Emotional Fitness
discovering our natural healing power
by Janice Berger

Chapter Summaries

Part III: Unlocking Relationships

Acknowledging and using our natural healing power helps us to bring to consciousness the forces that are interfering in our present relationships. When we are unable to free ourselves from the personal binds in our relationships, it is because we are unconsciously gripped by our past experience. Trying to work out old pain in present relationships causes us to reenact our past. We set ourselves up for familiar feelings, a perpetual life rerun fuelled by hope that keeps us stuck.

The more we heal our past, the more we react appropriately in the present, the better we feel about ourselves and the better our relationships are.
Chapter 16
Life Partner Relationships: A Place to Grow

In this relationship we unconsciously reenact our past, suffer familiar bad feelings and unconsciously hope for a different outcome this time. We struggle to get the love, acceptance and approval that was missing in our childhood. As our partner "disappoints" us we get caught on old feelings that erupt from the past.

When we courageously engage our emotional healing power to unravel the knotted pain from our past, we free ourselves to enjoy a richer relationship.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• When we want change
• Dealing with differences
• Expectations
• The protection game
• Attraction to others
• Jealousy
• Trust
• Commitment
• Rejection
• Becoming aware of defensiveness
• Resentment kills love
• Verbal and emotional abuse
• When our partner is shut down
• The continuum from alienation to intimacy
• Stereotyping undone

Chapter 17
Parent/Child Relationships: Conscious and Responsive Parenting

The key to healthy parenting is knowing ourselves and taking responsibility for the health of our relationship with our children. Having children gives us an opportunity like none other to expand and to grow emotionally.

When we have children we cannot avoid the fact that we will come face to face with our past; children open us to ourselves.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• Valuing children
• Meeting our children's needs
• Parental need
• When our children trigger us
• Helping our children complete their feelings

Chapter 18
Other Relationships: Adult Children and Older Parents, Adult Siblings, In-laws, Friends, Peers, Employers and Employees

Acknowledging that our current relationships are influenced by unconscious, unresolved pain from our past is the major key to understanding the dynamics of human relationships. 


There is an opportunity for us to move to emotional health when we recognize problems that surface in our friendships. This can happen when we find ourselves:
  • Measuring ourselves in relation to our friends
  • Self-doubting, self-blaming and feeling inadequate
  • Gossiping
  • Feeling that "there must be something wrong with me"
  • Having unrealistic expectations of our friends; blaming
  • Feeling responsible for others' feelings; feeling guilty
  • Needing to be needed
  • Helping others to our personal detriment
  • Subduing ourselves for fear of being resented
  • Seeking approval, pleasing, trying to be perfect
  • Pretending everything is okay when it is not
  • Afraid of conflict
  • Fearful of hurting our friend
  • Overlooking things that hurt
  • Explaining and justifying ourselves
  • Unable to talk about negative feelings
  • Threatened by our friends achievement
  • Fearful that our friends will abandon us
  • Feeling betrayed
  • Confused by double messages
  • Walking on eggshells; withholding
  • Feeling unrecognized, discounted or closed off
  • Continually thrown off balance
  • Needing to be right
  • Not taking responsibility for our negativity
  • Finding fault as a basis of conversation
  • Needing to put the other person down
  • Being uneasy with silence
  • Needing to use sarcasm
  • Feeling locked in others' expectations
  • Needing the other person to change
  • Unable to be authentic

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