Autism Hope Alliance Lectures, Interviews and Educational Events
- Event: Autism Hope Summit – 2016
- Media: Audio Interview
- Host: Kristin S Gonzalez
- Guest: Gay Hendricks (The Hendricks Institute)
- Theme: Conscious Loving in High Stress Relationships –
- YouTube: https://youtu.be/JXqZqyU2vC8
“Okay. I’m willing to take responsibility for what I’ve created in a relationship.” ~ Gay Hendricks
Kristin: I would like to introduce Gay Hendricks. He is the president of the Hendricks Institute. Today we’re going to be talking about creating conscious loving in high stress relationships.
Thank you for being here, Gay. How are you today?
Gay: I’m very well, thank you. It’s really my pleasure to talk to you. My wife and I have worked together for the past 36 years that we’ve been together. One of the things that we’ve done in addition to writing our books like Conscious Loving and Conscious Loving Ever After is we’ve done a lot of work with couples going through high stress situations and coping with loss or coping with a special needs child. And so I’d like to share some of the ideas with you about what we think that can help families stay together in the face of high stress type of parenting.
Kristin: Wonderful. How can stress of parenting special needs child be reduced? I guess that’s the first question.
Gay: Well, yes. First of all, one of the things that makes relationships stressful is not just something that happens to you on the outside like losing a job or having a special needs child. That’s kind of a stress from outside. But it’s how you handle it inside the family that makes the difference, because one of the things that people do oftentimes in an unhealthy way when they’re under stress is they resort to blame and criticism.
One of the things that we work on a lot is helping eliminate blame and criticism from communication so that people aren’t dealing out blame and criticism with each other on a regular basis, because that’s oftentimes what causes the pain and suffering that causes relationships to break up and fall apart under stress is that one person starts blaming the other one, and then the other one blames that person back, and they go back and forth in a state of blame until it becomes what’s called in the research literature “chronic criticism,” where it goes on day after day after day.
And so one of the most important things that we teach couples how to do – or even as a single parent, this is important also – is to have both people take responsibility for things that are coming up rather than resorting to blaming the other person. That doesn’t mean blaming yourself. It just means willing to take responsibility for it.
If you have two people in a relationship who are both willing to take responsibility for the things that are happening in the relationship, then you can help eliminate the chronic blame and criticism. That’s such an important thing to do, because many people when they leave relationships, if the researcher asks them, “Why did you leave the relationship?” one of the most common things that people say is, “I couldn’t stand being blamed and criticized all the time.” And so we need to find ways of eliminating chronic blame and criticism and amping up the level of appreciation and consideration in the relationship.