Using the CNI (Core Negative Image)

How to Break through your CNI

We talked about an intimacy exercise where each partner writes down the core negative image of the other. Then he/she writes down what their core negative image is of themselves. Compare the two and share in session.

  1. When your partner shares his CNI of you, listen with a healthy protective boundary. Listening doesn’t mean agreeing! Just take it in calmly. How is it similar/different to your self CNI assessment?
  2. There will be kernels of truth in what is shared. See those truths as behaviors only and resolve to change those behaviors.
  3. Reaffirm your self-esteem- not in a way that rebuffs taking in the truths. Reach inside and care for that soul within that is good and innocent.
  4. Notice when you complain – and resolve to change the way you communicate outwardly from complaint to request.
  5. Begin to listen with an open mind by putting yourself aside. Also put ‘objective reality’ aside as there is no such thing. Be curious about your partner’s experience. Is there any part of what they perceive that you can see as valid? All this with your protective boundary intact.
  6. Empower your functional adult. Feel the calmness in your body as you put aside reactivity.

Terry Real talks about these“Five Winning Strategies” in communication.

  1. go after what you want.
  2. speak to make things better
  3. listen to understand
  4. respond with generosity
  5. cherish what you have

And most of all, remember love. Just a slight and vague reminder that you do love this person can help reduce reactivity and soften the communication.

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