KATRIN BERNDT COACHING

Fictional Coaching: Movie Night at Jack and Christine’s

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Welcome to fictional coaching!

There’s something magical about a mid-week movie night. It kind of feels like breaking the rules, even though Christine isn’t completely sure what those rules are. She’s been in charge of her own bedtime for quite a few years now. The warm feeling of love and longing spreads through her body as she thinks about their evening together. But that feeling doesn’t last long…

“There are hot girls at the gym.” The thought pops into Christine’s brain from nowhere as she is chopping the onion for her signature bolognese. That warm feeling immediately turns into a jolt, traveling from the pit of her stomach up to her chest.

“Hot girls with hot bodies doing hot things around my hot boyfriend.” Christine can see clearly in her mind’s eye how Jack is checking girls out while doing his reps. The girls making sure they squat real deep within his range of vision. Come to think of it, he’s been spending a lot more time at the gym lately. Work, gym, food, sleep, repeat. Is he avoiding her?

Christine glances up at the clock on the kitchen wall. 7:05. He said he would be home by now. She checks her phone, no messages from Jack. Just a photo of the two of them together celebrating their 4-year anniversary staring back at her. She unlocks her phone and opens their messenger conversation.

“Home soon? I thought you said 7 pm.” She hits send.

Neutral enough to pass as a normal question, passive-aggressive enough to punish him for being late… and for checking out other girls.

As she finishes cooking and cleaning up, Christine slowly but surely ramps up her frustration with Jack. With each spice added, with each dish cleaned, she gathers more and more evidence that she does everything around here and he’s off at the gym flirting with girls. And he doesn’t even have the decency to let her know he’ll be late.

7:20, Jack’s key twists the door lock and he steps into the hallway carrying a little blue box.

“Hello, my love. I stopped by the shop on the way home and got us some dessert! It’s your favorite!”

He hands Christine the box containing two pieces of gorgeous red velvet cake and gives her a kiss on the cheek. Christine does her best to act normal, but on the inside, there’s something completely different going on.

A part of her thinks she was wrong to be so pissed off at him. He’s great! He loves her! Look, he even brought her favorite dessert! There’s a slightly nauseous feeling of guilt and shame bubbling at the back of her throat… but then there’s the other side of her brain. The side that knows he just picked up dessert because he’s feeling guilty. He knows he’s done something wrong and this is his way of making it up to her. She wants to believe him, she wants to be happy, but the doubt and anger feel more true.

“Is something wrong?”

Jack’s question snaps Christine out of her confusion and without having to think twice, her pre-programmed answer shoots out at him with a frown. “No?” As if the question itself is an insult. Clearly, nothing is wrong. She places the dessert box on the counter.

As Jack leaves the room to unpack his gym bag, Christine takes a moment to gather her thoughts. She wants to enjoy this movie night. She wants to cuddle up next to Jack and just have a calm, relaxing, fun evening together like they used to. She decides to let it go and give Jack the benefit of the doubt. He would never flirt with other girls anyway, she knows that.

She prepares one plate each of her spaghetti bolognese and brings them to the living room, feeling good about her decision and looking forward to some cuddles. Jack joins her soon thereafter and they start the movie.

They picked Godzilla vs. Kong. The one from 2021. Or, to be more specific… Jack picked Godzilla vs. Kong. Christine has never been a huge fan of giant, grumpy lizards fighting each other. But she’s fine with watching movies like this as long as they get to spend time together. In the end, these movie nights are more about quality time for Christine than having an exceptional cultural experience.

All of a sudden, a familiar blue light catches Christine’s eye. She follows the light and sees Jack typing a text message to someone in the middle of the movie. What the hell?

“Hello? You’re missing the movie.” She puts little effort into hiding her annoyance.

“I’m almost done.” He replies, eyes not leaving the screen, fingers typing away.

You know what? Enough is enough. Christine has not only prepared dinner for the two of them while he was off flirting with other girls. She was also the bigger person and let it go so that they could have a nice movie night together, watching a movie that he picked that she didn’t even want to see, to begin with. Despite all of this, he can’t even respect her for 1 hour and 53 minutes by not taking out his phone and prioritizing someone else over her.

Christine feels the anger spread inside her body like a paint drop spreading on a wet piece of paper. She feels rejected, unloved, disrespected, and taken advantage of all at once. He does not deserve her and she does not deserve this kind of behavior in return.

If he is going to reject her, she is going to reject him right back. Let’s see how he likes it.

Christine grabs their plates and brings them into the kitchen. As she returns, she sits down on the opposite end of the couch, making sure no part of her accidentally touches Jack. He has put his phone down and is once again following the movie.

“Everything okay?” he asks.

“Yes.”

Is everything okay… what does he think? But if he is going to keep secrets from her and choose to chat with others during their quality time together, she’s not going to tell him the truth either. He can figure it out on his own. Why should she care if he doesn’t?

They spend the rest of the movie 5 feet apart and whenever Jack tries to say something, Christine responds using as few words as possible. After a few tries to interact, Jack gives up and they watch the final scenes in silence. The vibe between them isn’t much better than the vibe between Godzilla and Kong.

After the movie ends, they get ready for bed and eventually fall asleep. Back to back. Christine feeling rejected and disrespected when all she wanted was a nice evening with her love. Jack feeling confused and rejected because of Christine’s sudden withdrawal, despite him going the extra mile to show her his appreciation in the form of a little blue box of love, left on the kitchen counter.


If you’ve ever been Christine in this story, raise your hand.

I know I have. Many times. This is a very common problem for grumpy girlfriends where your brain makes up stories, and without realizing it, those stories become the reality on which you base your treatment of your partner. Just like Christine, you might have little glimpses of an alternative reality throughout the situation… but it’s rarely enough to make a difference.

Now, let’s go through the story again with a little red marker and see what Christine could have done differently, had she had the tools and the coaching to do so.


“There are hot girls at the gym.” The thought pops into Christine’s brain from nowhere as she is chopping the onion for her signature bolognese. That warm feeling immediately turns into a jolt, traveling from the pit of her stomach up to her chest.

Look. This is normal. This is no reason to lose your shit. Brains do things like this all the time. Christine’s brain has simply offered her a sentence that could be true and could also not be true. What matters in this situation is what happens next.

“Hot girls with hot bodies doing hot things around my hot boyfriend.” Christine can see clearly in her mind’s eye how Jack is checking girls out while doing his reps. The girls making sure they squat real deep within his range of vision. Come to think of it, he’s been spending a lot more time at the gym lately. Work, gym, food, sleep, repeat. Is he avoiding her?

If I was Christine’s little coach on her shoulder at this moment, I would just ask her to pause and tell me more about the jolting feeling. When you think about attractive girls at the gym, what is that feeling that pops up in your body? Where does it go? What does it make you want to do? STAY. IN. THE. FEELING.

Christine glances up at the clock on the kitchen wall. 7:05. He said he would be home by now. She checks her phone, no messages from Jack. Just a photo of the two of them together celebrating their 4-year anniversary staring back at her. She unlocks her phone and opens their messenger conversation.

“Home soon? I thought you said 7 pm.” She hits send.

Neutral enough to pass as a normal question, passive-aggressive enough to punish him for being late… and for checking out other girls.

Texting Jack was directly driven by the emotion in her body that she wasn’t willing or capable of processing. An emotion that she fuelled by searching for a reason to be suspicious, upset, and pissed off. What this action did was inform her brain that “Ah, when we play the hot girls at the gym scenario, she protects herself by getting suspicious. Super. Next time, we’ll do it again.” Your brain doesn’t know that this is a dangerous situation. It just made an educated guess and then observed your response to it. Then it learned and will repeat.

As she finishes cooking and cleaning up, Christine slowly but surely ramps up her frustration with Jack. With each spice added, with each dish cleaned, she gathers more and more evidence that she does everything around here and he’s off at the gym flirting with girls. And he doesn’t even have the decency to let her know he’ll be late.

Creating more and more evidence (reason) to be upset because it feels good to be right. And in this moment Christine’s brain cares more about being right and having assessed the situation correctly than having a nice time with her loving partner.

7:20, Jack’s key twists the door lock and he steps into the hallway carrying a little blue box.

“Hello, my love. I stopped by the shop on the way home and got us some dessert! It’s your favorite!”

He hands Christine the box containing two pieces of gorgeous red velvet cake and gives her a kiss on the cheek. Christine does her best to act normal, but on the inside, there’s something completely different going on.

A part of her thinks she was wrong to be so pissed off at him. He’s great! He loves her! Look, he even brought her favorite dessert! There’s a slightly nauseous feeling of guilt and shame bubbling at the back of her throat… but then there’s the other side of her brain. The side that knows he just picked up dessert because he’s feeling guilty. He knows he’s done something wrong and this is his way of making it up to her. She wants to believe him, she wants to be happy, but the doubt and anger feel more true.

The negative interpretation of the situation feels more true at the moment because she has been warming up for the past 20 minutes thinking thoughts that make her upset. Most likely, she has also practiced this narrative in her mind more than once before, which also makes it feel more true. But objective truth is not gauged by how intensely we feel it in our bodies. The intensity at which we feel our emotions is more so a reflection of how much we believe the thought to be true. Regardless of what is objectively true in the world.

“Is something wrong?”

Jack’s question snaps Christine out of her confusion and without having to think twice, her pre-programmed answer shoots out at him with a frown. “No?” As if the question itself is an insult. Clearly, nothing is wrong. She places the dessert box on the counter.

A lot of girlfriends have a habit of saying that nothing is wrong even when they have a lot of internal issues going on. Some seem to think that the solution or the better alternative is to “open up” and tell them what is wrong. My suggestion is to say nothing’s wrong and mean it. Let it go. Move on. Because most of the time the issue is just something you made up in your mind anyway so it serves literally no purpose bringing it up.

As Jack leaves the room to unpack his gym bag, Christine takes a moment to gather her thoughts. She wants to enjoy this movie night. She wants to cuddle up next to Jack and just have a calm, relaxing, fun evening together like they used to. She decides to let it go and give Jack the benefit of the doubt. He would never flirt with other girls anyway, she knows that.

This is a good start for Christine. Let it go. Have a good night. But as we know this isn’t the end of it… more about that later.

She prepares one plate each of her spaghetti bolognese and brings them to the living room, feeling good about her decision and looking forward to some cuddles. Jack joins her soon thereafter and they start the movie.

They picked Godzilla vs. Kong. The one from 2021. Or, to be more specific… Jack picked Godzilla vs. Kong. Christine has never been a huge fan of giant, grumpy lizards fighting each other. But she’s fine with watching movies like this as long as they get to spend time together. In the end, these movie nights are more about quality time for Christine than having an exceptional cultural experience.

Fair enough, right? Jack picked the movie because he cares more about what they watch. Christine just wants to spend some time together. This is not a problem… until Christine makes it a problem to fuel her negative emotions.

All of a sudden, a familiar blue light catches Christine’s eye. She follows the light and sees Jack typing a text message to someone in the middle of the movie. What the hell?

“Hello? You’re missing the movie.” She puts little effort into hiding her annoyance.

Knee-jerk reaction, fuelled by her belief that Jack is doing something wrong, prioritizing someone else over her, and she feels rejected because of her thoughts about what Jack is doing.

“I’m almost done.” He replies, eyes not leaving the screen, fingers typing away.

You know what? Enough is enough. Christine has not only prepared dinner for the two of them while he was off flirting with other girls. She was also the bigger person and let it go so that they could have a nice movie night together, watching a movie that he picked that she didn’t even want to see, to begin with. Despite all of this, he can’t even respect her for 1 hour and 53 minutes by not taking out his phone and prioritizing someone else over her.

Can you see here how Christine was so “protective” of her quality time with Jack that she is now ruining it completely? Of course, Christine is giving Jack’s texting credit for ruining their time together. But the truth is that sending a text doesn’t ruin anything. Christine pumping her body full of anger and rejection is what ruins it for her.

Another big issue is that she brings back up something from the past that she committed to letting go. She’s using her “letting it go” and being “fine” with a movie “she doesn’t want to watch” as ammo against Jack and not owning her own decisions whatsoever. This is a big mistake and actually hurts your relationship with yourself more than anything. You have to be able to let things go and trust yourself that you are making the decision based on what serves you the most. And don’t pretend like you’re doing things against your will when you clearly have made the choice to be okay with it. This is where bitterness and resentment come from.

Christine feels the anger spread inside her body like a paint drop spreading on a wet piece of paper. She feels rejected, unloved, disrespected, and taken advantage of all at once. He does not deserve her and she does not deserve this kind of behavior in return.

If he is going to reject her, she is going to reject him right back. Let’s see how he likes it.

Again. If I was there with Christine, I’d ask her to pause in this feeling. Rejection is a vibration in her body right now and she’s so allergic to it that she’s obeying its every command. What does it feel like? Is your heart beating fast? Are your palms sweaty? What is happening in your body? It’s here and only here that we pause this temper tantrum and stop the night from being ruined by Christine’s imagination.

Christine grabs their plates and brings them into the kitchen. As she returns, she sits down on the opposite end of the couch, making sure no part of her accidentally touches Jack. He has put his phone down and is once again following the movie.

“Everything okay?” he asks.

“Yes.”

Is everything okay… what does he think? But if he is going to keep secrets from her and choose to chat with others during their quality time together, she’s not going to tell him the truth either. He can figure it out on his own. Why should she care if he doesn’t?

This is the saddest part of any grumpy girlfriend blow-up. It has come to a point where Christine has decided what the truth is, she has decided what Jack is thinking and feeling, and in order to protect herself and keep herself safe in this situation, she must reject him right back. But… Jack hasn’t rejected her. Not even a little. Christine’s lack of awareness and inability to watch her own mind and her own body “from the outside” means that she is living in this reality and acting accordingly.

They spend the rest of the movie 5 feet apart and whenever Jack tries to say something, Christine responds using as few words as possible. After a few tries to interact, Jack gives up and they watch the final scenes in silence. The vibe between them isn’t much better than the vibe between Godzilla and Kong.

After the movie ends, they get ready for bed and eventually fall asleep. Back to back. Christine feeling rejected and disrespected when all she wanted was a nice evening with her love. Jack feeling confused and rejected because of Christine’s sudden withdrawal, despite him going the extra mile to show her his appreciation in the form of a little blue box of love, left on the kitchen counter.

Well, once we arrive at this point, sometimes it’s better to just go to sleep. Trying to “solve” the problem or “not go to bed angry” will not work at all for Christine. Just imagine her bringing this up to Jack. “You disrespected me and prioritized others over our time together after all that I did for you, that makes me feel like you don’t love me”… what is Jack even supposed to reply to that? He went to the gym, got cake, came home, and replied to a text. That’s it.


Phew. I get uncomfortable flashbacks just reading this story, even though it’s completely fictional and I was the one who wrote it haha. I’ve had so many similar experiences that end in shit for no reason. And tomorrow when Christine wakes up, most likely she’ll feel ashamed, guilty, and judgmental of herself and her behavior. She’ll promise herself to not do it again. Just to do it again a few days later.

Now let’s take a look at an alternative story where Christine has worked with a coach like me and learned what to do differently.


“There are hot girls at the gym.” The thought pops into Christine’s brain from nowhere as she is chopping the onion for her signature bolognese. That warm feeling immediately turns into a jolt, traveling from the pit of her stomach up to her chest.

“Hot girls with hot bodies doing hot things around my hot boyfriend.” Christine can see clearly in her mind’s eye how Jack is checking girls out while doing his reps. The girls making sure they squat real deep within his range of vision.

Christine rolls her eyes at herself. “This again?” She has gotten so used to her brain trying to freak her out at this point that nothing really works anymore. The jolt she felt in her stomach has morphed into pressure in her chest, like something is wrapped around her heart, trying to protect it.

“I can prepare food with pressure in my chest,” Christine tells herself as she chucks the minced meat into the frying pan. “Nothing has gone wrong here.”

Christine has also started doing this exercise in her mind where she thinks about these girls at the gym as normal human beings. With thoughts and feelings. Relationships. Families.

“If they want some attention at the gym, you know… let them have it. And let’s be honest, they’re probably just trying to get their workout in for the day, not wanting random dudes checking them out. And so what if he sees a butt or two. He’s not an animal, he can control himself.”

Christine glances up at the clock on the kitchen wall. 7:05. He said he would be home by 7. She checks her phone, no messages from Jack. Just a photo of the two of them together celebrating their 4-year anniversary staring back at her.

“Oh well, he’ll be home soon,” she thinks and can’t help but feel a little proud of herself. Since when is she this chill, laid-back girlfriend who doesn’t go crazy about completely unnecessary things? She is really starting to like this new version of herself. The pressure in her chest about the gym girls has now started to fade away.

7:20, Jack’s key twists the door lock and he steps into the hallway carrying a little blue box.

“Hello, my love. I stopped by the shop on the way home and got us some dessert! It’s your favorite!”

He hands Christine the box containing two pieces of gorgeous red velvet cake and gives her a kiss on the cheek. Christine immediately feels a sparkly, warm feeling spread in her body.

“Oh my god, how did you know? I was so bummed we didn’t have dessert for tonight!” She gives him a kiss and places the box on the kitchen counter.

As Jack leaves the room to unpack his gym bag before they sit down to eat, Christine prepares one plate each of her spaghetti bolognese and brings them to the living room. Jack joins her soon thereafter and they start the movie.

They picked Godzilla vs. Kong. The one from 2021. Or, to be more specific… Jack picked Godzilla vs. Kong. Christine has never been a huge fan of giant, grumpy lizards fighting each other. But she’s fine with watching movies like this as long as they get to spend time together. In the end, these movie nights are more about quality time for Christine than having an exceptional cultural experience.

All of a sudden, a familiar blue light catches Christine’s eye. She follows the light and sees Jack typing a text message to someone in the middle of the movie. What the hell?

“God I hate when he’s on his phone,” Christine thinks to herself. “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Who is he talking to? Is it a girl?” She lets these thoughts spin in her mind a few times because she knows they’re not dangerous. Sometimes, she even thinks about how much she hates it until he puts his phone down.

Christine also knows that Jack isn’t doing anything wrong. She’s just generating hate in her body in this moment because of what she is making his phone use mean.

Sometimes, she just lets herself feel it, and then she lets it go. She has gotten over the phase of her growth where she wanted to “police” her brain and never think a negative thought or feel a negative feeling. She knows none of it means anything anyway and that she doesn’t have to act on it.

To speed up the process and let Jack finish his texting, Christine grabs their plates and brings them into the kitchen. She puts the two pieces of red velvet cake on plates and brings them into the living room where Jack has finished texting and is now watching the movie.

“Everything okay?” he asks.

“Yeah, just got the dessert!” Christine hands him his piece.

They spend the rest of the movie eating cake, cuddling, and enjoying each other’s company. After the movie ends, they get ready for bed and eventually fall asleep in each other’s arms. Or… Christine stays in Jack’s arms until he falls asleep, which takes approximately 2 minutes. She then rolls over to her side of the bed which is way cooler, and falls asleep, feeling especially proud of herself.


Moral of the story: In neither of these versions do we know if Jack has been off cheating on Christine earlier that day. We don’t know if Jack was texting a girl he met at the gym. Perhaps he was texting his mom about a family heirloom engagement ring for Christine. We. Don’t. Know.

But the good news is that it doesn’t matter. Not in this moment. Not this evening. Not during this movie night. What matters is that they had a nice evening together and that Christine didn’t let her imagination ruin it for her. Because the only thing that happens in the first story is that Christine is so scared of being rejected that she rejects Jack.

In the second story, she prioritizes the connection she wants to feel with Jack and bases her intentional thoughts and feelings on what she believes to be true. Jack has not given her any reason to be suspicious or think he’s doing something wrong.

So until he does, she has decided to be happy.

Leave a comment if you have any questions about the coaching in this story! Or if you have a specific situation in your relationship that you would like me to do some fictional coaching about!

xo Katrin

Comments +

  1. Jazmin says:

    This is AMAZING! Such a Great idea of you Katrin. This is GOLD! This is the kind of education we need. Thank you!

    • Katrin Berndt says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! I really enjoyed creating it so the fact that you found it helpful is fabulous. If you ever have a situation you’d like me to base a story on, just let me know!

  2. Nicole says:

    Wow, Kathrin – you’ve done it again! Ive been following you for a while now, and this exercise is some of the strongest content you’ve created. I could 100% relate to the story, even empathize with the character, and most importantly, I could really see the direct, positive, TANGIBLE outcomes I can achieve with your methods.

    • Katrin Berndt says:

      Yay!! I’m so glad it was as helpful as I imagined it in my mind. I can’t wait to share more stories with you guys. If you have any specific situations or problems you’d like me to base a story on just let me know.

  3. Emilie says:

    Wow, I can’t express how much I love this content!! Thank you so much! I’m going to print this, take notes, study it, and use some of the amazing intentional thoughts you suggested in this story!

    I imagine that some people would consider his being late as an actual proof he might be cheating; as some sort of red flag. In this case, I guess the grumpy girlfriend would be afraid of just letting it go, because of the thought that she DOES have a reason to be suspicious.

    And if she lets it go, she might get to regret it, should she confirm later on that he is having an affair. And at that moment, she is going to feel ashamed of being so blind. So to avoid that feeling, she decides she is right to be suspicious and act the way she does.

    How can a grumpy girlfriend choose between letting go and getting to know what’s real?

    • Katrin Berndt says:

      Great question! This is absolutely the biggest obstacle to “letting things go”. I’ll be a little annoying and answer your question with another question. Because I want to encourage you to explore your own thoughts. You write “she is going to feel ashamed for being so blind” as if she doesn’t have a choice. What if shaming yourself after finding out the truth is optional? If all of this is done to avoid the feeling of shame if she ends up being wrong, would it be possible to choose not to shame herself as a result of being wrong? What would that look like? Our emotions are created by thoughts in our mind… thoughts that are optional to think.

  4. F says:

    Thank you for this, this was actually really helpful and so relatable.

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