ERP 352: How Overthinking Interferes With Connection In Relationship — An Interview With Alicia Muñoz

By Posted in - Podcast December 27th, 2022 0 Comments

Do you find yourself constantly overreacting to your partner’s words and actions, or do you often overthink simple things and always assume the worst?

Everyone faces challenges and struggles in life, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed or uncertain at times, but it’s important to remember that there are ways to reduce overthinking so you can be your best self and enjoy life.

In this episode, Alicia Munoz discusses the five rumination cycles that destroy relationships and four simple ways to break these cycles.

Alicia Muñoz, LPC, is a certified couples therapist, and author of four books, most recently “Stop Overthinking Your Relationship: Break the Cycle of Anxious Rumination to Nourish Love, Trust, and Connection With Your Partner” (New Harbinger Publications, 2022). Muñoz currently works as a Senior Writer at Psychotherapy Networker and as a couples therapist in private practice.

In this Episode

3:17 How overthinking obstructs connection and relationships.

13:56 What rumination in relationships looks like.

18:08 The five rumination cycles.

27:41 How attachment styles influence rumination.

31:16 Four simple ways to reduce the amount of overthinking.

41:22 The significance of having direct contact with oneself.

47:25 How to break the cycle of anxious rumination in your relationship.

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Take a step back and examine your thought patterns.
  • Label the thought. Putting a label on it takes away its power over you.
  • Anchor your body in the present moment and observe the sensations that arise without reacting to them. Simply observe how they influence your thinking.
  • Allow what’s beneath the surface of your racing thoughts to come to the forefront of your awareness. So that you can truly embrace all of who you are with acceptance
  • Accept that we will overthink to some extent at times, but we can reduce the amount of time we overthink.

Mentioned

Stop Overthinking Your Relationship: Break the Cycle of Anxious Rumination to Nurture Love, Trust, and Connection with Your Partner (*Amazon Affiliate link) (book)

The 7 Hidden Relationship-Wreckers (free mini course)

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Connect with Alicia Muñoz

Websites: aliciamunoz.com

Facebook: facebook.com/aliciamunozlpc

Twitter: twitter.com/aliciamunozlpc

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/aliciamunozlpc

Instagram: instagram.com/aliciamunozcouples

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Facebook: facebook.com/EmpoweredRelationship 

Instagram: instagram.com/drjessicahiggins 

Podcast: drjessicahiggins.com/podcasts/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/EmpowerRelation 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

Twitter: @DrJessHiggins 

Website: drjessicahiggins.com  

Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Alicia, thank you for joining us today.

It’s great to be here, Jessica. Thanks for having me.

Yes, and I love talking to professionals that are doing couples’ work, and have also done a level of offering information in the way of books or research around topics. Because it’s really important to conceptualize and distill these concepts, and psychology, as we all know, can be rather complex. So I just am grateful to have your voice here on the show. We’re going to be talking about relationship rumination. But before we get started in that, for people who don’t already know you, are you open to sharing a little bit about you and how you got interested in this topic?

Sure. Well, you mentioned that, as therapists and psychologists and people in the helping profession, there’s so much complexity to a lot of the frameworks that we work in. But I think I’m not alone as a therapist in that I’m always looking for a linchpin, what’s that thing that kind of connects all the dots? 

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“For me, overthinking and rumination is that linchpin, in terms of the thing that undergirds so many of our conflicts with our partners, so many of our challenges, the things that go awry in relationships. Often, you can trace those things back to overthinking and rumination.”

Yes. So just through your experience and your practice, you’re recognizing that there was a thread here, and that you could actually identify it and maybe expand it and unpack it to be of value and help. Is that right?

Absolutely. But not just professionally. I think a lot of times the things that we see and the things that engage us are issues that we ourselves struggle with. I like to tell people the story of my son, who recently was telling me: “Mom, you’re really overthinking. I just asked you a simple question, and you keep telling me over and over again, all these different things that could happen.” I’m like, oh wow! Yeah, we really do focus on and write about what we ourselves need to learn. So for me, it’s also personal. I’m always looking for ways not just to support my clients, but to work with my own human mind and my own emotions. I think the combination of those two things, both the professional common thread that I’ve seen people struggle with in their relationships, and for me personally also—both as an individual, and in my own relationship with my husband—overthinking, rumination, and relationship rumination have been really important things to look at.

Thank you for acknowledging that, and I also agree so much. Well, first of all, I will say, everything that I’m talking about, I try to do my best to practice in my own life, and I am on this journey with everyone else. Also, when I have the personal experience and have done the work, I can speak from a different place than just thinking about it or conceptualizing it. So I think there’s a richness in adapting. Then also, as we’re navigating the terrain, and maybe people haven’t articulated or explained or laid out the map of the terrain, we’re navigating it blind, if you will. So I think having a professional to be able to provide that map—what it looks like, what are the impacts, and how to have awareness around this, and then maybe concrete real ways to work with it—can be so incredibly helpful, as we all know.

Yes, very, very true. There’s a tendency for people to blame themselves and judge themselves and feel like outsiders, feel abnormal, feel as though the things that they’re struggling with are unique to them, and that they’re uniquely flawed. I think that part of the gift of psychology and therapy and different helping professions—going to somebody who can guide you, both professionally, but also from a place of their own experience—is that you really realize that welcome to the human family, you’re not alone.

Exactly. It helps normalize and validate, and that can be so healing, just to even have that recognition and acknowledgement. Well, let’s talk about relationship rumination. You really distinguish what this is different than maybe what one might think of as individually ruminating, or just the term rumination on its own.

Yeah. So I find that it helps to have a visual metaphor to understand the nuances and the differences between these two types of thinking. Solo or general rumination is really something that you do, mainly alone, by yourself, in your own head. A lot of it revolves around the past, so looking back, having regrets, brooding. It’s really mainly a private experience, even if it does indirectly end up impacting people in your life. So I like to think of it as riding a unicycle. If you’re on a unicycle, if you swerve, if you have poor weight distribution, if the brakes fail, or you’re going too fast, you can hurt yourself, and you might run into somebody, that’s also possible. But with relationship rumination, I think of it more as a tandem bicycle, where you’re riding this intricate, dynamic, cognitive dance with your partner, and you’re riding it together. So your wrong moves, your impulsivity, your blind spots, the miscalculations that you make, will really impact your partner as well, and vice versa. 

So that it’s really both of your responsibility, how you think, how much time you invest in metacognition, which is a form of healthy thinking, where you’re observing your thoughts, you’re stepping back, you’re looking at patterns of thinking, and you’re taking responsibility for something that a lot of us don’t even know we’re doing. So in that sense, relationship rumination is really something that you’re doing together with your partner in the shared relational field, and you do it together, and you try not to do it together, or you try to find healthy ways to reduce the intensity and the degree to which you’re engaging in this type of rumination.

Thank you. I can just feel the visceral difference between being on a unicycle and what to manage there and how to balance, and that there’s many things to pay attention to. But then the complexity of having two people and their weight distribution and all of the things they are. Can you give us an example of what relationship rumination might look like, if one was observing?

Yeah. So I always like to think about something that happened recently between my husband and I, because I find it’s usually most alive for me. So for example, yesterday, I had a long work day, and I’m working on a project and there’s a deadline. So I had kind of been in my own head all day, and I hadn’t been making the progress that I had wanted to make. So I was ruminating about: “This isn’t good enough, this isn’t working. This isn’t going to happen on time. I’m not doing this successfully, what’s wrong with me?” So these are the kinds of ruminative thoughts that are going through my mind. I’m standing at the kitchen counter, making myself a snack, and my husband walks in through the door, and his energy is very cheerful. He comes over to me and proceeds to move toward me to give me a hug, and I bristle, and I can feel this quality of just rejection, really of irritability. So I was conscious enough to say to him: “Listen, I’m not ready to embrace you, I’m not ready to hug. Just give me a moment, I’m not in a good headspace. I’m just feeling self-critical right now.” So he took a breath and stepped back, and sort of did his thing and waited for me to be able to settle and receive his warm welcome. 

If I hadn’t done that, he would have spun into: “What did I do wrong? How did I fail her? Did I forget to do something she asked me to do? Am I not a good husband? Am I not a good partner?” So that my rumination would have then triggered his rumination, and we would have been on that tandem bicycle, heading off the road, going into a ravine, falling, spinning, in emotional pain as a couple. So that’s how relationship rumination works, and why it’s important to be aware of your thinking.

No kidding! It’s almost the places that we go in our mind when something appears to be off-track, or how we might interpret or attribute or perceive. Is that right?

Yeah, absolutely. You just listed a lot of the forks in the road that we can take in our minds, based on a lot of different factors. It’s hard to reduce it to one thing. But definitely, these beliefs, these false attributions, these stories, that are often shaped by many things, like our attachment styles, what kind of a history did we have, what are our personal triggers, or what are the triggers that we have with our partner in this particular relationship, our mood at a given moment. All of these things can lead us down this path of ruminating and getting into a cycle that isn’t healthy with our partner.

Thank you for acknowledging, I just appreciate how much is informing this experience, and our background and all the things you just named. I also am wondering, in the example that you just described, if in the past, perhaps you weren’t able to articulate and reveal what was happening for you on the inside. That that might have triggered something for your husband, and he might have gotten to a certain place with that. Now, the couple or the relational rumination, the shared space, I imagine that it can be both expressed and perhaps not expressed. These nonverbals, where you didn’t want to hug him, and then maybe he didn’t even vocalize what did I do, and him tracking what happened there and what’s this about? Is that right that it doesn’t necessarily mean this vocal, verbalizing rumination, and it could be very internal to you but shared in a couple dynamic?

Absolutely. I think most of the time, it’s nonverbal. Most of the time, it’s not being tracked. Most of the time, there are all these layers of inner experience that we’re having, that we’re not taking the time to tune into or be aware of, that influence how we respond or react in these just everyday situations that we have with our partner. 

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“We have so many little micro-interactions throughout the day, and I don’t think it’s humanly possible to track and be aware and conscious of even a small percent of them. But to try to at least begin to know what happens internally, and to be able to slow down and pause, and just check in with yourself.”

Notice, am I beginning a rumination cycle, am I starting to ruminate in a particular direction, and what direction is that going in, what direction is that going to take me in and my partner in as well? 

I talk about five different rumination cycles that are pretty common for couples, and individuals too. But we tend to get into blame cycles with our partner, control cycles, doubt cycles, worry cycles, and self-pity cycles. So for me, when I can notice my thoughts are heading in this direction of blame, it’s often that that in itself can help me gain awareness to the point where I don’t have to actually start to blame. I can stop, I can pause and be like: I’m starting to blame my husband or I’m starting to blame myself, can I just pause and accept what’s happening in this moment?

It sounds as though even having the understanding of these five cycles, and if one is recognizing their tendency or perhaps their rumination blueprint if I might, that it can be a signpost that I’m ruminating. Like you’re saying, it’s so perhaps habituated, or even conscious, and how frequent this is, that we’re not likely going to be tracking it on a very conscious level. So we might recognize when we do the thing that we know that we tend to do, and that’s what’s a little bit more conscious. Is that right?

That’s right. In a strange way, it can be gratifying to be able to recognize these cycles when they’re at work, too. Over time, you’ll begin to notice that you might tend to do one more than the others, or one or two of them might be the ones that you do most. I’ve noticed that for me, I think it changes over time, but in the past, I used to really just be in this doubt cycle constantly, where I would second-guess myself, need external reassurance and guidance and validation, and didn’t trust my intuition or my memories. So I was constantly in these cycles of doubt. Then there are people who need things to happen a certain way to feel safe. So they’re predicting and planning and telling you how something needs to be done accurately, and those people tend to be perfectionists and to be in control cycles a lot of the time, because they have this fixed idea of how things have to have to happen. So recognizing these types of thought patterns, I love your word, blueprints, that you tend to fall into, can help you understand where your work lies, I would say, in your healing journey and in your relationship.

As I’m reflecting on my own marriage and my own relationship with my husband, I can recognize how quickly we will both participate in this relationship rumination, and we’ll call each other out sometimes. It just feels like it’s a big jump. We were kind of in-sync and we were understanding each other, and then all of a sudden, something was taken in a certain way or perceived in a certain way, and then one of us will take it to a level that we’re like: “Whoa, how did we get there, like what just happened?” So sometimes it does show up in these cycles, or the types of cycles that you’re describing. Probably, as we maybe unpack this a little bit more, I might be able to raise my hand of like: “Oh yeah, that’s definitely more of my lien, or I can recognize already one of my husband’s.” But before we do that, I’m curious if you’re talking about overthinking as well. Do you use these terms synonymously, the overthinking and ruminating, or are they different?

Yeah, I use them often synonymously. I mean, rumination has more of a pejorative undertone, and it also tends to refer to thinking that you’re doing in the past. So you’re thinking about the past, you’re brooding on the past, you have regrets about the past. When I talk about relationship rumination, I really use it as an umbrella term to capture all these different types of negative overthinking in a relationship.

Yeah, thank you. Also, it’s likely as we’re describing this, that as we’re using the word tendencies, our best moves or have been our best moves from the past around how to get our needs met or how to cope with a certain environment, and thus being a little bit more protective. Would you say it too?

Absolutely.

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“I often think about relationship rumination as like a symptom to an allergy that we’ve developed to our own vulnerability. So in the past, as children, as adolescents, even as young adults, we’ve often been in situations where vulnerability has felt really dangerous or been really dangerous, in which case, we’re dealing with trauma. So the one avoidance strategy to our emotional pain, that is always within reach, is overthinking.”

You could be in a small box with nothing else that you have access to; you can’t grab your phone, you can’t grab a shot of whiskey, you can’t go on a spending spree, you can’t over eat, you can’t have all kinds of sexual acting-out behaviors, whatever it is that you’ve used in the past, to cope with pain and with this feeling of being alone and vulnerable. But you can always think about it; you can always overthink the situation that you’re in. So in that sense, it’s really our most commonly used mind-altering substance.

Oh my gosh, I can so resonate with this in my own therapy, I’ve done some EMDR and some of my early traumas. One of the things that my therapist was reflecting back to me was just, he’s like: “You’re really smart, and one of your strategies is you try to figure it out. You try to find a path out and you’re trying to solve the problem, and if you can find an opening, then that gives you relief. But in some sense, it’s moving away from the pain that’s really difficult to be present with.”

Yeah, that’s beautiful, and true.

You also mentioned attachment in our early experiences of relationship, and how this gives us that roadmap. On first blink, it might be easy to think, someone who has a little bit more of that anxious style is more prone to the overthinking and rumination. But possibly, any person that has some degree of insecure attachment, even the avoidant or mixed ambivalent attachment style, will also participate in this. It just might look different, it might look very internal, like the pity or more shutdown, but there’s a lot happening on the inside that’s just not as visible. Whereas, the anxious, perhaps tendency, anxious attachment would be a little bit more vocalizing and checking. How do you relate attachment to how it shows up in rumination?

Wow, just rewind, and what she said. I mean, you just really summed it up beautifully. I think there are different presentations of it. But when you’re on the attachment spectrum, and most of us are not perfectly securely attached, I think those are like unicorns. I certainly don’t come across too many people who are perfectly securely attached from day one. 

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“Depending on your attachment style, you’re going to experience closeness and distance in a different way in your relationships.”

So if you are avoidant and your partner is looking for affection or closeness, that’s going to be a trigger for you most likely. Most likely, if your partner continues to ask for or insist on or just non-verbally seek closeness with you, your thinking is going to respond to this threat of too much closeness with some sort of overthinking. Whether you start to doubt: “Maybe I shouldn’t be in this relationship, my partner is too needy. How come they’re so dependent? I need space.” Or whether it’s in the form of a blame cycle: “What’s their problem? I just told them I love them yesterday, how come they need me to continue to tell them that I love them today?” 

If you’re on the anxious side of the attachment spectrum, that your partner’s need for more distance from you, when they say I’m going to go out with friends tonight, and they don’t invite you, that’s going to most likely also trigger this sense of danger to where you’re thinking whatever, you’re blaming them. So you get into a blame cycle. “What’s wrong with them? Why didn’t they invite me?” Or you’re going to get into a self-pity cycle. “This always happens. I’m always with people who don’t appreciate me. Why are they so selfish?”

Or the control cycle. Like, “Where are you going to be? When are you going to be home? What’s happening?” All this stuff just to try to feel safe, and then all the questions that might follow up of like, who’s going to be there?

Exactly right. Or when they come home, the suspicion, the worry. The worry cycle of: “Are they telling me the truth? I’ve got to check their social media channels, and were they really where they said they were?” 

So it’s true that any threat that you experience, and you’re going to experience more acute intense threats in a romantic relationship than you would if you were not in a romantic relationship often, you’re going to be coping with in the best way that you can, including by overthinking things.

Thank you so much for elaborating. That was extremely helpful, and I love just how you named all of that. Alicia, as we’re talking, I knew this was going to happen. As you started talking, I was like, this is something that I’m sure a large portion of people experience. Then as you started talking, I was like, I think most of us do for sure, I know I do. It just sounds like, how do we not do this?

Yeah. Well, first of all, when I wrote the book, Stop Overthinking Your Relationship, and then it came out, I think I had this illusion that I wouldn’t be overthinking after I wrote the book. Not true. I think that to a certain degree, we need to accept that we’re going to overthink things at times. But there are ways to reduce the amount that we overthink. 

I’ve come up with a process that I summarized with the acronym SLOW, as a reminder to slow down and pause and bring your awareness back into your own internal experience. SLOW stands for four steps: Seeing, Labeling, Opening, and Welcoming. I could give you the complex breakdown of these, but you can always go and read the book if you want that. But the short version is that, when you’re able to see that you’re in a cycle of overthinking, then you’re not believing your thoughts as the truth. So they can’t hijack your reality. It’s like, you’re no longer that fish in water saying, what water, there’s no water. 

You see your thoughts, step one. Then step two, when you’re able to label your thoughts, nothing fancy, you could simply label the thought as: “Oh, I’m in a blame cycle. I’m in a self-pity cycle. I’m in a worry cycle. Or I’m having a thought about how selfish my partner is.” As soon as you can label it, then you’re no longer hijacked by it. From label, the third step of this process is open. Open really means to anchor in your body, to anchor in the here and now, and to drop down underneath your cognitive experience, and notice the emotions that are here, the sensations that are here, the impulses that are here, without acting on them. You simply notice them, and how they’re fueling your thinking. From there, step four is welcome, which means that you approve of what you discover, you may not like it—you may not like feeling sad, or angry, or afraid—but you welcome it. You can even say to what you discover, welcome anxiety, welcome sadness, welcome vulnerability. So you allow what’s under the surface of your racing thoughts, to come into the forefront of your awareness. So that you can really embrace all of who you are with acceptance.

That’s so key to not just try to push it away, or so many of us want to put our best foot forward. To turn towards that vulnerability without the judgement and with that compassion, that is a very different approach, and can be so much different in results. It’s being able to see, as you said. It’s not only see it from a recognizing and labeling and then entering into, but it’s also, as we open, it sounds like with this welcoming stance, there’s so much more that will get revealed, rather than this judgment or self-critic.

Yeah, absolutely. Just kind of carrying forward that idea that, if our overthinking and rumination is often a symptom of this allergy that we’ve developed to our own vulnerability, then just like with immunotherapy, one of the ways that you reduce an allergic reaction is by building up a tolerance to that thing that you’re allergic to. So when we can build up a tolerance to our vulnerability, which we’ve often developed an intolerance to, through life, through being socialized, through being in a society that many of the values of our society are anti-vulnerable, and not necessarily supportive of us being whole human beings. 

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“If we can begin to open to our vulnerability, then we don’t have that allergic reaction of overthinking, mind racing, controlling, blaming, doubting, just feeling sorry for ourselves. We don’t have that reaction as frequently.”

Yes, and I couldn’t agree with you more. That the conditioning and the shaping of just modern living, really reinforces the allergy to vulnerability. I think that’s changing. I will say, I’m very grateful that with all the awareness and growth and consciousness that we’re prioritizing, it’s helpful. One of the things that I’m hearing in what you’re saying with the SLOW acronym, it’s almost as if being in the driver’s seat a little bit more, there’s so much around not reacting, just that more impulse, more responding. It sounds like this is a more intentional approach by using this acronym.

Yeah, I love that. Your metaphor of being in the driver’s seat brings to mind one study that I was looking at when I wrote this book, was this 2020 Queen’s University study that they did in Canada, and don’t ask me how they figured this out. But they figured out that on average, we think around 6,200 thoughts daily. So that’s a lot of thoughts, and if you’re not aware of those thoughts—how are they impacting you, how are they impacting what you say or what you don’t say, how you act, how you feel—who’s in the driver’s seat of your life? Is it these passive thoughts, these 6,200 passive thoughts a day? You do the math for a week, a month, a year. You do the math for two people having these thoughts who are constantly interacting or riding that tandem bicycle. That’s a lot of somebody else driving your life, and these passive thoughts. Not even somebody else, really these reactions to your environment, these reactive responses to your life, to your history, guiding you. So it’s really important not to leave our thinking unchecked.

Right. As you imagine, as you’re laying out the impact of one’s life, or a year in a life, one of the things that I think is so beautiful about what you’re laying out—that I’m sure many listeners can resonate, and I’ll also raise my hand here—that the cycle that I might utilize, whether or not it’s control, or worry, or whatever it is, I have been around the block enough to know that it doesn’t usually give me that much relief. I think it does on a short-term. It’s like a short-term fix, rather than a long-term gain. So having run that, and I even think some of us, as we’re talking more specifically about overthinking and rumination, it’s exhaustive, at least for me. It’s like I can run that, and it’s almost never ending; there’s no satiation with it. Whereas, if I do drop into my body, and I do access the SLOW and the way you’re describing, there’s some direct connection with the vulnerability that starts to be transformational. It’s like the very thing I don’t want to do sometimes, but it’s the very thing that starts to open a new path or a new experience. Especially when we talk relationship, when I can show that however much to my significant other, he responds, and that’s a different cycle in the dynamic of my relationship.

Yes. What you’re saying that really speaks to me is, I hear two things. Like, there’s this compassion for yourself and for all of us, for resorting to these coping strategies that almost help but don’t. Over and over again, they almost bring relief, but don’t. In fact, often will then later make our problems worse. But in the short-term, they seem to bring relief. It’s almost like we’re on the gerbil wheel so many times, so often, until finally, we realize that we’ve got to get off this gerbil wheel somehow. That moment that you were describing, of sharing with your partner, showing up really in a way that’s vulnerable and honest, and shaky and uncertain, and requires trust and courage, it’s so counterintuitive for many of us. It’s still, most often, what brings us connection with one another.

Yes, and there’s lots of research to support that. I think people can also reflect back in their lives, where they’ve been able to show some of this, and how human it is to feel someone show up or feel more connection, despite how terrifying it might be in those initial moments. Even if it’s an individual, I want to just pull back for one moment. Even if the opening, coming back to the SLOW process and your acronym, sometimes when I can connect with a sensation, or even the fear that I might be feeling, it feels like a direct contact that I can be with, and it’s so much more soothing. It might even still feel really, really painful. But it’s so much more helpful in the long-term to have that direct contact. That then I now know how to show up for myself, and I now perhaps can take that emotional risk to share with my significant other if I so choose. But I’m not on the gerbil wheel hoping that I’m going to get the result. For me, it just feels like so much more direct path to transformation and opening, and yeah, it’s often the most scariest.

So true. What you described as that direct contact, which may seem basic when we talk about it, or simple or ordinary, or not a big deal. I think a lot of times, we think that transformation or healing or growth has to be this kind of cathartic thing or process. When really, it’s often an accumulation of those small moments of contact between our awareness, our self, and our inner experience. So that we’re present for what’s happening; we’re not abandoning ourselves, we’re able to stay with whatever our experience is. In my world, that’s love. I mean, that is love, whether you’re bringing that to yourself, or you’re bringing it to another person.

Thank you for saying that, it’s really beautiful. Even as you’re talking, and I mentioned earlier, just having done some of the EMDR work and relational traumas, it’s almost as if it’s so reparative and healing even on trauma. Perhaps my environment, in certain circumstances growing up, didn’t provide the ability to have that direct contact, from my caregivers, whatever the circumstances were. But it’s like almost going back and having that repair and that healing, that it’s almost like the rumination and overthinking is a trauma response.

Yes, very interesting. I think of it that way on kind of a subtle level. Trauma response is: fight, flight, and freeze, fawn. Those don’t have to be behaviors that we do. At times, they’re hidden, and they happen on a very subtle level within ourselves.

Okay, there’s so much here, and I’m so grateful you wrote a book, as people are engaging and want to learn more. Before we turn to that, I would love for you to just revisit the five cycles. Just if you want to say anything else about those, before we transition out here.

Sure, yeah. I’ll just give you the rundown. 

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“It’s helpful to have a structured way of thinking about thinking and overthinking. Just to keep in mind that there are these five cycles, that they are: blame, control, doubt, worry, and self-pity. Almost like a rainbow that you can hold in front of yourself and just be curious.”

Am I in a blame cycle, am I blaming? Am I attacking myself or attacking somebody else with my thinking? With the control cycle, to just notice, am I fixated on something happening a certain way, in order for me to feel safe? With doubt, am I in this space where I’m just not trusting myself over and over and over again? In the worry cycle, to notice, am I in the future, am I listing off this sort of endless web of uncertain outcomes, and trying to control the future through worrying? Then in self-pity, to just notice, am I often in this space where I feel powerless, where I feel like I’m my partner’s victim, where I feel like I’m the victim of life, where I feel like I’m the victim of situations? Can I be compassionate with myself and do what I need to do to feel more empowered?

Well, thank you for acknowledging that. Again, it helps us have indicators so that we can start working with the way to shift out or be in the driver’s seat with the SLOW acronym. Would you like to say anything about your book or how people can get in touch with you?

I would just ask people to jump onto my Instagram platform, it’s @AliciaMunozCouples. Send me a DM, I love to interact with people through my posts there.

Do you also have a website?

I do. It’s www.AliciaMunoz.com. There’s a free course on the website, a mini-course. Then there’s another course as well. So feel free to take that free course, and hopefully, let me support you in that way.

And what is the course about, is it about the rumination?

No, it’s actually about these seven different ways that we can sort of recognize and do less of. I call them relationship records, so it’s called The Seven Relationship Records Course.

Wonderful! I can tell based on what you’re referencing, that you have so much to offer that expands beyond our topic today. So I love that you have a course on another way to improve and really be more skillful in relationships. I’ll make sure to put the link to your book. Do you want to name the title and anything else you want to say about the book?

Absolutely. Just it’s called Stop Overthinking Your Relationship: Break the Cycle of Anxious Rumination to Nurture Love, Trust, and Connection with Your Partner. It’s a mouthful, but that’s what it’s called. 

Oh, my goodness! Well, this has been such a treat and a gift to share this time with you. Alicia, thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a really inspiring conversation with you, and I really appreciate this opportunity to connect with your listeners.

Signing Off

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Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

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Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching