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Relationship Coaching

You can find here the articles of Relationship Coach Hakan Arabacioglu.
  • How do you get a noisy kid to be quiet(!)

    I recently went to pay a visit to my friend, Merve. As the two of us were talking, her 6-year old daughter was running around and playing with her friend in the house. From time to time they would scream and bang the doors.

    With a third slam of a door, my friend interrupted our conversation. She got up and calmly went to her daughter's room. She cracked open the door and said quietly, “When you slam the doors like that, I can't hear what Hakan is saying to me." She returned and we resumed our conversation from where we had left off. There was no more ruckus.

    No scoldings, no warnings, no demands! Just self-expression...

    My clients who come to me for relationship coaching typically have the following exchanges:

    - It annoys me when my husband/boyfriend/partner calls me and cuts it short. (You can substitute any situation here that makes you uncomfortable.)
    - So, have you told him this?
    - No, I haven`t.
    - Well then, how is he going to know this unless you express it?

    As we express ourselves openly in our relationships, we make it easier for the other person to understand our needs; then the communication starts.

  • If he stands apart, first get closer to yourself

    ‘My husband keeps himself apart!’ I sometimes hear this statement from my counselees and I find it quite strange. Something is apart from you to the very extent that you are apart from it. Could Ankara be 20 km apart from İstanbul while İstanbul is 500 km apart from Ankara? If your husband remains distant from you, then you remain distant from him too.

    They say: ‘No way! I do everything for him… Can’t you see how close I am to him?’
    Here, I am not talking about a formal or physical closeness; I am talking about closeness on an inner level. Are you really there with your heart while you seem to be there with him physically? Could it be your anger or fear that you feel for him keeping you distant?

    I had a counselee who complained that her father kept himself apart. They lived in different cities. Her father didn’t come when she opened her new workplace or when her child was born. She could count many such instances to explain how her father stood apart.

    I told her the same thing: ‘If your father is apart, then it is actually you who stands apart from him.’ During the sessions we did, she remembered a past incident: When she was a little child, she eavesdropped on a conversation her parents were having. Her mother told her father that an acquaintance was sexually abusing his own daughter. The little girl was afraid upon hearing this conversation. So, without even being aware, she built up a wall between her and her father in order to protect herself.

    I go a step further here: If you are distant from others you are actually distant from yourself.

    Below is a link where you can see the meditation I did together with my counselee. When we communicated her inner child during the meditation, she saw herself at the age of 5. She was sitting in a place 30 meters away, crouching on the ground and facing back. She was crying.

    It took us a while to approach the little child. We then played and spent time with her. Within the week, her parents called her by themselves and visited her. We weren’t surprised at that. Because the world was getting closer to my counselee as she got closer to herself.

    Whatever it is that you expect from outside, give it to yourself in the first place. Ask this question to yourself more often: ‘What do I need?’. If you look for closeness, get closer to yourself in the first place. If you want love, express your love you have for yourself more often.  Remember: ‘The World is the way it is because of the way you are.’

  • If you hurry, slow down and stay within yourself

    City life is very noisy. We become unable to hear our inner voice because of this noise. We aren’t even aware of what we really want or need. We are distant from ourselves. When we are distant from ourselves, it is almost impossible to get closer to someone else.

    We are constantly yearning since we aren’t aware of our needs. We become aggressive and angry because of this yearning. We begin a relationship to receive, not to give. To receive love, compassion or appreciation… We expect from someone else to give us what we can’t give for ourselves. We think ‘something is missing’ and try to complete it by expecting it from outside. We run faster, worrying that ‘we are late’ and we move away from our real selves as we run faster.

    If we slow down despite the hectic pace of the city and be centered in our own stillness, we will be able to hear our inner voice better. Our relationships will have balance as we have balance in our own lives. Then we will stop our efforts to balance ourselves through relationships.

    This excerpt is taken from an interview I gave for the Valentine’s Day February Issue of the İstanbul Life magazine.

  • What do you feel? What do you need?

    Some people ask me what I talk about in relationship seminars. Eventhough what I talk about usually depends on the questions I ask and the answers given by the participants , we sometimes have dialogues such as:

    John made me feel very bad.
    You think that John made you feel bad. But there is no ‘bad feeling’. So what is it that you really feel?

    He made me angry.
    John can’t make you angry. Can you say what you feel using the pronoun ‘I’, without putting the blame on another person?

    I got angry with John.
    You can’t be angry about everything John did. Which of his behaviors did you get angry about?

    I got angry because he wasn’t listening me.
    How do you know that John wasn’t listening you? You interpret the situation that way. Can you leave aside your subjective perspective and express it more objectively?

    I got angry because John didn’t look me in the eye while I was talking.
    It might be that he actually looked you in the eye but you didn’t see. How would you express it using ‘I’?

    I got angry because I didn’t see that John looked me in the eye while I was talking.

    In this case, what was your unmet need that made you angry?
    I was angry because my need to be listened and respected was not met.

    You can see how we moved away from the first point you expressed it ‘John made me feel bad.’ If you are ready to face yourself, you may continue with questions such as: ‘Do I listen myself? Do I respect myself?

    Like attracts like. If you see that John doesn’t listen or respect you, you don’t listen or respect him either but you are not aware of it.

    If you express your feelings clearly, you will begin to get closer with yourself. If you avoid interpreting the situations, you will see them more clearly. If you focus on your unmet needs instead of blaming when you have negative feelings, it will be easier to work out the problem. If you choose to satisfy your needs by using your own inner resources instead of expecting it from others persistently, you will have a balanced life.

  • What have you done Nuri Alço*?

    I was talking to a friend a few days ago. She is an educated, beautiful young lady. She complains about not being able to find the man in her dreams. And she couldn’t find out why so far.

    While we were talking, I felt an urge to ask her what kind of beliefs she had about men. So I asked her what she had heard about men when she was a child. That was exactly how she answered me: ‘You are a very beautiful girl, so be careful about men!’

    Without even being aware, the little girl just kept in her mind what she heard at that young age and did not forget it during those years. What she actually kept in mind without being aware was the belief ‘Men are dangerous’ through remembering the statement ‘Be careful about men.’

    On top of these, she probably saw Nuri Alço drugging the drinks of the girls in Turkish movies. So her belief was confirmed and strengthened. I remember that my grandmother used to caution my sister saying: ‘Listen good girl, drink your coke always from its bottle.’ The strange part was that both my sister and I grew up in a small city in Anatolia where the news spread very easily, but so far we have never heard of a girl whose drink was drugged… 

    What I mean is that those little girls who were brainwashed by what they saw in movies and the things they have heard from their elders, have built extremely strong walls of security to protect themselves from men. They still have these walls around them eventhough they aren’t aware of it. men just can’t penetrate into these strong walls. So the women who aren’t aware of their walls cannot understand why their hearts stay empty.

    The statement ‘Be careful about men.’ was not said to my friend, but to the girl she was when she was just 7. However, based on this statement, she still lived her life with these walls of security as if there was a danger. She wasn’t aware of her grown up body and her enhanced life experiences.

    That’s what I told her: ‘There is no ‘‘danger (!)’’any more. You are a grown-up now…’

    * Nuri Alço: A Turkish actor who is famous with his ‘sexual predator’ image in movies.

  • Whose lover are you looking for?

    One of my counselees has lately told me that she wanted a tall boyfriend. She even told me that she immediately eliminated any men who were shorter than her. Here is the conversation we had:

    What if he is not tall?
    He wouldn’t be a good match for me.

    What if he wouldn’t be a good match for you?
    People will say ‘This is not a nice couple’.

    What if people say ‘This is not a nice couple’?
    People will criticize me.

    What do you need if you are afraid of being criticized?
    Acceptance and approval.

    Let’s see what we came to understand through this questioning:

    1) The criterion doesn’t belong to my counselee!
    My counselee says that she wanted a tall lover but that’s not her criterion, it’s other people’s criterion. We saw that she acted according to what other people wanted for appreciation. ‘We are okay with his height, let’s see what others would want for his weight?’ Based on such criteria, would she choose a lover for herself or for others?

    2) The criterion is not ‘a criterion for a happy relationship’
    The criterion of ‘tall men’ wouldn’t bring happiness. It is no different than recruiting a man with a red pulley and expecting him to speak fluent English.

    3) Eventhough you satisfy the desire, there might still be an unmet need behind it
    I want a tall boyfriend (because) I need approval. We found a tall man so we had the approval. What if people criticize that he is ‘very thin’ this time?

    As a result, are you aware of your needs behind your desires? Whose lover are you looking for? Will the man you find bring you the relationship you really want?

    You can get help from the practice package Have Your Dream Relationship to become clear about what kind of a relationship you really want and eliminate the obstructions that keeps you from achieving it.