All posts by: Marc Sadoff

About Marc Sadoff

I do couples and individual therapy and Power & Compassion couples communication seminars in Los Angeles. I also do expert witness reports and testimony regarding post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for immigration asylum and Violence Against Women Act ( VAWA ) cases.

The Some partners get very quiet, and non-reactive and non-emotional in the face of their partner’s anger and hurt feelings being expressed.   Withdrawal Can Be Hostile   I did a phone session with a couple that I’ve worked with before.  The husband holds in his bad feelings and resentment for days and even weeks, […]

To Defend… or Not Defend Three Reasons To Stop Defending Yourself  Your partner says something that offends you, and you are positive that he or she is just completely wrong, inappropriate or lying.  You have a choice about how your respond that gives you 10 times the power of defending yourself. But, how do you NOT […]

Ask Directly For What You Want   People don’t ask for what they want for several reasons: They think that you should know what they want. They don’t believe that they are worth it. They feel vulnerable in the asking…. They feel like a war is going on, and you don’t ask enemies for favors. […]

  Keep It Simple Stupid             The Cat, the Fox, & the Hounds The fox was bragging to the cat about how smart he is when it comes to evading the hounds that chase both of them. He said he has 7 plans for escaping them; and each plan has […]

Stop Talking… So That You Can Be Heard   Being able to balance focusing on your partner’s thoughts and feelings with your own is an emotional intelligence skill.  Sometimes the problem is that you may not put your needs or requests out there to your partner, until you’re so upset that you blow up or […]

How To Respond To Disrespect Do you sometimes feel as if your partner is speaking disrespectfully to you?  This could be a harsh tone of voice, as if you are simply an irritation to your partner.  It could be a sarcastic comment or clear hostility.   How do you generally respond to this?  With defensiveness? […]

Maybe I’m Distorting Something Here, But… Everyone makes mistakes in perception.  Sometimes, I think you mean to blame me, when you think you’re just stating a fact.  Maybe I distort the degree to which I am being blamed.  Especially if my history includes being a victim of physical, sexual or emotional abuse; it’s very possible […]

  The very worst time to talk about an issue is in the midst of an incident involving that issue. Issues consist of things like: cleanliness, promptness, deception, withdrawal, child rearing differences, sexual issues, anger issues, caring, not feeling you’re of primary significance, responsibility, compassion, tone of voice, forgetfulness… and the list goes on. So, […]

I find myself repeating this phrase with the men I work with the phrase, ‘Learn to accept a level two or three expression of irritation & anger from your partner.’   A handy scale to use in communication skills training is the 1 – 10 scale of anger.  A ten is the energy of volcanic […]

When Will My Partner Start Taking Responsibility For Conflicts? This is a question that comes up often with the men and women that come to me with relationship conflict. Each partner is waiting for the other to acknowledge that they did something that hurt him or her. It’s hard for me to be the first […]

Couples argue about: cleanliness punctuality not feeling significant not feeling cared about not feeling respected or acknowledged sex & intimacy child-rearing fairness in-laws responsibilities & chores & other subjects   Partners have legitimate differences in the areas.  But, it is ‘THE WAY YOU’RE TALKING’ and the tone of your voice that really gets under people’s skin. […]

You Have More POWER Than You Know To Create A Better Relationship Or Marriage Can you start one new habit of hugging your partner three times a day?  These will be ‘belly hugs’ that are done so that your two bellies are touching for more than 10 seconds.  Initiate a belly hug whenever the two of you […]

Round Up ‘My Usual Suspects’ Of My Disrespectful Behavior Have you ever walked away from an argument with your partner, just scratching your head wondering, “I don’t even know why my partner was soooo upset with me.”  Not to worry.  You simply look in your wallet and purse and find your ‘Round Up My Usual […]

 Our pride and our psychological defenses prevent us from speaking about what we are really feeling and thinking.  People get scared or hurt and adrenaline surges throughout your body in milliseconds.   Strategies of fight or flight are unconsciously set into motion without thinking. The  behaviors in the red listed on the right side of […]

I Do What I Want!   Defying rules and restrictions placed upon us by others is in our DNA.  One problem with having a reflex to avoid or defy rules is that we begin to have trouble following through with the rules that WE SET FOR OURSELVES!         If I cannot surrender […]

When you or your partner is agitated, it may be impossible to carry on a respectful conversation. It may be impossible to take turns speaking and listening to each other. One reason you are still in a room arguing with someone…. is because YOU are still in the room… arguing with someone. It’s not unusual […]

               Why Some Apologies Don’t Work   Catch yourself the moment you start thinking about saying the word, ‘BUT…’  after saying, “I’m sorry.”   If you say anything after apologizing starting with the word ‘but…’ you might as well sh*t your pants, because you’ve now made it worse.  My […]

  Reasons People Say & Do Things They Regret Later Our brains are designed to help us survive as a species.  Without our limbic system we would not have the extra energy to defend ourselves by fighting attackers, or running to evade them.   This extra energy for the body in time of threat is […]

Even In Conflict, We Can Orient Our Next Thoughts  When you find yourself in a ‘hot conflict’ with your partner your ‘First Thoughts’ are defensive in nature. Adrenaline is a hormone the body releases to prepare for ‘fighting or fleeing.’  We feel defensive because adrenaline flows when when we feel threatened.   Typical ‘First Thoughts’ […]

Your partner hasn’t been available for making love for over a month, which is a long time in your relationship.  You make an assumption.  The assumption is represented by the animal you see in the drawing to the left.  It feels very clear to you that she is mad at you, or judging you, or […]

Stalking behavior can include: ■ Threatening (verbally, in writing or by any other means of communication) to harm or kill the victim or the victim’s family, friends or pets ■ Repeatedly following the victim to his/her home, job, gym, school or other places ■ Repeatedly calling the victim at home or at work ■      Repeatedly   sending […]

I wrote this post at Marriage.com when they asked me to keep it close to 50 words.  It’s a quick cheat sheet summary of some important principles of finding connection when you’re feeling so separate. Seven Principles To Avoid ‘Unnecessary Conflict’ Make the Time Out agreement (view & download here) & return within an hour. […]

Is Your Shame A Mask For Compassion? Think of a moment that you realize that you’ve emotionally hurt someone you care about.  Visualize a moment and visualize a memory that makes you feel ashamed.  Use the Shame–>Compassion translation ideas presented below to free yourself of unnecessary shame.  As an example, I’ll use the time I ‘egged […]

 When your partner is upset with you, do you notice that if your first words are explanatory, or defensive, that he or she seems to get more upset?  The phrase, “That’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.” absolutely describes what happens when defending and explaining yourself are your first words used to calm your partner. The […]

  When someone moves toward you and you feel threatened, the natural instinct is to run or hide.   If you are the partner in pursuit of emotionally important information from your partner and your partner moves away, avoids or distances you can become more agitated in your pursuit. The more he runs away or […]

Amazingly Simple Ways To Make Your Relationship SOAR! As a professional and a relationship coach, I’ve seen similar core themes and dynamics of communication conflict within couples.  These are broad descriptions that improve the communication and the emotional tone of your relationships.  The workshop course using much of the free .pdf’s offered on my site can […]

 When your partner is upset with you, do you notice that if your first words are explanatory, or defensive, that he or she seems to get more upset?  The phrase, “That’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.” absolutely describes what happens when defending and explaining yourself are your first words used to calm your partner. The […]

Misreading Emotions This Ronald McDonald is convinced that he is giving this little girl the thrill of her life.  But, a quick read of her face tells another story.   One reason Ronald doesn’t see it, is because he is not looking at her.  Another reason could be that he is so involved in his […]

Responding To People Who Are Upset With You Real Power Is Being First To Admit You Made A Mistake   When the idea of POWER is transformed into being response-able, you will find arguments are turned into healthy dialogue. Immediately take responsibility for your part in a conflict. This buys you credibility and the space to talk about […]

Are You Expressing Frustration Or Just Being An Ass? Key relationship concepts: “I don’t want to make you feel disrespected by me.” “It is O.K. for you to tell me when I’m speaking in a disrespectful way to you.” “It’s O.K. that my partner is upset with me.” “Sometimes, I’m broadcasting hostility, contempt or aggression […]

There are agreements and skills couples can learn that can absolutely help their relationship thrive and grow.  Unfortunately, many couples seeking professional counseling are not taught these agreements and skills thoroughly BEFORE beginning longer term marriage therapy.   Is there an alternative to expensive professional marriage counseling out there? Learning how to communicate better with […]

These two agreements can bring structure back to your relationship communications!  As simple as it appears, these agreements can literally save a flailing relationship.   The card above outlines the rules of being a speaker.       This card outlines the rules of being a listener. Some couples will just make these agreements and […]

Imagine Responding To Your Partner’s Anger With Grace & Ease   Let Go Of The Belief That Anger   Always Begets More Anger         Are you frustrated with how quickly you escalate small disturbances in your relationship?  Do small irritations in your relationship quickly become major arguments?  Yoda and I have some solutions. […]

This exercise has the potential to have you and your partner noticing and talking more about each other’s positive, caring, and loving behaviors. What a relief this can be from the opposite pattern of always having to deal with someone’s criticism or defensiveness. The graphic above is inspired by Richard Stuart’s approach in ‘Helping Couples […]

Try this experiment that I have run dozens of times with consistent results. First, using only your imagination, picture your partner coming to you with the statement that follows.   “I’ve been feeling distant from you recently because I’ve been holding on to a resentment. I think if I can talk for a few minutes […]

How do you know if a relationship, that has some problems of conflict, can change for better? Kenny Rogers speaks to this dilemma, with his song lyric, “Ya gotta know when to hold, when to fold and when to walk away.”   The poker analogy is a good one for relationships. For instance, folding your […]

Tips & Tricks That Enhance Friendship & Intimacy                                                 The Belly Hug A ritual that has helped a lot of couples is something known as the ‘Belly Hug.’ Dr. Dan Siegel, a psychiatrist at UCLA shared this ritual with about 300 therapists at a couples conference I attended in 2007. It’s very simple. You do […]

             Responding To People Who Are Upset With You              Real Power Is Being First To Admit You Made A Mistake   When the idea of POWER is transformed into being response-able, you will find arguments are turned into healthy dialogue. Immediately take responsibility for your part in a conflict. […]

The images to the left are a reminder tool I call ‘Round Up My Usual Suspects’ card.   The actual card is the size of a business card and is printed front and back.  The card helps you remember the common behaviors that you, in particular, have that make others feel defensive.   You check […]

Another way of asking the question is, “Are you often genuinely surprised and shocked that people think you have been disrespectful to them with your tone of voice or with the look on your face?” If so, then you probably often get people who respond to the hostile edge in your voice, or the look […]

Why would I want to move toward, or engage, the anger of my partner?  For one thing, it lets her know that I take her issue or concern seriously.   Ask yourself, what you end up thinking and feeling when you are angry and your partner either changes the subject, avoids you, ignores you, blames […]

When someone moves toward you and you believe you are in some danger, the natural instinct is to run or hide.   If you are the partner in pursuit of emotionally important information from your partner and your partner moves away, avoids or distances you can become more agitated in your pursuit. The more he […]

How can I get that 2 second window of time to think before I act? Many people know that it is crucial to take a Time Out before major bad things are said or done, but when that time comes in a passionate exchange with their partner, they seem absolutely incapable of stopping themselves.  When […]

The K.I.S.S in the title refers to Keep It Simple Stupid!  When you are given too many instructions at the same time it can be confusing.  I stood in front of that parking sign for 10 minutes and still did not know what to do. The same is true for communication skills instruction designed to help guide you […]

   The phrase, “That’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.” absolutely describes what happens when defending and explaining yourself are your first words used to calm your partner. The more you explain, the more trouble you seem to be in with your partner.  The more you say your point of view, the more angry your partner […]

Answer: Take turns, show some respect, make time for each other to speak and mean what you say, and do what you say. While those words are easily said, they can be hard to follow when your partner says or does something that just makes you crazy with frustration.          Imagine driving […]

 Anger Management skills can be helpful for people ranging from the mildly miffed to the violently vengeful.  You do not need to be in a physically violent relationship to benefit from understanding and learning about communicating anger and hurt feelings constructively. I’m just expressing my feelings.   Isn’t that O.K.? People think they are expressing […]