Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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You are open and trumpet your opinion like these flowers but then get discarded!

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Your loved one makes you feel buoyant one minute and sunk the next!

It’s hurtful and irritating when a friend or loved one asks your opinion and then discards it when you give it your best shot. You feel enraged one moment and closed off the next. A natural set of reactions when you feel that your offerings have been treated in such a flippant way. It’s almost as if you were being thrown away with your words. You make a promise to yourself never to give away any of your wisdom and experience, only to get caught again because you get seduced by someone needing you and seeking out your opinion. Stress, stress and more stress!

Nina kept falling into that trap.

She felt honored and valued when her partner asked for her input on a decision, only to suffer a sense of utter disregard when Roy went with his initial idea or allied himself with the position of a third party. She felt lifted up and smashed down in the space of a few seconds.  She tried even harder to convince Roy of the ‘rightness’ of her view, the value of her experience and the genuineness with which she was making herself available to help him.

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Nina and Roy close up when they are in conflict just like these flowers without sun

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

But the harder she tried to force it down his throat, the more Roy just vomited it out as if it were bitter medicine that he didn’t believe was going to make him better.

That’s when she accused him of not listening to what he had asked for.

That’s when Nina growled and scratched his face with her bitter words of hate for picking her up and then rejecting her.

That’s when Nina had a meltdown about not having a place inside Roy where he could keep her words, her good intentions and make her feel treasured.

Roy had no idea why Nina got so upset when he didn’t buy into and swallow her opinion or advice. He didn’t see or understand why it was such a big deal to Nina. After all, he was just checking in with her and collecting information, getting as many angles as he could on something before he made his decision. Why couldn’t he engage his partner in that way?

Nina’s wrath could often turn into revenge. When Roy didn’t accept her views especially when he asked for them, she would punish him by refusing to have a regular conversation, citing the fact that he wouldn’t listen anyway, so what was the point? That frightened Roy. He didn’t want to estrange or alienate Nina, so he would often adopt her point of view, even though it wasn’t comfortable. He made a compromise that worked in the moment, but made him resentful and angry later on.

A clash of needs and intentions leads to all out conflict

That’s when Roy exploded and accused Nina of making him feel like an idiot.

That’s when Roy exerted himself and carved out a spot for his views and ideas separate from Nina’s.

That’s when Roy took on the mantle of an independent thinker, making Nina feel like she was useless to her partner.

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two-tone relationships where you want to be wanted but hate it when you aren’t absorbed!

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Nina and Roy were going around in circles trying to be true to themselves and to feel important to one another. Power struggles became the name of the game.

The stumbling block was that they found it hard to make room for a combination of ideas and opinions that could be called “ours.” It was either Nina’s ideas that were taken on board or Roy’s, never both. They just didn’t know how to create the right dressing for their salad ingredients of view, experience and need to feel accepted.

How can Roy and Nina enjoy eating a salad they both create together?

1.      Consider conversations about future decisions as sounding board opportunities, rather than score cards for who got voted in or out.

2.      Envision a bowl  where Roy and Nina can have a place to put their own ingredients in and toss it together. They get to have a new and unique experience each time with the exchange of thoughts, feelings and experiences,  rather than making one person the judge and jury.

3.    Looking for and acknowledging the tiny everyday ways in which Roy shows Nina how loved and valued she is, so that the advice she gives isn’t the sole criteria, and vice versa.


Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have while reading the article, or implementing any of the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond, Ph.D.