Psychotherapist, Program Manager and specialty presenter at Gwinganna, Linda Franke, speaks with our Wellness advisor Sharon, about how to detox unhealthy relationships and experience healthier communication at home and in the workplace. 

Learn the skills and attitudes we each need in order to develop and sustain healthy relationships in our lives in the video or transcript below.


Want to embrace new lifestyle habits and ways of thinking? You can find this interview, amongst many others, plus movement guides, meditations and articles from Gwinganna’s wellness experts and special guests in our Wellness at Home Book.


Sharon - I’m with Linda Franke, one of our psychotherapists and a specialty retreat presenter at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. 

Linda, how can we improve our ability to approach others and develop a healthy relationship?


Linda - A relationship is about forming an association, a connection. A relationship is not just getting your point of view across. Often relationships become about winning or point scoring and less about being connected. More often than not, this is the problem with many relationships in general.

Today with so much technology, our messages and communication options are much faster than in years gone by. Sometimes, because we are busy, we can react too quickly and we lose the opportunity to connect. This can result in a break down of communication within the relationship.

At Gwinganna, we encourage guests to learn how to slow down and take a breath. This is especially important in a relationship, because if you don't make time and give space to the other person, to hear them fully, you may not relate to them in a genuine caring way. Often people are doing everything too fast and therefore relationships are breaking down.

The key thing to understand is the meaning of a relationship and the meaning of forming a connection, and to make that a priority in your life.

Sometimes relationships with inanimate objects are seen to be more important in our culture than relationships with other people. We can protect our possessions to the detriment of our interpersonal relationships. Whilst having healthy boundaries are important, it is essential to approach this in a way the other person still feels valued.


Sharon - How do you deal with someone who is in victim mode of thinking?


Linda - Victim consciousness is something we all move in and out of. It can be very obvious and it can be very elusive. What it means is we imagine that something or someone outside of us is much more powerful than we are.

We're not recognising our own power and our ability to feel empowered. So we fall into victim consciousness because it's easier. We can be lazy and not want to take responsibility for what's going on in our own life.

Often relationships become about winning or point scoring and less about being connected.

This is a big area to consider because in order to form a true relationship with someone, we need to have a healthy relationship with our self and that can be a lifelong journey. When we feel disempowered by our own sense of self, quite often we're coming from wobbly ground.

The reality is, if we don't understand ourselves, we can't really understand somebody else.

When we're looking at our own crisis, we may not be seeing the impact of the early stage of our life where beliefs are formed. I believe a lot of emotional information is stored in our body.

That's why I choose to work with psychotherapy because of cellular awareness, which is all about the feeling within the body. The more we slow down and feel our feelings, the more we can understand ourselves which helps us better understand others.


Sharon -  I often get asked about people who are saying one thing, yet acting in another way, so you can energetically feel that they have anger or frustration underneath the surface. I think this is what we call passive aggressive. What is the best way to manage that situation?


Linda - The best way is to feel what you're feeling in yourself. If someone is passive aggressive, you might feel uncomfortable so you need to take care of your own discomfort. This might mean saying, "Can we talk about this another time?” or “I'm feeling uncomfortable here." 

Always take responsibility for your own feelings without pointing the finger at someone else. It is good to remember, as soon as we point a finger, there are usually at least three pointing back at you. Defensive language such as saying, "You need to do this, you're passive aggressive," is not going to reach that person. It just creates a more defensive position within them. It is highly unlikely you're going to connect with them by saying "You".

To make connection with that person, consider them. It might be saying, "This is really uncomfortable for me, I'm not feeling good, I need to reconnect with you at another time," rather than thinking it's your job to give them a lesson in how they need to deal with their passive aggression. Try to consider them and give them the chance to become aware of their behaviour.

If you know you have passive aggression, movement is the best thing, and also breath. If you're a person that gets angry easily, move through it by changing your breath. A strong exhalation or dynamic exercise will help.


Sharon - Wonderful advice. How could you take that into the corporate world? How can you have that conversation with someone who's your boss, for example?


Linda - It's important you understand that every person is a human being and that possibly they are under a lot of pressure. So it might be that you breathe through the situation and later you move that energy yourself.

Or you might try to say, "How can I help or how can I do this better, because I'm feeling a little uncomfortable here? It's as if I've done something wrong and I'd like this situation/ relationship to be different."

The reality is, if we don't understand ourselves, we can't really understand somebody else.

There are situations where you have to realise the relationship with the job or the relationship with an outcome can take priority over that personal relationship, so you just do your best with it.

Also, use that experience to look at yourself. Everything has a reflection back on you because in the end you are really the only person you are relating to. We imagine everything we say is right and everything we say is the most important, because ultimately, the only real relationship we have is with ourselves. So, we have to keep coming back to, "What do I learn from this and how can I make that better for me?"

We're all connected. We can learn to be thankful to those people that stir our emotions as it allows us to explore ourselves. A great place to observe life is when we think that other people in our life are our teachers. They can be the ones to help us explore and move our frustration.


Sharon - Let's talk briefly about projection and when someone projects their fears onto you.

The only way they can feel they're in control is to make you feel bad about something. How would you suggest we as individuals deal with that both in the workplace and at home?


Linda - Projection is a big one, especially it, like many of us, you have fears or issues. There are many levels of projection. With pure projection of an emotion, you need to create a healthy boundary. We’re not here to take somebody's unmanaged emotions being thrown at us, that's not what relating is about. We do have to be strong sometimes and say, "That's not okay and when you're ready to speak more civilly, I'll come back and have that conversation."

Always look at what's going on for you at the time and certainly if something very aggressive is being projected, you need to make that boundary strong. If you're not usually able to do that, you need to learn how. I've worked with techniques that show you how to create strength through the second chakra, the part of the body where we hold suppression. Maybe work with someone or find a practitioner that can teach you to bring your energy to this part of your body to be able to come from a stronger place.

Always make sure you are physically safe of course. If you are feeling the other person is abusive, seek professional support. Projection can be a great time to learn how to stand on your own and then choose whether you want to continue a relationship with a person who does that to you.


Sharon - Thank you Linda. I know we have just scratched the surface today and there is much more to discuss about emotional wellbeing. Thank you for all the work you've done at Gwinganna.