Relationship Management

Click on the Play button above to hear Josephine Cropper talking about relationships with Jane Rapin.

Jane: Welcome to another episode of “You’re Listening To Me, Jane Rapin” and today’s episode is a conversation with Josephine Cropper. So without further ado let’s get started.

I’d love to introduce my good friend and awesome psychotherapist true expert with all things mind related, Josephine Cropper. And I’m going to put a link to your website and details about how to get in touch with you as well because I know that eveyone would really benefit from speaking to you and working with you.

So, Josephine Cropper, I really look forward to speaking to you. Let’s get started. Yay!

Josephine: Okay. Thank you.

[NOTE that the transcription below has not been edited and includes timestamps, so you may find it easier to listen to the audio above]

Jane: I looked at your email and I really like what you’re going to talk about. And interestingly enough I had a conversation with a lady last night and she was talking to me about her parents’ relationship.  can you still hear me when *0:00:57. Parents’ relationship and I thought this is really interesting and *0:01:05 you’ve mentioned that we were going to talk about it today which is why I mentioned it. So she said she finds it difficult to manage conflict and to raise objections because when she does that with her parents her dad basically withdraws favors so stops helping them and cuts her off in that respect and her mom gives her the silent treatment just disappears to a different room and will stay there, you know, for a day or days and will just ignore her and then comes back later on and it’s all, you know, I’m such a bad mom. So she kind of gets two types of punishments from her mom. The silent treatment and then the, I’m such a bad mom please feel sorry for me, I guess kind of thing. And I thought that was so interesting because I can see it’s manifesting in the relationships that she’s having so that when she has a boyfriend who behaves in a way that she doesn’t like she can’t tell him when she does she’s attracted a man who is like her  dad and who either leaves completely or gets angry and won’t discuss it with her. How fascinating especially given what we’re going to talk about today.

Josephine: Yeah. The patterns that are set upand what parents are *0:02:31 people we will rebel against. You know, like I said, with that, yeah.

Jane: So I love that you said we had to pick our partner we rebel against because I understand that and I understand both those reactions but I get puzzled where we came *0:02:53 middle ground where we don’t do anything so we stop having the conflict so we stop saying to the parent I don’t agree with what you’re saying or can we do something different I don’t like what you’re doing. We just don’t do anything and we can’t *0:03:08 manage it and builds and builds where this is causing anxiety and fear inside, fear of the rejection and the punishment, the resentment of not being strong enough to do anything about it. And how does that fit into adopting those patterns or rebelling against those patters?

Josephine: It’s where *0:03:31 so if you think of the passive-aggressive scenario. So someone either chooses to become the passive and *0:03:40 you know, I’m not going to get involved in this and yet there is also another passive *0:03:46 still you got the aggression lurking. So although they might appear to be doing nothing internally there will actually be a lot going on because they’re actually fighting against it. One of the things I have to say to people is well if you change that word stoked to trapped, how would you look at your life then? And it’s like, oh, well *0:04:15 trapped? Well, yeah, but if you just follow that *0:04:18 so you’re trapped in this relationship, so you’re trapped still trying to getting back and you can see *0:04:27 go on that, oh maybe just maybe this is something I’m doing to myself and then you’ve got starting point to start to explore with people to look at that early history. What did mom and dad do? Were they together? Were they not abandonment issues that can be very, very powerful. So, we’ll talk as if it’s a woman not a man to make it simpler all throughout. Though if say the woman’s has had a mother who abandoned her that might *0:05:10 but was emotionally unavailable, it might be there was an alcohol issue, or it might just be that it was somebody who was incredibly controlling *0:05:21 to the child. So, how do I have relationships? If I can have a relationship with my lover. If I’m first of all not worth anything even my mother doesn’t think I’m worth anything, how can I be worth anything to myself? How can I be worth anything to anyone else? So all this is out of awareness, of course.

Jane: Yeah. So I was going to say that something that we don’t often realize that we’re thinking and failing, isn’t it?

Josephine: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s why it’s important to start with a history to help people uncover all this because they’re not aware of all that that just *0:06:07 and, you know, what messages they’re actually giving themselves and having links to the past. So very often I, you know, ask people as I’m sure you probably do, you know, what do you like about yourself or describe yourself as a person and not to sit there blind *0:06:29 anybody has ever asked me because people are not used to looking at themselves they *0:06:35 and coping with what’s right there. But hey hang on a minute, this is something I need to do now.

Jane: Yeah. That’s a fascinating topic *0:06:47 because I was having a conversation *0:06:48 yesterday a stylist actually and we were talking about colors and you know having my colors done and how very often it’s almost like women choose colors that don’t suit them because actually when they go to the shop they don’t even look in the mirror with the thing that they’re trying on. They look in the mirror only at the dress or top or the pair of trousers. They never see their head so they don’t see the colors or whether or not it suits them. And if they’re not into trying clothes on the shops then they kind of just hold it up and walk down and they have no idea that the color doesn’t suit them. And it’s weird we grow old and there’s a point in our life when we’re always looking in the mirror always loving who we are and be adventurous and then there’s kind of a cutoff where mirror is the last thing we want to look in.

Josephine: Yeah. Lots and lots of people do not actually look at themselves in the mirror because I will ask people and I will say, what would you be like if you gave yourself a smile every morning? And they’ll like look *0:07:59, what, I’ve got to look in the mirror? So when you do look in the mirror because you brush your hair you know you do it when you’re brushing your teeth then you realize *0:08:06 and I’ve to include my body. So *0:08:14 cutoff. I ask people, where do you hold your feelings in the body? For a lot of people they go, I don’t know. What that means they’ve cutoff *0:08:27 fully integrated into the body and a few people have completely mind and body integrated, you know, *0:08:37 but it’s supposed to be soul, mind, and body connection and that is also where people get caught up with *0:08:48 because they’re not aware of what’s going in the body all the emotions or *0:08:55 let’s just stop those feelings.

Jane: I love that topic as well and I know that you and I could *0:09:03 conversations on a variety of topics and that would be one of them because one of the biggest problems I have with the ladies who are interested in working with me is that they put it off because they say they want to lose weight and then when you ask them, you know, well how long have you been trying to lose weight? And it’s not just a case of the last few months I just put a couple of pounds but it’s actually in the 5, 10, 15 years that they’ve *0:09:27 and they don’t want to look for love or use coach services until they’ve lost that weight and it’s a constant cycle they don’t lose the weight they don’t find the love that they’re after, they eat more because they’re unhappy but they don’t realize it *0:09:41 doing the wrong things and it kind of keeps going on. Did you want to talk a little bit about that?

Josephine: Yeah. Because what they’re really saying to themselves is you don’t know how awful I think I am really because they have such a negative view of themselves but they don’t want to admit that. They might not be aware of it initially but the way they treat themselves is almost to the point *0:10:07.

Jane: Sorry. I lost you there for a moment, Josephine.

Josephine: Right. So, yeah, they’re not even aware of the body that they’re actually walking around in and using and any messages from the body *0:10:25 normally care are completely closed down. So a good way to start is for people to say, well find one thing you like about yourself and sometimes it has been a fingernail or one eyebrow. Just one, one, tiny, tiny thing. And *0:10:44 I can go with that with Josephine *0:10:48 that’s great. You only need to start beginning. You’ll only need to start small. And, you know, acknowledge that part of you and then look *0:10:59 a bit more actually *0:11:04 taking the pressure off *0:11:06. So we’ll forget about these things for now *0:11:09 you know, you’re looking at me and you’re thinking, oh this, that, and the other and you know *0:11:15 let’s just forget all that for now. Let’s just *0:11:21 let’s just talk to you as a person mind and body. Oh, okay then. Nobody has ever done that before. It’s a certainly different approach really because often like people have said they’ve been on endless diets and all the rest of the things. It’s always interesting to look at the history and see whether mothers have had them on diet since, you know, early age. *0:11:53 the mother having been chaotic eaten or she never *0:11:56 she was always on a diet. She *0:11:58 what have you.

Jane: And I guess the awful thing about that is that we’re even more body conscious now and diet obsessed. So it’s a problem for this generation currently they’re now parents and in a sense I guess create an even bigger problem for their own kids and the next generation because not only they’re skipping meals but they also advertising the girls on *0:12:27 when we were kids about, you know, losing weight and drinking shakes and having these pills. I can’t imagine how many more problems we’re going to have as a result.

Josephine: Yeah because it’s just not tackling the root cause at all so then of course they feel like, oh I failed so I really a rubbish. And just because, you know, a vicious cycle and instead of boosting the self-esteem *0:12:53 the negative effect so then *0:12:55 eat even more, eat an ice cream *0:12:58 rubbish anyway so why bother. It’s like, no, no, no, no. Forget the eating let’s start with you as a person and who you want to be. Let’s have some kindness and some gentleness first of all. Because beating themselves up all the time, I’m rubbish, I’m not good enough. All these, you know, far for more than we imagine.

Jane: Yeah. And does that impact the relationship choices they make then and do you find that if they’ve got really low self-esteem and negative body issues do they put up with worse relationships *0:13:47 to you as better self-esteem. Is there a connection?

Josephine: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Nearly always. Nearly always. Because they don’t think they’re worth *0:13:59 they think, you know, well yeah, at least I’ve got somebody. And if you say, well, you know, they *0:14:11 you’ve got to love yourself first they won’t even understand that a lot of people. What does that actually mean? How am I supposed to do that? You know, what do I need to do to myself? So it’s like taking somebody back to start off almost to my imagined self 2, 3-year-old *0:14:29 just be kind and gentle and soothing and I’d like to see who you were then or what happened to you. *0:14:39 parents well assuming the mother was the main caregiver *0:14:47 as I say emotionally unavailable or *0:14:53 over intrusive. So when the child *0:14:57 developing that sense of self that sense of separateness and me, you you. *0:15:06 so I go through life thinking I can only be okay when I’m with someone else or you can almost say when I’m hooked into someone else and that’s why there’s that trap that I can’t get out of this cycle because it’s almost like a click I’ pulling that when I’m with that person so I can be fine. So I cannot extricate myself from that because then I’ll be completely abandoned and I’ll feel all this abandonment feelings. So there are many, many different ways to all this.

Jane: So if that person that you’re attached to leaves you so the guy leaves the woman who feels only complete when he’s there that’s why then she will try to desperate to get him back as opposed to moving on.

Josephine: Yeah and people are amazed when I say it goes back to 2-1/2. A good question to ask people is when the *0:16:15 how old do you feel? *0:16:19 quite young and *0:16:21 oh I feel twelve this week, oh I feel 15 this week and *0:16:26 well I just feel me. And also I’m amazed is how much energy that has been taking. *0:16:35 you have so much more energy and *0:16:38. What are you talking about? Oh I get it. Oh, what a difference. Because I’m not hurrying somebody else *0:16:47 it’s just me here *0:16:51 all the people but I can say I may and do I love that person or do I want that person? Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Now, I need this person to make me whole to get myself together. So this is a very, very different place.

Jane: How long does it take for someone to get over that loss because sometimes I think it’s a bit like grief, isn’t it? How do we know whether or not we’re just grieving for the loss of the person that we shared some time with or whether we’ve got this underlying issue that means that we have to have someone to be whole.

Josephine: Yeah and there’s a big difference but the question that is really good to ask people is if you go to a party and you’re enjoying yourself but you see someone else *0:17:42 who is not okay. Do you want to feel okay when *0:17:48 you know they’re going to feel better or can you say I’m having a nice time I’ll just say that person *0:17:58 subtle difference about do I have to go and look after somebody then I’m okay or am I okay I can go look after somebody. *0:18:11 are very different as well. It’s not as exhausting.

Jane: Is that connected to this theory about co-dependency?

Josephine: Yeah, yeah. And I will probably say that I’ll spend 90% of my life helping people with that. You know, it’s not about blaming our parents it just happens so that doesn’t really matter from that point of view but it’s helping people move through it. *0:18:48 say that my experience that abandonment grief for a short space of time *0:18:48 it’s different than the *0:18:54 true grieving from *0:18:57 a lot of life has changed that’s much more *0:19:00 grieving. So it’s a very different place.

Jane: It’s interesting. It’s making me think of another lady I spoke to who had very quickly got involved with a man after a break of not being with someone for quite a while and although he wasn’t ideal and there were things that made her suspicious about his behavior that even when she asked him to go *0:19:28 she still was talking in terms of, you know, I just want him back *0:19:35 you know I want him to treat me differently. That’s all I want. And would that be a manifestation of this kind of thing where she’s unable to let go because of the co-dependency as opposed to the loss?

Josephine: Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting isn’t it? Hear the language, you know, this is what I want just need that bracket and then I’ll be all right. So it’s not from that adult to adult place, you know. She wouldn’t be aware of that, of course, but it’s like that almost like a child need, I just need it, please. Somebody help me. Somebody rescue me. You know, I’ve got to have this, I couldn’t cling on to it. There is an urgency with it. There’s a different feel to it. *0:20:22 this is what I’ve liken to do, you know. I wonder if we can work something out, you know, or maybe he’s not going to so yeah I’ve got to move on.

Jane: Yeah. The women in those kind of situations know that the man is bad for them or is not the right man or they’re oblivious to that. Because I sometimes wonder, why do you keep going back to that same bad relationship, all that same pattern. It might not even be the same relationship it might be different men but exactly the same kind of relationship and it has been a struggle for me sometimes to understand that strong *0:20:59 you just said. I don’t whether that was actually a question.

Josephine: Yeah. Well, often they don’t and often it’s friends that will say *0:21:11. So, you know, an extreme with that is people in an abusive relationship *0:21:17 the woman’s refuge is to get lot of women like that. They *0:21:21 how they ended up there in some ways because they think he’ll change and on some level they know well it’s more important to hang on to what they need their self preservation or what they think they need for the self preservation because what would any of us do? We do what we need to do to keep ourselves together to keep ourselves alive that’s first and foremost.

Jane: So in order to cope do we…

Josephine: *0:21:51

Jane: Sorry because you broke apart I thought you weren’t talking. So, carry on.

Josephine: Right. So, yeah. So that’s why they cling on to it so desperately, you know. If he’s always bad for you hang on. You’re asking me to chop off my line source *0:21:10 so they can’t just move out finish over. You got to understand why and what was happening and then always the people understand why you can make new decisions and change things. So that’s why people seem to stay stuck. Sometimes they do know but they don’t know why they keep doing it, you know, why *0:22:38, you know, why do you do that? If I *0:22:47

Jane: Sorry we lost you again, Josephine. It’s a bit like having lost pieces of a jigsaw.

Josephine: Yeah and it’s like, you know, I’ve not pictured it to put it together so I know something’s not right but I don’t have to solve this puzzle.

Jane: Right. It’s interesting that I guess we never think about why we do things, too, because we just do them on autopilot. And it’s the same in our relationships. So, you know, I know I used to attract those similar types of relationships it was a problem and a pattern for me for a while and I had to step in and go, why am I doing this? Why? It’s not until you get that clarity that they need to make more informed decisions I guess. And in a way I think and I now I did that I normalized it so even the bad stuff you either focus only on the good things that happen so you know, the kiss that was good or the day out that you had that was good but then you block out the phase that you have and the arguments that you have. So that in a way the whole thing just becomes a normal relationship and then like you say only your friends are seeing it or your family.

Josephine: Yeah, yeah, you don’t because you know you hear *0:24:23 this marriage, you know, it’s as if well everybody says that this year marriage is difficult and it’s only when I started talking to people. And people at work really. Sometimes people that are a bit more of a distance than family and that’s really weird to have you. You know, that’s just not *0:24:42 and I’m a Catholic so, you know, marriage is for life and all the rest of it. Even I ultimately gotten old actually. But yeah you focus on the good things because you’re hanging on to those good things because you don’t want to say to yourself, oohh, maybe it’s about me and then *0:25:06 that means I’m a failure so no I don’t want to go there. And it’s not about that at all. It’s not about that. It’s about all the different building blocks of life that brought you to that point and they just need rearranging basically.

Jane: Yeah, and eve that we’re doing subconsciously aren’t we? The thinking about it being our fault.

Josephine: Yeah, yeah.

Jane: It’s amazing when you think the conversations that go on in your mind that you’re not even aware of. I think we’ve lost you again.

Josephine: We’ve given ourselves *0:25:45 and then we actually put in ourselves down for being stupid for that or whatever at all. Because there’s plenty of negativity out there in the real world so you can easily find the evidence for the negative stuff not always so much for the positive stuff. And sometimes people don’t even know how to be positive.

Jane: Yeah. That’s true.

Josephine: Yeah. I mean I’ve got a CD that I give to people which is such a token about, you know, *0:26:16 meditation really and it’s about being positive. So will say in the first person and also in the third person because of what we all hear a lot and some people can stand about 10 seconds and that’s it. They literally can’t stand anymore of that it’s just too overwhelming like it gradually, gradually, gradually, gradually, *0:26:41 they are. It just shows the level, the level of internal abuse really.

Jane: That’s mind blowing actually. You *0:26:57 that we don’t look in the mirror and then that we can’t listen to positive affirmations about, you know, you, me, I, the person and it’s quite sad.

Josephine: It is. And yet you see all the time, you know, you give somebody a compliment and then oh it’s just *0:27:17 whatever they’ll just throw that compliment away. You know *0:27:24 people.

Jane: Yeah.

Josephine: *0:27:27

Jane: Well it’s a big skill to learn is accepting compliments especially for women.

Josephine: It is. It is. Massive scale. That one thing *0:27:41 alone would make a *0:27:45.

Jane: Yeah. It’s like, you know, *0:27:50 doing this today obviously but everybody will be listening to the audio. And the amount of times that I start these calls not just with the interviews or the conversations that we have but with the clients and they’ll go, oh my God I look awful. Oh look I look really awful, I look really old, I look really gray. And no, you just look great, you just look like you. And we instantly go into criticize mode. *0:28:16

Josephine: Yeah. And then some people would say but who is me, you know. They don’t really know who they are actually. A stand alone person that’s because they’ve never been given the chance or who knows you know what *0:28:32 as a child or you know. They’ve lost themselves perhaps in the role *0:28:38 did not just have a chance to *0:28:41 for people to accept that yeah. And me *0:28:50 and it’s fine to the me. What a different place the world would be if people could say that.

Jane: So I just want to ask you about the young mom thing. Again, I had a conversation with someone yesterday about young moms and how they get caught up in being a mom and when the children gone to school they suddenly feel that they’ve lost themselves and they’re not sure whether the person’s gone. How can, you know, what would be the ones that you would give a young woman in that situation where she’s ready to face life on her own again and just doesn’t know who she is anymore.

Josephine: Yeah, because that is really challenging for people and rarely scary. So, depending on who it is in the background but *0:29:39 they could do is to write a story about *0:29:41 so they remind themselves of all the qualities, all the passions. And one thing is look at what was your favorite story growing up. Most people have read something growing up and who is the main character? And what would that main character just look at your life now, what would they want to say to you? What piece of advice would they give you?

Jane: Wow. That’s quite *0:30:14. I’m just thinking about my own favorite childhood story and what that would mean and bizarrely enough I just a gift yesterday from my husband actually that will also relate to this very story because I talk about all the time.

Josephine: Nice. Wow.

Jane: Yeah. Interesting. I love that it’s a great exercise.

Josephine: Quite some thought but it’s *0:30:41

Jane: And I think that would be a good exercise for your moms. I’m not your mom my kids have grown up now but it would be a good exercise because *0:30:54 in our childhood story thing with their children anyway so fairy stories and all that far from there and the consciousness or the memory and it’s easier to relate back to their own childhood because they’re immersed in replicating that for their own children or improving on that.

Josephine: Yeah, yeah. And also to, you know, to write a list and if that *0:31:19 of themselves as a friend of all the good things by themselves. The good qualities because you *0:31:29 a lot of good things, you know, the good organizational skills, they’ve got some good cooking skills. All the different aspects within that role that they are now performing to remind us *0:31:41 if they will write in a CV, wow, look at all the things I do. I haven’t lost myself actually gained all these skills.

Jane: Yeah *0:31:54 I ever did.

Josephine: Yeah and then to read it out loud to themselves because there is something about that being heard or read it to a friend but it’s still *0:32:05 to read it. To read it out loud, to give themselves that self expression.

Jane: I think that’s an excellent idea because the voice, your own voice is quite a tribal thing, isn’t it? So as you’re speaking the vibration in your body affects everything and I can’t remember as a tribe, I can’t remember where in the world this tribe is but when a child is born and everybody congregates together and they all hold the child and sing to it or they make specific noises with their voice so that when the child cries they replicate that noise and hold the child at the same time so that the child is heard and it’s all tied up with making this child feel heard. I must look it up and send it to you actually because it’s an amazing story.

Josephine: Wow, yeah. That is fantastic because so much gets stuck there and of course that also relates back to eating issues because feelings and things get stuck there and trying to just you know stuff the feelings down so to speak. There’s many things about speaking things out and certainly thinking I mean *0:33:21 in my sessions with you also. It’s really, really difficult for people initially because it’s like well okay I heard yeah well that’s fine it’s only who’s actually going to hear you but *0:33:38 it’s so relieving, wow. It makes such a difference.

Jane: And that reminds me of that scene in Cabaret where I can’t remember the main character’s name in Cabaret but she’s walking with the guy from the movie as well and they’re running to the streets of *0:34:06 and they go to a railway arch and there’s a train coming over and she said, I’d love to do this. And as the train goes over she just shouts really loud there and screams something out *0:34:15 so this is about me I’ve had a long time so it might not actually be accurate reflection but she screams or shouts or does something *0:34:23 as the train goes over and it’s just that sense of release even *0:34:30 when I saw it I thought that is amazing to be able to just be so loud. So you get all of that out but that, you know, you don’t wake up the neighbors or offend anybody or *0:34:45.

Josephine: *0:34:48 imagine *0:34:50 because what I say what, people don’t think twice if *0:34:55 up with the hill and yell for a dog *0:35:01 I’ve got dogs and *0:35:10 lose them. And especially feel *0:35:11 where you know even if you’re trying a conversation *0:35:21 are interrupting *0:35:23 get a chance to finish a full sentence *0:35:29 of daily life.

Jane: Yeah and I guess that just serves to make them feel even more invisible doesn’t it?

Josephine: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Jane: We’ve been going for about 45 minutes so I’m going to kind of try and wrap it up now it’s going to be difficult because it’s just *0:35:50 topic. I loved speaking to you as always you’re just full of just amazing insights clearly because you’re an expert at what you do. It has also been a pleasure talking to you, Josephine. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Josephine: Yeah, I hope that was helpful so thanks.

Jane: Yeah, hugely helpful and I’ve learned a lot about me and as always when we talk *0:36:16.

Josephine: Well we can do it again *0:36:22.

Jane: Yeah I think we should because I think it will be great actually to pick out individual topics and I think it would be good for, you know, for the people that need you as well as for people that were with me so…

Josephine: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah.

Jane: You’ve been listening to me, Jane Rapin, having a conversation with Josephine Cropper of jmcpsychotherapy.co.uk. Thanks again. Till next time. Bye now.