Have you ever felt energized by setting out to do something nice for a loved one only to have it blow up in your face? Did you feel like your good intentions got turned into dirt that you then had to swallow? Perhaps you wondered how on earth your loved one could be upset and angry over your good hearted words and actions – and then you got angry back. You probably felt misunderstood and defeated, as if your golden heart had been turned into rotting ashes. But do you know why your vision of kindness backfired? Do you know what you left out of the equation that made your loved one treat you like a disingenuous lying fraud?
One of the most common reasons for couples entering therapy is because one or other partner has been caught in a lie that has broken the bonds of trust and intimacy. The sense of betrayal is so huge that the foundations of the relationship crack and are often hard to mend. It doesn’t have to be about some unacceptable behavior like watching internet porn, gambling, drinking or using substances. Those tangible things are easier to deal with compared to the less obvious lies that relate to the feelings your partner has about you or the relationship. Just think how unsettling and anxiety provoking it can be when your partner says they love you but you sense they are lying? It’s the start of a deepening sense of insecurity that leads to suspicion and fear, which is what led Andrew and Sharon to positions of self-defense and protection rather than mutual sharing and care taking.
Do you and your partner love each other but feel unhappy in your relationship? Have you tried all the ways you know to please your partner yet still get the message that you are failing? That may because men and women want different things in order to feel happy and satisfied in the relationship.
How many times have you ended a stressful day by trying to help your partner with chores only to find that they don’t even notice, and that if they do, they ignore it? Doesn’t it stress you out even more? Don’t you find that you start to get angry, and that your good intentions became a bitter taste in the mouth? That’s exactly what happened to twenty-nine year old Physical Therapy Assistant Mara when she came home from a stressful day fighting traffic as she went from one snappy uncooperative patient’s home to another. Yet she found herself wanting to prove that she was a good wife, so she did all the dishes that had piled up since breakfast that morning, and ironed a fresh shirt for thirty-three year old media executive Dominic to wear the following day. She usually enjoyed doing little things for her partner. It made her feel more committed and closer to him. But not today.
Do you hurt and angry when your partner refuses to listen to your side of things when you are in a conflict? Perhaps you get desperate when your partner has already decided what you did and why you did it, leaving you feeling cheated and unfairly judged. Naturally you get stressed and make heroic efforts to influence your partner's view so that they change their minds and see your truth. But your partner just avoids you. They won't listen and shut you out. The harder you try the more crazy they think you are and they just dismiss you, leaving you high and dry, not knowing how the relationship stands. You don't know if you have lost trust and love or whether things will just find a way of returning to some baseline that is tolerable. This video uses the latest research on couples in conflict and gives you the lowdown on how to get your partner to see your side of things when you are engaged in conflict management.