All of us have habits we bring into our relationships. Some of them are very good, but some of them can bring about pain and hardship to our partners. And if we have those bad habits, what can we do about them?
Plenty! But the first thing we have to do is understand what it is we are doing.
All of us in a relationship savor when we get along with our mates. We love the times when we are connected and when nothing pulls us away from that connection.
But when our feelings get hurt… well, that is usually another story altogether. We often just stew in our own discomfort and stay isolated from the one we love. This is very common with couples. I have even experienced it in my own relationship.
Sometimes in a relationship there is a difficulty where one of the partners might be attracted to someone other than the mate. This can also lead to some flirtation, some exchange of emotion, and even even more.
When this happens, there is a big rift between partners. The one who was cheated on often feels betrayed and can’t believe their mate would do that to them. Their heart feels torn and they might even wonder, “How in the world can I heal from this?”
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.
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.
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?”