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.
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.
We all start out loving our mates. This is just how all relationships begin. Everything is perfect for a time and then things start to get more difficult.
This happens to all relationships. When the difficulty begins, that’s a signal that each person has to do some adjusting to make the relationship work. Only most of us have been single before we got into our relationship and we know how to be single a lot better than we know how to be a couple.
So, when we start to get our feelings hurt, some of us build a safety wall around ourselves so we don’t get hurt anymore…
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.
When we are in a relationship with another person, we often have a hard time being ourselves. We have our own habits and likes and dislikes that are uniquely ours and not our mates. But often when we strive for what we want we create conflict with our partners.
We will never be the same as our mate. And there are plenty of reasons why. We usually think very differently than they do. If we don’t know this is very common, we might even think that there is no way that we can ever understand each other because we are so different.
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…
Wondering how to stop blaming others for your feelings? Blame can undermine relationships and impede the love and empathy you crave when feeling hurt. Are you ready to learn where blame comes from, how to end it, and how much richer your relationship might be if you do?
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.
Many of us in this world are fixers. When someone has a problem, we just imagine all the ways the problem can be solved. This is really the way some of us are wired. Nothing wrong with this. The world needs fixers.
But when we are in a relationship and we see what our partner could do better and we use our fixing skills to help them, well it might not go so well.
It’s not unusual to describe what happened after an argument occurs. Many of us do this. We think about who said what and how we responded and we explain that what was said was not helpful and we talk about what might have been better and we do this with complete confidence that we see things the way they are.
I have worked with couples where one person is excellent at detailing what went wrong and how those things could be avoided. I listen to the explanations that are extremely detailed and I think to myself, “But how does this help?”