Dream Relationship Workshop

Title: Dream Relationship Workshop
Location: Scottsdale Hyatt Place
Description: Join us for a three day transformational journey of the heart with your partner. Class space is limited so don’t wait! This class is only open to 20 couples.
Start Date: 2013-02-08
Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Date: 2013-02-10
End Time: 6:00 PM

My Friends Murder

I remember everything vividly. This event was like others in my life. Maybe you can relate? The assassination of John F. Kennedy. The death of Elvis. The death of John Lennon. The day the Challenger crashed while launching the first school teacher and a crew into space. The Oklahoma City bombing. And most recently, the fall of the twin towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. These events stand out in my memory. Better yet might be to say they are stamped into my memory. I find that I remember being in a heightened state of awareness. I remember smells, tastes, feelings. Everything was more real.

It was a Thursday. Omaha, Nebraska. March 23, 1995. At approximately four o’clock in the afternoon, my husband, Paul, came in the front door. He sat at the kitchen counter and we chatted like couples do. I gave him an update of the day. It had been a really good day. I had bought some items that I could re-sell and make some money. I was excited! At five o’clock, I was thinking about making dinner. The kids were out front drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Paul sat in the kitchen talking to me and the phone rang so he answered it. I was watching him talk on the phone and as I looked at him across the counter, I heard him ask, “WHAT?” and then “WHEN?”

I had never seen anything like this happen. It was like slow motion and I could physically see that the blood literally drained from his face. He became white and pasty and his lips were turning a bluish color like you might see from a kid who has been swimming in a pool and has gotten cold. A white ring began to form around his mouth making his lips seem even bluer.

I knew something really, really bad had happened. I walked to the back of the house and went into the bedroom and locked the door. It wasn’t long before Paul was softly knocking.

“Shelly, you have to let me in.” He said.

“Something bad happened, didn’t it?” I asked

“Yes.” He said. “Now open the door.”

I remember thinking, if he just doesn’t have to tell me it won’t be real. I opened the door and pushed past him and walked to the living room. “I don’t want to know.” I said commandingly as I charged past.

“You have to know Shelly. It won’t go away or change.” He said in a calm voice.

He followed close behind on the way to the sofa. I plunked down on the sofa and he came and sat close to me.

“Is it my dad?” I asked. He shook his head no.

“My mom?” I shot back. Again he shook his head no.

My voice became shrill now. “MY SISTER?” I was nearly shouting.

“No, it was not anyone in your family.” He said. He looked at me and hesitated. I could tell he didn’t want to tell me either.

My mind raced. I felt fear and panic. I wanted to protect the children right then. They were all out in the front yard. I could see them through the front window. I felt relieved in a weird sort of way that it was no one in my family. We sat in silence for a moment.

“WHO IS IT?” I was definitely shouting. I had worked myself into a frenzy by this point and I was crying.

“It is Bev.” He said.

“Bev Pusch? Did she wreck the van?” I ask him.

Bev had just been over the day before. I taught bread making and sold wheat, dough enhancer and other supplies. I looked over his shoulder and saw the supplies Bev had purchased from me yesterday. She forgot them and they were hanging in a bag on the banister.

“No. Mark shot her to death.” He said in a monotone voice.

My mind was reeling now. I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around the horror of what he had said. Bev was my best friend and prayer partner. Mark was Bev’s 15 year old son who had been playing with my children the day before in MY backyard.

I felt dirty.

“I feel sick.” I said dryly.

“I know.” He replied.

Paul held me for a minute while I cried and then I looked at him and fired off a barrage of questions, “Why? How? Where? Who knows about it? Where is Michelle? Where is Matthew? What happened? Do we need to call someone? Who was that on the phone?”

Michelle was Bev’s 14 year old daughter and Matthew was Bev’s five year old son.

The big question was WHY?

“Why would he do something like that? Are you sure?” I asked puzzled.

Paul said he didn’t know why. We were both aware that they had been having some problems with Mark and obedience. He had been living away from home for several months and had recently been reunited with the family.

“All I know is, it happened downstairs in the basement. Mark lured Michelle and Bev downstairs with the promise of a surprise and then he jumped out from behind the bar and shot both of them with his dads guns. Bev died on the floor of her basement. I think everyone knows about it. Judy is the one that called and she said it’s all over the news.” Paul said.

And then I asked Paul, “What time did this happen?”

“It happened at around 3:30. It was weird because I was right there by their home and I heard it on the radio that there was a shooting and a hostage situation. It never occurred to me that I would know them.” He said.

“A hostage situation? Who is being held hostage?” I asked.

“Call Judy. She will probably know everything that is going on.” He said. He looked worried and tired. The blood still had not returned to his face.

I went and dialed the number. Judy said it was all over the news. Home school mom shot by son. She said that Mark had also shot his sister, Michelle. When he shot Michelle she jumped into one of the bedrooms downstairs and was holding the door shut with her arms up and he shot her five more times through the door. The door probably saved her life and took the brunt of the force. She was alive and in the hospital in critical condition. Matthew was a foster son that Bev and her husband had recently adopted. He was five, the same age as my son Phillip.

Judy said that Matthew was somewhere with Mark and they hadn’t found him yet. He had left in his dads pickup and he didn’t know how to drive. It was a stick shift so they anticipated him getting stuck at some point and not being able to drive it. This seemed odd to me.

We didn’t watch much TV. The kids would occasionally watch a video and even that was few and far between. Our TV was kept in the basement and we only got a couple of local channels. Paul and I headed to the basement and flicked the TV on. I watched about two minutes of the footage and sprinted up the stairs and called the kids inside.

“Stay in the house. Go in your room and play.” I said in a scolding voice. I could see the confused looks on their faces.

A dear friend, Debbie, lived four houses away. I walked down to her home and rang the bell. She saw me and smiled and gave me a hug. I knew she didn’t know yet because of her happy spirit. She didn’t watch TV either and I asked her if she knew the news about Bev. She said no and as I told her, I could see the confused look on her face. She cried and asked the same questions. “Why, when, where, who?”

A wave of fear suddenly crept over me. “I have to go now.” I said curtly as I rushed to the door. I turned and ask. “Are you okay? She nodded through tears. I hugged her quick and said, “I will call you later.”

I ran home and raced up to the door, went in and locked it behind me. It occurred to me at that moment that he was still out there with a gun or maybe two? I didn’t know. I began asking myself, “Did he like me? Did he like Paul? Would he want to kill us for something? What if he came to the house? What would I do?”

The fear was gripping. I got on the phone to Judy again. Paul had the children with him in the basement and the TV was off. She was giving me the details when Paul walked up the stairs and went into the bedroom. He came out holding his handgun. Another wave of fear. Little did I know, FEAR was an emotion that would stop waving over me and through me and eventually would take up permanent residence in my heart and mind.

The next two years are a blur to me. That same year, we moved to an acreage in Iowa. Left our church. Had a baby. I wanted to change everything!

I remember parts of it, just not big parts. I became obsessed with Bev and the shooting. I wanted to know every detail. I spent hours on the phone talking about it. I had friends come spend the night because I was afraid when Paul would work the night shifts. I didn’t want to be alone.

After Bev’s death, the fear consumed me. My thoughts became scattered. I didn’t trust anyone. I would break down and cry and cry and cry. Everywhere I went, I would remember the last time I was there with Bev.

The fact that Mark,  the murderer, had been in my home the day before playing with my kids really shook me. I didn’t like Mark. I had told Paul six months before this happened that he was the kind of kid that was going to wig out and shoot his whole family. Paul scolded me for saying it. Something in my spirit would caution me every time he was there. I talked to Bev about it briefly. She didn’t bring him much because I think she knew how I felt about him. But she did bring him over the day before he killed her.

The funeral was nearly a week later. Michelle was getting out of the hospital and they wanted her to be able to attend.

Mark was caught the same day as he didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. He called a family friend and the friend went to pick him up and the story spilled out of him. He said he had heard voices telling him to do it. Matthew was safe. Mark was detained in a minimum security holding cell.

I couldn’t get my home clean. I scrubbed everything down. After all, he had touched the counters and he was in my kitchen. I talked on the phone about Bev and Mark. What about the dad? What about him? How is Michelle doing? What about Matthew. Would he go into counseling? What would happen to them all?

I announced to Paul in the middle of May that I wanted to have another baby right away. I became pregnant that month and was due the next February. I said I wanted to move to an acreage and get away from it all. I wanted to attend a new church. There were so many memories of Bev. I couldn’t bear it!

We found a ten acre home in Iowa and started a new life. It was isolated which was not good for me. I slept a lot. I had a new baby, an old ‘new” house in a town where I knew no one. I was afraid to send my kids to school and kept them home to Home School. I wasn’t doing a great job. I was depressed and afraid.

I was starting to feel bad a lot. I spent a lot of time on the computer late at night after the kids went to bed. Writing. Chatting. Reading. Emailing. It was my lifeline to the rest of the world. The normal world.

I started to go to doctor after doctor with symptoms of various sorts. I had pain throughout my entire body. My head would ache so bad I would throw up and I was tired all the time. My feet and ankles hurt going up and down the stairs. Eventually they told me in 1996 that I had Fibromyalgia. It seemed like a death sentence with five little kids. I was so tired and felt I wasn’t schooling them well. I wasn’t keeping the house clean or doing anything really well. People kept telling me that I just needed to give myself time.

I remember my life ‘before Bev’ and yet it seems a little clouded. Like it isn’t real or it is questionable.

The last thing I really remember was Paul sitting on my bed and asking me, “Shelly, when are you coming back? You have been gone for two years.”

“What? What year is it?” I asked astonished.

“It’s 1997.” He responded.

As I write this, it is 2007. I have learned so much about trauma and what it can do to your mind. The fear was so strong. I have many physical aliments that still haunt me. Though I have learned to cope. I had not been ready for such trauma. Who could ever be ready for it? Running away was not the best thing to do. I should have worked through it. I realize that now. Of course I seem to live and learn. I suppose many of us do it that way.

Life for me is good. When you have a traumatic event happen to you…it creates a “new normal” this is fully understood by me now. I would do it differently. I would seek counseling and work on getting over the fear instead I packed it up and took it with me. Today, I work on it. I have much less fear than I did. Thank God!

And lastly, Mark died in jail. His brain was sent to a place in Denver and they said he had a rare form of schizophrenia. I hate to say it but I felt relief when he died.

Update: As I re-post this on my website about relationships, I want you to know that in the last three years I have learned so much about fear. The fear was coming from me. It was coming from my thinking. Even as I re-read this article, I could see the learning and awareness I have now that I didn’t have three years ago. Your life can be whatever you make it. I am grateful for this experience. I now know that I create my reality. I create my way.

Thank you for taking time to read this!

The Drama Triangle

One of the concepts we teach in our courses is the Drama Triangle. The Drama Triangle is a model of dysfunctional social interaction created by psychotherapist Stephen Karpman. There are three points on a triangle and each of these points represents an ineffective response to conflict. Rather than end disharmony in relationships, this ineffective response prolongs disharmony.

The Drama Triangle has an inverted point with the low point being victim. The interesting thing is each point is really a form of victim.

The Drama TriangleWhat is The Drama Triangle?

People that participate in the drama triangle may or may not be aware of their role in the drama triangle. They create misery for themselves and others.  It is a mind game of drama that takes on the role of Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor.

People have a gate or entry point in the triangle. It is important to understand that every point on the triangle is ultimately operating from victim and people rotate around the triangle and leave their gate or entry to fill other Victim roles.

  • Victims are helpless and hopeless. They deny choice and responsibility for their negative circumstances. They are powerless and have poor if any forward moving results in their life. They deny possession of the power to change circumstances.
  • Rescuers are constantly applying short-term repairs to a Victim’s problems, while neglecting their own needs. They look for others to fix. They jump in without being asked to “help” the Victim.
  • Persecutors blame the Victims and criticize the enabling behavior of Rescuers. They always see the problem and withhold guidance or blame the Victim and Rescuers for not listening to them. They rarely provide guidance, assistance or a solution to the underlying problem.

Players of this head game alternate roles during the course of a game. For example, a Rescuer pushed too far by a Persecutor will switch to the role of Victim or counter-Persecutor.

Every point of the drama triangle supports and moderates the other two.  Victims depend on a savior, Rescuers yearn for a basket case and Persecutors need someone to blame and judge.

While a healthy person will perform in each of these roles occasionally, pathological role-players actively avoid leaving the familiar and comfortable environment of the game. This means if there is no misfortune, event or circumstances that are harmful or there is no misfortune on them or their loved ones, they will create one. Victims suffer a series of “accidents” and Rescuers engage in noble self-sacrifice, while Persecutors are just “keeping it real, calling it like it is, telling the truth“.

In each case, the drama triangle is an instrument of destruction.

Avoid the Corners

The emotional co-dependence exhibited by the three roles of the drama triangle can be broken by simply refusing to support to your attacker, forcing them to choose between retreat and collapse. This is also known as tough love. Love has natural boundaries.

The strategy can be summarized as follows:

  1. Move into the center. Resist the temptation to play an exaggerated and complementary role to a Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor. You do not want to stabilize an unpleasant situation. Instead, find and hold the center position, thereby marginalizing your adversary and eliminating their power base.
    The center of the drama triangle contains elements of each corner. It is a combination of sensitivity, compassion, and responsibility.
  2. Refuse to accept your opponent’s force. Do not struggle with them, or yield to them; instead, allow your opponent to move into an indefensible position.
    If you have successfully taken the center, your adversary will halt their attacks, rather than risk unmasking themselves and exposing the game.

Although the drama triangle is a form of passive aggression, you may nevertheless object to casting a loved one as your opponent. Instead, take their bad habits and unskillful means as your enemy, and destroy them with awareness and enlightened action.

The Dream Relationship Workshop for Couples

Our Story
by Michelle Shelton

Paul and Michelle Shelton met in 1989 at a little Blues Bar called Char’s in Phoenix Arizona.

Yes…we met in a bar! Paul asked me to go to breakfast when the bar closed and we did. Paul was so quiet that I really didn’t realize he was attracted to me. Of course I was out there and anything but quiet! I was talking to everyone in the restaurant and bantering with the waiter. Paul asked for my phone number and that was the beginning.  That was July 4, 1989 and by November of the same year, we were expecting a baby and decided to get married.  Much to the dismay of my family, this was too fast. We barely knew each other and then there was the taboo of being pregnant. Oh my!

July 4 of the next year, our son, Phillip was born. Exactly one year after our breakfast!  Life was ahead of us and there was so much adventure and happiness. Everything would be perfect as long as we were together. Ever feel that way?

The Breakdown.
Skip ahead to 2006. After 17 years of marriage, multiple moves, job changes, three more babies and custody of Paul’s three year old daughter, Marie…we now found ourselves in a place of defeat. We got through Paul going to Nursing school and working the night shift.  We had been through so much together. We loved each other yet we were lashing out at each other.  The “D” word was starting to be thrown out. There was fighting and cold shoulders. We had decided to call it quits and then we would make up and struggle to keep things together. We were really hanging on by a thread. …yet, there was still that thread. Neither of us wanted to throw away our marriage. We just couldn’t seem to talk without fighting. We fought about everything. We disagreed about everything. The hurt and resentment was difficult to overcome. We played the blame game. Every sentence started with “YOU…

It Wasn’t Always Like this!
There had certainly been a lot of joy and passion over the years. We enjoyed each others company and we were always best friends. We talked and we shared ideas and dreams with each other.  We had seen each other through thick and thin, there had been death of parents, the murder of a close friend, failed businesses, financial strains, unplanned pregnancies, in-law struggles and much more. There had also been wonderful friendships, new jobs, successful businesses, birth of beautiful babies and happiness. The typical cycles of married life.

Financial Pressure.
We had five children. The financial stress and management of a large family was taking it’s toll. We jumped in and worked together many times over the years and we kept their family together.  We often fought about money or lack of money.  Paul and I both became very frugal, resourceful and worked together to save money and conserve resources. We  joined a Christian Church and enjoyed a sense of community for many years.

In the real estate bust, we lost our first investment property. We had made a poor financial decision. Instead of reforming and regrouping and moving forward again, we started to blame each other.

Couples Retreats and Working on our Marriage.
By 2006, we  had grown apart one conversation or lack of conversation at a time. The fighting had become extreme when we were together. We had stopped working on our marriage. The happiness we felt over the years had turned into resentment and blame. Since the beginning Paul and I had worked very hard on our marriage and always made it a priority. We had attended couples workshops, Dr. Gary Smalley’s workshop,  The Five Love Languages, with Dr. Gary Chapman and also Marriage Encounter. Paul and I had attended marriage and parenting classes through various churches. We also had gone to all men’s retreats and all women’s retreats in addition to couples retreats.

When we moved to Arizona, everything changed. I went back to work after 14 years and did very well financially. Paul was working in a job he disliked. The kids were home alone more and more. The kids were now getting older and were in school (I home schooled them for nearly seven years). We had left our community of support and I felt like we had no direction in life. We left the church and it seemed we were on our own with our marriage.

As a matter of fact, it seemed the world supported divorce much more than it supported marriage. For the first time in our marriage we would throw the divorce word around.

Our fighting became extremely toxic. This toxic relationship affected our children. I am not proud of it and when I look back I know it was less than ideal. We were a victim to each other. We were a victim to everything. We were not owning our results.

One of our son’s started to take drugs and steal. This was heart breaking. Our perfect life seemed to be unraveling.  The addictions started to come into play in all of our lives. I was medicating myself with food and gained an additional 20#. Paul was drinking heavily each day. I began smoking again after quiting when I was pregnant the first time. It had been 14 years since I smoked. The self-destruct mode was turned on by both of us. Holding things together just didn’t seem that important any more. We started to give up.

In 2007, my father died. I was able to experience his death alongside my mother and it was truly a beautiful experience. Read my article, How does the Death of a Loved One Effect you?

I began to look around and envision my life without Paul. I started to conjure up the perfect mate. What would that look like? Someone who treated me good? Someone nice? I began thinking there must be more…you know, out there. I was feeling like there was nothing left and it was time to do something different. I was not happy in my marriage and I was working 12 to 16 hour days. This left Paul to not only work his full time job but to care for the children too.   Another thing for them to fight about.

A co-worker of Michelle’s invited them both to attend a seminar by PSI Seminars that made claims of improving both professional and personal success.

Amazingly, we attended this presentation together. We had no idea how this one decision would change the course of our life.  In October 2007, we both attended PSI Seminars’ Basic Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona. It was not new information. It was the method of application of the information that was new to them both. It was called experiential learning.

Although I had been involved in and taught personal growth for years, this type of education was exciting. It was a way to teach the concepts where the attendees had ownership of their results. They had to take a look at the results they created. It was more than sitting in a room listening to a speaker and taking notes. It was truly interactive for four days. The Basic Seminar was more about self-discovery and awareness and it gave me an opportunity to apply the knowledge I had in my head. Paul had attended my trainings and he had been to classes before about personal growth. We had been through Jeffery Gittomer’s class and Zig Zigler’s and even the late Jim Rohn. I had never seen Paul light up the way he did in this class.  He had never experienced anything like this and continued to talk about having more in his life. I had never heard him talk about personal growth this way. We both enrolled in an advanced seminar from PSI Seminars called PSI Seven or PSI VII (Personal Success Institute, Seven Day Advanced Seminar).

We attended the seminar together and learned many tools to support us in our relationship. Paul immediately saw how he was medicating his raw emotions and he chose to quit drinking for a week. A week turned into a month and a month turned into a year. It has been three years since he has drank alcohol.

We have also attended advanced courses on leadership through PSI Seminars. We both have attended many experiential workshops and seminars from various companies since that day and we are both truly grateful for these experiences.

Today our marriage is stronger than it has ever been. We are best friends. We have turned our relationship into a dream relationship. Many couples started to come to us and ask us questions. In 2011, we celebrated 22 years of marriage and we can see the need for couples, young and old, married, dating, engaged and same sex couples to create the relationship they desire. We put together a completely unique workshop to support you in doing the same thing…to create your dream relationship with that special person. Your relationship doesn’t have to be in crisis like ours was. Perhaps you simply want the tools to take you to the next #10 in your relationship.  What would it feel like to have that one person you can always count on? That one person when the rest of the world seems to be falling apart, you know you can count on them?

What is Paul and Michelle’s Philosophy?
Paul and Michelle have gone through Debbie Ford’s shadow work, they are fans of Wayne Dyer and although they lean more toward the New Age Movement, they respect all religions and faiths. They have a special love for Christian and Catholic couples because of their background and they do not teach religion in their courses. They embrace a concept of love and respect, forgiveness and non-judgment. They both think this is the basic of all spiritual teachings.

The Philosophy is to bring happiness  TO the relationship and not look to GET happiness FROM the relationship. Co-dependent relationships are common and many people do not know anything different because they are looking to find love and be loved. This is called attachment, not love. Many couples mistakenly look to another human being to fill that emptiness for them.

Paul and Michelle continue to do the work of experiential teachings themselves. They feel they must continually be growing in order to be the example.  Marriage and relationships are work. They are like anything worth having, they require work and a change of mind-set in order to achieve a high level of success.

No matter why type of relationship you are in, marriage, engaged couples, homosexual couples and dating couples. If the relationship is intimate and sexual in nature, you will benefit from this course. We ask that you attend with an open spirit toward learning and trust that you will get what you need from the course. ❤

“This work has changed my life. Sharing it with other couples is so rewarding! Seeing them walk in on the verge of a split and then experiencing real love from on Sunday is truly magical. If you haven’t attended our workshop, do what you have to do to make it happen for yourself…you will be so glad you did!” – Michelle Shelton

Paul and Michelle were married in 1989 and their journey together began. They have five children and live in Gilbert, Arizona. They are available to coach couples and also speak to groups regarding marriage, parenting, and how to have loving relationships.

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