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I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live

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Roommate Issues, Defensiveness and Attachment Wounds


Since our home has recently added three new people (my fiancé and his two sons) and a cat, lifestyle habits and roommate issues are top of mind. One of my clients mentioned feeling challenged with her roommate as well.

I know from countless podcasts and relationship books that little issues like, “Why didn’t you pick up your socks?” are really covers for bigger issues like, “I don’t feel respected.”

Why we need space

Over my lifetime I’ve had quite a few roommates. I got along well with most of them. Our personalities and lifestyles meshed. But with almost everyone, except my college roommate Emilie, there came a time when I needed space from them.

I loved being with Emilie. I think Emilie was very secure. She made me feel good. We talked and laughed. She was neat. We did our homework together in the same room. No problems. Come to think of it, I probably bothered her. I had the more challenging personality.

I still need my space from time to time, most definitely. I think growing up playing the role of the “good girl” and the one who stuck up for my mom and tried to make her life easy, made it hard for me to voice my displeasure with others. Therefore, it is easier to get away from them then tell them what I need or do not like.

I also grew up with a dominant sister and married an aggressive man. I challenged my sister and it was miserable. We fought way too much. I learned it was easier to avoid and not challenge others.

Expect backlash 

As I’ve matured and went through therapy, I’ve learned how to voice my needs again. Now there is defensiveness in our home when I speak up. I had learned to deal with backlash from my kids. Of course, they don’t like it when I make them clean up after themselves. I’m strong enough to take their disgruntled attitudes. I know their insecurities and the reasons they blame other people and things for their shortcomings or failures.

Why it hurts so much from our significant others

Getting defensiveness from Mark is different. It hurts more. I expect resolution when I voice concerns with him. I expect a willingness to hear me and consider my perspective. Dr. Stan Tatkin (Wired for Love) says secure partners make our concerns their concerns. I expect him to be on my side.

When he does not help, I feel like I’m on my own again, like I was quite often as a young person.

Boundaries then finesse

I admit, I am new to voicing my needs and beliefs. I have not mastered the wording. I am aware of that. My first priority has been to learn to enforce personal boundaries, to not let others bulldoze me. Finessing the delivery is a work in progress.

Old wounds resurface

I believe it is the hardest with Mark to work through roommate issues because we trigger each other’s biggest attachment issues. This is common between partners. I see it all the time with clients.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I have a strong reaction to being left alone to take care of many things. I had to be emotionally and financially self-reliant growing up. In the past, I was afraid to ask for help. I thought I was weak to need it. I feared that my request for help would be rejected or not heard anyway.

Now, I ask for help more. I sometimes subconsciously disguise my requests for help with complaints. I assume if I complain about something, Mark will know it is something he needs to help me with. Complaints, of course, just ignite his defensiveness.

What’s really behind the complaint?

So when I say, “Waking up to dirty dishes in the sink starts my day off badly” he comes back with excuses for why they are there, instead of hearing the comment as a plea for help and respect.

The dishes in the sink issue arose because I asked for quiet in the morning because our bedroom is right off the kitchen — another time I advocated for myself. Emptying the dishwasher and putting in dirty dishes is noisier than just leaving dirty dishes in the sink, but leaving a pile of dirty dishes for me every morning is not a good solution.

What do you really want?

There are a lot of self-help books that say people don’t always want solutions when they vent. They just want someone to listen.

I want solutions and action. My childhood conditioning makes me want help and action.

As Mark and I spend more time in the same household, we gain understanding of each other and our attachment issues. We each have 50 years of conditioning behind us. It is not going to be easy. It helps to know that almost every complaint is a hidden request for connection. Connection heals attachment wounds.

What are your everyday complaints hiding? What is the real message you would like to convey? How are your previous hurts surfacing in your relationships? 

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash


couple on bench

If you’re feeling insecure or have anxiety about your connection with your partner, my online course, Attachment: Moving from Insecurity to Security within a Relationshipcan help. If you’d rather speak with me directly, I encourage you to schedule a coaching session with me by clicking here. I look forward to working with you!




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  1. Michael Buley June 23, 2019 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    As always, Brenda, I could write a lot about what you write about!

    I like this: “It helps to know that almost every complaint is a hidden request for connection. Connection heals attachment wounds.”

    I have seen a therapist a few times in the past few months. He said something many times: ‘Feelings and needs are everything. The rest is bullshit.’ His words.

    What I feel … what I need … What Carmen feels, what Carmen needs … and the rest is bullshit.

    We can put it into complaints, into personal attacks, into … who knows what. We’re very creative when hiding our feelings and needs.

    I talked about my therapist’s words with Daren, a friend. He said ‘you mean wants?’ i.e., what I ‘want’ vs. what I ‘need.’

    And I said no, this is about needs. What do I need? What do I feel? ‘Need’ is much keener than ‘wants.’ To ‘need’ something from someone is vulnerable.

    Whether we can, or want to, give to the other what he or she needs, is its own question. Whether the one we are with, wants to, or can, give us what we need … again, that’s its own question.

    We’re funny creatures, we humans … lol …

    The idea isn’t to blame anyone, as you know, Brenda. It’s just to say to ourselves, and to the one we are with … ‘This is who I am.’ These are things I need. This is how I feel. Without blame. The one we love, is free to meet our needs, or not. I’m not the same as Carmen. She is not the same as me. What does each of us ‘really’ need?

    Somehow, I think if we let ourselves be who we are … and we let the other be who she is / he is … we just allow it, for ourselves and for the other … then things either work relatively easily, or they don’t. I have never yet been persuaded that relationships should be a lot of ‘work.’ The work is within. When we are at peace within ourselves, and the one we are with is at peace within herself … well, it’s a heck of a lot easier.

    So much inner work.

    Through it all, I continue to believe that kindness, above all, is ‘the thing.’ Just kindness. A tenderness with each other. A lifting up of each other. A relaxing … letting go of things having to be a certain way … life is a flow when we let go, and trust, and know that we are good … that the ones we love are good.

    See and speak and think the beauty of the other. Be tender, gentle, kind. Very very slow to anger, if anger is to come at all. See and speak and think the beauty within ourselves. And trust that the universe is guiding us, that we are learning, that we are coming to be more and more of who we really are.

    And we keep learning, and wandering, and wondering, and exploring … who are we? What is this life all about?

    My mantra? lol … Life is beautiful. Through many ups and downs, many dark times … I have held to that somehow … and it’s enough for me: Life is beautiful. The rest unfolds. And I allow it to.

    Thanks for allowing my rambling and wandering and wondering, Brenda! Remember that YOU … are beautiful, always. No matter what.

    • Brenda Knowles June 26, 2019 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      “Feelings and needs are everything.” So true! We cannot escape them. They guide our every move. I am learning (again and again) that blaming does no good. Understanding helps. We can get to understanding via kindness, as you said. It’s damn hard to be kind in the heat of conflict. Emotions run amuck. Working on slowing down to read the feelings and needs of my partner. Thanks for your input Michael. It always helps.

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