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Receiving vs Being Done To: Betty Martin on Intimacy

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There is give and take in every relationship.

Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com interviews Betty Martin from http://www.BettyMartin.org about receiving and being “done to.”

Cathy: Hi everyone. I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com, I’m here with Betty Martin fromhttp://www.BettyMartin.org. Betty has great insight into how people can have more intimacy and connection in really powerful ways. Some of it is really subtle, but it makes just a delightful difference. Betty, what is the difference between receiving and being done to?

Betty: That’s a great question. This is really interesting thing when it comes to touch, because we use the word receive that mean two very different things. They’re complacent and they seem the same to us. They’re entirely different. One use of the word receive means, there’s a gift and it’s for you, and you want it. It could be in any form.

It could be a back rub. It could be doing a favor for me. It could be letting me come over and pick the peaches out of your yard. It could be helping me move my piano. All the things. What makes it receiving is that it’s from me, that I want it. The other thing is that you are happy and willing to give it. It’s not something that I’m stealing. That’s one meaning. It’s for me and I want it as a present for me.

The other way we use the word means, something happens to you or just moves in your direction, but you may not actually want it. You can receive a path to the 21 yard line. You can receive a traffic ticket. You can receive a massage. You can also receive a blow on the head, and a punch in the belly. You can receive a compliment. You can also receive an insult. You can be on the receiving end of a grope, or something that you don’t want.

What characterizes that way that we use the word receive is that it happens to you or moves towards you. Whether you want it or not. It has nothing to do with whatever you wanted. You might not want it at all. When you were a kid, and great aunt Mabel want to give you a big old kiss. Your mom says, “You have to receive the kiss.” You don’t want it.

Cathy: Yeah. You can receive the kiss as a gift that you really wanted. Or receive the kiss because it headed your way.

Betty: That’s right. I have made quite a studies of such and received questions. When you talk about touch with your partner, we’re rarely talking about actual touch that’s terrible and all of the violence. That’s a different topic.

Cathy: Hopefully, yes.

Betty: Talking about touch that people, “You know my lover touches me this way. I guess it’s okay. I kind of like it. I don’t know. I guess he’s doing it, because he likes to do it. If it was for me, I’d do it the way I wanted it.” There’s a big muddy confusing place around how we actually want to be touched. Who’s it actually for?

Cathy: Yeah, that’s confusing. Are they pleasing themselves or they’re trying to please me and they just don’t know that that’s not my favorite way?

Betty: Right, right. What I’m not saying is that you should never touch them just because you want to. That’s not true. We’ll talk about in another one of these calls. What I’m saying here is that when you’re being touched, if you start questioning who it’s actually for? Or even when you are touching, who’s it actually for? There’s an interesting way to start noticing what’s going on.

I had a colleague call me a couple years back, because I was teaching this to other hands on professionals. He called me and said, “Oh, Betty. I know that you’re big on this receiving thing. Can I just ask you a question?” I said, “Sure.” He says, “I have a new girlfriend. She really likes to go down on me. It doesn’t really quite do it for me. What I’m hoping is that I could learn to be a better receiver.”

Cathy: In that case he was being done to.

Betty: He was being done to. Really what he was asking is, “How can I be better at liking what I don’t like?” Really. That’s what he was asking and there was no answer. The answer is ask for what you do like. It’s a great example of how he was confusing the two meanings of receive. The difficulty is if I believe that everything that happens to me I’m receiving, therefore, it’s supposed to be for me. Therefore, I’m supposed to like it.

If I don’t like it, then who do I blame? Either me or you. Neither of those is useful to communicate.

Cathy: And if I was clear that I was doing it I would being done to please someone else and I made that choice it may not be as difficult because I’m speaking  I’m supposed to be enjoying it for being myself up. Why am I not enjoying it? Why am I not responding?

Betty: [Laughing] Yah, yah! Exactly, exactly.

Cathy: That really cleans things up! How do you recommend people started working with this one like if someone’s touching you and you’re not sure if they are touching you to please themselves or to please you, how do you bring up that conversation?

Betty: Oh boy, we’ll my way is simply just to ask is this from me or is this from you? I realized I’m more direct to most people. The suggestion that we gave in one of the other videos was to start asking each other how would you like me touch you? And another video will talk about another variation about that too. It’s always more difficult to communicate or question any of that when you’re already on a stick  of that  particularly if you’re naked and your turned and you’re rolling around unfortunately that one is the hardest to communicate and certainly the hardest to actually confront to anyone.

Cathy: Well, can someone can take it really wrong if you’re like it’s not for me. [ laughing ]

Betty: Mostly people think that everything that their doing is for the other person

Cathy: Yes

Betty: Yah, Pretty much, I mean, you know I coach couples a lot will be doing some touch exercise and stuff even simple things we’re all close you know. She’ll think it’s for him and he’ll think it’s for her and neither of them really no and  I’ve been in that place myself and I hope to never be there again.

Cathy:  But is it your right. It’s kind of muddy and there’s some kind of guilt of obligation feeling I’ve been touching you all this time and you actually going to ouch me the way I want to be touch

Betty: Right

Cathy: I’m really enjoying this kind of thing.

Betty: Yah, yah.

Cathy: That’s brilliant, I’d love to talk with you more on this on some other videos. Thank you very much Betty.

Please leave comment below and let us know what you think. What questions do you have? Does it make sense? Does it help? We want to know what you’re thinking. Thanks very much.

 

More articles on improving your communication and relationship skills:

Taking and Receiving: With Betty Martin

Why is Vulnerability Vital to Intimacy?

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