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Why We Always Argue About The Same Stuff All The Time. Or Circular Causality: What It Is And How To Escape It. Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP (503) 227-3187 www.jacobspilman.com. Community Education Series on Relationship & Communications.

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Why we always argue about the same stuff all the time l.jpg

Why We Always Argue About The Same Stuff All The Time

Or Circular Causality:

What It Is And How To Escape It.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP

(503) 227-3187

www.jacobspilman.com


Community education series on relationship communications l.jpg
Community Education Series on Relationship & Communications

  • Feel free to share this presentation with a friend.

    • Use the Send This Page To A Friend Link.

    • Sign up for the newsletter to learn when new lectures are made available.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


Linear causality l.jpg
Linear Causality

  • We usually think of causality as linear.

  • One cause has one effect.

  • The scientific method attempts to isolate one cause and one effect to establish lines of causality.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Linear Causality

  • But, one cause can have many effects.

  • And many causes can have one effect.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Circular Causality

  • Sometimes causality is not linear.

  • For instance, a computer virus is a small program that replicates itself and then gives itself a command to begin the process over again.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Circular Causality

  • The same happens in human interactions.

  • Stan and his boss are stuck in a pattern that mutually reinforces each other negatively.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Circular Causality: The Dance of Pursuit and Distance

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Circular Causality: The Dance of the Over-adequate & Under-adequate

  • At the beginning of the relationship

    • Mary thought Stan was spontaneous, adventurous and humorous.

    • Stan thought Mary was stable, strong and responsible.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Circular Causality: The Dance of the Over-adequate & Under-adequate

  • Today

    • Mary thinks Stan is irresponsible and lazy.

    • Stan thinks Mary is controlling and rigid.

  • They argue over housekeeping.

    • Stan: “She’s a nagging neat freak.”

    • Mary: “He won’t do anything unless I get on him about it.”

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Circular Causality: The Dance of the Over-adequate & Under-adequate

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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These Negative Rituals Are Locked In Place By: Under-adequate

  • Emotional Hypersensitivity

  • Blindness to Your Partner’s Strengths

  • Hopelessness

  • Anger

  • Blame

  • Avoidance & Stonewalling

  • Fear

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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Warning: What if the Circular Causality Is the Relationship?

  • Circular causality can cause a relationship to deteriorate so much that the only thing left of the relationship is the circular causality.

  • If this happens and the circular causality ends, the “glue” that binds the relationship together disappears, ending the relationship.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Think Your Way Through It. Relationship?

  • Emotional Hypersensitivity occurs after repeated exposure to the same unresolved problem.

  • Minor irritations can erupt into major outbursts or develop into long term problems.

  • The key is to own your sensitivity and think your way through it.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: See your Partner’s Strengths Relationship?

  • Every behavior trait has a good side and a bad side.

  • In 5 years, positive traits can become wearing or inappropriate if used incorrectly.

  • See your partner’s strengths, not just their weaknesses.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Change is Possible Relationship?

  • If you think that your partner will never change, they won’t.

  • The cure to hopelessness is change

  • Change is inevitable. Stability is the illusion.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Get Past Your Anger By Dealing with Your Fear or Pain.

  • Anger is a response to pain and/or fear.

    • Addressing the pain and fear gets you past the anger.

    • Addressing the anger keeps you stuck.

    • Have you ever resolved an issue in your relationship when you were enraged?

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Eliminate Blame or Pain.

  • Eliminate “You” statements & use “I” statements.

  • You can be happy or you can be right.

  • Emotional hypersensitivity leads to over-reaction and blaming.

  • Think. Don’t react.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Steer Clear of Avoidance and Stonewalling or Pain.

  • These defenses unintentionally estrange your partner, making resolving the issue harder.

  • Persistent avoidance and stonewalling only postpone an inevitable crisis.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Steer Clear of Avoidance and Stonewalling or Pain.

  • Discuss the issue when it’s just unpleasant and before it becomes insolvable.

  • Create a safe environment by avoiding blame or abandonment.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: Create A Safe Place To Deal With Your Fears or Pain.

  • Use your partner’s non-verbal cues to help you respect their boundaries.

  • Support and highlight your bond before you attempt to solve the problem.

  • Think. Don’t react.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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The Way Out: The Four Steps Leading To Change or Pain.

  • Understand the pattern of the circular causality.

  • Remain aware of the pattern while you are experiencing it.

  • Predict the pattern before it occurs.

  • Think your way through instead of reacting to it.

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187


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If you enjoyed this presentation… or Pain.

  • Additional Information about couples, communication, and relationships can be found at:

    • www.jacobspilman.com

      • Recommended Readings Page and Bookstore

      • New Materials are posted regularly. Visit often.

    • The Psychology, Values & Common Sense Blog

      • http://jacobspilman.blogspot.com/

Jacob Spilman, LPC, LMFT, CEAP www.jacobspilman.com (503) 227-3187