This talk is a short excerpt from a private Zoom seminar in May 2020 as part of the Aura Mastermind. The accompanying text for this seminar is Richard Schwartz, “You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For”:


For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D., has helped hundreds of thousands of people from over 87 countries find happiness, success, and fulfillment in their social, professional, and love lives. His presentations – whether keynotes, seminars, or workshops – leave clients with insights into their behavior, psychology, and keys to their empowerment. His training methodologies are the result of over a decade of coaching and education of thousands of students around the world. Subscribe now.

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What An Unconditional Love Relationship Is Like Between Two True Selves Shownotes

1:02 David Tian Ph.D. explains how our various parts work in a relationship

9:28 What are exiled parts of ourselves?

15:52 This happens when you are the primary source of love for your parts

17:59 The three ways your most vulnerable parts were exiled

24:03 What qualities do we lose when parts of us are exiled?

26:00 This is how exiles feel in an intimate relationship

32:48 What extreme belief do our parts have about intimate relationships?

41:15 How attachment re-injuries impact our intimate relationships

46:55 How your partner can become your “tor-mentor”

50:49 The problem with our exiled parts

53:30 The solution to the problem with our exiled parts

56:08 Two major types of love

1:00:53 Common manifestations of protective parts in intimate relationships

1:03:22 Relationship troubleshooting issues to look out for


What An Unconditional Love Relationship Is Like Between Two True Selves

  • David Tian Ph.D. talks about why whe have exiled parts within us.

    There are qualities that we lose due to our exiled parts, David Tian Ph.D. tells us what they are.

  • David Tian Ph.D. describes how exiles are in a relationship.

    There are some problems caused by our exiled parts, David Tian Ph.D. reveals them.

  • In this discussion, David Tian Ph.D. explains how to deal with our exiled parts.

DAVID TIAN: The next slide is called the magical kitchen metaphor, that you, your part in intimate relationships, and you might have heard this cliché bandied about, maybe even by highly-respected psychotherapists, or myself. The cliché of: You can’t really love another person until you love yourself. In fact, in the Legendary coaching group, we’ve done book analyses on a lot of the books I’ve been referencing here, including the shorts and sweezey [sp] book. And also, the book entitled Loving Yourself, books like that.

This is actually true, even though it’s a cliché. But it’s important to understand how it’s true. How is it true that you’ve got to love yourself before you can love another person? And it’s a lot more complex than most people think it is, what it means to actually love yourself to be successful in a relationship. So, the magical kitchen…maybe it’s not even a metaphor. It’s probably the wrong word here but it’s sort of like we’re going to use this as a kind of analogy, the boundless fountain of love from which your parts can draw is this magical kitchen.

Here’s the analogy for how our parts work in relationships. So, imagine that there is a mother, or let’s say a father, and you have these kids. And in the magical kitchen, you serve healthy, nutritious, delicious food to your kids. And they never have to pine away or crave any other foods because they’re getting delicious and nutritious foods, and whenever they are needed or at the right times that they should eat for their nutritional needs, they have the food met and there for them, you cook it for them and prepare for them really well.

So then when somebody, a woman, walks up and knocks on the door, and wants to share a meal with you and your kids, and you see that she’s got kids of her own, and she brings overall some more healthy nutritious food, you all have sort of like a potluck, the two of you, and your kids together, and you all eat together. Everything’s great and everyone eats even more nutritious food, different flavors now that maybe recipes you don’t know how to cook and she does. It’s all healthy and nutritious.

Now, that’s a healthy relationship. So, the analogy here is obviously, hopefully it’s obvious, the father and mother are the true selves of two individuals, and the kids are their various parts, including both protector and inner child part. So, you as the father are able to meet the needs of all of your parts. And when you meet in a relationship with another person who is doing the same thing, it’s this beautiful time of magical kitchen. Whenever the kids need food, they get it, and it’s healthy and nutritious, and now you can share and meet in each other’s needs so that you, as a dad, are also feeding her kids your healthy, nutritious food, and she’s feeding your kids her healthy, nutritious food, and it’s all great. So, you’ve just doubled the fun and doubled the healthy, nutritious food, okay.

So, what about in most cases? Maybe somewhere between, 80-90% of relationships… This is not a scientific number for me, but just – just from what I’ve seen, I would be surprised if it’s, uh, less than 80% of relationships these days. It’s more like this, where you as the dad are afraid that these kids who… There are some kids who just keep craving candy, or junk food, and you can’t meet that. So, you end up… Because they’re disrupting all the other kids, you end up locking them up in the basement, so there’s some kids who are just in the basement, maybe rattling the door knob, trying to get out because they want to have, I don’t know, fried chicken, and donuts, and whatever, right? Some junk food and candy.

And in the meantime, you’re trying to prepare food for those that aren’t craving that, but you’re not a very good cook either. So, you’re just serving up like this slop, because that’s all you know how to do right now, and you’re just afraid. Then comes knocking on the door a woman, who it seems like she has healthy nutritious food, but it turns out it’s junk food and candy. And as she’s bringing this out, saying, “Would you like some of this candy, kids?” You know, a part of you is saying, “We shouldn’t eat this candy because we’ve heard that it’s bad.”

But those kids in the basement are just rattling the door even louder because they can smell the candy, or they hear about it, and start breaking the door, and now this lady comes in because you’re like, “Oh shoot, man. The kids really want to meet this girl with all this candy.” So, what ends up happening is, the girl comes into the home here with her kids, and they’re also craving candy and all this other stuff. And now, you’ve just doubled the chaos and pandemonium, and something – at some point, those kids that you’ve locked up in the basement break through the door.

Now, some of the other kids who are tasked with controlling the basement door, making sure it keeps closed, are now freaking out. And then the big tough ones are like, “You other kids are supposed to be watching the door. You failed.” And they take over and they start tackling some of the kids from the basement, the basement exile, so to speak. And it’s just total chaos. All because that woman has brought candy and that’s what these kids in the basement are craving, and it just creates this chaos. This is what a relationship will look like over time.

What’s the analogy in this other situation where you have kids craving the candy? So the candy here is love, affection, and adoration. But at some point early on, these kids in the basement have learned or have had that warped, have had that desire for love, connection, adoration, affection, warped because of microtraumas when they were starting out, when they were even younger. And the attempt to keep it down is how most dudes live when they’re on their own.

You see some very dysfunctional men’s groups, some incel, MGTOW, this sort of thing where they go monk. It’s basically they’re like, “I can’t handle the potential fallout of any woman walking through my door because she’s just offering candy all the time. 80% of them.” To them, it seems like 100% of them are offering candy. I’d rather just be alone and never open the door because I can manage those kids in the basement, keep that door shut because the candy is not in the house.

We just have slops or we just settle for slop, but at least the kids don’t break out of the basement. Hopefully, you understand that analogy in that second case, dysfunctional relationship. In the healthy relationship situation, even before the healthy mate comes in and presents her healthy, nutritious food, even before that, if you know, along the way, 80% of the women who knock on the door of that healthy home, as soon as they see, “Oh, you have candy” or “You have junk food. Oh, okay. We’re not interested in that. My kids aren’t craving it because we have delicious and healthy food.” There’s no kids in the basement trying to get out to eat your candy, so there’s no problem here. We just say thank you, please move on, and we just close the door.

There’s no attraction. There’s no chemistry there. But the chemistry happens because of that craving for the love and the candy that they didn’t get before. Now, what’s the solution? Obviously, moving from the second situation, where you’re dealing with slop most of the time, and – and then the basement exiles are craving the candy, to the situation where that father is able to serve healthy, nutritious food because he’s in charge. And so, maybe if we take that analogy even – a little bit even further. In the second situation, it’s not that the father can’t cook healthy, nutritious food, it’s that the kids don’t trust him to cook. So, they just kick him out of the kitchen and try to cook themselves, these kids cooking. And they make shitty food, and it just turns out it’s kind of this slop. Alright, so that’s the analogy there. So, how do we move from second situation to the first situation?

The reason why it’s not coming naturally to us and why most of society isn’t working on themselves to move from that second situation to the first situation, from the candy situation to the healthy situation, is because of one of the dangerous myths that I mentioned. Well, because of the three myths that I mentioned earlier, and then in addition to this other dangerous myth, that our only hope for finding the love that our parts crave is actually from the outside. So, in the unhealthy candies case, the kids don’t trust the dad to make good-tasting food.

So, they either force them to make slop or they make slop themselves and kick him out of the kitchen. And then they end up craving candy because that’s what they got used to seeing as food, and they’ve never actually tasted healthy, nutritious food. This is why most people haven’t actually experienced or knowingly experienced unconditional love, because even if someone was offering it to them, they wouldn’t have recognized it because they’re looking for candy. Now, I’ll get into that later but it’s one of those things where you get used to, like a Pavlovian thing, your parts get used to love in a certain way.

Okay, moving onto the next slide. We’ve got your exiles in relationships. I’m going to go through this part more quickly, so please follow along in your slides. We have these exiled parts, the basement parts of us, that are loved-starved and vulnerable inner child parts. And these exiled parts become obsessed with finding someone who can “rescue” them out of the basement and out of their desperation, and they end up blinding the whole system, the whole household, to the other person’s faults.

Maybe I’ll use the analogy of the team. They blind team you to the partner, the potential love interest, or if you’re in a relationship, your partner, her falls, and that’s how they end up in this kind of neurotic relationship. Because your exiles are so needy and vulnerable, they’ll make you stay with that person too long or they’ll make you overreact to perceived hurt by that person, or they make you try to control the other person.

Hopefully, either you’ve seen this or experienced this in relationships. It’s very common. I’ve experienced all of these, by the way. It’s very common to see Hollywood depictions of a woman, sort of like a battered wife situation, where she’s staying too long with an obviously bad man. And that’s because her exiles are needy and vulnerable, and they’re used to getting candy. Because the kid are used to love being like candy. It’s unhealthy and the candy man is this guy. And they’re used to that.

So, they stay very long with him because he’s got the candy, even though he’s not very good normally, but he gives them a little bit of candy, enough to keep them desperate and staying with him. Overreacting to perceived hurts by that person. That’s another step up where maybe you’ll understand, okay, candy’s not good. Yet when she says something that really hurts, you go berserk and you go out of control. So, you’re triggered, and you don’t know how to bring that – bring it back. And now suddenly, it’s like life or death. Even though, if you’re in your calm mind and you’re rational, and you were to take a look at that maybe the next day, and you’re thinking, “Man, I really blew up on that.” And for most people, it takes multiple times, dozens of times for that to happen before they actually take that step of reflecting, that maybe they are triggered and out of control. Hopefully then, that will lead them to getting therapy, and a good therapist, who will help them with this process here. That’s an example. Every – Every single person who’s been in a relationship has experienced that if it’s an intimate relationship.

Or you try to control the other person. Here’s an example. A guy who is attracted to a woman because she looks sexy, and then over time, he starts to judge her sexiness and wants her to cover up or be different. Don’t be so sexy, and fun, and flirtatious, and have all this vitality because it’s threatening, because only slutty girls do that, or girls who flirt. In fact, it turns out that two or three years earlier, when they first met, that’s what drew him in to her in the first place. And now, he’s trying to control and dampen that down. We’re going to get into why that’s the case.

These are all examples of exiles in relationships. And here’s a question that I’ve gotten before when I do those little quote cards on Instagram, where you’re limited basically to 140 characters or whatever, that you can put into a square, where I talk about unconditional love and meeting your own needs, before you can be successful in a relationship. You have to be able to meet your own needs for love before you can be able to meet someone else’s needs for love in a healthy way. And I get the question: Well, if you can meet your own needs for love, then why be in a relationship?

Which at the beginning was kind of frustrating to me because, what? Why wouldn’t you want to be? Because I’m thinking about it like the magical kitchen metaphor of, you have all this great, healthy, nutritious food. Why wouldn’t you want to double it with a woman who brings her kids and their nutritious food too, and just double the joy? Because when it’s unconditional, it’s like a well that’s overflowing. You’re overflowing with water. You have so much, you don’t need to contain it or check to see if the people who take some of – your water, if they’re going to pay you back, because you’ve got so much. You don’t even need it coming back to you.

But then I sort of understood it because they’re coming at love like it’s candy instead of healthy, nutritious water or food. Here’s some benefits, to candy people, of why you would want to be in a relationship of love, if you are already meeting your own needs for love. Your parts can only connect in a healthy way with another person if they already have a loving relationship with your highest self. So, you, your highest self, becomes the caretaker, the primary caretaker of your parts, and your partner becomes your part secondary caretaker.

You now have two parents, right? Why wouldn’t that be great? That’s a benefit. She can be your secondary caretaker while your true self serves as your primary caretaker. And when you are the primary source of love for your parts, then they can stay calm and not panic when she distances, and they cannot fear being hurt when she gets closer, and they can allow her to be who she is rather than force her into being different, your imago. Hopefully, you know what imago is. I’ve done another free masterclass on what the idea of the imago, from Harville Hendrix, is. I’ve also done book analysis on Harville Hendrix’s book, Getting The Love You Want, on imago, the idea of being.

This is also predicated, or based on, or building on the previous work I’ve done on that. The name of that masterclass is The Secret of a Successful Relationship, and it’s understanding this dynamic that’s already baked into this presentation as well, that assumes that you know. We will be drawn to those parts of us in the other person that we’ve disowned.

I will actually mention that as we go further, but I just want to point out that I’ve done a lot more detailed talks on that as well. The mastermind guys watching this, you should know that pretty well because the first time I presented that was like 2017 in Cambodia, Siem Reap, at that summit there. So, when you are the primary source of love for your parts, then those three problems that I mentioned earlier won’t happen anymore. You won’t stay with a person who’s not in that right for you too long. You won’t overreact to perceived hurts by that person, and you won’t try to control the other person to be different.

And instead, you will stay calm and not panic when she distances. You will not fear being hurt when she gets closer, and you will allow her to be who she is rather than force her into being your “ideal” that is actually just a reflection of the parts you’ve disowned. The source of your unconditional love is the love of your highest self for your parts, the self to part relationship is the basis of a successful relationship. Your self, loving your parts is the only way you will be able to succeed in a relationship.

If you have a disordered household already in the magical kitchen metaphor again. If you have a disordered household with basement exiles trying to break out, the other parts settling for slop, and not trusting you, no matter who shows up, especially a woman with healthy kids, having healthy, nutritious food, delicious and nutritious food knocking on your door, she’s going to be like, “Woah, what’s going on in there?” It’s like, “Nice knowing you.” And she will move on. And this is part of how like attracts like. This is why a lot of the guys, she may even be seeing from the outside, like just from the windows of your house, chaos and pandemonium going on there, and she won’t even bother knocking on that door.

She’d just stay away from that neighborhood. And that’s one of the reasons why like attracts like. A lot of the more extreme men’s movements, I guess you call them MGTOW and red pill, and incel, are like that. They think that all women are these unhealthy types, like themselves, and that’s just because those with healthy, nutritious families don’t approach or don’t give any time, invest any time to those disordered households. So then you might ask, “How were these basement parts exiled in the first place? How did they get in there?”

There are three main ways. I’m going to go over all three of these so you understand how it happened. Once you understand how it happened, it’ll be more obvious how you can undo it, and heal it, and grow it. There are three main ways. The first is your vulnerability in its natural, innocent state, bothered your caretakers or peers while you were in your formative years. This is anywhere from 6 months to 36 months of your life, to even later. Especially if it’s a peer group, like maybe a bullying situation or toxic masculinity, that can extend up into your early teens.

Okay, so this is more common in men. This first way that this happens. This can happen if your caretakers were depressed, or in conflict with one another, so that there’s no room for your neediness. And instead, you had to worry about and caretake them. Or it could happen if they were neglectful and pre-occupied, so that you had to raise yourself or your siblings. It could happen if your caretakers were using you as a surrogate spouse to meet their needs primarily. This is enmeshment. Hopefully, you know about that. If you’re in our Rock Solid Relationships course, we have an entire module on toxic parents so that you can undo that damage.

Also, be a good parent yourself. This could happen if your caretakers were living vicariously through your achievements. Again, in kind of enmeshment there. This could happen if your caretakers were convinced that you had to be tough to survive, or highly competitive to thrive. They’ll say things to you, even when you’re a little kid crying because you fell down or something that, “What are tears? They’re nothing but weakness leaving the body” or something like that. “Now stand up, you fucking punk kid. Get some strength in you or something like that.” Stuff like that. That would also kill your vulnerability, or it could happen if your caretakers were ashamed of their own neediness, and were consequently verbally or physically abusive. Toxic shame.

This could also happen if your peer group was focused on being perceived as tough, cool, or macho. They exiled their vulnerability. Again, this first way is more common among men. The second way is more common among women. Your natural vitality disturbed your caretakers or peers. This could just be your playfulness, your spontaneity, but it could also be your sexuality. It could be through – you’re dancing, or just being kind of like wild, and giggling really loud, or that kind of extra energy, vitality, and life force, so to speak. This could happen if your caretakers were ardent  followers of a rigid, religious tradition that viewed various natural expressions as sinful. This could have happened if your caretakers were afraid to let you grow up and leave them, because they were highly dependent on you. Getting kind of enmeshment there.

This could happen if your caretakers were survivors of sexual or physical abuse, so that any sexuality or aggressiveness, or aggression in you, was threatening or frightening. This could happen if your caretakers were violent with each other or sexuality acting out, so that you became afraid of your own assertiveness or your own sexuality.

This could also happen if your caretakers were afraid of their own vitality, and were consequently abusive when you showed liveliness in that way. This could be dance, it could be any kind of arts, the Dead Poets Society example of acting, when the dad wanted them to just be serious and do med school or whatever it was. This could happen if your caretakers were convinced that to attract a good partner, you needed to be submissive or non-threatening.

And this could also happen if your peer group was highly aggressive or demeaning so that you ended up retreating into isolation. Okay, so this is more common among women, to have their natural vitality shamed and consequently exiled. And then the third way that this could happen that’s common in both men and women, your parts holding the vulnerability or vitality will hurt and became extreme because of the hurt, and then disturbed your other parts or triggered other people.

And this can happen if you’re displaced by the birth of a sibling, so you pouted, and tantrumed, and then were severely scolded. Or it could happen if you were secretly sexually molested, so you began acting out sexually with other children, and then were harshly punished. Or it could happen if you were attacked by a bully at school and felt as though you could never leave the house, and therefore you ended up locked up, or you locked up the fear so you could return to school. So, you’ve repressed that natural reaction.

Or it could happen if you were shocked by the sudden death of a parent and wanted to collapse with grief and never get out of bed, and then you ended up locking away the grief so you could operate. These are all different examples of how you can take that vulnerability or that vitality when it’s hurt and lock it up, because in some way, it was deemed or perceived to be unacceptable and was punished. So, to be safe from the punishment and to be able to be accepted by your peers or your caregivers, you ended up exiling them to the basement. Those are just some examples.

Now, we move into a few reflection questions for you. So, I’m going to ask you some questions. And if you’re watching this on tape, you can always just pause this and fill these out, but I’m going to ask them and keep rolling through: How did your parents, family, or peers react to you when you were vulnerable or when you were lively? How about when you were hurt and consequently acting more extreme? How did the reactions of your parents, family, or peers affect the way that you learned to relate to those parts of you that were vulnerable or had vitality?

Okay, so I’ve got those in the slides as well, just take a moment to reflect on you and how this has affected you, and how much this is true of you, how much you can identify it even without doing any kind of therapeutic work on it. Maybe you’ve already done a lot of therapeutic work, so you have already thought about these questions, and just priming you to think about your own situation there. So, moving onto the next slide. What’s lost when parts are exiled?

Our protective parts feel that we shouldn’t go there and should just like get over it, and then they never look back. These are the parts that are shoving the kids in the basement, locking them in there, and these are also kids themselves. Generally, just a little bit older than the parts that are exiled at that point. There’s that split, that the exiled part now, taking that vulnerability and vitality, that’s no longer allowed to happen, and they get put in the basement, and that protective part comes out and make sure that kid stays in the basement.

And our exiled parts end up in tremendous pain and need. What’s toxic are the emotions and beliefs, the burdens of these exiles, and it’s not the exiled parts themselves that are toxic. They’re in tremendous pain and need. Our exiled parts commonly carry our most sensitive, playful, creative, adventurous and spontaneous aspects of ourselves which are at the core of intimacy. So, if the exiled parts stay exiled, you will never be able to succeed in a relationship because those parts of you that you really need in order for that connection to occur at a deep level, that sensitivity, the vulnerability, they won’t be able to come out. So, you just end up having… I used to call it false selves with false selves, and from an IFS perspective, these are protective parts with other protective parts.

That’s not a connection at a deep level. That’s like a persona with another persona. You want to have the whole self-system connecting with another person’s whole self-system at that deep level. That can only happen when the exiles have been taken out, retrieved out of the basement, or healing and growing. And the protectors themselves are not in any kind of neurotic pattern to keep the exiles down, to keep that vulnerability down.

So the next slide is the power of exiles in relationship. How does this cash out in a relationship? You can see this in how fights escalate between couples. Her protectors hurt his vulnerable exiles because as you get further into a relationship, you know how most to hurt the other person because the more you know about them, the more you know about their source pots or whatever, right? So, her protectors, when she’s hurt or some kind of trigger happens, she knows how to get to his vulnerability, hurts his vulnerable exiles, which then activates his firefighter protectors. This is after he’s been triggered. Or maybe it might even be her firefighters come out, hurt his exiles. That activates his firefighters, which hurts her vulnerable exiles because they start hitting her where it hurts, and this activates more of her firefighters, and then it just snowballs from there, right, and just keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse. And this is where you get an argument about, I don’t know, something as mundane and simple as some remark you made at dinner, a group dinner or something, or maybe it’s just like over taking out the trash, or the dishes or something. And it turns into this huge fight.

The reason why it gets blown out of proportion is because once that triggering happens, it thrusts each of the people into the past. Because that’s where the traumas are occurring, that’s where they happened, and that’s where the neural pathways go. They basically bring you back like almost like PTSD, right? Hopefully, you’ve read some studies of PTSD. A great one is Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score. But hopefully, you know there’s a huge amount of literature on that. And you know what it’s like to go into psychosis so that when he gets triggered, the vet is actually seeing this room, in the hospital or whatever, as if he were in Vietnam, in battle.

He’s telling everyone, “Crouch down, I’ll protect you!” And he’s actually seeing that and experiencing that in the moment. And that’s what happens when the neural pathways get activated. It takes you back to that old memory. What’s happening is that if you’re reacting disproportionate to the topic of the fight or the subject of the fight, it’s because these firefighter parts and these exiled parts are coming out, and they’re all in a kind of time machine back then. They go back and react to things as if they were actually happening, whatever it was, 20, 30, 40 years ago. The more that she keeps pushing, her firefighters keep pushing at your exiles, the more you push back, that just snowballs and escalates and creates even more extreme protection and hurt.

In a situation where maybe you don’t have these escalating fights, because some couples, especially in Asia, just end up dealing with a chronic, background pain. Maybe they had these huge blowup fights and then they agreed that not even to talk to each other. So, they just live separate lives in the same little house or whatever it is, and they have different bedrooms. And they just go on like a partnership for the kids. This is a passionless relationship, even though they’re still married, we would consider this to be an unsuccessful relationship.

When this happens, when exiles, even though they’re not triggered, they still exist as a chronic background pain. They still unconsciously influence many aspects of our lives. They’re still in the basement rattling the door, shouting things out, and sometimes sneaking out, picking the lock, and breaking out, and then protectors are having to shove them back in. Maybe the firefighters aren’t activated yet in a big way, but there’s still this chronic, background pain from the exiles.

This happens also very commonly in single people. When you’re single, you don’t have that person knocking on the door very often. You’re not living with a partner who knows which buttons to push to get to you. So, your life is pretty steady. When you’re single, it’s relatively easy if you meditate, and you know how to take care of yourself, and that sort of thing, to stay moderate at a 5/10 happiness. It’s not incredibly happy, but it’s not incredibly sad. Unless your basement exiles are really coming out and you feel that loneliness. I know there are a lot of guys like that and I work with them.

But there are times when you’re single when you’re just sort of okay. You’ve got these plans for your career. You’re working out on a regular basis. You’ve got that whole thing down, and there’s no one there to constantly trigger you or push your buttons. But you do feel that background, annoying pain of whatever it might be, loneliness or the lack of love and connection. And what they’ll do is, when that single person wants to be in a relationship, they start to feel that neediness and that yearning that is coming out of the exiles. It can influence your choice of an intimate partner. It can influence your ability to be patient while searching for a partner. It makes you more desperate.

It could influence how much you cling to or try to control or protect yourself from, or even hurt by or become disdainful of parts of the person that you’re dating or that you want to date. You become extra sensitive to them. Or even just extra sensitive to rejection by a potential partner. Those are all caused by the chronic background pain of the exiles, so no matter what, whether you’re in a relationship or you’re single, the basement exiles are going to sabotage your relationship or attempts to get into a relationship.

Okay, some reflection questions. How well do you know your exiles? How do you feel towards your exiles? How do you treat them? How often do they take you over in your relationship? And where in the past have they taken you? How would things be different if you were able to care for them more effectively? And when they take you over in your relationship, where do they take you? At what time in the past? How far do you regress? What memories? How does this feeling remind you of previous times when you felt this way in your past, way back in your childhood? Not the ex from your 20’s, not even your ex really from your teens. A lot of guys who are just starting therapy, they think that that’s what’s causing it because that’s their most recent memories of this.

But that’s never going to be the case when you have these extreme emotions. They are always going to be earlier on when your brain was just forming. Okay, so these are some reflection questions to get you primed here. The next slide is extreme beliefs about relationships. I’m going to list out some of these that come from the exiles or what happened when you have a disordered household, the self, a disordered self-system. There are extreme beliefs about what love is. Exiles crave being loved but have been programmed to believe love is all-engulfing or dangerous, perilous or it involves a great price. You see this a lot among those more extreme men’s groups.

Another one is relating to the unlovability and the inability to survive as a result of being deemed unlovable. Evolutionarily, and still in some places in the modern world, if family resources are scarce, a young child’s survival will depend on how much the caregivers actually value the child. Disapproval can equal pain or death. The caregivers just don’t want to give the child the resources, or the food, or the shelter. So, we are born with a primal need to be valued, and a deep terror when we sense that we aren’t. This is even in newborn babies. It’s from the very beginning of life who aren’t held or have that skin-to-skin contact. They just give up and their chances of survival are a lot lower.

There are a few ways this can happen. Some parents convey to their child that the child is valuable only in a certain role such as a surrogate spouse, or a trophy child to enhance the parent’s egos. It’s very common in Asian cultures that are very focused on face, how they’re perceived, rather than how they actually are. So, they give the child this pressure to represent the family among comparisons between families and that sort of thing. Or the parents convey that the child is valuable only as a source of entertainment or distraction, or that the child is a savior of their miserable marriage, or that the child is an ally against the enemy spouse.

This puts the child in a confusing bind. The second way this can happen is that some parents objectify their child as unwanted burdens that have ruined their lives, make them scapegoats for their own failings as parents, or they make the child a target of their displaced rage, or that they’re like sex toys to be used and discarded. This also leads to children blaming themselves for creating their parent’s behavior. It’s easier to blame yourself than to confront the situation as a child that your entire existence is at risk, because the parent is evil or just so unpredictable.

Most commonly, this happens unintentionally by accident, because it’s easy for a child to misinterpret events and blame himself. I want to just take that one and make it a whole separate series of talks on how the average person, as a child, grows up as a child, experiencing microtraumas, and how that dictates how that person’s personality comes out in many ways. Some of it is genetic, but a lot of the ways in which there’s that variation within the genetics is determined by these microtraumas. There are these three ways that can happen that we develop this deep terror when we sense that we aren’t lovable.

I’m going to take a quote here from Richard Schwartz as an example. “Unless parents are exquisitely sensitive to and able to closely monitor and address each child’s reaction to family changes or traumas, it is inevitable that children will accumulate a sense of worthlessness to some degree. So, we all have this.” Even among perfect parents, I guess there’s no such thing as a “perfect parent” but parents who tried their best, it’s inevitable that the child will misinterpret events because he just doesn’t understand, he or she doesn’t understand all that’s going on. It’s very easy for a child to misinterpret the events and experience perceived microtraumas. We’re still on extreme beliefs about relationships. Here’s another one: The drive for redemption.

“Intense desire to have the caretaker or caregiver who originally gave you the message that you’re unlovable, that you want to change his mind or her mind, and show… And you want the caregiver to show you that he or she does, indeed, love you and value you. This then becomes a major factor in your unconscious mate choice.” And this is what Harville Hendrix calls your “imago.” This is a nice code word for this concept, that we’re unconsciously attracted to those people who resemble our original caregivers that we want love, and adoration, and approval from so desperately, and we perceive them to have withheld it. But are different enough from the caregivers back then that we think that there’s a possibility of this actually happening, that we can actually succeed on this project.

This is all happening at the unconscious level. So, a lot of tough dudes in their 20’s I would never have normally expect them to give a sense to this because it takes way too much self-awareness and vulnerability to recognize it. But hopefully, you’ve done some therapeutic work in yourself so you can see how this is true, or maybe you’ve seen it happens in others, at least, so you can theoretically assent that this is true for you potentially. And choosing or being attracted unconsciously to your imago can lead to a few different things.

It can lead to the tarnished halo pattern in a relationship where you become dissatisfied when your chosen redeemer starts to like you. You see this when it comes up like, “She can’t be that great if she thinks I’m hot” or “He can’t be that great if he thinks I’m hot.” Or you become dissatisfied when your chosen redeemer shows parts that don’t fit your redeemer’s profile or the imago, that you’re hoping that he or she will be. It might say, “Why is he crying? He’s supposed to be the strong one. I need a guy who is strong like my dad.” And so, they’re turned off by that part that doesn’t fit the imago that they’re looking for later on down the road.

So to get into the relationship, they see enough of it that they can become attracted. But then as they go a little bit further, it’s very easy for them to just flip-flop and have that tarnished halo, like, “Not interested anymore.” Another pattern that you’ll see is, dump before you get dumped, where you distance from your redeemer before he or she gets close enough to see how defective you really are. This is very common among those who’ve adopted an avoidant attachment style.

The final one is, it can lead to the normal methods for dealing with this, which are: to find a redeemer to prove your unworthiness wrong, or to distract yourself from it through activities or substances. Extreme beliefs about relationships. Final one is burdens from abuse, and this one is where exiles who are addicted to the fleeting moments when the perceived redeemer shows them love or protects them, and their parts believe they deserve to be mistreated. This will lead directly to abuse.

There’s also extreme beliefs about whether love will last. I’ve heard this one from a lot of guys who don’t believe love will ever last, that some exiles have been so devastated by losing the love of a caregiver that they give up on ever getting love again. Also, this can leave them with a conviction that the pain of losing love is so horrible that it’s better never to open up to it again. And then finally, this will lead to self-fulfilling prophecies or extreme beliefs around that.

These limiting beliefs about love often create the exact scenarios the exiles fear. Many victims of abuse develop the patterns of belief and emotions that lead to more mistreatment, so they end up accumulating more abuse and they get even more stuck in those patterns. Often, it gets even worse because other people blame them for their situations. You might’ve heard this. You might’ve said it. There has to be something she’s getting from being with such an awful bad guy. She must be enjoying being dominated or something like that. She must like the beating or something.

This is compounded even further by society. So, those are some extreme beliefs that develop as a result of having a discordant or disorganized self-system. Now, we’re going to move into how they relate in a relationship. Hopefully, you’ve also been exposed or learned some of attachment theory, Ainsworth and John Bowlby’s work, and you’re aware of or familiar with the main attachment styles of the avoidant, the anxious ambivalent, disorganized and the secure. If you’re not, I have an entire module on it in Rock Solid Relationships. I highly recommend you go through the attachment styles module in my course Rock Solid Relationships.

You can also just Google it. There’s a lot of literature on attachment styles. What happens in a relationship is, whichever attachment style you are, other than secure… So, if you’re avoidant, anxious, or disorganized, what’ll happen is that the attachment injury that you sustained or that you got to put you into one of those styles will end up getting triggered again. Dick Schwartz calls these “attachment reinjuries.” And these reinjuries occur when your intimate partner does something that reminds you unconsciously of what your original caregiver did that led to your exile’s burdens.

So, they’re reinjuries because the original injury gets triggered again as reinjured, and that’s why it feels so bad. Because back then when you were 6 months, 18 months, 36 months, whatever, 4 or 5 years old, it was almost like life and death. So that when you’re in your 30’s, 40’s and it gets triggered again, you’re not dealing with it now as a 30, 40 year old powerful adult who can take care of yourself and all that. You actually regress, like in the PTSD situation, and those neural pathways that were created or formed in that pattern back then get fired up again. You’re back in, that part gets reactivated, and the conglomeration of different parts get triggered as well.

So, you have the exile which gets triggered, feels the pain, and the protective part shows up and tries to keep it down. All that mess happens because of the attachment reinjury, which will necessarily happen when you form attachments at a deep level with your intimate partner. When this happens, you experience your partner as having betrayed, abandoned, or humiliated you, further solidifying the original message to your exiles that they’re unlovables. So, just further injures again. It’s like imagine that you’ve had a very serious injury, and then you didn’t patch it up very well at all, it’s sort of rotting anyway, and then you hit it again in that same spot, the thing reopens.

That’s how painful it can be. Imagine it keeps happening over and over. It’s just going to make it worse and worse, even worse than just being injured that one time. So, triggering in a relationship is a result of these attachment reinjuries, so these big blow ups, as well as those chronic pains that happen from the rotting of that original injury and the reinjuries that occur over and over. Okay, so next slide here is triggers, trailheads, and tormentors. Nice alliteration. Trailheads is a really great way of putting it. I think this is Dick Schwartz’s turn of phrase.

And the reason being, I used to talk about in terms of bread crumbs, like in Hansel and Gretel, and same sort of idea. You see the beginning of a trail that you didn’t see before. So you see, “Oh, there’s some kind of trail here.” And you need to follow that trail to find the source, to find the gingerbread house or whatever. You’re looking for those… Or actually, Hansel and Gretel is the other way around to try and get back home, and so they have the breadcrumbs. Either way, at the beginning of the trail, you follow the trail to the source or the end of the trail, to find the gold.

That’s when you get triggered, the trailhead because it’s a clue, it’s a symptom, it’s a sign post to the original pain that you didn’t even know you had. So, you need to get triggered in order to find the trailhead, to follow the trail back, to heal the exile that’s in pain that you didn’t even know was there. You just felt the pain of the exile but you didn’t know where the exile was, what was the cause of the pain, and all of that. You can’t even attend to it, let alone heal or grow this exile, to retrieve it, unburden it from its pain. Until that happens, you’re just going to keep having this exile sabotage your relationships.

When one or both of you gets hurt, what you can do is you both focus inside and find the parts involved, instead of attacking on the outside to the other person, you stop, you go inside yourself. Often, that means you close your eyes and you try to locate the different parts. It’s hard to describe. This is something that you can really just only experience in the therapeutic process, so I highly recommend you get IFS therapy. You can get it with me or with any of the awesome IFS therapists around the world. You can find them on the IFS therapy directory.

So, what you’ll do is, you focus inside so the both of you do that, and you find the parts involved in this situation, in this argument. And you witness what those parts want to show you about their current and past pain, and then you share your discoveries with each other. So, this is not something that you do like in the heat of the moment. In the heat of the moment, you want to separate so that you can do this work and tend to your parts on your own, and then come back and share what you’ve discovered.

That might be a day later, it might be an hour later, it might be a whole week later. It might be after your therapy sessions, but that’s overall the only solution because you need to grow. Each of you need to grow and tend to your own exiles that are getting triggered. Otherwise, none of the fighting, none of the arguing, none of the rational argumentation will matter because the exile is still in pain. Now, the good news is, by triggering you, your partner becomes your valued tor-mentor. This is a Schwartz phrase, term of art, tor-mentor. She mentors you by tormenting you.

Because if she doesn’t torment you, you’re never going to find these exiles. Or you could, but it’s going to take a long time. Because if you’re just alone, or you’re single, and you’re just living like okay kind of life, never getting triggered, no one’s getting close enough to you to push your buttons anyway, or if anyone starts to push your buttons, you just leave and distance yourself from them, you’re never going to get to work on that. You’re never going to find the trailheads, follow the trails, to the pot of gold, which is the exiled in pain, heal and grow that exile.

Without her triggering you, you wouldn’t be able to find many of the exiles that you need to heal. So together, you share a vulnerable and rewarding form of intimacy as partners on this journey of mutual healing and growth, helping each other find and rescue your exiled parts.

The next slide is the partner as tormentor. What your partner provokes in you is what you need to heal. When she hurts you, if you can focus inside and go behind the protectors… Or the proper process is actually that you locate the protectors that are getting in the way, or trying to protect the exile that is feeling the pain, earn the trust of the protectors… This might be a whole session or several sessions in therapy of winning the trust of the protectors. If you’ve never done this before, that’s often what you’re going to need to go through. Just to earn the trust of the protectors, so that they will stand back and give you the space, or point out to you where the exiles are. And then you go to the exiles that they’re protecting.

And you’re on a trail that will lead you directly to this very treasure of the exiled part, and your relationship then can help you access these parts that might otherwise take years of therapy to find and reach. Healing and unburdening your exiles will enrich your life enormously beyond just the relationship. They’ll give you that vitality, and spontaneity, and playfulness. As your protectors relax more, this will allow more of your highest self to come out and take leadership. And as your partner does the same, you’ll increasingly, the two of you, sense the self-to-self connection between you, with your partner, which is what real love actually is.

What I was speaking about before in terms of protector part with another protector part, which is so common, most guys are relating to other people as a false self, as a persona, even with their buddies, especially with people they are just meeting the first time. Which, when you’re at work, you might have a protective part to function at work well, and that’s good. Personas are necessary to make your way in life. But if you want intimacy. If you want deep connection, you’re going to have to go behind, beyond just the protector parts to get to real, deep connection. And a deep connection in a healthy way.

You’re going to need to have your true self come out and relate to others as your true self, or to be able to do that when you want to have that deep connection. And the self-to-self connection between two human beings is the basis of real love. And you’ll no longer overreact then to the dark periods in the relationship because you’ll now have this foundation of unconditional love between the self and the self. This is predicated on the already successful leadership of the self, yourself, to your own parts. The love of your own self of your parts, so that your parts, including your exiles and protectors, already have their love needs met by your true self. So now, the true self can then also connect self-to-self with her true self and her parts.

The analogy there of the magical kitchen, where two families come together – you and your kids, her and her kids, and now you’re all feasting together. Here’s a summary of the problem, and then I’ll give a summary of the solution. The summary of the problem. Five points: Because of perceived traumas through our family’s peers or culture, we exiled our most sensitive and intimacy seeking parts into the basement of our psyches. Having been exiled, these parts are starving for love. Second point: From our original attachment injuries, these exiles carry extreme beliefs. They carry extreme beliefs about the kind of person who can redeem them, what love is, and what they deserve in relationships.

Third point: Although exiled, these parts influence us unconsciously to enter intimate relationships, hoping to get the love they crave. They lead us to pick the wrong person, or become addicted to or stay with that person too long, or they keep us from being attracted to or staying with the right person. Point four: We also have parts that then try to protect the exiles by changing our partner, changing our selves to please our partner, or giving up on our partner and distracting or numbing. Finally, when your partner acts like one of your parts, your parts will relate to her in the same way they relate to that part in you.

So for example, when your partner’s vulnerability triggers your own vulnerability, you’ll overtly or covertly judge her as weak if that’s how you judge your own vulnerable parts. Or if we learn to view our assertive parts as negative or selfish or something, we’ll be uncomfortable with our partner’s assertiveness. So, these are parts that we’ve disowned in ourselves, and we will seek to control them or disown them in the partner when they come up over time. But ironically, the very parts that we’ve disowned in ourselves are what we’re attracted to because we don’t have that and we want that. But then when we become familiar with it and comfortable, now, we move back into our normal pattern of disowning it, of exiling that. So, we’ll do that in her as well.

A classic example for dudes is, you’re attracted to the Madonna whore thing. You’re attracted to the whore, and then you want her to be a Madonna. You’ll see that shift, where you’re attracted to her sexiness and her wildness. And then over time, you want her to basically be like a dude who is responsible, and on time, and all that stuff, and you try to control her to be that way. Because that’s what you did for yourself. You exiled those vulnerable vital parts in you.

Here’s the summary of the solution. Those are five points about the problem, and I know this is actually quite complex, I think, especially if you’re just listening to it, so I highly recommend you get the slides. For the guys in the Mastermind, we’ll be going over the reflection questions together afterwards, but everyone, hopefully, you’ll download the slides. Just follow the instructions in the description. Okay, so the summary of the solution, and we’ve got here five points as well.

The first point: We each have a source of unconditional love within us. Our highest self, or what Dick Schwartz calls our true self, or just simply “self.” Our highest self can win the trust of our parts so that we can retrieve our exiles from our inner basements and heal their wounds. Once the exiles are cared for, healed, and retrieved, our protector parts relax and they seize their neurotic patterns. We then become our own part’s primary caretaker or caregiver. That’s the role that is a healthy one.

Second, once our formally exiled parts are no longer locked away, and now trust our self, they are no longer desperate, needy, or overly sensitive. Thus, they let us choose the right partner and open ourselves up without the neediness, or the fear, or the protectiveness that haunted our former attempts at intimacy. Third, when our parts trust the self to be their primary caregiver, our partner is free to be our part’s secondary caregiver. Our parts learn that intimacy can be safe and rewarding, and that they deserve to be loved unconditionally.

Fourth, when our parts feel loved unconditionally by and trust the leadership of our highest self, they don’t have to distort our perception of our partner or take over and attack her. They can truly care for her needs because they aren’t starving themselves. Expressing affection, respectful communication, and sensitivity to the other’s needs all flow naturally from a self-led inner system. And finally, our partner can also be a valuable tormentor, a person who mentors us by tormenting us.

It’s difficult to find all our basement exiles outside of intimate relationships, because we often only become aware of our deeper pain and vulnerabilities when they are triggered by someone we love. You might’ve heard the saying, “No one can hurt you like your partner can.” As the relationship deepens, our partner will inevitably trigger us in a way that resembles how an early caregiver hurt us, and we’ll have an extreme reaction to this attachment. This is the attachment reinjury, this extreme reaction.

Only by following the trail of emotion to its inner source will we find the exile, our exile, in need of our love. So, we should actually be grateful for that triggering. That’s how you become stronger in relationships. It’s how you make each other stronger. Now, we’re going to wrap it up with the two different types of love. There’s one type of love which is fearful love. That’s love with scare quotes on. That’s not really love, but people think that it is. This is fearful. Not all mate selection choices are made from needy parts. Sometimes, protector parts override the exile redeemer search and look for safe partners who won’t trigger exiles, out of fear. They don’t want the basement exiles to come out so they look for a safe partner.

But such protector-based decisions end up trading passion for security. This is the reason why the girl keeps going for the bad boy and isn’t that excited about the safe choice that so many guys think that they are. Eventually, and that’s the case, these protector-based decisions, looking for security instead of passion. Eventually, you’ll have to lock up or disown even further any parts that want intimacy or any deep connection, including obviously the exiles.

This also means that whenever your partner shows vulnerability or insecurity, you will lose respect or attraction for her and let her know it in subtle and/or overt ways. Eventually, your partner will learn that her vulnerable parts aren’t welcome. Because you’ve disowned those parts in yourself. You’ll end up disowning them in her. Our parts will try to eliminate or tame parts of our partner that we begin to see as threatening. Ironically, it is often those same qualities that attracted us to her in the first place.

Abandonment anxiety leads some parts to try to exile their anxiety, so protective parts that don’t let us care deeply about our partner, or invest much in the relationship, or saying things like, “So what if she leaves? I’ll be okay.” This is the reaction to the abandonment anxiety that all these extreme right men’s movements feel, the incels, the MGTOWs, and the red pill, where they just harden their heart so that they don’t have to connect or get hurt as a result. The downside, of course, is that we end up numb or cut off from our hearts, from our emotions, and from our partner’s love or any attempt at love from her. So, we’re constantly dissatisfied. Again, these become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Here are a few reflection questions. What parts of you have you exiled because of your relationships? How much has your abandonment anxiety or other burdens led you to exile parts of your partner? And how do you think your protective partners and exiles affect your relationships. Finally, we move into courageous love. This is the term straight out of Dick Schwartz’s book, Courageous Love. This is a quotation from him. “What if we trusted that no matter what our partner did, including abandoning us, we really would be okay? Maybe not great, but okay. Not because we can cut off from our feelings, but because we have trust in our own self leadership.” So, courageous love happens when we are able to calm our abandonment anxiety by caring for our own parts. Only then can we truly love our partners because we can put her growth above our need for security. This is courageous love.

It takes courage because you’re not reacting or making decisions out of fear. So, here are some reflection questions. The first: Who are your primary protectors relative to your partner? Which of the three strategies do they favor? First strategy: Strategy A. Changing your partner through criticizing, contempt, threats of abandonment or violence, or inner grumbling about how bad your partner is? Strategy B. Changing yourself through self-criticism, placating, or being obsequious – basically kissing ass – and overly caretaking or solicitous so your partner will stay with you. Or Strategy C, giving up on what your exiles need from your partner through defensiveness and stonewalling, or dreaming of or finding another lover, or distracting or anesthetizing with such things as drugs, alcohol, work, TV, social media. Which of these three strategies are your primary protectors using?

Question two: How aware are you of the exiles those protectors guard? What are some of the feelings and beliefs those exiles carry with them? Common examples include the fear of abandonment, the feelings of worthlessness and shame, an extreme sense of vulnerability and terror, and a sense of incompetence, overwhelm, dependence, or neediness. Question three: Have there been times in your relationship when your protectors took over so thoroughly that you experienced being flooded with negative emotions? Were there times when you consistently rejected your partner’s bids for affection? Sort of like the opposite: You became super cold.

Speaking of protective parts, here are some common manifestations of protective parts in relationships. See how many of these apply to you. So, I’ll give you several here. John Gottman’s Four Horsemen. Hopefully, you know about Gottman’s research. Pretty famous, well-known psychotherapist and couples counselor. John Gottman’s Famous Four Horsemen, which are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. If you don’t know his research, I highly recommend you Google John Gottman and the Four Horsemen and read up on it.

Another manifestation of protective parts… Those are each different protective parts, at least four protective parts. There might be a protective part that does all of those, but often, it’s four different strategies and they often are the hobby horses, speaking of four horsemen, of particular protective part. Another manifestation could be intimidation attempts, including threats of abandonment or violence. Another is ignoring or refusing to make repair attempts. Another is feeling emotionally flooded. Another is feeling numb or an absence of love for your partner. And another is self-loathing or the urge to twist yourself into a pretzel to please or placate your partner.

Now, each of the following of these manifestations of protectors are common. The ones I’m about to give you are common at times in most couples, most relationships. But the problem is when they become chronic or dominant. That’s when couples are doomed. How many of these apply to you? How many of these manifestations of protective parts? Ignoring, rejecting, or not initiating bids for connection. A chronic absence of sexual desire, affection, interest in being together, or intimate disclosure. A chronic presence of urges such as binging, having an affair, shopping, sleeping, raging, and a desire for revenge or leaving your partner.

A chronic focus on a partner’s perceived physical flaws. A chronic presence of any of these types of self-talk, including self-criticism and fear of upsetting your partner, overly caretaking of your partner, feeling criticized or embarrassed by your partner, or a strong and constant negative judgment towards your partner, or jealousy and distrust, or desire to control your partner, or a fear of being engulfed or controlled by your partner, or ruminating over previous hurts from your partner and anticipating more, or a sense of being trapped or powerless, unless your partner changes, or the fear of being abandoned by your partner.

How many of those apply to you? Now, I’ll finish off here with the most common troubleshooting issues. One that is very common is the Never Again thinking. This is what leads to just complete shutting down. This is what happened when the exiles were formed or when they came out, were exiled. The thinking of “Never again will I allow myself to be…” This is what the protector is saying. “Never again will I allow myself to be that trusting, or that open, or that innocent, or that spontaneous, or that playful, or that loving, or that lively, or that energetic, or that loud, or that aggressive, or that assertive” whatever it is, ever again. And so, they exile that part of you into the basement. Never Again thinking. So, be on the lookout for that.

Also, be on the lookout for speaking from your parts instead of speaking for. This is something to learn as you get deeper into IFS therapy. As you’re able to get that separation from your parts and the self. But the self is now able to feel and know what the parts are going through so that he can speak to the outside world for the part instead of as the part, instead of letting the part blend fully and speaking from – especially when that part is in an overwhelming kind of flooded feeling, or in a neurotic pattern. Learning how to speak for rather than from your part during challenges, or during arguments, or fights. It becomes a very important skill, especially for relationships.

Another common troubleshooting issue: Talking about your own… It’s okay to talk about your own parts, but not your partner’s parts. So, until you have that level of trust, and even then it’s a very tricky thing, just stay with talking about your own parts. Here’s an example of speaking for your parts rather than from your parts. Here is two examples, or an example of how not to do it and example of how to do it. Here’s how not to do it.

“I see that your tantruming part is here again.” So, you’re pointing out, this bitchy part of you is out again, that’s your partner’s parts, talking about your partner’s parts, versus, “An angry part of me is triggered by what you’re doing right now, so let’s just talk later.” This triggered part needs some space, needs to calm down. Let me take care of that. That’s speaking for your parts and taking care of your own parts rather than attacking your partner’s parts. And then finally, the biggest most common troubleshooting issue is not listening to what I say over and over again.

So, all of the solution to all of your problems in relationships is contained, not just in this talk, in this seminar, but in the huge mountain of work that I’ve done on relationships, a lot of it on YouTube for free, and on our podcast, and this one I think is the best because it has encapsulated the whole shebang of how it works, summarizing the problem and the overall solution. Now, the actual walking through it and the implementation of it is to go and find a good IFS therapist to speed up that work. You can do it on your own. I just think it’s very difficult to do, just like theoretically, you could learn BJJ or martial arts on your own, which I think is very difficult to do.

I’ve never learned anything difficult on my own very well. And if I did, I got to a certain level, and then it got sped up so much more when I got a really good 1-on-1 coach. I think for me as well, learning IFS therapy, it was a completely different thing experiencing it versus reading about it from a book or workbooks. I highly recommend to all of you that if you have the means, you do find a good IFS therapist. Not all of them are good. I just want to put that out there. So, try out a few different ones, just email them. Try them out. You can do it even during lockdown or quarantine. You can do it just through Zoom or whatever platform, video calling you’re using. And experience it for yourself.

Not following through, not listening to me and not following through as a result is the biggest mistake of all. Feel free to listen to this on loop. It might take you multiple times going through it, get the slides. It might take you multiple times digesting the slides before it really sinks in and I highly recommend for anyone who wants to go deeper, we’ve got a course just on relationships. It’s over 10 weeks, 10 modules called Rock Solid Relationships. And if you’re interested in that, we only open it a couple times a year because there is a live support component to it, but you can write to and inquire about more, inquire more about it.

Those are the most common troubleshooting issues. As a quick recap, we went into what exiles are and how they are in relationship. We covered how your partner can become your tormentor, your mentor by tormenting you, and the solution of love, starting from the self to part relationship in yourself, in your self-system, which then allows for the self-to-self connection of unconditional love between you and your partner. This is the difference between courageous love and fearful love, and then we also looked at how protectors can be in relationships so that you can start to see and locate those trailheads that you can then follow back to the original source, their pot of gold, which is the very treasure of your exiles. So, that you can heal them, have them unburdened, have them grow together with you, and provide all of that vitality in those beautiful qualities to you and to your relationship.

Of course, this is a framework that comes out of IFS therapy. I highly recommend it, and I do it so if you want to do it with me, you can write to support at or just go to my website and poke around there and contact us. Or you can just look up the IFS therapy directory and look for a therapist in your time zone, and then email a bunch and try them out. Give this a good shot. Again, the biggest mistake is not listening to David Tian, so make sure that you go over this talk over and over again until it starts to sink in. Make sure you download the slides for it, and I look forward to working on this with you and to hearing your feedback on how this was for you, and any questions as well. Thanks so much for watching and listening wherever you are in the world. Be well. David Tian, signing out.