Relationships can be challenging.
We have a predisposition to think, behave and speak a specific way. So when you factor in another human being (or a family of beings!) you realize that others don’t always think, behave and speak the way you’d expect or want.
To make things worse, words can be weapons, and knowing that we don’t always say what we mean, makes it even more complicated. Some good examples of this are criticism and sarcasm.
Criticism tends to bring out more of the very behavior that is being criticized. This happens a lot with children and romantic partners. It’s destructive and hurtful to the recipient’s self esteem.
Sarcasm is another weapon, it’s dangerous because it uses humor, a seemingly benign form of communication to make someone feel small. Even teasing can be destructive over time.
True understanding and deeper connection requires a willingness to discover your own and others’ intentions, wants and needs. Especially in disagreements. When situations get challenging, emotions go into overdrive, It becomes harder to grasp the meanings of the words spoken and the nature of the feelings behind them.
When defenses are triggered, you’re both in fight-mode. It’s not a very receptive place.
Imprinting from the past informs us how to ‘survive’ even if our life is not in danger. Past experiences (and even past lives!) that were painful, humiliating, shameful, dangerous or hurtful will be subconsciously triggered if they haven’t been consciously worked through.
It’s challenging to respond intelligently or lovingly when the current conversation/argument/event triggers emotional reactions from the past.
Sometimes awareness is all that’s needed is to break the pattern. Other times it will be repeated demonstrations of commitment to the relationship. Everybody is different. Every relationship is unique.
The dynamics of relationships are fascinating and when approached with a bit of curiosity, and magical things can happen very quickly.
A client was always angry with her husband. He didn’t respond to her desires the way she wanted him to. She felt resentful that her needs were not being met, and when the resentment built up enough, she blew up at him. When she became angry, he would try to satiate her by apologizing incessantly. He was doing the things he thought she would like, and saying what he thought she wanted to hear, and she became more enraged and then he became more compliant. As a result, she became less attracted to him and more resentful.
When she and I spoke about her needs, and which ones were not being met, she realized she could meet some of her own needs quite easily, and more consistently, than someone else could. She learned to communicate her true desires more effectively to her husband. There were little things that she could say and do to convey her needs more directly. He was delighted to meet her real needs and she felt more loving, and sexually open with him, than ever before.
Relationships are one of the things that bring variety, love and excitement to life, but it can also be a huge source of dis-harmony, misunderstanding and anxiety… It doesn’t’ have to be this way!
Lets create a safe space to talk about what’s really going on, and explore solutions that feel great.
Check out: Magical Relationships- 3 secrets of the connected couple