The lizard keeps us alive, takes over in what it perceives as life or death situations, jumps to negative conclusions, is blind, has no sense of time, has full access to life traumas, and is in CHARGE.

So instead of coming out of the blue, or a symptom of weakness or craziness, it is actually trying to protect us.

Now, how to pat it on the head and calm it down............

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#35238 - 12/13/10 08:39 PM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: TACticGAL]
LadyGrey
Professional Attorney
Member

Registered: 10/08/10
Posts: 4557
Al, correct me if I am wrong.

Quote:
But it begs the question, how do you really know?


I don't think it is question of YOU knowing or not knowing. It just is.

I don't think I can reason with Lizzie. She knows what she knows. She isn't going to shut up. I ignore her and she just gets twitchier and hissier and changes colors faster than a neon sign at a strip joint. I can ignore her, but she controls my heart, blood pressure, eating, sleeping, and the acuity of my vision, hearing and eyesight.

I was seriously on the verge of driving myself to a psych unit and checking myself in for residential care when I first read this article a couple of months ago.

I don't think it is possible to over-estimate the importance of this concept in connection with boundaries.

On another site, I was continuously beaten about the head and shoulders to go do whatever my H needed me to do to recover from my A. The phrase that has stuck with me the longest was that I MUST INSTANTLY unilaterally disarm or had no remorse/regret was/am still foggy/W(sorry, I have removed the W word from my vocabulary).

Lizzie wasn't having that. No way, now how was she going to let me put myself in harm's way that way.

But I think that boundaries are the key to managing the Lizard.

Got to go break up ANOTHER fight between H and S15..... but I love this place and this topic and will be interested in reading what everyone thinks.
_________________________
Bidden or not bidden God is present.

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#35277 - 12/14/10 12:10 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle]
flowmom
Member

Registered: 11/19/10
Posts: 6821
Great article Al Turtle.

It's quite timely for me as I am working with a counselor on cracking a tough nut of a chronic procrastionation problem. I'm recognizing more and more that low-level anxiety pervades much of my life, which I assume is my lizard taking control. Also interesting is your comments about loneliness. A lot of my procrastination activities are currently about seeking connection, IRL, by phone, and on the internet. Makes sense that my lizard doesn't feel safe trying to raise two rowdy children without a partner.

I am going to try to be more aware of my lizard -- simply being mindful and telling myself that my lizard is in charge.

I'm in a new relationship and I find that I have various anxieties about it, not surprising I guess after the recent ending of an 18 year relationship. In dating I've found that some of my fears have been irrational (lizard overreacting). For example, I have a fear that my boyfriend will suddenly dump me even though I have NO reason to suspect that. OTOH, I have also experienced fears that seemed irrational to my logical mind that in retrospect were actually gut feelings that were on the mark (=lizard protecting me from an emotionally unavailable man who acted like he wanted a LTR).

So I guess my question is how to interpret feeling (emotionally) unsafe, to distinguish between "baggage" vs. "accurate gut feeling"? The lizard can act up for various reasons...is there any way to know?
_________________________
we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6

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#35320 - 12/14/10 07:24 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom]
star*fish
Board of Directors
Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 3940
((((((((((Siste))))))))))))

I'm hoping that you wake up to a calmer lizard today, and that some of the panic and fear has subsided now that you've had some time to rest. I'd wrap you up in a soft blanket and give you tea by the fire if you were here. Sleep is an important part of helping our lizards, so make sure that you take care of yourself. As someone who has experienced many similar traumas, my heart goes out to you and I know how scary it can be. I also want you to know that there is every reason to believe that you can befriend your lizard and feel safe again even if the world is still a scary place.



Al,

Feeling safe is so important to personal growth, that the consequences of ignoring our lizards can be crippling indeed, can't it? I have three children, and every night, well into their teens I would go tuck them in (or "fix their covers" as the older kids insisted). The last thing they heard every night before they closed their eyes was "mama loves you...you're safe...and I'm close by".

As a child...nighttime was not safe for me. Now that I've lived all over the world, I also know that nighttime is not safe for many of the world's children. So one way I deal with my lizard is to repeat those rituals with my children that would have helped to calm my own panic and fear. Taking the initiative to make them feel safe, makes me feel safe too.

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#35353 - 12/14/10 08:44 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: star*fish]
Squeaky Tree
Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 5352
Loc: Not quite here
Safety is important for really living life and for being able to contribute. I might be complicating things here but I'm trying to draw all of my thoughts together. Thinking of reptillian brains and basic needs led me to think of this

Maslow's hierarchy of needs


When I feel I'm not performing in life I will take myself to the pyramid and work out what is missing.

In biological terms the reptillian brain makes sure those physiological needs at the base of the pyramid are attended to.

I may be putting more science in to this than is necessary, but does that reptillian brain actually feature higher up the pyramid?


My other comment is that I don't like the fact that we can't blame people for freezing or fighting - if I do do that I do take blame - I take responsibility and know that I can choose to be honest....


Life and death matters - reptillian brain kicks is and we don't have a choice - twice when I was being sexually assaulted I froze...

But when it is just a case of stating that I want to go out to dinner I can then choose whether to freeze or not - my reptillian brain needn't be at work then. I don't need to say "What shall we do for tea tonight?" when really I mean "can we go and get a take out cos I can't be bothered to cook?"

I can choose to be honest and therefore I can be blamed for not being honest.


I may have got a bit off topic, maybe I have already friended my lizard and so don't see how it works???

Have I missed the point?
_________________________
Married 18 years (this year)
DD13 and DS11
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny

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#35365 - 12/14/10 09:03 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: Squeaky Tree]
Amadahy
Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 3472
What percent of the time am I fleeing, freezing, submitting, fighting? I feel like I am fleeing, freezing and submitting about 95% of the time, fighting maybe 1%...the rest is when I feel normal. But when I worked through the question below I realized that wasnt accurate. probably 50% - the panic attacks are just really consuming when they hit.

Or conversely, what percent of the time is my lizard playing, mating, nurturing, and doing creative work? okay so this makes me change my above answer. I knit about an hour a knit and that relaxes and calms me. I write a couple hours a day and this relaxes and calms my liz...oddly most of my characters are woman dealing with scary stuff and coming through. Currently working through a character who was sold into the sex trade as a child when then grows to be a mistress of a corrupt general and is now escape the country via through some pretty rugged terrain (think siberia) while bleeding and toiling for freedom physically she heals emotionally. (note - i had a very good child hood with loving and supportive family members, mom, dad and bro and sis - we are all very close). I also bake and cook alot which makes me feel good. All these things are done at home - so maybe the above answer is I am freezing, submitting and fleeing 8 - 9 hours a day and a few hours a week when H is unbalanced...rest of time I am knitting, writing, cleaning and baking which all makes me very happy.

In the last 6 months, what percent of the time has my partner been lizard- safe: i.e. fleeing, freezing, submitting, and fighting? He fights I think about 50% of the time. Seems like he is always angry, always has a hair trigger - he will yell at someone and honk his horn 2 or 3 times a trip. I have learned to close my eyes when he drives and just pray we get where we are going without an altercation

When I first fell in love, what were the percentages of safe and not safe? most of the time. His scent still makes me feel safe. If I bury my nose in his neck and breath deep then the calm washes over me. sometimes if he is being distant again I wait till he goes to sleep and then will scoot over to his side of the bed just so I can smell him...silly i know

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#35371 - 12/14/10 09:07 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: Squeaky Tree]
Amadahy
Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 3472
What percent of the time am I fleeing, freezing, submitting, fighting? I feel like I am fleeing, freezing and submitting about 95% of the time, fighting maybe 1%...the rest is when I feel normal. But when I worked through the question below I realized that wasnt accurate. probably 50% - the panic attacks are just really consuming when they hit.

Or conversely, what percent of the time is my lizard playing, mating, nurturing, and doing creative work? okay so this makes me change my above answer. I knit about an hour a knit and that relaxes and calms me. I write a couple hours a day and this relaxes and calms my liz...oddly most of my characters are woman dealing with scary stuff and coming through. Currently working through a character who was sold into the sex trade as a child when then grows to be a mistress of a corrupt general and is now escape the country via through some pretty rugged terrain (think siberia) while bleeding and toiling for freedom physically she heals emotionally. (note - i had a very good child hood with loving and supportive family members, mom, dad and bro and sis - we are all very close). I also bake and cook alot which makes me feel good. All these things are done at home - so maybe the above answer is I am freezing, submitting and fleeing 8 - 9 hours a day and a few hours a week when H is unbalanced...rest of time I am knitting, writing, cleaning and baking which all makes me very happy.

In the last 6 months, what percent of the time has my partner been lizard- safe: i.e. fleeing, freezing, submitting, and fighting? He fights I think about 50% of the time. Seems like he is always angry, always has a hair trigger - he will yell at someone and honk his horn 2 or 3 times a trip. I have learned to close my eyes when he drives and just pray we get where we are going without an altercation

When I first fell in love, what were the percentages of safe and not safe? most of the time. His scent still makes me feel safe. If I bury my nose in his neck and breath deep then the calm washes over me. sometimes if he is being distant again I wait till he goes to sleep and then will scoot over to his side of the bed just so I can smell him...silly i know

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#35398 - 12/14/10 10:06 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: believer]
AntigoneRisen
Board of Directors
President
Chief Technical Officer
Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 12429
Loc: The Dark Side of the Moon
Al,

With the link to the Power Struggle, I've found myself a bit lost in all the information. Do you have a link to an overview of the Power Struggle so that I can get a synopsis/introduction to it before delving into the specifics? I find myself wondering which article to read first.

I am reading the lizard essay now.

Thanks,
AR
_________________________
Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens

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#35431 - 12/14/10 10:56 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen]
Rich57
Advocate
Member

Registered: 11/10/10
Posts: 1250
So the way I read this we are all in charge of our own Lizards.
We really can not control the lizard of our partner.
I mean we might be able to scare it or try to calm it, but those are all short term solutions.
We can not control what they feel or do.
We can validate their feelings but we can not change them.

Am I on the right track here?

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#35442 - 12/14/10 11:10 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: Rich57]
OurHouse
Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 3027
Originally Posted By: Rich57
So the way I read this we are all in charge of our own Lizards.
We really can not control the lizard of our partner.
I mean we might be able to scare it or try to calm it, but those are all short term solutions.
We can not control what they feel or do.
We can validate their feelings but we can not change them.

Am I on the right track here?


Yes, but this dovetails with all the experts' opinions that you can only control YOU , anyway.

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#35444 - 12/14/10 11:13 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse]
believer
Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 20510
In the article he explains how to nurture your spouses lizard. You find out what means caring to them and start doing it - holding their hand, asking about their day, rubbing their feet (YIKES, isn't there a standing joke about that?)

Not sure how it fits if there is an active affair.

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#35453 - 12/14/10 11:24 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen]
AlTurtle
Retired Therapist
Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 908
Loc: Northwest Washington State, US...
You guys are doing great. What sharing! Let's see if I can lead the way into some more thinking.

  • "The Lizard" is just a mental model of how to deal with our built in safety mechanisms, probably the lowest level of Maslow's Hierarchy. I've found it very useful to be able to refer to it by name (Lizzy is good) and to think of it as a independent personality within me, given to me by biology or God, take your pick. I think it is an almost perfect part of each of us, much more reliable than our cortexes.
  • The Lizard cannot be controlled or managed or reasoned with. It has its own logic. It cannot be defeated. Fight it and you will lose. It can only be "friended." (Oh, it can be drugged!)
  • Friending involves getting to know it/her/him, validating it, and nurturing it. Fortunately we all have these enormous cortexes where we can do a lot of thinking and planning and learning. I believe a Lizard's best friend is a friendly Cortex, right next door. A Lizard's worst nightmare is a blind, negligent, or downright hostile Cortex.
  • By friending your Lizard and helping others to friend their Lizards, you get to live a more peaceful and happy life. The task of "making your partner/self feel safe" refers to doing things that comfort their/your Lizard.
  • The "reactivity" of the Lizard underlies almost all relationship troubles. Calming or soothing the Lizard is critical to being able to solve all the other stuff. No one falls in love with the agenda of being scared. Soothing both Lizards is critical. "First calm the Lizards."

  • Some things I've learned. My Lizard can be comforted. Often it likes to be addressed or noticed. ("Say, how's your Lizard doing?" "How did your Lizard handle that?" "My Lizard is getting aroused." "My Lizard needs some quiet time. So I am taking it for a walk." etc.) In general Lizards seem to be comforted by structure and slowing down. They love Predictive Information and A Sense of Control.

  • An oddity is that Lizards seem to communicate directly with each other. If my Lizard is reacting, that will kick off my partner's Lizard. Thus the only way to calm your Lizard is to simultaneously calm their Lizard or to get out of their presence. I learned that I couldn't calm my partner by lying (Freezing) to her. Her Lizard would detect the lying.
  • My memory is that when we, Sandra and I, started working on our Lizards we were about 95% unsafe. During dating we were the opposite at about 95% safe. At this point, today, we are somewhere near 97% safe and we know how to do it.

  • My Lizard loves comfort food, sunshine on grass, warm baths, information about how things work, children at play, Disney . How about your's?


These are just some thoughts.

Oh and to my friend, AR, the Power Struggle is probably best studied in my Map of Relationships which shows up in another topic on my Whiteboard - Interesting Roadmap.
_________________________
Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle

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#35464 - 12/14/10 11:32 AM Re: Topic 1: "Friend your Lizard(s)" - Building Trust [Re: believer]
AlTurtle
Retired Therapist
Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 908
Loc: Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: believer
Not sure how it fits if there is an active affair.


Just a quickie. Probably inattention to Lizards is a core source of an active affair. A rule of thumb can be "People never leave where they feel safe." Affairs probably start with Lizard unsafety. Certainly won't be repaired w/o Lizard safety.
_________________________
Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle

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