It's all about the C word!

Posted by Leticia, 15 Aug 07

Learn the secret to every successful relationship....the C word! Today we talk to Todd Creager, from the Todd Creager Center of Successful Relationships, to get to the bottom of this vital relationship ingredient.

Dr. Wright
This is Dr. Letitia Wright. And I am here for idcdating.com. We are talking with Todd Creager from the Todd Creager Center of Successful Relationships. And we are going to talk about how to keep up relationships successful. Let me tell you about Todd. Todd is a consultant, a coach, a psychotherapist and a speaker who has been in practice for over 24 years. His background, training and continued work in marriage therapy with specialty in sex therapy has been a unique and great complement to his training and work as a business and life coach.

He has helped thousands of individuals whether they are in home or in a workplace, learn how to bring out the best in others. Likewise he is extremely successful out bringing the - - he is successful at bringing the best out of his clients. I had to get that out. He also consults with organizations that are either in crisis or underachieving due to work conflict and lack of teamwork or ineffective leadership.

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In addition, he works with forward thinking organizations that may already be successful and want to run optimally with high moral, excellent teamwork and inspiring leadership. Through his work as well as his personal successes and failures he has come to the conclusion that it all comes down to the moment by moment choice, "I am going to be creative or passive in a situation or interaction." And he believes that you should bring out the best in others and bring out the best in yourself.

Thanks for being on the call Todd.

Todd Creager:
Thank you.

Dr. Wright
Now, we are talking about relationships at idcdating.com. And we are talking to all different people about how to have the best relationship. And I really like your approach about bringing out the best in someone else. So when we are first getting to know each other, what is the best way to do that?

Todd Creager:
Well, the first way to do that is to just be yourself. A lot of times we have all been trained to put on a certain presentation but it does not have to be that stressful. The best thing is to be who you are. And the most important thing is to not be so focused on how I come across to you and how I impress you. It is more about how I come across - - do I accept you? Do you feel accepted by me? We tend to be so focused on our own worries about are you going to - - am I going to come off in a good way? Oftentimes the real issue is do you feel comfortable about around me?

Dr. Wright
So give us an example when you were first meeting someone face to face?

Todd Creager:
Let us say you have a situation where you are attracted to somebody - - the opposite sex and typically when that happens maybe we get a little nervous so we hold back. Then if we could remember that the most important thing is not so much is the person going to like me. But am I going to come off as liking them. It makes it a little easier. We do not feel like we are performing.

Dr. Wright
Okay. Now, as relationships develop when we are first starting to have a relationship and maybe some challenges come up. What is the way to really look at that if we intend to overcome them as opposed to "Well, now, this is a problem so I want to abandon the relationship."

Todd Creager:
I would say to people that the best mindset is not that there will be problems. That is inevitable. There is not going to be a situation there where there is no problem. But the key really always has to do with the big C word, communication. And we need to learn to communicate about these challenges. And typically, the couples that do well and thrive are those that it is not those that do not have problems. It is those that can be honest and talk about whatever it is that is irritating them or frustrating them or disappointing them.

Dr. Wright
Okay. Let us go right there. Let us talk about some communication techniques. Most of us do not really know good techniques we just follow what our family does.

Todd Creager:
That is true.

Dr. Wright
What are some good basic principles in terms of communication.

Todd Creager:
What you said is so true that we really have not learned it from our family. So I will always tell people when you do couple's stuff or you are communicating you have to think like a maverick. You are a pioneer. You are forging new ground. And so we do have to be - - this is what I mean by being creative. Like you said in my introduction. Now, we really need to - - the first thing is to realize that my perspective and your perspective can both be right at the same time even if they are totally different.

Dr. Wright
That is a hard concept to accept.

Todd Creager:
Very difficult. Very difficult. Because from my point of view, I am right and you are wrong. But of course the problem is from your point of view, you are right and I am wrong. So what do we do about that? And I always say to couples that you have to change your conjunction from "or" to "and." It is not you or me; it is you and me. It is difficult for our egos. We do not like to share being right.

So the first rule is to allow - - I guess to agree to disagree.

Dr. Wright
Okay.

Todd Creager:
And that is the first step. And then from that standpoint, then the most important thing I tell people is: The way people usually communicate and it is usually not healthy is I call "I say we do a 2 step." You say your thing; I say mine. They talk back and forth to each other and talk at each other.

Well, I say I like for you guys to try to go from a 2-step to a 3-step where it is more like a waltz where you say what you say. And if you talk first it is your turn and your turn does not end until you get the subjective experience that I heard you. That is when your turn ends. And so if you talk, even if I want to say something - - because typically when somebody says something to me I am already thinking about what I want to say and then I am going to say it back.

But in an emotionally charged situation, it is better to show some self-discipline and look at the other person, "Okay. I am with you." What do you - - okay. And you need to learn to stay with what the other person is saying. "Okay. You are angry at me or you are disappointed. Okay. Tell me more about that." Not easy to do but it is the only way it works. Then when the person feels like "God, you really heard me. Now I can tell you what I think and what I feel.

Dr. Wright
Okay. So make sure that you get it all out. That the other person takes time to make sure that they hear you. And then they give you the feedback, which is whatever it makes that person feel comfortable. They cannot just say I heard you. I heard you.

Todd Creager:
Right. You have to be sincere. Actually, it is not just the words. It is actually the intention to I am going to hear you even if I want to blurt something out. It is not my turn.

Dr. Wright
Okay.

Todd Creager:
It does take self-discipline.

Dr. Wright
That does. (inaudible).

Todd Creager:
I am not saying I do not do that myself all the time. I am sorry.

Dr. Wright
So what is our next step?

Todd Creager:
So at that point, if it is again in an emotionally charged situation and I have now listened to you and I - - what is really like the gold medal is to say to somebody "Is that everything? Is there anything more I need to know?" That is really challenging when I really - - inside I want to blurt something out and tell you I am right, you are wrong. And instead I am asking for more information. It is like you want to take the standpoint as if I am a journalist. And I am interviewing you and it is all about you right now. It is all about the journalist.

Dr. Wright
Okay.

Todd Creager:
That is the best way to do it and of course it is challenging but the rewards are there. Because once that person feels like they heard you or you heard him, I should say then there is a much better chance that they will actually listen to you

Dr. Wright
Okay. So really work hard to actually get control.

Todd Creager:
Right. Right. That is right. As I say that there is a certain technique I call it the disarming technique. And the disarming technique is find the truth in what the other person is saying even if it seems mostly untrue or unfair.

Dr. Wright
Okay. So sometimes we will have to dig through and say, Okay. That sounds - - we feel like this is unfair but here is a piece that is true. And if you can acknowledge that piece to the other person that will help them feel heard.

Todd Creager:
Yes.

Dr. Wright
Okay. I think I might be able to get the hang of this. No. Relationships are - - people are just looking everywhere for relationships. And online dating of course is a brand new frontier. Is it really that much different from just regular dating?

Todd Creager:
Well, yes and no. I mean, the yes part of it is that and this is where - - as I have been going on I have been more encouraging people to do it whereas in the beginning I was always resisting it for some reason. But I think the good thing about it is that when you do online dating you are really looking for people that are really looking. So it does take away a lot of the - - it cuts through a lot of the people that are just hanging around in bars or wherever else people meet where they are not really interested it is not the right situation.

So that is the good thing. That is what makes it different. What makes it similar is you still have the same - - typically the same anxieties, fears, the decisions we need to make and how much do I share? How do I not share in the beginning? Those kinds of things are all still the same.

Dr. Wright
Okay. Let us talk about sharing and some limits. What is the good way for us to figure out what the boundaries are? I know women have that challenge a lot. We share our first puppy and that can be sort of a boring part of the conversation because that person is not really I guess, vested in you yet.

Todd Creager:
I think that - - I mean there is no really any hard and set rules. I think sometimes what we have to first to do is again think of that word "and." I do not want to take over the conversation. I need to talk about me but I also want to find out about you. So to try to keep it balanced is a good thing. And then the other thing is oftentimes we just need to use our own, I guess, gut feeling about things. There is certain people that may feel right to express a lot to. The problem is when people are just nervous and they just talk and talk and talk. And then they might not be tuning in to "I am not really sure if the other person is ready for this."

And so I guess the most important thing is to relax and try to stay as calm as possible. To keep your intuition open so you can listen to it.

Dr. Wright
And really see that person's reaction and try to gauge yourself.

Todd Creager:
Yes.

Dr. Wright
That is great. Now, let us talk about multicultural relationships. You counsel a lot of different people. Do you see a different set of problems for a multicultural relationship versus same race?

Todd Creager:
Well, I see there are differences and there are some similarities. The difference is they have one more set of differences that other people have. It is a different cultural rules and norms. And different cultures have different ways they have communicated to each other. Different things that were acceptable and not acceptable. So that is really what is different and it does need to be recognized. That is another hurdle to overcome. But at the same time we are all different. And it still comes down to that C word, communication.

Dr. Wright
Okay.

Todd Creager:
So as long as people are communicating then it is just one more set of differences they need to work with and resolve. And find creative ways to raise the children and how should we raise the - - there is a lot of challenges when it comes to that but it - - it is all can be overcome with good communication.

Dr. Wright
Okay. Everything can be overcome with good communication. Now you talk about being creative versus passive in a relationship. And that is really a different way of thinking and talking about it. Let us talk about that a little bit.

Todd Creager:
That is basically like the main message I want to get out to the world. And that is that whereas we are very - - we can be very creative in different areas of our life whether it is music, art or even our work. When it comes to relationships we tend to - - especially after the honeymoon period is over in a relationship we tend to get relatively passive. We react to people as if - - we let them define how we behave. So if they treat us well, we treat them well. If they treat us badly, we may treat them badly back. What I tell you - -

Dr. Wright
That is pretty much (inaudible).

Todd Creager:
I mean the golden rule is: Treat others the way you want to be treated. And that golden rule is more easily said than done. But it is basically I am going to treat you well no matter how you treat me. So maybe the recovery, the healing starts with me. And also how I think of you and how I treat you is going to affect what I bring out of you. So if you are treating me poorly I should not accept abuse. But at the same time how I respond to that will actually lead to am I going to bring up more of the same that I do not want? Or more of what I do want?

For example, if I - - my partner is in a bad mood and treating me badly I may have to remember, "Well, yesterday she is treating me really well and she was really sweet. How would I talk to her if she was talking to me like that? How would I look at her? Now, my eyes might soften. She might see my eyes soften because I am thinking about yesterday. And me - - her seeing my eyes soften might lead her to somehow remember "Oh, you know, I like this guy." And treat me well.

So that is - - what I mean of being creative is not just going with whatever I am feeling at the moment but trying to find that place inside of me that I can say, "Okay. How can I - - what can I say?" Honesty is not always about saying whatever is on my mind. It is but it is also about what can I say and how can I deal with this situation so that I could get the results that I want.

Dr. Wright
Okay. So it is not just bare harsh honesty but, I guess, figuring out how to communicate clearly but yet keeping that other person in mind because a lot of people were - - they want to be honest and they use their honesty as a blunt instrument.

Todd Creager:
That is right. That is right. Again, there is times - - for example, if my partner is really angry at me and I just react with anger back I mean, so what do am I going to get back from that? More of her anger. If I want more of her anger I should do that. But if I want something else I may need to notice what I am feeling and acknowledge it. I might share it but at some point I will say to her maybe something like "God. The way you are treating me, you are obviously in pain. I am here to listen. You do not want have to yell but I do want to listen to you. I do care about you. I do love you."

Now that the person softens, she is putty in my hands. And now I am here to get what I want. It is I say living with a little bit of like x-ray vision. I want to say that there is a behavior that you may not want but it is coming from some deeper thing inside of that person. And if we - - if I have a couple that can get that, they are graduating.

Dr. Wright
They are graduating. And they are probably going to be able to work through every single issue that comes to them.

Todd Creager:
Yes. Yes.

Dr. Wright
It is not as hard to deal with relationship issues as people think. I mean it is not totally on the emotions then.
Todd Creager:
It is not. It is not. It is really about doing things in a new way. And realizing that I could find something inside of myself even if it is not the part of me that wants to just react; that I could bring out more of what I want. And we could begin shifting. I think this is new. I think our ancestors all reacted passively. It is not their fault.

Dr. Wright
Wonderful.

Todd Creager:
No. Just think it is - - time has come to take more responsibility for making some changes.

Dr. Wright
Okay. Well, Todd Creager can be reached at toddcreager.com. T-O-D-D-C-R-E-A-G-E-R and Todd Creager Center for Successful Relationships. Any last words before we go?

Todd Creager:
I just want to say that having a good relationship is possible. And be encouraged to go out there. And when we are trying to meet new people, the key is to remember that it is not a performance it is really about connecting.

Dr. Wright
Thank you so much. This is Dr. Letitia Wright for idcdating.com. Creating multicultural relationships every day. Remember ignoring one's conscience is neither safe nor right. And I will see you next time.

48 responses to "It's all about the C word!"

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  1.   snehaseeli says:
    Posted: 05 Mar 08

    Excellent points!

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  2.   anne says:
    Posted: 07 Jan 08

    thank you for such a dynamic article, it will never get old. It cannot be stressed enough...

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  3.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 09 Dec 07

    Her lips are sealed!!

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  4.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 05 Dec 07

    LOL @ Fala and Mossimo :) If Fala did find love, she won't kiss and tell ;)

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  5.   Fala says:
    Posted: 18 Nov 07

    Hey! It's not that hard to believe!!!! It could happen, dammit!

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  6. Posted: 15 Nov 07

    i know right mossimo, its hard to believe!!!

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  7.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 13 Nov 07

    Fala found love? Stop the press!! Where? When? With whom?

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  8. Posted: 10 Nov 07

    finaly!!! fala found love!!

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  9.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 09 Nov 07

    Its all about communication!! Everyone communicate amongst yerselves!

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  10.   Fala says:
    Posted: 08 Nov 07

    Thanks Coco and Sweetness. I feel so loved when I come here!

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  11.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 06 Nov 07

    Thanks nicefella! Life is about passion, and spirit, its about love, its about people, its about connection!!! Its not about the cincinnati bowtie, or the hanging brain, the arabian googles or the Hot karl. Think about it

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  12.   sweetnes20 says:
    Posted: 06 Nov 07

    yeah, they are funny coco.

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  13. Posted: 06 Nov 07

    u make me laugh mossimo!!

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  14.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 03 Nov 07

    I need some laughs too Coco!!

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  15.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 01 Nov 07

    You can always count on Fala & Unme23 for a few good laughs :)

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  16.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 30 Oct 07

    Very good article and so very true. The C word killed my marriage.

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  17.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 30 Oct 07

    god, its tough being us isnt it fala...lol

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  18.   Fkoi says:
    Posted: 29 Oct 07

    I've spent a lot of time in relationships choosing being right over being happy. Even when they are not mutually exclusive that's not a cooperative attitude. I've learned to have more respect for the feelings and opinions of the other person and looking for how they are right, even if they disagree with me. It certainly works better for me.

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  19.   dragon1956 says:
    Posted: 24 Oct 07

    I think that this is good advise, thank you.

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  20.   Fala says:
    Posted: 22 Oct 07

    Awwww sorry Unme, but to tell you the truth apparently i'm only worth 10 points too! LOL

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  21.   dragon1956 says:
    Posted: 20 Oct 07

    There really should be more articles on this subject.

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  22. Posted: 15 Oct 07

    So that's what the "C" meant! Interesting.

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  23.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 13 Oct 07

    glad you enjoyed ann.

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  24.   Ann says:
    Posted: 11 Oct 07

    This article was actually helpful. Thanks Todd!!!

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  25.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 11 Oct 07

    thats hurts fala....lol

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  26.   Fala says:
    Posted: 02 Oct 07

    All right Unme - Mr. 10 big points on Winning Faces!!!!!

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  27.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 02 Oct 07

    you know nobody listens to you fala....lol

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  28.   Fala says:
    Posted: 29 Sep 07

    Pay closer attention next time Coco. ;-)

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  29.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 28 Sep 07

    Yes they did change the picture. I didn't notice until Fala mentioned it :)

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  30.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 24 Sep 07

    Interesting article, well worth the time to read

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  31.   Dora says:
    Posted: 22 Sep 07

    I really enjoyed this interview. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we think differently not incorrectly and that both people can be right.

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  32.   Fala says:
    Posted: 20 Sep 07

    True Coco and it is worth reading.

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  33.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 20 Sep 07

    At least we are all having fun with this one :)

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  34.   Fala says:
    Posted: 19 Sep 07

    I see they changed the picture for this article - maybe "they" are listening to our comments.

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  35.   iceburger says:
    Posted: 14 Sep 07

    great must read

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  36.   Fala says:
    Posted: 14 Sep 07

    Feel free to join in Sweetness. Audience participation is greatly encouraged!

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  37.   UNME23 says:
    Posted: 14 Sep 07

    oh man, thats sounds like a train wreck.

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  38.   sweetnes20 says:
    Posted: 12 Sep 07

    i see fala having her own show!!!

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  39.   Fala says:
    Posted: 09 Sep 07

    Thanks Unme, I'm here all week.

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  40.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 08 Sep 07

    toooo funny fala.

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  41.   Fala says:
    Posted: 05 Sep 07

    Maybe it's the picture of the old guy they have accompanying this article. Put a nice, hot young guy out there and watch them rush to get here and read.

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  42.   Fala says:
    Posted: 04 Sep 07

    Very good point Cocokisses.

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  43.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 03 Sep 07

    Me too Fala...especially from the guys. I think they are having a problem COMMUNICATING how they feel about this one...LOL!

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  44.   Fala says:
    Posted: 02 Sep 07

    I don't understand why there aren't more comments about this article. It's a good one.

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  45.   LoveMyJeans says:
    Posted: 30 Aug 07

    I liked the article. Communication in vital in all relationships (work, family, spouse, etc) but it is especially important in dating. Each person needs to be able to and feel comfortable with expressing his/her needs. How frustrating to care about someone, but not be able to talk with them or visa versa. Creagor has some truly valid points, that do take self-discipline. You have to take your emotions out of it, and listen to the other person. I really enjoyed it.

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  46.   silvertop says:
    Posted: 28 Aug 07

    The article has some valid information to take under consideration. When listening to the interview,points made are clear and simple. The article provide tools helpfull in various relationships. The relationship at work with co-workers to a potential mate met on the Internet. I enjoyed the ease and flow of the interview.

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  47.   Fala says:
    Posted: 27 Aug 07

    Great common sense advice in this article. Thanks!

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  48.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 26 Aug 07

    Great article! Thanks for the good advice!

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