Spotting Insecurities and Addressing Them to Strengthen Relationships Spotting insecurities in yourself can be scary and shameful as a client recently told me about being stuck in a relationship where he felt demeaned and devalued. He wanted to learn how to become more secure inside of himself to withstand the put downs, let downs [...]
Couple Text Messaging – Gains and Losses in Romantic Relationships Couple text messaging is an almost ubiquitous feature of most marriages and cohabiting arrangements. But what does it do to the couple’s emotional connection, and sense of partnership? Is couple text messaging an adequate substitute for face-to-face communication? Is couple text messaging better than talking [...]
Midlife Crisis – Surviving the midlife transition Midlife crises happen to men and women when they have got to a stable place in their lives, especially when and because they originally got together through crisis in their younger lives. What is midlife crisis? A midlife crisis is a discomfort with and confusion about what appears [...]
Emotional Safety is Key in Relationships Emotional Safety Quiz Do find yourself holding back, choosing your words carefully, and or shutting your feelings down because you fear recrimination? Then you probably have little sense of emotional safety. Maybe you agree with your significant other more often than not, because it's not emotionally safe to [...]
The Art Of Love Is Fluidly Do you believe in the art of loving? Are you using the art of loving in your relationship, or are you still searching for the magic? Perhaps you practice the art of love on your partner, but don’t get any in return. This disparity is common and creates the [...]
Fallen Out of Love? Here's How to Find it Again Does it seem that you have fallen out of love with your partner? Do you wonder why you are in a relationship with a partner who always makes you feel bad? Perhaps you fantasize about walking away as far as you can just to [...]
Are you shocked when your partner suddenly turns nasty? Do you wonder what on earth made someone you love become angry, hostile and aggressive in their attitude towards you? Does it feel like they have a surprising well of hatred directed at you? Perhaps you cower in fear until your partner calms down, not daring to breathe in case the hostile attitude becomes physically violent. Maybe you try to stand up for your side of the story but find that you are drowned out, mocked and or dismissed. But when all is said and done, you’re still left wondering how it got this way. You still don’t understand what makes your partner so mean and even cruel when you haven’t done anything different and are not knowingly provoking them. This was exactly the puzzle facing 35-year-old Cara, a school nurse, who loved and cared for her partner Miles, a 38-year-old district sales manager for a soft drinks firm. They both loved their 3 young children, and had a good standard of living. The only problem was that Cara frequently got destabilized when Miles suddenly flew off the handle and either accused her of being disloyal, or devalued her role in the family by suggesting that her financial contribution was insignificant and she cared more about the kids in school she worked at than her own.
Do you automatically brush away your partner’s promises to do chores or specific tasks with suspicion, thinking that it will never happen? Do you doubt your partner’s sincerity when they apologize, suspecting that they are just saying the right words, but don’t really mean it? Maybe you anticipate that you will have to do all the jobs your partner does over again because they won’t do it right or in a timely fashion. You are suspicious of their intentions and capabilities and that makes it hard for you to trust. It puts you on guard, watching for the next mistake or broken promise that will become your problem to handle. It’s not easy to have a loving and open connection when you are in this state, is it?
Then I encouraged Rachel to explain how she felt in that situation, and why she went to a cold, mean place later on. She told Byron how she wanted to show their closeness, that speaking about his view was a way of expressing togetherness. When she was controlled and humiliated, it made her want to hurt him by withdrawing and shooting verbal barbs that stung – in other words, taking back control. Making room for both of their wounds and pain showed them that each was trying to control the other to protect their sore spots. Now that they understood the nature and origin of the hurt, they no longer had to use control to manage their couples communication issues, but could instead remind each other of their sensitivities and have other more comforting responses from one and other. Then I encouraged Rachel to explain how she felt in that situation, and why she went to a cold, mean place later on. She told Byron how she wanted to show their closeness, that speaking about his view was a way of expressing togetherness. When she was controlled and humiliated, it made her want to hurt him by withdrawing and shooting verbal barbs that stung – in other words, taking back control. Making room for both of their wounds and pain showed them that each was trying to control the other to protect their sore spots. Now that they understood the nature and origin of the hurt, they no longer had to use control to manage their couples communication issues, but could instead remind each other of their sensitivities and have other more comforting responses from one and other. Do you feel like your partner cuts you off mid-sentence, or gags you just when you are about to say something that bothers you? Maybe you find that the subject has been artfully changed so that you can’t talk about what’s really important to you. Perhaps you feel that you don’t want to hear what your partner has to say because it is nonsense or just irrelevant. One of the major couples communication issues that brings them into couples counseling is where one or both attempt to control the other by the way they react to each other’s efforts to get something across.
You've had a fight with your partner. You are sure you are in the right, and you stand your ground. There is no compromise and you are willing to wait until your partner acknowledges it. You want to be vindicated and you want your partner to acknowledge that you are right and they are wrong. How sweet the thought of that is! So you go off to your private corner with your head held high, and wait. Meantime your partner also feels in the right. Your partner too is willing to wait until you see the error of your judgment, admit it and give them a victory. Your partner is caught in the same couples communication issue as you : a standoff!