289 Mastering Relationship Dynamics w/ Kristy Gaisford

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Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Podcast, where we explore the intersection of wealth, health, and relationships. I’m your host, Krisstina Wise, and in today’s episode, I have an incredibly insightful conversation with Kristy Gaisford, a certified relationship therapist and expert in a specific type of marriage and relationship counseling called, Relational Life Therapy. 

Kristy and I delve deep into the challenges and triumphs of navigating complex relationships. She shares her personal journey of overcoming marital struggles and finding her path to self-discovery and relational healing. From practical strategies for improving communication, to the vital importance of self-esteem and healthy boundaries, Kristy offers wisdom that can transform the way you approach your relationships.

Stay tuned as we uncover powerful insights and actionable advice that can help you build stronger, more fulfilling connections in your life. Please enjoy my conversation with Kristy Gaisford. Let’s dive in!

Takeaways I Got From This Episode Were:

  1. Self-Esteem is Crucial: Kristy emphasizes that self-esteem is the foundation of all relationships. Without it, we are prone to tolerate behaviors that undermine our well-being.
  2. Healthy Boundaries: Understanding and establishing healthy boundaries are essential for maintaining respect and emotional safety in a relationship.
  3. Communication Skills: Effective communication involves not just speaking but also listening and understanding your partner’s perspective. This is vital for resolving conflicts and fostering intimacy.
  4. Personal Responsibility: Each partner must take responsibility for their actions and behaviors, recognizing that they can only control their own responses, not those of their partner.
  5. Continuous Growth: Relationships require ongoing effort and a willingness to grow individually and together. This involves both partners being open to change and committed to working on the relationship.

Here Are Five of My Favorite Quotes:

  1. “You don’t have a right to behave badly, no matter what somebody does to you.”
  2. “If we don’t hold ourselves in warm regard as a person of worth, we’re going to put up with things that we shouldn’t.”
  3. “We should be in charge of making ourselves happy, and not dependent on each other for self-esteem.”
  4. “A healthy, happy, fulfilling relationship is never going to happen with someone who refuses to change or grow.”
  5. “Couples that really grow are able to sit in the discomfort and see their own shadow and admit it, and then really work on it.”

Time Stamps:

  • [0:00][0:57] Introduction and Overview
  • Introduction to Kristy Gaisford, a certified relational therapist specializing in relational life therapy.
  • Focus of the conversation on marriage and relationships.
  • [0:57][1:23] Kristy Gaisford’s Background
  • Kristy’s upbringing with parents married for over 50 years.
  • Her naive perspective on marriage before experiencing her own marital difficulties.
  • [1:23][6:32] Personal Struggles in Marriage
  • Kristy’s challenging marriage and the ineffective attempts to resolve issues.
  • Discovering Terry Real’s training on the new rules of marriage.
  • Key insights from Terry Real that changed her approach to her marriage.
  • [6:32][8:45] Rocking the Boat and Seeking Change
  • Importance of daring to rock the boat in unhealthy relationships.
  • Consequences of staying in unfulfilling marriages, including potential health impacts.
  • Kristy’s decision to pursue relational life therapy training and her journey to understanding relationships.
  • [8:45][10:44] Post-Divorce Empowerment
  • Kristy’s self-esteem recovery and feelings of empowerment post-divorce.
  • The pivotal moment with her attorney that led her to focus on her career and future.
  • [10:44][14:20] The Role of Self-Esteem in Relationships
  • Self-esteem as the foundation of healthy relationships.
  • The impact of low self-esteem on dependency and boundary issues in relationships.
  • The importance of holding oneself in warm regard and establishing healthy boundaries.
  • [14:20][16:20] Establishing Boundaries
  • How healthy self-esteem helps in setting and maintaining boundaries.
  • The difference between compromising out of fear versus confidently knowing and expressing one’s needs.
  • [16:20][21:13] The Grid and Relationship Dynamics
  • Explanation of the grid and its quadrants (grandiose, boundaryless, walled-off, and adaptive child).
  • How childhood experiences influence adult relationship behaviors.
  • Recognizing and understanding the relationship dance between partners.
  • [21:13][24:38] Managing Triggers and Timeouts
  • The importance of recognizing triggers and taking timeouts to de-escalate conflicts.
  • Strategies for re-regulating the nervous system and returning to a wise adult state.
  • [24:38][26:40] Personal Examples and Transformations
  • Krisstina’s personal experience with Brad and the impact of understanding their adaptive children.
  • How recognizing and addressing their adaptive behaviors improved their relationship dynamics.
  • [26:40][29:11] Understanding Adaptive Children
  • The role of adaptive children in protecting oneself during childhood and how it affects adult relationships.
  • Strategies for dealing with adaptive child responses and fostering adult-to-adult interactions.
  • [29:11][31:30] Resolution and Repair
  • The importance of repairing relationships through real apologies and taking responsibility.
  • How adaptive children only seek to be right, while adults seek intimacy and resolution.
  • [31:30][35:47] Effective Use of Timeouts
  • Guidelines for taking effective timeouts to break the cycle of conflict.
  • Importance of returning to the conversation after a timeout to continue working on the relationship.
  • [35:47][38:43] Holding Space and Calmness
  • Holding a calm and centered space to encourage partners to join in resolution.
  • Avoiding provocative actions during conflict and focusing on maintaining a safe environment.
  • [38:43][42:54] Harmony, Disharmony, and Repair
  • The natural cycle of harmony, disharmony, and repair in relationships.
  • Emphasizing the growth that comes from resolving conflicts and repairing the relationship.
  • [42:54][47:50] Challenges in Couples Therapy
  • The importance of seeing the world through each other’s lenses.
  • The difficulty of growth when one partner is unable to see outside themselves.
  • The need for skilled therapists who guide couples through difficult conversations and behaviors.
  • [47:50][50:09] Effectiveness of Therapy
  • Challenges with ineffective couples therapy and the need for therapists to provide clear guidance.
  • Kristy’s approach to addressing unhealthy behaviors and fostering relational growth.
  • [50:09][52:45] Attachment Styles and Personal Growth
  • The role of attachment styles in relationship dynamics.
  • Encouraging personal growth and making conscious choices to improve relationships.
  • The hard work and humility required for genuine personal and relational development.

Mythbuster: Conflict in Relationships is Normal

Conflict is Normal: Kristy explains that all relationships go through cycles of harmony, disharmony, and repair. Expecting a relationship to be free of conflict is unrealistic and can set couples up for disappointment.

Growth Through Repair: Rather than avoiding conflict, Kristy highlights the importance of how couples handle and repair conflicts. It’s through these repair processes that relationships grow stronger and deeper.

Harmony, Disharmony, and Repair Cycle: She introduces the concept that a healthy relationship isn’t defined by the absence of conflict but by the speed and effectiveness of the repair process. Quick and sincere repair efforts after disagreements can lead to significant personal and relational growth.

Avoiding Catastrophizing: Kristy advises against catastrophizing when conflicts arise. Instead of viewing disagreements as signs of a failing relationship, she encourages couples to see them as opportunities to understand each other better and to strengthen their bond.

Practical Tools and Techniques: Throughout the conversation, Kristy provides practical advice on managing conflicts, such as taking effective timeouts, holding a calm space for your partner, and approaching each other with empathy and understanding.

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