From a talk by Tim Jackins1 at the Latin American Pre-World Conference, February 28 to March 3, 2013

This morning I want to talk about relationships.

We have a powerful and useful theory in Re-evaluation Counseling. It works even if we’re by ourselves. Many of us use it when no one else is around, or when no one is around whom we trust, and it’s a great help. But it works far better with other people, and it works best with people we trust and love. Using RC well and building RC Communities depend on relationships.

When we’re born, we’re eager to have relationships with everybody. We come out looking for another human. We don’t care who it is. We’re looking to build a relationship with anyone we see. You know how closely babies will look at you. And if you look back, they keep looking at you for a long time.

We hunt for relationships at the beginning. But there’s almost no one ready to have a relationship with us. They’re ready to take care of us, we hope. But they don’t really know that there is someone there to relate to. As babies, we have a full mind, and no one to connect with, so hurts about relationships start to happen and we end up having all sorts of frozen longings for people. We long for all of the things that should have happened but didn’t when we were babies. We long for someone to be happy with us and to hold us in their arms forever. Wouldn’t you like that?

We have all sorts of disappointments. All of the things that we wanted to have happen, and that didn’t, become part of distress recordings. We didn’t get to discharge the distresses, so we still long for the same things and we still get disappointed in the same ways. These distresses continue to affect our relationships, until we can discharge them.

You know how you always get upset in the same ways? Part of our relationship with any particular person is that we always get upset with him or her in the same ways. We generally blame the person—“They know it upsets me, and they still do it, day after day after day.”

We can’t handle it, because “It’s their fault.” Well, he or she may be doing something stupid. But the fact that we’re upset by it, the fact that we can’t think about it, means that we have a distress in our mind that got restimulated. There is no reason to be upset with people, no matter how lost they are in their distresses. Besides that, we know it doesn’t help to get upset with them. Our getting upset restimulates them, and then they act even worse. Then we get more restimulated, and we either hit each other or we walk out and slam the door. This happens over and over and over, and it’s very clear that neither person learns anything new about it. Which means that it must be a distress. Otherwise we would figure out a solution.

Every time we get upset with someone, it’s not exactly his or her doing because part of it is our distress. Our distress isn’t our fault, somebody did it to us, but it is now ours. No one else can change it. Even though somebody did it to us, it’s now ours.

We are often waiting for people to take care of their distresses first. (And we want to tell them that they need to do that—though it doesn’t usually help.) However, we don’t have to wait. There are better solutions than that. The distresses we have the most control over are our own. We can always discharge our own distresses. We can always change our own mind. We can always decide that we don’t want to be upset any longer and then work on the distresses, and they will actually change. Then instead of being upset with people when they do this particular thing, we’ll just look at it and think that it’s odd. Why would they do that? Then we can play a role, or not, in helping them. We can decide what to do, because now we can think about it.

How many different relationships do you have upsets in? Well, the simpler question is, how many relationships do you not have upsets in? Hold up that many fingers. We can’t have relationships without running into distress, because we all have too many distresses.

We love the people who don’t restimulate us quickly. We want to be with them. Life is good, because we don’t get restimulated. The people who restimulate us are wonderful, smart people, and being around them might make our life a lot better, but we don’t like it. So unless we are thinking very clearly, we stay away from them, even though they are just as intelligent as the people we feel comfortable with. So our distresses are really deciding whom we have relationships with. We don’t think and choose—we are pushed by our feelings from distress.


We need to talk about these upsets. In RC, we all care about each other deeply, but sometimes we might get a little upset with each other. Usually we keep quiet about it and go away. And, of course, when we get upset with someone, part of it is our distress. All of it might be our distress. We get upset at very reasonable things sometimes, just because we can get restimulated. We can have a hard time telling2 the difference between a real problem and restimulation. All of us who lead in RC should expect people to get restimulated by us. It always happens. We should also expect people to get fascinated with us. (Laughter) That always happens, too. In a way, both are compliments, because a person—often unconsciously—is hopeful that he or she can work on that distress with us. It is not likely to appear unless he or she has some hope of discharging it.

All of us have to take responsibility for our own restimulations. When I get upset with you and feel sure you did a stupid thing to me on purpose, even though I feel that I’m right I still need to have a session on it. It’s still my upset, no matter how stupid you were. Of course, if I am upset, I can’t really tell how stupid you were. I can’t really tell what happened at all; I just know I am upset. There may be a real problem, but I can’t help solve it if I am upset. Or maybe there is no problem at all. Sometimes when we work on being upset with people, it turns out to be3 all our own distress. That’s embarrassing, but life becomes much clearer as we work through the distress.

So we get upset with people, everywhere in our lives, and we need to work on it. We especially need to work on it when we’re upset with people in our RC Community. We have thousands of people in our lives. We have fewer people in our RC Community, and we are trying to work closely with them.

We all have work to do on our distresses to be able to work together. We’ve all been hurt in the area of relationships, and it will get in our way. It isn’t that we’ve made a mistake in being upset—if we have these distresses, it has to happen—but we have to be ready to handle it. Nothing is really wrong; it’s just another distress. We just have to remember to try and discharge it.

When we counsel on these upsets, we need to counsel on the distresses that got restimulated much more than we need to counsel on our present feelings. Often it is best to not even mention the name of the person we are upset with. We can just say, “That stupid idiot.” We don’t need a name; it’s not important. How we feel is what is important.

Even though we have an agreement of confidentiality, we can still restimulate our counselors, and when our counselors get restimulated, they are lousy counselors. They stop thinking and may start agreeing with us: “Yeah, X— is stupid.” Or start defending the other person: “You’re wrong. You shouldn’t counsel on that. It’s all your fault.” And we don’t get a good session out of either one of those. So it’s important to focus not on the restimulation but on where it comes from.

We need to work on these upsets. We care deeply about each other; we have no real conflicts. But often we feel like if we care deeply, we shouldn’t have these upset feelings, so we keep quiet. Then, with more restimulations, they get worse and worse and worse in our heads, until we finally can’t bear them anymore and we blow up.4

We simply have this work to do, starting now. We are going to have a mini-session: You get to talk about someone in your Community who upsets you. If you’re counseling with someone who does not know the person, you can use the person’s name, but if your counselor might know the person, let’s not use the name this time. (Three-minutes-each-way mini-session)

It’s important that we do this work as we go along. Many experienced Co-Counselors have not done this work, and it gets easier and easier for them to be restimulated. Sometimes they walk away from their Communities because they haven’t been able to keep discharging on their distresses about relationships. I don’t want to lose any of you. I think your life would be worse if you left, but I also want you to be here so we can do the work of the RC Communities together. We can and will continue on together, but we have to do work like this. Every so often we have to clean up our relationships. So try to remember, please.

1. Tim Jackins is the International Reference Person for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities.
2 “Telling” means perceiving.
3 “It turns out to be” means we realize it is.
4 “Blow up” means suddenly express anger.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00