There’s a catch-22 that happens in almost every long-term relationship:
The more intimate your relationship becomes, the more it triggers unresolved, unconscious issues. This may explain seemingly random explosions of anger over minor disagreements or waves of sadness and low self-esteem.
Despite our wishes, repressing painful emotions doesn’t make them disappear into thin air. Instead, they simmer under the surface, and pop up when you least expect it. The problem is, these explosions of repressed trauma can sabotage even the healthiest of relationships.
That’s the bad news.
The good news?
Well, there are proven ways to not only deal with these suppressed emotions, but to make sure that they don’t sabotage your relationships or mental health. In today’s episode, we explore these proven ways, so you can free yourself of the poison they bring when left unanalyzed and unresolved.
Want to improve your mental health, relationships, and discover how to confront repressed emotions so they don’t backfire on you and your loved ones?
Show highlights include:
- Why ignoring your “emotional fitness” plants the seeds of destruction in even the healthiest of relationships (1:13)
- How being vulnerable with women often re-traumatizes men who haven’t yet discovered their true self and turns off your date (even if it seems like good advice on the surface) (6:26)
- Does your neediness prevent you from making authentic connections with women you date? Here’s the only true way to get rid of your neediness (7:09)
- Why your false selves sabotage your mental health (even if they help you land a few dates) (8:54)
- How the therapeutic process brings all of your psyche’s parts into harmony and balance and unlocks the deep connections you’ve been searching for in your relationships (13:36)
- Why repressed emotions linger under the surface and cause explosions of anger at the worst possible times (and how to handle repressed emotions in a healthier way) (14:48)
- The “Emotional Self Sufficiency” secret that enhances your mental health, your relationships, and your general wellbeing (17:21)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:
Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform:
Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this episode, we’re going to dive into something that I know hits home for a lot of us, the power of authentic connections in dating and relationships.
Imagine a world where you’re able to connect authentically as your true self, not just with your partner, but with everyone you meet from the woman you’re dating to the barista who serves your morning coffee. This is so crucial because it’s about dropping the masks, the acts, and the exhausting mind games. It’s about saying goodbye to strategizing every interaction and just being your real self, because when you’re authentic, you’re not lonely, even when you’re alone. You’re connecting from a place of truth, not from a false self that’s desperately trying to cover up repressed or unaddressed core insecurities. [01:10.0]
Here’s the big myth that we need to bust today. The idea that most people or, quote-unquote, “normal people” don’t need help with their emotional fitness or their mental health, especially when it comes to relationships. This myth is as pervasive as it is damaging. The reality is, the more intimate a relationship gets, the more it’s going to trigger unresolved unconscious issues. We’re talking about those repressed inner-child parts in pain, the parts of us that we’ve pushed down but never really dealt with.
These unresolved inner issues, they don’t just disappear over time. They linger. They fester, and when you least expect it, they pop up and wreak havoc in your relationships. Maybe it’s that sudden burst of anger or that inexplicable feeling of sadness, or that unshakable sense of inadequacy. Whatever form it takes, it’s there, lurking in the background of your most intimate moments. [02:11.8]
So, what does it mean to be emotionally fit or mentally healthy in a relationship? It’s about being aware of these issues, acknowledging them, and facing them head on. It’s about understanding that seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s, in fact, a sign of strength. It’s recognizing that to be your higher self in a relationship, you need to be willing to do the deep, sometimes challenging work of self-exploration, healing and growth.
Let’s go a layer deeper on this whole authentic connection thing. It’s time to talk about false selves or personas. These are versions of ourselves that we present to the outer world that could be like the tough guy or the charmer, or the people pleaser, and these aren’t just random masks that we wear. They’re often deeply rooted in our past experiences or traumas, or societal or cultural expectations, or our personal insecurities. [03:12.5]
Maybe as a kid, you learned that showing vulnerability wasn’t safe, so you grew up putting on a tough exterior, or perhaps, to fit in and be accepted, you became the life of the party, always on, always entertaining. These personas, they start as coping mechanisms, but over time, they can completely take over, making it hard for us to even know who we really are, let alone connect authentically with someone else.
The most helpful approach that I’ve discovered to approaching our personas is the model called Internal Family Systems therapy, IFS therapy, and if you’ve followed this podcast for any length of time, because I’ve talked a lot about IFS therapy—I am a certified IFS therapy practitioner myself—you’d know about some of the basics of IFS therapy. [03:58.3]
In the model of IFS therapy, our personas are simply parts of us. This is assuming this persona that you’re referring to or thinking about is fully fleshed out and developed. Some people might want to have a persona that’s like a charmer or charismatic, or a persona that’s like a tough guy. Men who are struggling with women might think that they have a persona or a false self that is attractive to women, but most of the time that persona is just more of a wish and it’s not very well fleshed out, and as a result, that persona is not actually effective with women.
So, if this persona or this false self is not fully fleshed out, that is when you inhabit it or it takes over you. It’s not this natural, almost automatic character that you’re inhabiting, where what you say and do comes naturally. Then it’s probably another part of you that’s trying to act in this way. Maybe there’s a shy part of you that’s trying to force itself to be more outgoing but failing because it’s not that natural for that shy or introverted part to act extroverted. [05:06.2]
But I discovered through my several years as a pickup artists and that journey that I had at least three parts of me that really took to the seduction, and learning and practicing and mastering the art of attraction, that I had a part of me that was like a charismatic and other part of me that was like the rake, and another part of me that was like a dandy, and I had other parts that were more childlike that engaged in sort of fun, spontaneous, adventurous, childlike play, and they were all parts of me.
From a Jungian, Carl Jung, Jungian perspective, you could call these personas. You can even call them false selves, because none of them were my “true self,” quote-unquote, because the true self in IFS therapy is characterized by the eight C’s: curiosity, compassion, clarity, connectedness, creativity, courage, confidence, and calm. It’s important to recognize that that is what makes up your true self. You may not have even discovered your true self, if you think your true self is insecure, anxious or needy. [06:07.3]
Some guys have said to me, “When I’m my true self, then girls don’t like me, so I’ve got to be this fake Alpha.” Okay, so what’s this true self that you’re referring to? Then it turns out, they think their true self is this needy, scared, insecure, anxious part of them, and when they hear things like “Be vulnerable,” they think, Oh, I’m supposed to now be vulnerable with women and show—what IFS therapy would call—my exiles to these women on dates.
Then no wonder it’s a turn-off on a date, because you’re exposing your exiles to your date further retraumatizing yourself, but also turning off the other person because it’s very needy, because the subtext is “Here are my exile parts who have unmet needs that I have not been able to meet—and now, Date, please meet their needs for reassurance and acceptance.” Unfortunately, it is not your date’s job or responsibility to be your therapist—I hope . . . you’re not dating your therapist—and it is not her job or responsibility to be your higher self. [07:09.7]
The only healthy way to overcome that fundamental neediness that is felt by your exile parts is to access the state of your higher self, and for your higher self to be with your exile parts. If your protective parts don’t trust your higher self yet to relax back, or if you haven’t yet discovered your higher self, then a good therapist can stand in as your higher self for the time being, until your protective parts are ready for your higher self to step into that leadership role.
Returning to my seductive or attraction-oriented parts, it can be helpful to categorize these personas of ours, the parts of ourselves that we present to the outer world or on a date, to categorize them as false selves, because it just highlights for us the fact that these parts of us aren’t all of us. They’re just parts of us. [08:03.2]
For many people, they’re not even parts of themselves. They’re actually just pretending to be a certain way, but even the persona is not effective or well-developed, like it’s a guy being fake tough or being fake smooth, so his persona isn’t even working for him very well in the outer world. Then there are layers upon layers of falsity, right? There’s that part of you that actually is pretending to be another persona.
Unfortunately, the term “false” has a connotation of being a lie or fake, but if the false self is actually a part of you or the persona is actually a fully-fledged part of you, then hopefully, you understand what I mean by the IFS therapy term “part,” which is like a fully fleshed-out personality or like a subpersonality in Jungian vocabulary. It’s when we think that that part of us is all of us, is our true self, that it becomes dangerous down the line for our mental health. [09:03.2]
So, that false self, persona or part of us is just a part of us and not all of us, and it is not our true selves. Similarly, that anxious, shy, insecure part or parts of us are similarly just parts of us. They are not all of us. But all parts are valuable and they all have positive intent. But the only force that can meet their needs in a sustainable and lasting way is your own higher self.
This therapeutic process of discovering your parts, learning about them, discovering and accessing your higher self, this isn’t about fixing what’s broken. It’s about personal growth, understanding yourself, and forming deeper connections with both yourself—your parts and your true self—and with others. [09:55.6]
In IFS therapy, each of our parts that make up our psyche, each of these parts has its own unique perspective, feelings and motivations. These parts aren’t bad. They’re just trying to help us in their own way. They all have positive intent. But sometimes they can be out of balance, especially if they’re stuck in past traumas or pain.
Okay, here’s a real-life example. I worked with a guy, we’ll call him Mike. Mike was the typical alpha male on the outside, confident, successful, a real go-getter. As a relatively-young man, he had a Lamborghini, and judging by his Instagram account, you’d think everything was awesome in his life. But inside, Mike was struggling.
He had a part of him that was always pushing him to be perfect, to never show weakness. This part was born in his childhood where showing vulnerability was met with ridicule by his very strict parents and overbearing father. [10:51.0]
Through the therapeutic process, Mike started to understand this part of himself and he learned that this part was just trying to protect him to keep him safe, based on those old childhood experiences. But in doing so, this part was also keeping him from forming genuine connections. Mike always felt like he had to be on, that he couldn’t let his guard down even with his closest friends or partners.
As we worked together, Mike began to acknowledge and understand this part. He started to reassure it to let it know that it’s okay to not be “perfect,” quote-unquote, that it’s safe to show vulnerability to himself, first and foremost, that he can let his guard down with himself with his true self. Then as that process was underway, he was able to be with these parts that were afraid of vulnerability and the parts that were vulnerable, holding the pain of the message of conditional love and acceptance from his parents and from his extended family. [11:53.0]
As he was able to be with those parts that were afraid of the vulnerability, and then the parts of himself that were vulnerable, they felt safer around his own true self, and because they trusted Mike’s true self, when he was with his new girlfriend, he was able to slowly allow them to be seen, because they didn’t need her to meet their needs. Mike was meeting their needs.
When he shared with his girlfriend what was going on with him, it was merely like a pulling back of the curtain and reporting what was happening. But he wasn’t needing her to meet the needs of his vulnerable parts, because he was doing that. That was his job and responsibility. [12:32.2]
No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.
Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian’s “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.
Learn more about this transformational program by going to DavidTianPhD.com/EmotionalMastery.
That’s D-A-V-I-D-T-I-A-N-P-H-D [dot] com [slash] emotional mastery.
It wasn’t scary for these parts to be expressed or to be shown to his girlfriend, because they knew and felt that Mike’s higher self was right there with them. As a result, Mike began forming connections that were far deeper and more authentic and more courageous than anything he’d ever experienced before—and this is the power of the therapeutic process. It helps you understand the complex tapestry of your inner self, your psyche, the different parts that make up who you are. It’s not about getting rid of any parts. It’s about bringing them into harmony so you can live a more balanced, authentic life. [14:06.1]
Now, I want you to think about your own life. Are there parts of you that you’ve been ignoring or pushing away? Are their personas you’ve been holding on to because they feel safe or familiar? It’s time to start exploring these parts to understand them and to work towards bringing them into harmony and balance. This isn’t just about improving your relationships. It’s about becoming more in tune with who you truly are.
Okay, now let’s peel back another layer, revealing and managing the underlying unconscious repressed emotions, those feelings that we shove deep down because they’re too painful or uncomfortable to deal with, and believe it or not, these buried emotions play a massive role in our intimate relationships and our overall wellbeing. [14:55.2]
Despite what we might wish, repressed emotions don’t just vanish into thin air. They linger, simmering under the surface, and often they manifest in ways that we don’t expect. Maybe it’s a sudden burst of anger or an unexplained bout of anxiety, or nagging sense of sadness.
These feelings, they’re like uninvited guests at a party and they can wreak havoc in our lives, especially in our relationships, and this is where the therapeutic process comes in. It offers a roadmap for recognizing, acknowledging and managing these repressed emotions. Therapeutic coaching helps you approach these feelings with empathy, compassion, understanding, rather than fear or judgment.
Let me give an example. I worked with a client, let’s call him Sam. Sam struggled with feelings of abandonment. These feelings stemmed from his childhood, but he pushed them down thinking they were behind him. But in his relationships, these feelings kept resurfacing, especially the more intimate they got emotionally and physically. He’d get overly anxious if a partner didn’t respond to text quickly or he’d feel an intense fear of being left if she needed some space. [16:07.5]
Through the therapeutic process, Sam learned to identify the parts of himself that were holding on to these feelings of abandonment. Instead of ignoring these parts or seeing them as a problem, he started to understand them to see why they were so scared. He began to work with these parts, offering them comfort and reassurance whenever they needed it, and the change in Sam was incredible, remarkable.
He started to feel more secure in his relationships. Those old fears of abandonment didn’t control him anymore. He was able to express his needs and fears in a healthy way, which led to deeper and more authentic connections with his girlfriend, but also family and even colleagues at work.
This process of managing repressed emotions isn’t just about improving your mental health. It’s about freeing yourself to be more authentic in your relationships. When you’re not constantly battling these hidden feelings, you have more space to connect with others, to be present in your interactions. [17:08.0]
Now think about your own life. Are there emotions you’ve been avoiding? Are there parts of yourself that you’ve been ignoring? It’s time to start facing these feelings, to acknowledge them and learn how to manage them in a more healthy way.
All right, so let’s go a little deeper into a concept I introduced a little earlier in this episode. I’ll give it a term now, emotional self-sufficiency. This is huge. In the journey of personal growth, and especially through therapeutic approaches like IFS, one of the key milestones is learning how to meet your own emotional needs internally rather than always looking outside yourself through dates, or your girlfriend or boyfriend, or even just constant social validation.
Here’s a really handy and powerful way to think about it, inspired by Richard Schwartz’s work in IFS, who was inspired in turn by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book, The Mastery of Love. [18:03.8]
Okay, so imagine your emotional wellbeing as a kitchen. This is called the Magical Kitchen metaphor. In this metaphor, the kitchen represents your internal emotional resources. When this kitchen is well stocked, you’re able to feed yourself, emotionally speaking. You’re content, satisfied, and able to give to others without feeling depleted, and in IFS speak, this would be a fully stocked kitchen that can feed all of your parts. In other words, you’re able to meet the needs of all of your various parts.
But what happens when your kitchen goes empty? These parts of you start looking outside of you for someone to fill it, and this is where emotional dependency starts to kick in. You start relying on others, your spouse or girlfriend, friends, family, to meet your emotional needs. [18:52.6]
While it’s natural to lean on others—especially when you’re a young baby or child, that’s natural and normal. But, hopefully, all of you listening to this are adults now—an overreliance on other people to meet your emotional needs will lead to a host of issues down the road from clinginess and neediness to resentment and disappointment to emptiness and just a general lack of fulfillment and happiness.
The therapeutic process and therapeutic coaching focuses on helping you stock your own kitchen. It’s about accessing the state of your true self or higher self, that core part of you that’s confidence, calm and compassionate. When you’re in the state of your higher self, you can meet your parts’ emotional needs. You’re not desperate for someone else to fill your voids, because you’re already full. In fact, maybe even overflowing.
Okay, let’s look at a real life example, get away from the metaphors. I worked with a guy, let’s call him Tom. Tom’s emotional kitchen was, to put it mildly, pretty barren. He was always in and out of relationships, each time desperately hoping the woman would fill that emotional void, but it never worked for him. The relationships would start out great, but soon enough, the neediness would creep in, driving his girlfriends away. [20:09.3]
Through our work together using IFS therapy, therapeutic coaching, the therapeutic process, Tom began to understand and nurture his own parts. He learned to access his true self more often, and slowly, he started to fill his own emotional kitchen. He became more emotionally self-sufficient, less dependent on others to make him feel complete. And guess what? His intimate relationships improved dramatically. He was able to connect on a deeper, more genuine level, without any underlying current of desperation.
This journey from emotional dependency to self-sufficiency is completely transformative, not just for your relationships, but for your entire life and your experience of life on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t mean you no longer need others, but, instead, it means your relationships come from a place of fullness, not lack. When you’re emotionally self-sufficient, your interactions are about sharing and growth, not just taking and needing. [21:11.2]
So, where do you stand with your emotional kitchen? Is it well-stocked or are you constantly looking outside to fill it? Remember, the journey to emotional self-sufficiency isn’t about isolation. It’s about building a strong, healthy foundation within yourself so that your connections with others are more about mutual sharing and growth, rather than need and dependency.
Okay, so we’re nearing the end of today’s dive into the world of emotional self-sufficiency, but before we wrap up, let me give you a little sneak peek into our next episode. It’s about something that can supercharge your journey of self-discovery and improvement, accelerate it to the max, and this is group therapeutic coaching. [21:52.5]
“Now, hold on,” you might say. I know what some of you might be thinking, right? “Group work? How is airing my laundry in front of strangers going to help?” Let me tell you. It’s not just about sharing your story with others. Group therapeutic coaching, especially in the context of what we’ve been discussing in terms of IFS therapy, is a powerhouse of insights and breakthroughs, and real in-the-moments, in-the-present-moment change and transformation.
In our next episode, we’re going to explore how being in a group setting can actually accelerate your understanding of your own parts. It’s one thing to work on these aspects of yourself in a one-on-one setting or just with your eyes closed with yours by yourself, but in a group, you get to experience these dynamics play out in real time, often discovering parts of yourself you didn’t even know about or had forgotten about.
You learn not only from your own experiences, but also from the experiences of others as they’re going through their processes, all in this group context. It’s like having a multi-angled mirror reflecting parts of yourself that you didn’t even know existed. [22:54.3]
When it comes to interpersonal issues, such as being good with people or with women, or being more authentic in establishing real connections, group therapy is the best setting. It’s one thing to talk about being authentic. It’s another to practice it in a group and get real-time feedback on whether you actually are experienced as being authentic, where you’re encouraged to drop the mask and just be yourself. The beauty of this setting is the diversity of perspectives, the shared struggles, the collective wisdom, and the fact that it’s a true safe space to experiment, to learn, to grow.
We’ll also dive into how group therapeutic coaching can help you navigate the complexities of interpersonal relationships, whether it’s learning how to communicate more effectively, understanding different viewpoints, or just becoming more comfortable with being your authentic self in the presence of others. Group therapeutic coaching offers this unique environment to hone all of these interpersonal skills.
In our next episode, Get ready to discover how joining a therapeutic group can be a game changer in your journey. It’s not just therapy. It’s a shared adventure in growth and understanding. I’ll unpack a lot more of the hows and whys in the next episode. [24:07.1]
Let’s wrap up what we’ve covered today, we dived deep into the world of emotional self-sufficiency, unmasking our false selves, and managing repressed emotions. Remember, these are the cornerstones of building authentic connections, not just with others, but with yourself, too.
We talked about how personas often come from coping with past traumas or insecurities, how they often become fully-fledged parts of ourselves, but also how they can hold us back from genuine connections.
Then we explored the transformative power of the therapeutic process, and specifically referencing one approach called IFS therapy, and this helps you to understand and harmonize these various parts of your psyche, helping you to access more of your true self. [24:52.7]
Now, let me remind you of the stakes here. Continuing to live without authentic connections, without being your genuine self, can lead to a life that feels hollow, unfulfilled. It’s like walking through a world in grayscale, black and white, missing out on all the vibrant colors of the rainbow of true emotional connection. You might find yourself surrounded by people, but feeling deeply alone, because these connections are based on a version of you that isn’t real, so it’s all just surface level.
But imagine just for a moment, the flip side. Picture of life where you’ve navigated the therapeutic process, where you can connect authentically as your genuine self. This isn’t just about feeling better in your relationships. It’s about experiencing life in its fullest, richest form. It’s about conversations and communication that stirs your soul, relationships that nurture your heart and a sense of self that’s grounded and genuine.
Imagine looking in the mirror and not only recognizing, but loving the person staring back at you. Think about the freedom that comes from no longer needing to put on a show or trying to please people, from being able to express your true thoughts and feelings without fear. [26:03.8]
This is a life where your connections are deep and meaningful, where you’re not just going through the motions, but truly living. This kind of life isn’t just a dream. It’s possible. It’s within reach, and the journey to get there, though challenging, is incredibly rewarding itself.
As we close out this episode, I encourage you to reflect on your own journey towards authenticity. Consider the steps you can start to take to peel back the layers of your false selves and to begin accessing more of your true self. Remember, the path to authentic connection starts within you.
Thanks for tuning in to today’s episode. I hope it’s given you some food for thought and inspired you to take steps towards a more authentic, fulfilling life. Join me next time as we dive into the world of group therapeutic coaching, and discover how we can supercharge your journey to self-discovery and genuine authentic connections. [26:57.4]
If you enjoyed this episode, hit a like, a follow, or subscribe on whatever platform you’re listening to this on. Leave a great rating or review, and let me know what you think. I love to get your feedback. I feed off your feedback, so let me know in the comments below or send me a message. If this has helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it.
I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode, and until then, this is David Tian, reminding you to embrace your true self, to seek authentic connections, and to live a life that’s truly yours. Thank you for listening. [27:29.3]
This is ThePodcastFactory.com