Sometimes when I work with couples, I see something that is hard to see. Two people who love each other who can’t hear each other. This often happens when there are two strong willed people in the relationship.
I know I am very strong willed. When I met my husband-to-be, I had been working on myself in my own personal counseling and I was pretty sure I was ready to meet my soulmate. And I did.
Sometimes when we get our feelings hurt, we want to lash out at the one who caused us to feel bad. This is pretty common for some of us. I know it was for me.
I grew up in a household where my mother was overwhelmed and released her frustration by yelling at her children. I know she loved us, but as a child I learned that this is what you do when you don’t like something: you yell.
Oftentimes in our relationships our partners will speak and act in ways that seem very strange to us. We will wonder why they are doing what they are doing or saying what they are saying, and our brain will immediately figure out what is wrong with them.
After they finish, we might even tell them that the reason they are talking the way they are talking is because of how they grew up and how they now sound like their parent and how this is something that isn’t resolved.
It is not uncommon for two people in a relationship to argue or disagree with each other. In fact it should be expected. We do not live in our partner’s head and we can’t always know when we step on a sensitive area.
These sensitive areas can release a big reaction and that can create a problem between two people who care about each other.
As a counselor I try and help people understand what happens during these instances. First we look at what happened but I always try and identify what the feelings were that prompted the reaction.
All of us who fall in love want that love to stay as beautiful as it was in the beginning. This is only natural. When we finally meet our special someone and we feel the amazing connectedness we just want it to last and last and last.
Unfortunately, there is a name for this wonderful time. It’s called the “Honeymoon” period. It’s the time when everything is perfect. You get your person, they get you, there is never a hassle or disagreement, everything is wonderful.
But this time doesn’t last forever. In fact, it probably lasts somewhere between a year or two, depending on the people. This time is designed to meet our special person and that’s about it.
Some of us didn’t get a chance to figure out what our feelings meant when we were little. If our caregivers couldn’t read their feelings it is likely they couldn’t teach us ours.
If we didn’t learn what was going on inside of us we might have a couple of different behavioral responses. In my case if I was upset I would blame the one who upset me. Since I didn’t learn otherwise, I just used this habit well into my forties.
You can see as I write this that blaming someone for my difficulty is not effective. In fact it usually makes the person you blame react with some kind of defense or their own anger…
You may have heard the story about a Native American grandfather talking to his grandson. The grandfather told the grandson there are two wolves inside of him having a war. One is mean and angry. The other is kind and loving.
Curious the grandson asked, “Who will win?” Grandfather replied, “The one that I feed.”
I have heard this story a few times and every time I nod to myself that I too want to feed the right wolf. I want to be kind and loving, not angry and mean. And I bet if you are reading this right now you would agree with me.
All couples on the planet sometimes misunderstand each other. This is normal. After all we are in our heads and our partners are in theirs. They think their thoughts and we think ours. And sometimes we don’t read each other right and then you have a misunderstanding.
This is common among couples. Ask any couple you know and they will tell you that sometimes there are challenges understanding each other. In fact, try looking into your own life and see if you can tell me that’s not the case. I can look into my relationship and know in my bones that sometimes we just don’t read the other right or they don’t read us right.
Sometimes in life we are faced with difficult situations. This is the life all of us will encounter at some point. Many of us know hard experiences already.
Maybe a family member has died. Maybe you have had some cut offs in your life that you regret. These are big experiences that many of us will face.
But what do we do when we get seriously mad at our mate? Do you hold a grudge? Do you blame them and make them pay? Do you internalize your pain and think it is your fault?
All of us in relationships will at one time or another hurt the ones we love. We probably don’t mean to do this, but it will happen. It happens because we are not in their heads, we are in our own, and we cannot ever really know how another person will take us until there is a reaction.
So, let’s say you get into a disagreement with the one you love and you say some things that are an exaggeration of what you really feel, but you are maybe so offended or mad that you just let the words and hurts fly.
This also happens in relationships. It also separates people into their own camps, away from each other, disconnected and both feeling terrible about what just happened.