Create a Relationship That Last a Lifetime With Julie Menanno

Megan and Julie talk about the importance of ongoing conversations to process and heal from past wounds in their relationship. They also discuss the importance of emotionally safe conversations in repairing ruptures in a relationship, with Speaker 3 emphasizing the need for regulated communication and emotionally validating each other.

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Transcript: 

Megan Blacksmith
Hello there, welcome to the podcast. It is Megan here. I just finished interviewing Julie Manado. So she is the author of a book called Secure love. And we got to dive deep into relationships and attachment. And I was laughing at myself. Because I the way I learn is when people share personal stories. So I always want to ask my personal questions. And you know, one time one time it’s amazing, the brain recognizes right that one piece of negative what we perceive as negative feedback. I got the feedback. This was very early on though this is probably four years ago now, maybe more. I got the feedback that I asked too many personal questions when I was interviewing someone. It was about mold. So I was asking a lot of personal questions. So ever since then, I’m super, I can hear it in the back of my brain just hesitant. Like, is that? Is that too personal? Is that too much about me? So I was just laughing. I did sprinkle in a good amount of things I wanted to know and since many of you here have been along for the journey, and you heard the relationship podcast where Nate and I shared our honesty journey. And you heard the one about where I found out he’d had an affair and how that led me to deep healing work and NLP and so you’re on for more of the ride. Here we go. More of the inner workings of Meghan’s mind, whether you like it or not. I got Julie’s book, and I really, really enjoyed it. I read all the parts that I read very, very quickly. So it was an easy read. And there’s some very tangible things in here. I’m just gonna read in here about the book. So Julie Manado is a sought highly sought after couples Therapist and Relationship Expert. She has a amazing Instagram so go check it out lots of stuff on there. I love I love pages like that sort of there’s just you can just stop and listen one after another. So she provides insight and advice for couples via the it’s at the secure relationship on Instagram with more than 1 million followers that says Wow, okay, so secure love the book is a crash course and understanding how you show up in a relationship and diagnosing the negative cycles that trap you and your partner. So Manado teaches you how to establish a secure attachment to create a lifelong bond. And I even got her opinion on the show. Couples Therapy. anybody watched it? I loved it. Started on the airplane one time and then I actually bought I think Showtime I bought Showtime for the month just to finish that series. It helped my husband and I a lot. It brought up a lot of just good talking points and things I would have never thought I cannot wait for you to get into the interview. Check Get out, please. You know, we really do love, love, love, love when you message us. So DM us on Instagram at becomings SD, to say, What did you like about the episode what resonated with you, you can send us an email support at becomings st.com. We love that too. And always a huge tip for us, when you leave us a review on iTunes, it actually helps more people over the people who are who are looking for this who are actively looking for the support and the content in the way that we provide it because there’s a million things out there. And the way we do it, it’s going to resonate with someone. So if you know someone, please just shoot them a text, send them this episode, send them a different episode, leave us a review all the things we super appreciate it. We love you. If any of you are ready to jump in and actually come do our seven day certification in person, we have as of this recording, two spots left in April that might be gone by the time this goes live. And if not, then we’ve got lots of options for October and then we do it every April and October. So seven days with us. Where you’ll get to really understand deep everything we talked about today. The patterns that we have with partners, what we do is we go in with hypnosis, Quantum Time technique NLP and rewire that we write we rewire those beliefs. And then you get to do the work in real life with your partner of actually talking it out. The cool thing is, then you have the tools of, Hey, I just went into full fight or flight or hey, this just dropped me this conversation is triggering an event from when I was four years old. And you’d have you’d have the tools for that. You’d have the tools for you. You’d have the tools to help someone else with that. You can make an amazing career out of it. We have or you can use it for your family. You can use it for your health. I don’t know manifesta lake house, whatever you want. Okay, let’s get into the episode. All right. Well, welcome. Welcome to the becoming zesty podcast. I am excited to have a special guest here with me, Julie Mannarino, who is the author of for those of you seeing the video secure love. So I devoured the book, loved the book, and cannot wait to talk about this with you today, Julie. So thank you for being here.

Julie Menanno
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me. Yes. Okay.

Megan Blacksmith
So let’s just start with a little understanding for our listeners, those who have not found you, you have an amazing Instagram page with lots of details. And up that’s a great place to start to get to know you. But can you just tell everyone, like what lights you up about the topic of relationships? What led you here? Just a little backstory on that?

Julie Menanno
Yeah, I mean, the short version is, is that I had six children was staying home with them, really motivated to be the best mom possible. And figured out, hey, something’s really missing here. I didn’t grow up in a home, where, you know, emotional support was the thing. And I didn’t know how to deal with my kids. But I but I felt the, the void, I felt the loss of it. And that was really painful for me. And I don’t want to paint myself out, as you know, the worst mom in the world. But there were definitely some pieces that I was trying to figure out. I was reading every parenting book out there. And nothing was really resonating with me. And I really needed to go do something, you know, just have something for myself. I was home with six kids, I was sort of, you know, to some degree kind of going crazy. So I went and went back to grad school. I thought, you know, I need to just figure this all out from the beginning this whole, you know, human psychology thing. Really quickly into grad school, I discovered attachment theory, kind of on my own, and I just started devouring it. And I started thinking wow, this is it like this is really the closest that science has come to explaining how relationships work. And I had no interest whatsoever in being a couples therapist at all. I just wanted to work with individuals. Then once I graduated, I had to work with some couples to get my license. Worked with one couple thought wow, this is really hard. I just got eaten alive, but I could see how this could be really kind of cool. You know if I if I knew what I was doing, I remembered from grad school learning about emotional focus therapy for couples created by Dr. Sue Johnson. That really kind of resonated with me So I lived in Los Angeles at the time, hopped on a plane, you know, a week later found the first EFT training in the that was happening in the country and happened to be in Bozeman, Montana. That week, I fell in love with EFT. And I fell in love with Bozeman, Montana. And a few months later, my husband and my six children and I moved here relocated, and we love it. And from that time forward, I haven’t taken on an individual as a new client, I felt absolutely head over heels in love with couples therapy, because what I realized is that you can really profoundly heal an individual by working with them in the context of their relationship, because that’s where most of their stuff is coming up, you’re really getting to see a lot of the person and in their, you know, with their partner with them, you’re really seeing where your buttons where your reactions, what’s coming from the past, you know, where are your communication lapses here. And what I else another thing is that I, you know, I was bonding with my individual clients and creating this really emotionally supportive relationship that I was very highly trained to create with clients, you have to do that to be able to create enough safety for them to want to, you know, self reflect and make changes. So I was, I was very good at validating, I was very good at being curious and all of these wonderful emotional support skills, and then they were leaving me and going out into their real life with people who had no idea how to do those things. And that was really hard, I hated seeing that. So for me, working with couples gives me the opportunity to create that between the two of them instead of just between me and the client. Obviously, I think there are many, many wonderful things to be said about individual therapy. But for me, doing couples work just feels like a very complete way to work. And now I am the happiest person in the world, because I have the greatest job ever. And it’s helped me have amazing relationships with all of my children and my husband.

Megan Blacksmith
Wow. So that having that couple, it’s like you have that mirror? Oh, you have that mirror back back to you at all times when you have another? Yes, yes, then it’s like you are getting, you’re getting both people on board, or at least they’re hearing the same language to then take that the container that maybe just used to be the therapy, now they get to bring that home? Is that what I’m hearing?

Julie Menanno
Exactly, yes, they’re learning, you know, what I’m providing to them via my relationship, which is hearing, understanding emotional support, non shaming, and empathic. It is, you know, it’s wiring them to be this with each other. I mean, there’s a lot of other stuff going on. But it’s just kind of bringing a lot of emotional safety into their life that many people have never experienced before ever. And, you know, getting them out of these negative communication cycles that you have read about at length in my book. And one of the ways that I help them get out of negative command communication cycles with them is just initially not getting into network negative communication cycles with myself in them, you know, which is very common in couples therapy, because it’s triggering, it’s really triggering work, you know, for the therapist. So layers of layers of it is a layers of stuff going on with couples, there’s just what I love, it’s, it’s super challenging, and it’s super rewarding.

Megan Blacksmith
So would you get pulled in, in the beginning in a different way?

Julie Menanno
Absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t get pulled in anymore. Very rarely. But yes, I think every therapist who’s you know, learning, whether it’s an individual or a couple is definitely going to get pulled in to cycles with their clients. And part of you know, becoming a real master therapist is to learn how to not how to really not do that. And you really need to be able to not do that, if you’re really going to help that person grow. And if you do do it, then you have to repair it. And that’s okay, too.

Megan Blacksmith
You know, I definitely want to talk about Repair today. So, so good, so important. So is your goal, I’m just curious, is the goal to stay neutral, I’m sure there are situations where you really are agreeing with one party more than the other that

Julie Menanno
very, you know, I’m looking at at what’s happening underneath the surface. So I’m really looking at helping them communicate in a safe way with each other and then have conversations about kind of the details of who’s right or who’s wrong and so I’m really not going into those areas. It’s very easy. When you’re when you’re just working with someone’s emotions, not to agree or not agree you No, it’s not what’s really not my job, it’s my job to understand to hear to help them make sense of, and to help them communicate to each other. There are situations, not common, but there are times when I think, okay, one partner is really kind of more of the problem here. But most of the time that that is not my experience, most of the time, it’s pretty even, even if it looks like one partner, you know, is like, big and loud, and, and, you know, expressive and and saying the most horrible things ever. Usually, they’re both playing into it in very different ways. But equally,

Megan Blacksmith
can you tell us, Julie, what is the most important thing to understand around the emotional, emotional focus therapy? Can you just give a real high level?

Julie Menanno
Yeah, I think the most important thing to understand is that they’re in a conversation that’s getting heated, you know, where one partner is protesting. And the other work partner is defending and stonewalling. And the other partner is blaming, and the other partner is starting to shut down or counter blaming, there’s so much going on underneath the surface that they’re not talking about. So they’re really only talking about like a 10th of the problem. So we’re missing 90% of the actual problem. Even if we do manage to sort of bandaid that 10% It’s not really addressing the real root of the issue, which is insecure attachment. It’s vulnerability. It’s shame. It’s loneliness. It’s all of these fears and feelings that are going on underneath the surface that partners are really trying to talk about, but they’re using. Why did you put the keys in the wrong place? Or why don’t you agree with me about parenting? Or how come? You always pick the restaurant? They’re they’re using those conversations as code? Not that those conversations don’t matter, too. But there’s always a part of those conversations, if they’re fighting that our code for all this attachment gunk, which is, are you really going to be there for me if I need you. Do you really appreciate me as a partner? Can I ever get it right for you? And so I need to help people have that conversation to

Megan Blacksmith
the what’s under that we always say in our work, it’s like the problem, the presenting problem is never the problem. Exactly. Like what what is actually under the problem.

Julie Menanno
And if the presenting problem is a problem, we have very different ideas about whether or not we want to family, then we will never be able to actually have a real conversation about that until we address the bigger problem, which is what how we’re communicating and what we’re not taught what we are and are not talking about.

Megan Blacksmith
Okay, I would love to get into the attachment types. Although I think probably this question I’m guessing will lead into some into insight to that one of the patterns that I see is that people will actually feel some people the pattern of feeling really unstable when things are actually good. Or maybe like the the belief that like the fights or the chaos bring connection. So for some backstory, Julie, I shared recently on our, this podcast here, my honesty journey, my husband and I went through this radical honesty process of like dumping everything on the table from that everything we’d ever not told each other physical things and emotional that like every every aspect of it. And we we share that. And it was a really, really intense process. And we’ve noticed, it felt we had shared so much stuff that was like, you’re probably not gonna like me after I share this. And we were so much closer afterward. Right? We had really, we had really bonded, it was super vulnerable. That’s awesome. And we both have noticed, it’s like been a few months. And now we’re like, oh, it’s just kind of back to this. It’s almost like, we needed that chaos to bring the excitement or the connection. We’re like, well, we don’t really want to have to have those kinds of conversations to be connected. But there clearly there’s a pattern there with our attachments, that styles. Okay, does that, does that call out any specific pattern to you? Is this something that you commonly see?

Julie Menanno
I mean, what, what I would say is that, why aren’t these conversations I mean, usually throughout life, we have triggers coming up in the relationship, you know, anything from, you know, my husband and I just went on a trip together. And, you know, we we very rarely traveled together for a week, which is how long we were gone because of our kids. It’s hard to be away, you know, for both of us to be away at the same time. And so we created all these opportunities to decide just where to go, what to eat, you know, it created all these opportunities for decisions and these little decisions started to you know, I started to realize there’s so much attachment meaning that around these little decisions, I mean, my my husband would would do these things where, you know, I would say, Oh, I’m gonna go over here and look at this, you know, statue? And he would say, No, come on, let’s go. And that and for me, I was like, wait a minute, you know what, why is he saying Come on, let’s go like do my needs not matter here too, you know. And it turns out, once we talked about it, we were able to kind of meet each other and figure out, that’s not what was happening at all, he was just trying to get us to the hotel on time, so we could get to the next place on time. But point is, is that there’s always these little ruptures going on throughout the day, little misunderstandings, little drops that may or may not be misunderstanding or drops. And if we’re not talking about those things, at least enough of the time, then we’re not kind of getting down into those little micro wounds that happen throughout the day and talking about them and having that bonding experience or we’re not, you know, what is it that you’re not bonding over, throughout the day, or throughout the week, that all of a sudden, you’re feeling empty and disconnected, and you’re needing to have these big dramatic moments to come back together? Does that make sense? Am I explaining that?

Megan Blacksmith
Well, yes. So you’re essentially saying we could do it every day, on a smaller scale? Right as they come

Julie Menanno
as they come, you know, I don’t, I’m never a fan of hey, you have to process every little thing, sometimes we just have to give each other the benefit of the doubt. But, you know, any kind of miss or drops is an opportunity to get down into some vulnerability and bond. But then we’re also needing to bond over good things, you know, closeness, joy, sex, you know, talking about our day talking about other things in life that brought up some vulnerability, you know, that we can share with each other and validate each other’s emotion and comfort ourselves emotionally. And so I’m not trying to diagnose your relationship. But that would be my first question is what’s missing here, that you’re needing to make up for, by having these really dramatic bonding moments. And again, so much stuff that could be going on. So I’m just kind of jumping parachuting in here, but

Megan Blacksmith
ya know, you’re, it’s okay, I’m very open with it, we withheld information for like, 18 years. So that’s what’s missing.

Julie Menanno
What another another piece is that, that a lot of times these, these conversations aren’t over in one conversation, they meet ongoing, you know, there’s different, we need to talk about it, take some time to process what came up, have another conversation, take some time to process, you know, and they, they start to heal more over time. It’s kind of like grieving, like, if you lose someone that was really important to you, at first, you’re gonna cry and cry and cry and cry. But you’re never just gonna stop crying all the sudden, it’s just the crying spells are gonna get fewer and farther between and sometimes healing comfort stations. In fact, I would say all the time healing conversations happen in that way. It’s a big one, and then we follow up, and then we follow up. And then eventually, things just start to kind of be healed, and we don’t have to keep re addressing it.

Megan Blacksmith
So when we’re repairing those ruptures, is there any thing really important to consider other than just the open communication and seeing the other person’s sides and validating their feelings? What else is really important to actual repair?

Julie Menanno
I think that you know, the quality of the conversation, are you able to have the conversation in a safe way where you’re not feeling shamed, you’re feeling like you said, validated and heard and understood, you’re not switching topics, switching from my feelings, to your feelings to my feelings, and going off on tangents that start opening up all sorts of other topics, right, you’re staying kind of on a topic and one person’s feelings at a time. And then, of course, any behavior change that needs to happen, because all the conversations in the world aren’t going to matter. If the behaviors that created the wounds are still ongoing. So, you know, I addressed this in the book, which is this is, you know, how a healing conversations need to needs to take place. And, again, sometimes, or I’m gonna say, all the time, or the vast majority of the time, it’s multiple conversations.

Megan Blacksmith
Okay, let’s talk about the attachment types. Because I know in the book, it said something around, like, why do we have the same fight over and over? And that just I know, that resonated with a lot of people listener? Like, yeah, it’s the same thing in a different format, over and over and over, really is

Julie Menanno
I mean, if you’re, if you’re talking about a problem in a negative cycle, you’re you’re not going it’s not going to get resolved. Nobody’s system is regulated enough to actually come up with some sort of creative plan to solve our problem. And you’re harming each other emotionally and creating Now new problems and new reasons to mistrust and new reasons to not feel emotionally safe. So then that just takes on this you know, life of its own of A, we have all these issues around parenting or finances or whatever, that aren’t getting tied up. So they keep coming up and begging to be resolved. And then B now we have to talk about our relationship a lot, because we’re both feeling insecure, not knowing, you know, if our needs matter to each other, if you’re gonna really be there for me if you can appreciate me or emotionally validate me. And so not only are you talking about the surface issue, but you continue trying to seek reassurance emotionally, and it just it creates this repetitiveness. And so the way out is, well, we’ve got to, first of all figure out how to become secure with each other how to become emotionally safe. When we’re emotionally safe, we get to have these conversations outside of negative cycles, where we’re regulated where hearing each other, we’re supporting each other. And from there, we can resolve our differences over time. So we don’t have to keep talking. And having all these big blow ups about money every two weeks, we can actually start to find our flexibility with each other and start working with each other as a team. So the anxious partner, you know, let’s just say in any relationship, we need two things, right, we need more than two things. But just for simplicity sake, we need to resolve and work as a team together, we need to live a life together. And we need to have emotional closeness. And so what happens is, is we have the anxious partner who kind of takes all the responsibility for resolving the problems and all the responsibility for maintaining the closeness. And then we have the avoidant partner who’s over there, taking all the responsibility for not getting into these big fights, and all the responsibility for not getting too enmeshed. Too much closeness, where we don’t have selves anymore, right? So there’s no balance there. It’s it’s two people in these really rigid roles. And so one person is kind of, we got to get this resolved, we got to get closer, we got to get closer in the other words, that person’s going over here, playing defense going, we got to not fight about this, if we talk about this, we’re just gonna get another fight. And we need to have like our own space too, and the relationship and whenever we can move people into secure they’re both equally taking responsibility, both of them have a sense of, we need to be working as a team. And both of them have a sense of we also need to work through our problems without getting into these big fights or we both need to have closeness we both have a need for closeness but we also both have a need for not being enmeshed with each other and kind of maintaining our separate identities so that we can come together you know, as a as a whole a healthy whole. Does that make sense? There’s well there are a lot of different ways to explain anxious and avoidant but I think you know, one of the simplest ways to say what I just said is the anxious partner is fighting to close the distance and the avoidant partner is fighting to keep things stable and keep things from getting worse.

Megan Blacksmith
And is it most likely you’re going to have the opposite you know the anxious with the avoidant or would you also have anxious with anxious and avoidant with avoidant what’s the it’s definitely

Julie Menanno
you’re going to see anxious and avoidant together whether they come together like that. Maybe for the most part I think people do. It’s a balancing act. If I’m overwhelmed with my emotions, it feels safe to find someone who is very, quote unquote, emotionally stable, which if they’re avoidant, that actually means they’re most emotionally disengaged. But still, it can be real balancing. If I’m avoidant, and I’m completely emotionally disengaged, it can be very convenient to find someone who is holding all the emotions and will take responsibility for the closeness. So it just it’s kind of a convenient pairing, even though it doesn’t really feel good. It’s a second best option. And if two people don’t come together with those ways of being already entrenched, they’re probably going to create it together, too. Anxious partners is too much energy, it’s too much fighting, it’s too much too much too much. A lot of systems just can’t hold that much energy and they dissolve. And if you have two avoidance coming together, who’s who’s fighting for the closeness? Nobody and it’s just kind of becomes dead? Are there couples that get into those patterns? Sure. I don’t see a lot of them. I mean, the people I see are very clearly and anxious avoidant dynamics and it’s it really is, you know, a balancing act of energy. It’s about energy balancing. If two people don’t come together who have Innerbelt Let’s write and create a balanced relationship because they both have inner balance, then they’re going to try to balance each other out, one’s going to be this extreme one’s going to be this extreme. And they find balance by kind of the hole in his head, or the I’m sorry, the, the peg in his head fits the hole in hurts kind of a thing.

Megan Blacksmith
I say, and is the same thing that the anxious style would need to get to secure is that the same as the avoidant? Or do they both need very different things,

Julie Menanno
they both need different work. I mean, both of them have need the same end goal, which is I can use my emotions and feel my emotions and talk about my emotions and access my emotions in a way that informs me and helps me connect with other people. But I’m not flooded by my emotions, I’m not letting my emotions completely drive the car. I’m not just emotionally emoting in these big ways all the time in ways that kind of hurt my relationships, right. So the anxious partner, we need to bring them down, we need to get them more regulated, like let’s get out of that emotional dysregulation, and into your body in a way that you know, your prefrontal cortex is more online when you’re feeling triggered in your best interest. So you can instead of pushing your partner away with all these big emotions, you’re able to kind of invite them in. And then with the avoidant partner, I’m wanting to get them more emotionally engaged, let’s get you talking directly about your feelings. Let’s help you access them in your body. So that you can start to become emotionally available to yourself and to your partner. Because you can’t validate your anxious partner who needs desperately needs emotional validation. If you don’t have any connection to your own emotions, you just simply can’t go there, you don’t know what it even is, right. And if you’re an anxious partner, you’re not going to be able to invite your avoidant partner in to help you with your big emotions, if you’re pushing them away with blame and criticism and such.

Megan Blacksmith
Yeah, and so most of us grew up without emotions, and talking on emotion about emotions was not a thing. Right. Right.

Julie Menanno
I think so. Yeah, for sure.

Megan Blacksmith
I mean, many people. So just even acknowledging that it’s okay to have emotions, feel emotions that you’re not I have a lot of people say, if I feel weak, if I have emotions, or like there’s a lot of different ties to that. So is that an important just the education around? These are your emotions to start with?

Julie Menanno
Absolutely. I mean, I think for avoidant partners, especially there, there are a lot of messages that they received, you know, even before they could speak, this stuff starts to get entrenched, you know, from day one, really, how we are emotionally responded to by caregivers, you know, so for those with avoidant attachment, what they get the message early on is showing emotions is going to get you ignored, it’s going to get you shamed. It’s or shamed, it’s going to get you, you know, accused of being weak, it’s going to get you punished, you know, so it’s like, what’s the point? Why have emotions? Why talk about this parts of my bodies, so it’s better just to kind of shove it all away, cut it away, and then try to kind of get my emotional needs met indirectly. And all these kind of sideways ways throughout life be successful. Get it? Right. And, yeah, so the avoidant partner really needs to now start getting new messages, which, hey, there’s some value here you can, there’s a lot of success that you can experience, and learning to talk about all these other real parts of your humanity that are already there. You don’t We don’t get to opt out of emotions, you know, they’re already there. And there’s a lot of value in learning to find that part of yourself and communicate about that and being able to get help with these parts of you and help others your partner with these parts.

Megan Blacksmith
Mm. It’s beautiful. So that in your book, Julie, you talked about the four C’s of attachment, which I think was really helpful. So comfort, connection and cooperation conflict, right. Yeah. So can you just go and share a little bit more about that of how that applies in a relationship?

Julie Menanno
Yeah, I think it’s a good way for people to kind of organize where their weak spots are, right. So so we have, we have some couples who, you know, they’re really good at connecting they have, you know, they do have these emotional conversations and can connect emotionally and they have a great sex life. But when it comes to cooperation, that’s when they’re not getting it right one person they just they have different You know, ways of parenting, they have different ways of keeping the house clean, they have different ideas about, you know, who contributing financially and all of these things. And so that’s their, their blind spot, or that’s their area for work is to have healthier conversations around how we cooperate and work as a team together in life. Some couples, just the opposite, they work great as a team, they see eye to eye on parenting, and, you know, in laws and all of these things, but then when it comes to connecting, you know, they don’t know how to emotionally connect, they don’t have a lot of intimacy, maybe they’re struggling in their sex life. And for them, that’s where they really need to focus their energy. And then comfort, you know, these are things like coming home at the end of the day, and having had a bad day at work, or having had a hard conversation with your sister or losing an animal. And it’s like, how are we responding to each other as your partner saying, Hey, you should look at the bright side or Oh, come on, you’re being irrational? Or, you know, you just need to not let this get to you? Or are they able to kind of just sit with you and go, Oh, my gosh, I get it. That sucks. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m right here, how can I help support you right now. And that doesn’t mean that we don’t give each other advice around life or try to pull each other up. It just means that we don’t lead with that we comfort first and comfort and soothe, give give people soup, right when they’re down and, you know, sad. And then later, we might come in and say, Hey, have some ideas on this? Can I share some advice I have to give you? So it’s really just about really kind of making sense of our weak spots. Yeah.

Megan Blacksmith
And then you can kind of look through each category so that you can communicate with each other on how do I want to be connected? Or what is comfort for me like?

Julie Menanno
Being very clear. Yeah, direct signals. I’m always going for direct signals,

Megan Blacksmith
direct signals. I like that. My husband and I have a lot of good jokes from years of therapy. We’re like, Well, what I heard what I heard you say was like, a constant thing, which has become a joke, which is great, because then we can have more complicated topics we can, you know, well, a little lighter.

Julie Menanno
Jokes are joyful and joyful is bonding. So that’s great.

Megan Blacksmith
Right, right. Definitely. We’re being defensive

Julie Menanno
and not feeling and, you know, all sorts of directions with that. But in general, I think couples who joke with each other are amazing.

Megan Blacksmith
Do it. I’m just guessing our money, our money and sex the biggest topics, or couples or whatever.

Julie Menanno
That’s interesting. Yes, but bigger topics are blended families. That is hands down. The hardest thing that I see couples going through is blended families, even when the children are adults, you know, there’s just so many competing attachments. Sex, yes, definitely is a big one. affairs can be extremely damaging. There’s something called a burnout pursuer, where it’s kind of like the anxious partner, you know, has been, like I said, kind of tribes spinning their wheels, trying to close the distance, close the distance, close the distance. For years sometimes. That doesn’t mean they’ve been trying it in ways that are effective. Sometimes I call it watering the plant with gasoline, right? It takes a lot of energy, but the plant isn’t getting nourished. But at some point, they just sort of burn, right? They burn out, and they detach, and when they detach. Now the avoidant partner is over there going, Wait, nobody’s taking responsibility for the closeness now I got to do that. And then they start sort of taking on more of that pursuing anxious role. And they get them into therapy. And it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult to reengage someone who is a burnout pursuer.

Megan Blacksmith
Oh, wow. There’s a term for it.

Julie Menanno
That’s Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a hard it’s a tough one.

Megan Blacksmith
You know, though the burn the person who’s in the burnout place just because they’ve gotten so far beyond really wanting to work on it. Is that where the struggle is?

Julie Menanno
They got so far beyond. They did, they got hopeless. They got to a level of hopelessness, that they actually severed their attachment. They stopped relying on the other partner for help. They stopped relying on the other partner for support. It’s kind of like a baby crying and crying and crying in a crib. And then finally just falling down and collapsing and going to sleep. And so it’s not it’s it’s very rarely a conscious decision. I think there are a lot of anxious partners out there who wish they could make a conscious decision to detach, but it’s more of a A manifestation of just getting to a place where they’re really hopeless. It’s really sad.

Megan Blacksmith
And what what do you usually start doing in that case? Like, is it just getting that person reengaged? Or what we have?

Julie Menanno
Yeah, you have to, you have to just create a lot of safety, you have to first of all, give them space to be detached, and make sense of their detachment their partner needs to move away from, you need to just come back, you can trust me, you can trust me, or why are you giving up on us into, hey, I get it, it makes a lot of sense to me, we were in an awful place, nothing was changing. You were working over, you know, over time to bring us together and nothing was changing. And it makes so much sense to me that your nervous system sort of just collapse into hopelessness, and I get that, that is starting to kind of that that’s an emotional instrument, first of all, right, that that’s part of the emotional support that was lacking to begin with. So I really need to get that partner into that place to create some safety and validation around what is and then once that burnout, pursuer starts to feel and get some of the connected experiences that they were missing for so long, then they start to maybe start to open up and start to trust again. And then the avoidant partner now starts to have better skills, and they start to have some success with being vulnerable themselves, they start experiencing success around just validating instead of telling their partner, you need to move on or whatever. And so really, we’re just building up the skills and the therapy session by using the burnout as the material to work with. Does that make sense? It’s kind of like just using whatever is to create some validation, empathy, understanding and bonding experiences. I will say though, it is a very it is very difficult to get a with a burnout pursuer. reengaged.

Megan Blacksmith
Hmm. This seems like it would be common with like the affair category where maybe something had been happening for a long time. And then now maybe they’re wanting to work on it, but one person is just like, that’s just those too much like too much for my brain to be to feel safe to really reengage again, or, you know, it’s almost like the detachment becomes that safety mechanism.

Julie Menanno
Yes. And in there’s exactly. And so it really just depends if an affair has led to a severing of attachment, then that is a real problem. That’s really hard to work with. But a lot of times affairs have not led to a complete severing of attachment certainly gets in the way. And if we’re not healing it, then we probably won’t be able, you know, the couple probably won’t be able to go forward. But a lot of times if we can catch affairs before the attachment has completely severed, they’re very healable. In fact, I love that stare pearls work on affairs. Yeah. Because, you know, it’s like, we have an opportunity to really grow from the experience as a couple.

Megan Blacksmith
That sounds Yes, I’ve I’ve dug into her work for sure. It’s one thing that is really fascinating to me, is this idea of so and I’ve shared that I’ve shared our my husband and my story very on this on the podcast. So people they know about this already. But so we had he had an affair six years ago. And I found that out that was really interesting. In our radical honesty journey, I was finding out about things that were like really, really early, like before that, like many years before that. And so it’s like it’s new information for my brain. Sure, that happened a long time ago. So we’ve actually been in a great place for six years since we recovered from the last but it was, it’s like I’m finally finding out about new information. But it’s old information. And it’s just like, my brain, like didn’t actually know what to do with that. I’m like, why I’m upset. But it’s like, that’s not that’s not now. So I feel like that took us a while to actually get back into like, get back into like where you are now. Does that make sense?

Julie Menanno
Yeah, I mean, first of all, let’s just kind of validate your experience. It doesn’t really matter if it’s old information or new information. It really doesn’t. I mean, information triggering information doesn’t have a timeline, it is affecting your nervous system. It’s a trigger. It’s scary it you know, there’s all sorts of reasons sadness, and all sorts of feelings around that information. And so, you know, the first step, I think, is for you to just really be able to make sense of that and validate yourself and say, Hey, I have every right of course, I’m going to be shaken up by this. You know, there’s this other part of me that understands this isn’t happening now. And I can sort of soothe myself. But at the same time, I also kind of need some help with this pain that’s that I’m experiencing, experiencing around it. And then being able to communicate that to your husband and hear him say, You know what it makes sense to me, even though we didn’t happen now, it happened a long time ago. It doesn’t matter, you still hurts. And I’m right here. And I see you and I can hold that.

Megan Blacksmith
Right. A lot of people we work, they’re very good at understanding the other person’s side of things. Right. So they’re like, Well, you did hurt me a lot. But I know it’s because of your trauma or, and really working on allowing us to also recognize that we’re hurt.

Julie Menanno
Right, like holding both? Yeah, yes. Holding both. Yes, there’s a really good people don’t just act out for no reason. There’s usually a lot of trauma related that that’s for whatever reason, their quote, unquote, bad behavior was their way to get a need met, stay safe. And that makes sense. And there was this terrible impact on their partner. And the impact was real. And there was a lot of pain there. And we just really need to be able to hold both of those truths.

Megan Blacksmith
So okay, so you’ve worked with lots of couples, what is it? What’s the biggest thing? You I know, this is a question, what’s the biggest thing you wish they would embrace or know or start to practice? Like? What do you feel, really could move the needle them the most if the couples were willing to dig in?

Julie Menanno
Okay, a couple things. One, I would say, really recognizing that you can change you, you really do need to work on your side of the street, even when your partner isn’t being their best self. I know, that’s really hard to say. But there are a lot of things that each individual can do to create safety in the relationship that can bring out the best in their partner. Creating a safe environment brings out the best in people period, there are no guarantees that you doing everything you can to create a safe environment will cause your partner to self reflect and grow. And that really can’t be the overriding goal, the overriding goal really needs to be who do I want to be as a person, right? I want to be my best self, because that’s who I want to be it I don’t get anything from being my worst self. Right. So that piece is so important. It’s um, I really want to work on my side here, even in these moments when I’m not getting what I’m hoping for from my partner. And if it goes, if time goes by, and weeks go by, and months go by, and you’re still sitting here going, Hey, I’m really working over here, I’m doing my part. And still, I’m not feeling fulfilled here. That’s when, you know, maybe we need to start making some decisions. But too many people go to that place way too soon, without really doing that self work. The second thing I would say is the couples that I see move the fastest are when one or both partners is doing some somatic work, meaning their learning outside of my therapy, which does some of it, but we have a lot to get to in my therapy, right. So I can’t do you know everything. And so if they’re doing some somatic work on the outside, meaning learning to tap into their physical selves, really understand the physical sensations of their feelings, how to kind of self regulate those feelings. You know, within their own body, they are going to be better prepared to participate in the couples therapy and they’re going to be better prepared to put into practice a lot of these new skills and talk about themselves on a deeper level, because they’re gonna know they’re gonna have more self awareness and self knowledge. And the more people can self regulate, the better equipped they are to co regulate meaning helping each other. Find a place of nervous system safety and soothing. So that’s a huge piece.

Megan Blacksmith
Yeah, you have people work. I’m just wondering the order. Like if you’re working on a couple or do you ever have to say, hey, you need to go to individual first or do they? Can they do that side by side or what usually happens, the pattern there?

Julie Menanno
The vast majority of the time, I can do the work with them. I can do enough somatic work. You know, I’m looking at the whole of an experience when someone is gets triggered and yells, right? I want to look at what happens in your body before you yell. What are the what’s the vulnerable feelings inside of you? What is your protective armor saying? What are some ways you know, insecure beliefs about yourself that are coming into the table? What’s the meaning you’re making? And if that person And then I can’t first of all, the vast majority of people can do that. And that is because I am able to co regulate them, I’m able to help them feel safe, even though they’re in this, you know, environment with their partner where their partner is, is, you know, the relationship that doesn’t feel safe, at least I can interact with them in a way that’s helping their nervous system settle. And I can start helping them start to put words into that to those experiences. And at the same time, I can help their partner, take it in, I can help them communicate in a way that their partner can now take it in in a new way. And their partner can respond in a holding way. And if their partner doesn’t respond in a holding way, that’s okay, too. I’ve got tricks, you know, a bag of tricks for that, too, which is to help understand what just came up what was triggering about that. But if that if someone can’t do that, and if my co regulating skills aren’t enough to help them get down into their like Greenlight brain, they really aren’t able to participate in the therapy. And that’s when I might say, I really want you to go get some somatic work some somatic work to help you get to a safer place in your body, then come back into our sessions, and be in more of a green light zone where you can think more clearly and participate, not be flooded and participate. As well as being able to do the work outside of the session. If you’re too flooded all the time, you really you can’t put these new things into place. So in there are times when I do that, and there are times when I say let’s go do it while we’re working together. And that would be most of the time. And then there are other times where it’s like, hey, we use it, go do some a few months at that, and then we’ll come back together.

Megan Blacksmith
That’s so good. I love listening to you, Julie. I I’m the person who chose to watch couples therapy on the airplane. Did you ever watch that series?

Julie Menanno
No, but it is. That’s what I’d like to do, ultimately, is I would like to do that. That is my absolute goal, because that’s my passion is working with couples.

Megan Blacksmith
So that’s awesome.

Julie Menanno
I have tell me what your thoughts are on that. I have some I have watched it and I have. Yes.

Megan Blacksmith
I loved it because my husband and I watched it together. And it would we would could pause and we could say oh, hey, is that what you’re experiencing? Or we were just hearing? It was interesting, because it would be all different. Sometimes they’re talking about their dad or their mom. And and in that case, maybe we are the dad or mom, you know, it would even if we didn’t resonate with that specific couple stuff. Usually there was some aspect of it. Alcohol was a part of our journey. My husband got sober six years ago. So they were talking on there about how sober sex was a thing. And I was like, I never I just never even thought about that as a concept. And so it opened up a lot of really good conversations.

Julie Menanno
Okay, great. Great. I’ll have to revisit it. Yeah.

Megan Blacksmith
Where are you kind of iffy about it is that I saw it a couple times.

Julie Menanno
And I just was like, maybe it’s just because I work so differently. So I was like no, do this. No, do this.

Megan Blacksmith
But as you’re you’re thinking about what you would have said or done. Yeah, we were more relating and getting into the people shoes. So you were probably in the therapist shoes, right? Absolutely.

Julie Menanno
Yes, exactly. Great point. Great point.

Megan Blacksmith
Yeah, we had a lot of great just conversations and takeaway. That’s what I that’s what I love. I think everybody listening who has kind of had that inkling of like maybe I should work with someone or my you know, my partner and I should I think that then you having that language of like, we’ll remember Julie said, right, you have this outside source. It’s not just you bringing it up and you have the languaging of like, maybe that thing is happening right now. Maybe we’re in that pattern.

Julie Menanno
Yes, absolutely. I think just being going through the journey together and having that shared language is huge. You know, anytime we have more nuanced ways of speaking and reaching each other, it’s only going to be helpful.

Megan Blacksmith
Awesome. Okay, tell us where everyone can find you or anything else you want to share. Everyone go get the book secure love. What else?

Julie Menanno
Yeah, so secure love. It’s booming. Now a national bestseller, which I’m incredibly proud of. You can find it anywhere books are sold. Amazon is probably where most people go to buy their books. I’ve had all kinds of people reach out someone saw it in a bookstore in Bali recently, which I thought was super cool. Um, it does have different covers depending on your country. So UK has like a green cover and US has a white cover but it’s all called Secure love. You can go to my website Eight, which is Julie manado.com. Or you can go to the secure relationship.com. I have a team of therapists working for me that we all do the same type of work Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples. And the book, just a short, short description of the book, the book uses the exact process that I use with the couples I work with, which is, again based on Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples. So kind of coming in and you know, the book attached Have you read attached, okay, so I’m kind of picking up where attached leaves off, I’m going to come in, I’m going to give you you know, this, this paint these pictures of these attachment styles, from my perspective as a couples therapist, as I see all of this come alive day after day. And then I’m going to go into hey, here’s how these attachment styles are showing up in these negative cycles. And here’s how we’re going to interrupt these cycles prevent these cycles and repair these cycles. So it sort of walks you through just the whole big picture of attachment. And then this kind of course of self help version of a course of couples therapy. And then my instagram at the secure relationship has tons and tons and tons of information there too.

Megan Blacksmith
So beautiful. Thank you so much for being here. Julie. This was fabulous.

Julie Menanno
Welcome. Thanks for having me.