CNM 051: Practical Strategies for Communicating with Difficult People – with Beverly Buncher

Hey everybody, welcome back to the show!

We’re in the middle of a mini-series with Beverly Buncher, author of the book BALM: The Loving Path to Family Recovery, and in this episode we’re going deep into strategies and tactics for dealing and communicating with a loved one who may be difficult to deal with.

As a reminder, even though we reference ‘substance use’ several times in this episode, the strategies and tactics we’re discussing can still apply if your loved one doesn’t have a substance use problem. They can apply if your loved one is mentally ill, has a personality disorder, is manipulative in some way, or is just plain difficult for you to deal with for whatever reason.

I’d also like to remind you that if you like what you hear, and you want to learn more about communicating better with a loved one, in addition to her book, Beveraly has a comprehensive program to learn exactly how to do what she’s talking about today, her organization also offers coaching for the entire family, and she trains coaches with specialty in family recovery.

If you want to learn more about any of those things, just pick up your phone or computer and type readytobalm.com, put in your contact info, and I’ll have Beverly’s team contact you as soon as they can.

Alright, let’s have a listen to my next discussion with Beverly Buncher.

Interview with Beverly Buncher on Practical Communication Strategies

Brian: Hey, Beverly. Welcome back to the show. It’s so nice to have you back.

Beverly: Thank you so much, Brian. It’s great to be here.

Brian: In this episode we really unpack some of the strategies and practical tips that you’ve written about, that you’ve been teaching people.

We’re actually in the middle of a mini-series with Beverly Buncher who wrote a great book called BALM: The Loving Path to Family Recovery. BALM stands for Be A Loving Mirror.

Today, we want to expand on the previous episode. (You may want to go back and listen to that if you haven’t had a chance yet.) It’s a great introduction to Beverly and her story. We’re going to unpack some strategies from the book.

Let’s get into the first question.

Like you noted in the book, Beverly, getting clean is really just the first step to long-term sobriety in the case of a substance user. But it’s what happens in the weeks, months, years, and the decades following treatment that has a major impact on long-term recovery. Relapse is possible.

Question: The question is, at each stage of recovery, what are some of the most foundational things that we can do to help our loved one stay on a path of recovery?

Beverly: That’s such a fabulous question, Brian. It’s really on the minds of so many people when they have a loved one struggling with use disorder. We hear so often from families, ‘I don’t know what to say. I have no idea how to talk to him/her.’ They come into the BALM after having done nothing but criticize and experience bitterness, sometimes for years. They don’t know how to relate but it doesn’t mean they don’t love their loved one. It’s just that they’ve been so traumatized by what’s happened and so impacted by the attitude of stigma and more rebuke in terms of someone who’s different that they’re at a loss.

The BALM kind of flies in the face of a lot of the research about what happens to families afterwards. What we are seeing is that whereas the research says that a lot of times someone will get sober and then the family should expect some sort of at least emotional separation for good long while – and sometimes, the family doesn’t get back together, the separation grows and grows, and grows and everybody goes off in their own direction – we say and we see that it doesn’t have to happen that way. But when family members go into themselves, really work on an inner recovery, develop peaceful attitudes, loving and non-judgmental ways to connect with their loved one – that they learned through the BALM program – oftentimes, families continue to connect even in early recovery.

The key is for the family to stay connected to their own BALM recovery as the years go on because if the loved one experiences treatment, then leaves everything behind and just says, ‘I’m fine now,’ chances are they will have their struggles. Some or many of them will relapse. The family can relapse too when they don’t use their practices to help them stay peaceful and have loving conversations.

Brian: There’s a tendency for people to think, ‘Well, I just need this to learn how to set boundaries,’ (and boundaries are definitely useful) but there’s also a confusion sometimes I think with boundaries and what’s called ‘tough love.’I think people misconstrue those.

Question: Can you help us understand what the real difference is between tough love versus boundaries?

Beverly: I go into this in great depths in the book. But in a nutshell, ‘tough love’ is setting ‘boundaries’for the person’s own good; ‘I’m going to not talk to you until you get sober because you need to get sober, and you won’t get sober unless I stop talking to you.’ We call that unhealthy boundary setting.

When you punish a person for having a brain disorder, that’s just not how we roll in the BALM. We don’t punish people for their problems. Boundaries are something that we tell people not to set until they’re determined to stick to those boundaries.

We really abide by the approach that Melody Beattie talked about years ago which is, “Boundaries are the things that we set for ourselves.” They’re kind of the guard rails to protect ourselves; ‘If my loved one is stealing from me, I may not be able to let him in my house alone or I may choose not to allow him in my house depending on the situation. But it’s not because of him, it’s because of me. I don’t want to be robbed. I want to feel safe in my home.’

Now when a BALMer sets a boundary – and remember, this is on the basis of having studied the principles, studied the steps, practiced mindfulness, learned loving communication, and having a loving tone – they also think about, ‘What is the possibility for my loved one getting help?’ Here’s the boundary – ‘I’m taking care of myself and this means that it won’t work for you to be living here because you’ve been stealing from me. I’m not willing to lock everything up anymore.’ I’m giving this as an example, I’m not recommending it by any stretch.

There are so many things we can do before kicking someone out, so to speak. And I don’t like the term ‘kicking someone out’, before asking someone to leave. But let’s say that’s our only alternative. If we get to that point – and you can get to it rather quickly when it’s the opioid epidemic which really turns people into people we don’t know rather quickly – we always want to offer an alternative, meaning, ‘It’s not possible for you to be here anymore because it isn’t safe for me. I’m willing to help you find treatment. I have someone here to talk to you, to help you find a place to live,’ so we don’t abandon or throw out the person as if they’re worthless.

We set our boundaries to protect ourselves and we offer alternatives to the other person so that they’re not left without options. They may or may not take us up on those things. Again, we’re talking right now about an isolated circumstance that for a BALMer may come at the end of a very long process. When I say long, it might only be a few months but they’ve done a lot up until that point. Often we see that because of the BALMing that you’ve done, your family member is more likely to consider getting help as an early alternative rather than just walking away.

Brian: Yeah, that’s really a best case scenario. I think what a lot of us are after here is, ‘What can I do to help motivate that person?’(Not necessarily being tied to the result but…) ‘What can I do for myself that could motivate this person to want to take action, to feel motivated to take action? Because I can show them love, I can stop pestering them, and show them that there’s something beyond the drugs (or whatever behavior it is) that they can look forward to.’ That’s what’s so magical about what you teach, I think.

Beverly: But I do want to say something about that, if I may.

Brian: Sure, yeah.

Beverly: There are these two aspects; we practice BALM to get our lives back so that we can have a life again. At the same time, we learn these techniques so that we can give our loved one a greater chance of getting their lives back. When that’s out of balance in terms of, ‘Well I’m doing this just to make them sober,’ it doesn’t tend to work as well because we’re not authentic in our work. Does that make sense?

Brian: Yeah.

Beverly: It’s really about us. In the beginning, it feels like it’s mostly about them and we’re doing stuff for ourselves to help them. People get it pretty quickly when they see themselves starting to be more at peace and be happier. I just want to make that point.

Brian: No, it’s a great, great clarification, absolutely.

Question: Moving on to the family member or the person in your life that’s maybe having a disorder or the person who’s having a problem that we’re trying to help deal with here – why should the family members of (there could be many examples) a substance addict, somebody with a mental disorder, or any sort of situation that’s causing this sort of stress learn about the particular disorder (if it is a disorder) or to learn about whatever issue that person is dealing with? Why should we take the effort to learn about that?

Beverly: That’s a great question and a lot of families ask it. They’ve been going through suffering and pain and they’re saying, “What are you telling me I need to learn about this for? I see it right in front of my eyes and it’s not my problem. It’s his problem.” Guess what, folks? It’s our problem too.

Just like if your kid was on a soccer team and you like sports and you’re going to help them get better at it, you’d learn about soccer or you’d expect their coach to know about soccer and be an expert in it. It’s not that you’re coaching them but you’re learning a new way of communication. In order to understand it, it helps to understand what’s going on with them.

Educating yourself is critical. We have something called The BALM Comprehensive Family Recovery Education Program that’s dedicated exactly to that. It has three parts; information, transformation, and support.

The informationpart is tons of interviews, just like the one you’re doing with me, with people who will have experienced used disorders themselves or they have a family member, a lot of treatment professionals, persons like yourself who are experts in anything from codependency to different aspects of use disorder. The reason that it’s important for our families to become educated is being educated is a great motivator to change.

Oh, that’s what’s going on,’ ‘Oh, he’s not a bad kid, he’s got a use disorder,’ ‘Oh, she’s not a bad seed, she has a mental illness. Gee.’ Then we step back and say, ‘Hmm, wonder what my role is.’

Now, part of what we teachin the information part is what the role is. But in the transformation part, that’s where we go deep into the seven steps to be a loving mirror and practice the tools that will actually help them change; help us, the family member change and communicate in a way that has the best chance of helping them. Not everybody can do this on their own so we have coaches standing ready for people to engage with as well as group coaching in The BALM Comprehensive.

Brian: Excellent, thank you for describing that. In fact, later in this mini-series we’ll actually talk a lot about the program. By all means, feel free to discuss whatever you think is applicable here on the show – but thanks on elaborating on that, we definitely want to make sure people understand what all you can offer with your programs because you have various forms, fashions, and levels. Let’s talk about a concept called ‘leverage and limits’, something you discuss in the second part of your book.

Question: How can you use leverage and limits with those people we’re dealing with to contribute to recovery?

Beverly: Yes, wonderful question. A lot of people get confused with boundaries and leverage. They think that they’re putting up boundary on someone else. When you ‘put aboundary on someone else,’that’s an unhealthy boundary. Remember, a boundary is something you do for yourself that could have ancillary effects on the people around you.

Now, a leverage is a negotiation that you have with your loved one, often with their treatment professional involved as well, or if they have a recovery life coach, and you’re all working together to negotiate terms. Leverage is something you figure out with the treatment professionals, ‘What do we want for this person? We want them to be clean and sober. We want them to stay in treatment for the full term. We want them to be involved with the twelve steps,’ (whateverit is).

There are things we want for them that we feel will help them. Leverage is what we require of them to motivate them. Those are the things that they want; they want their car back, they want to see the children, they want the marriage to last, or they want money, for example. The leverage is, ‘You stay in treatment for X-amount and then we’ll consider X, Y, and Z. Or you stay in treatment, go to sober living, we’ll have visitation,’ and so on and so forth. It’s a negotiation.

On the other hand, we talk about limits when we’re dealing with minors. We’re required as adults and parents to be in-charge of our children. We set limits to take charge of our minors. We explain all about how to do that in the book. But most of the time with adults, it’s about leverage even if they’re living in your house. Because if they’re living in your house and they don’t comply, then you have to consider what boundaries you need to set for yourself.

Brian: Yeah. You have coaches that can help put this together and figure out, depending on your situation, how to use leverage and limits, right?

Beverly: Yes, yes. We are the first fully accredited coach training program through the International Coach Federationthat focuses strictly on family recovery. People who go through our coach training program are fully accredited coaches with a specialty in family recovery. We offer a package to families where they get a coach for a few months to a year along with a full year of the BALM Comprehensive Program so they have the education they need to understand the transformation through the seven steps, and a coach to walk them through all of this so that they have an accelerated process.

Question: Somebody may want to take advantage of those extra services. Let’s say for the person who’s listening now – if possible, if there’s a couple minute way to describe this – what can you take right away about leverage and limits and apply to your life? Is it possible to give someone a framework or example of how they can apply that for themselves?

Beverly: Yes. In the book, there is a chart on leveraging, I’m sorry I don’t have the page in front of me right now but it’s a really cool little chart. What you look at is, ‘What does your loved one want? What do you want for them? How can you use what they want as leverage to get them to do what you believe will help them?’Does that mean we have all the answers for them? No. It’s very important and we talk about this extensively in the book and in our program about getting a team together.

You have your family recovery life coach, your loved one has theirs. There may be a treatment professional involved, a clinical person, or you may have a therapist. It’s important that everybody be on the same page to make things happen. It’s problematic when everybody has their own opinions and isn’t on the same page. We’re very big on working together as professionals because when a loved one has different people saying different things, it becomes really easy to manipulate, triangulate, and make a joke of a wonderful process.  That’s just something we work closely with our families on.

Brian: In chapter six, you discussed the cycle of change, the stages of change, and how change happens in very specific stages.

Question: Can you describe the stages of change and why the way we go through those stages can determine the difference between success and failure?

Beverly: Yes. I would like to say that we use Prochaska’s Model of Change. The Prochaska’s were on The Daily BALM and actually edited and double checked everything we had in the book. We’ve been using stages of change for years but I called them up and said, “Hey, I’m writing a book. Just check this and make sure I’m doing your method right.”

Pre-contemplationis the first stage and you could say it’s like denial. It’s before you realize there’s a problem. It’s right in front of you but, ‘What problem? There’s no problem here.’Pre-contemplation is when you’re not even thinking about it (the problem).

Stage two is contemplation ‘Well, yeah, I guess there’s a problem. I don’t know. Maybe I better fix this. I don’t know if I really need to.’Contemplation is the ambiguity stage.

Next is Preparation; you realize there’s a problem and you have to fix it. You’re not quite ready for the change but you set a date when you’re going to make that change.

The fourth stage is Action; that’s when you’re making the change. Here’s a funny thing about that, Brian. Most people think that action is the change, but without a good pre-contemplation, contemplation, and preparation, most people will fall back three or four times out of action. This is a process that happens again and again.

From action, you go to maintenance. For most people with a SUD (Substance Use Disorder), theMaintenancestage is a forever thing depending on the severity. This ‘stages of change model’ is about any habit you want to break or any goal you want to set for yourself that involves change.

We apply it to the families. The Prochaska’s wrote the stages of change for the self-changer, we develop them beyond that for the family members. We describe in great detail what a family is like in pre-contemplation, what they’re like in contemplation, the kinds of things they’re saying about themselves and about their loved one, and what they are like when they’re preparing to make the change.

The first time I rolled this out and showed it to people, I was sitting on a call and I had three or four families out of the twenty who are there raise their hands and say, “Oh, my God. I had no idea. I thought I was there but I really need help.” The idea is some people can go it alone, and if you’re a person who can go it alone, go it. But if you need help, reach out because this is a process that for our loved ones is life and death.

They have a saying in AA and NA that there are four ends to an addict which are jail, death, institution, or recovery. We say there are four ends to a co-addict; jail, because you killed the son of a gun; institution – there are many psychiatric hospitals filled with family members who just couldn’t take it. They had a complete breakdown; death – because they died of a broken heart; or recovery – because they’ve realized, ‘You know what? My life is worth saving. I’m saving my life.’

Al-Anon has been wonderful in helping people save their own lives over the years but we’re bringing back the original idea of love applied not only to oneself but also to the loved one. We’re getting our lives back and we’re helping them get their lives back too.

Brian: Awesome. Let’s talk about the BALM, the program, the philosophy that you’ve put together here. There’s something you call a BALM Conversation and there’s also steps to the BALM. First, let’s talk about a BALM Conversation.

Question: How do you have what you call a BALM Conversation with your family member?

Beverly: Again, once we talk about the steps, you’ll see how it’s in a context. A BALM Conversation starts with a lot of pre self-care. You want to be in a very calm state, you want to have your conversations scripted. Then you start with love, ‘Sweetheart, I love you so much.’ (Tone is extremely important in a BALM conversation.) ‘Sweetheart, I love you so much. I’ve been noticing lately some of these…’ Then you describe the behaviors, just the facts. You say the facts and then you may state some concern, ‘It concerns me because I love you so much.’ Then you look at your watch and say, ‘Hey, is it time for lunch?’

A BALM conversation is carefully scripted and prepared but dropped into a conversation or a life together – that’s how I would put it. I showed it to an interventionist early on and he was fascinated, he said, “What you’re doing is you’re giving families the ability to have brief daily mini interventions with their loved ones like a drip, drip, drip, drip…Oh, there’s water on my head, I better wake up.’”

When families do this for their loved ones, sometimes a formal intervention just isn’t needed. But when it is, it doesn’t have to be a surprise intervention, it can be something that the family invites the loved one to because the loved one’s already aware that the family’s aware and that there’s a problem. The BALM conversation is a brief mini intervention that allows the family member to lovingly vent in a very structured brief way. I must say that because we (family members) can vent! (laughs) But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about actually getting the chance to say what we see in a loving way so that our loved one can hear us. A BALM conversation goes heart to heart under the radar of the loved one’s denial.

Brian: Yeah. It sounds brilliant as you describe it. What I picked up were three specific things; 1) go into it with a calm, loving, peaceful tone, 2) make sure you point to specific things, but then what’s really interesting is 3) don’t leave it so that they’re just sulking about it or sitting in it. You can say, ‘Change the subject, back to a light-hearted thing.’ ‘Hey, time for lunch,’ or whatever else. Don’t do the big production with a mic drop and then leave the room so they have to sit and dwell in it.

Beverly: That’s right. Now, you may leave the room because you may be on your way somewhere. But if you do, it’s not done with a mic drop but just a kiss, ‘I love you so much, sweetie. I’m late for my meeting now so I have to go,’ or ‘I have my BALM call on now,’ or‘I’m meeting with my coach,’ or ‘I have to go to work but I want you to know how much I love you.’ It starts with love, it’s filled with facts. There may be concern, no guilt, and it ends with love. Some BALM conversations need a boundary and we specifically teach how to set boundaries as well.

Question: Great. We’ve talked about a BALM Conversation. How about what you call The Seven Steps to BALM? Can you describe what those are?

Beverly: Sure. Those are laid out in the book and of course in more detail in The Seven Steps to BALM course that we offer.

The first step is be the peaceyou wish to see in the world. How many family members of people having problems say, ‘I just need some peace. Can’t you just give me some peace? Why can’t I get any peace around here?!’

Guess what? You can be the source of your own peace. In fact, that’s really the only peace that lasts. It’s the peace that we create within our hearts. Whether you use prayer, meditation, or mindfulness, it’s about becoming aware of a deeper quiet within you and around you and allowing that peace to permeate your conscious life and your environment no matter what else is going on. Be the peace you wish to see. Of course we teach a lot of techniques to develop that.

The second step is observe the world around you objectively. We’re observing all day. Most of us are not really aware, butwe’re taking stuff in. Observe the world around you. I developed that one because I noticed when I started my mindfulness practice that all of a sudden, my ability to observe the world around me in the moment was heightened. I could see things that I wasn’t even aware of before because I was quiet inside.

We encourage people on the basis of being quiet inside to see what’s going on. So your loved one walks in and does something that ‘only they can do’ – and everyone listening knows what it is that their loved one does that sets them off and gets you yelling at them. But this time they do it and you observe, you watch; no smirk on your face, no growl, you just watch with love in your heart and peace. You objectively observe what your loved one is doing and saying.

When you do that, when you objectively observe, you might want to jot some of those things down right away so you don’t forget them. But you also may notice that a lot of emotions bubble up, and those emotions are uncomfortable. They are the emotions that used to lead you to absolutely go off on them. But now you’re committed to not going off on them. We have lots of ways to learn how to objectively observe.

In step three, we have lots of things that we teach you to deal with the emotions that come up so that you do not have to be at their mercy. We’re not at our loved one’s mercy. We’re at the mercy of our own moods, upsets, and reactions. BALM is about moving from reactive to responsive. The first three steps are what we call The Self Transformation Steps and they’re lifelong; be the peace, observe objectively, become aware ofyour inner emotional landscape without judgment. We’re engage in that throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re more successful at it and sometimes we’re less successful at it.

We, BALMers, find ourselves coming back to it and working to improve it as we go. Then once that’s in place – and when I say it’s in place, I don’t mean it’s perfect, I mean it’s just the practice that we’re aware of – we start to work on step four which is document. Document what you see your loved one do and hear them say. If something’s a little off, you write it down and then you go about your business. You don’t sit and upset about it, you leave it on the page. Something else comes up, and you jot it down.

As BALMers, we’re not looking to nag – which is we were really good at before – but rather we see something, and we jot it down. If there’s a pattern of two, three, four times – usually three or four times makes a pattern – we continue the process.

We document it and then we script the conversation. We let our loved ones know there’s something we’d like to talk with them about and set a time to talk. We’ve scripted a loving conversation and then we set it up. We have a conversation at a time that works for both us and them. They need to be lucid for that conversation. If they’re not, schedule a different time without judgment. They do need to be lucid because as you may know, if they have a drinking problem or a drugging problem and it changes their awareness level, they may not even remember that the conversation happened. This is when you want them to remember.

So they’re lucid, you have a loving conversation just as we described it before. Sometimes it’s necessary to set a boundary in a BALM conversation. Before the opioid epidemic, we used to teach that ninety-nine percent of the time, a boundary is not necessary. It wasn’t. We were seeing people change slowly through the drip of the BALM.

With the opioid epidemic as virulent as it is now, sometimes it’s necessary to set a boundary right away. It could be a lot of different things but it can go from anything from, ‘You may not come in at three in the morning because it wakes me up for work,’ all the way to, ‘I can’t live in this circumstance anymore, it’s just not healthy for me. I’m happy to help you find help.’ We teach how to set that boundary as well.

Brian: Great. I’ve got four of the seven steps down so far; be the peace, objectively observe, become aware of your own inner emotional landscape without judgment, and then start to document.

Beverly: And we like to use the dragnet term, ‘Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.’ When documenting, you’re not documenting how you feel. There’s nothing wrong with journaling. Journaling is a great tool to help you find the pearls that could be documented, but journaling to get rid of your feelings is not what we’re documenting for this process. We’re documenting the facts of what we see so that we can help our loved ones see past their blind side which can give them their best chance of getting well.

Brian: Yeah, that makes sense. We’ve got steps one through four, there are five, six, and seven, did we get to those? Did I miss those or we still get into those?

Beverly: We did, yeah, five is scripting, six is a loving conversation, and seven is setting a boundary when necessary.

Brian: Ah, okay. Great, scripting, having a loving conversation, and setting a boundary if necessary. Awesome, so the seven steps to BALM. When you lay it out like that, it makes so much sense; one flows into the next, I’ve never heard these sort of ideas put together in this way before so it’s just refreshing to have something that seems like a common sense thing to do but you just don’t hear about it in this framework. Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s really, really powerful. You do expand on each of those in the book like you said as well. That’s wonderful.

Question: When it comes to just the facts like you’re saying, there’s a concept, a word you bring up in the book called Flooding. It’s something that I hear about from a lot of people actually. They say things like, ‘My emotion is just go, and go, and go. My mind starts to race. I get worked up. I have anxiety, worry. I feel like I have obsess of thoughts, don’t know how to stop my mind and things just get out of control.’ It sounds like you have a word for this called flooding which I think applies to most of that. Why is it important to manage flooding and how do you manage flooding in yourself and even for your loved one?

Beverly: First I want to give credit to teachers who’ve taught me about flooding. I learned about it from Alda Skylar who’s my teacher and she shared a book with me called Conflict Unraveledwhich is written by Andra Medea. She is a social worker who works with helping people overcome conflict. It’s Conflict Unraveled: Fixing Problems at Work and in Families.

When I wrote the book, I asked her to approve something about flooding that I wrote in the book and it turned out that she got the concept of flooding from John Gottman. John Gottman is a family and marriage therapist and he developed the concept of flooding to help people in their marital relationships, lo and behold.

We recognize that flooding is just the natural adrenalin reaction to trauma and upset. What happens is your loved one does something that they’ve done a million times before, it triggers you because you can see it all coming. All of a sudden, your heart is in your feet along with all the blood. The blood has rushed out of your head and your heart down to your feet. You can’t think clearly, you can’t put a sentence together, it’s like you’ve never thought a clear thought.

There are ways to overcome flooding. We have a little chart about it in the book and we teach it extensively in the program. It’s really a big part of step three; become aware of your inner emotional landscape without judgment because oftentimes, when you are objectively observing, the flooding is beginning.

Flooding is very, very catchy. Sometimes we must remove ourselves even momentarily. A way to remove yourself from flooding right in the moment, exactly where you are without moving your body is to do the four-four-eight; breathe in to the count of four, hold it to the count of four, breathe out to the count of eight. Do that again and again gently and consistently until you’ve calmed down. There are many other techniques to alleviate flooding that we teach in the book and in our program.

It’s very important to manage flooding because if you do not manage your flooding, you will never be able to move from reacting to responding. Managing flooding is a major part of being the peace. Being the peace helps us observe objectively and manage our flooding. Managing our flooding in turn helps us to be peaceful – very, very important for families.

Also, as I said, flooding is catchy. If your loved one is behaving in illogical ways that are harmful to you, to them. Or perhaps, if you’re in a dangerous situation, you have to deal with that in the moment. You have to get help whatever the help is; call the police, get out of the room, remove the children from the environment, whatever it is if it’s dangerous. But we’re not talking about something that extreme right now, we’re talking about seeing a loved one doing things that reflect on a lifestyle that’s harmful to themselves and you start to flood about it.

If you flood, they flood. If they’re flooding, you’re going to flood. You have two things that you can do, one is to learn techniques to keep you from flooding, to stop the flooding, and the other is to remove yourself. One of the reasons why people have to get out and get away is because they’re always flooding around their loved one. They can’t take it anymore. We educate people in self-management so that they can be in relationship with the less than perfect people.

Once they’re self-managed, they may decide to stay, they may decide to go. But isn’t it a shame to make a decision to leave because you can’t manage yourself? When if you manage yourself, you could not only get your life back but also be a force for good in their life as well. It comes back to the question Doctor Abe Twerski asked me thirty years ago, “Do you love him?” Do you love her? That can be the beginning of your process.

Brian: Excellent. Thank you for describing what that flooding concept is, why it’s important to manage, and how to manage it.

Question: As we get ready to wrap up this second part of our mini-series, I’m wondering, just to add onto everything we’ve talked about today, is there anything else you’d like to talk about when it comes to practical strategies for helping our loved ones recover from whatever it is they’re dealing with?

Beverly: Yeah. I just want to say that what we’re really talking about in the BALM is creating an attitudinal shift within yourself that will allow you to live a more fulfilling life, whether you stay or go, whether your loved one gets well or doesn’t. It’s the attitudinal shift within you that will determine the quality of your life.

Brian: Nicely said. Beverly, thank you for another wonderful time of talking and getting more into practical strategies here. I look forward to continuing the mini-series so we’ll be talking to you really soon again.

Beverly: Oh, thank you so much, Brian. I’m really enjoying speaking with you.

Items Mentioned In This Episode

  • readytobalm.com (Here, you can inquire about all The BALM programs, coaching for families, and coach training. This is an affiliate link. Please know that I believe strongly in The BALM philosophy, and therefore I promote Family Recovery Resources programs as an affiliate. This means I receive a small commission for any purchases made through this affiliate link 🙂)
  • BALM: The Loving Path To Family Recovery (Beverly’s Book)
  • BetterHelp.com/codependency – our show sponsor (affordable licensed professional counseling services via chat, phone, and video conference)

We Want To Hear From YOU!

What did you think of this episode? Did you learn anything new that you’d like to implement in your relationship(s)? What else would you like to add to the conversation? Comment below!

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