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Emotional Laws Are The Answer For Better Relationships: Diana Wais (Transcript)

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Emotional trigger and receptor field

Interpersonal relationships represent probably one of the most complicated ideas that have troubled the human mind. In this talk at TEDxThessaloniki, clinical psychologist Diana Wais talks about laws of emotion and how we respond with criticism when we feel threatened by words.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Emotional laws are the answer for better relationships by Diana Wais


Diana Wais – Therapist & Executive Coach

Dear friends, have you ever fallen completely and utterly in love before?

The first time this happened to me, I was 18 years old. Our love was so sweet. It was unshakable, certain, forever.

Seven years later, I went through the worst breakup you could ever imagine. I was in pieces, and I was really sure I would never be happy again.

How could two people who loved each other so much end up fighting to the point where there’s no alternative, but to separate. This question shaped my life.

These are a little homemade. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did making them. Okay.

So I ended up becoming a marital researcher at Stony Brook relationship project in Long Island, New York, and I interviewed hundreds of couples. In all the couples I interviewed, I never met a single one whose intention was to become unhappy. They all shared the same dream of Hollywood fairy tale endless love.

How many of them actually succeed? It doesn’t look good. Statistically speaking in the Western world, there’s a two-third probability that you’ll end up in divorce in your lifetime. And how many more are quietly unhappy or even lonely in their marriages?


Let me ask you a question. Would you jump out of a third-floor window onto a concrete floor? Probably not. Why not? Because you studied the laws of physics.

But how many of you have studied in school, the laws of emotion that explained to you your own inner world, and the world of interpersonal dynamics that are so complicated?

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You see, how can we expect children to grow up and get along on an ever more crowded planet if we don’t prepare them for that?

My journey took me to become a therapist and an executive coach. It was my job to study other people’s inner lives. And I’ve met with people from all kinds of backgrounds. I got started in California, in prisons, working with gang children. I worked with parents of child abuse. I worked with incest survivors. I worked with survivors of torture at Bellevue Hospital in New York.

I worked with supermodels, with aristocracy, with the uber-rich, with hedge fund managers, with CEOs and boards of companies, and amongst them, a lot of unhappy couples.

I am here today to share with you some of the lessons I learned through them. I would like to start with a story. It starts like this:

Ring ring. Hello, honey. I’m going to be two hours late for dinner.

On the other side is a wife who thinks to herself: Oh my god, this is already the third time this week this is happening. What am I? Err? Do I matter? Does he even care? He’s probably having an affair at the office.

When husband comes home, let’s just say it’s not a very romantic evening.

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