Sometimes in a relationship a fight may bring out such deep feelings of being torn apart there might be an accompanying fear that the union is broken.
Sometimes the fights are so painful that it feels useless to even think about trying to work things out.
Isn’t this evidence that the relationship just doesn’t work? How much more proof do we need to know that we can not get along and we are making each other miserable.
Of course you would think this. Of course you would feel as if your relationship was on the rocks. Who wouldn’t? What crystal ball do you have to tell you things could be different?
As a couples counselor I am familiar with people believing that their partnership is in shambles. I have heard from all types of couples about the terrible things that sit between them, and I have been a witness to some pretty difficult times in a therapy session.
I know it feels terrible to be involved in something that just feels wrong. I know it weighs heavy on both people when they get mixed up in it.
I also know that every time there is big emotion, it’s a sign that people are becoming vulnerable and dropping deeper into what could become a rich connection with each other.
The emotion tells us of pain. Pain in a relationship is usually present when one or both people are desperate for something. They are seeking something from the other. It could be understanding, closeness, connection, tenderness, intimacy, love.
It’s usually something from deep inside the soul that desires this. And it’s probably been a deep longing for awhile. Unfortunately all attempts to fill the desires and longings have fallen flat. The partner hasn’t delivered. The partner isn’t available. He/she doesn’t understand, connect, have time for, need, want, and desire me.
This is the message the person receives when their attempts at connecting fall short. If we receive the message that our mate can’t fill our deepest longings, we might get pretty angry, and we might even get really mad at them.
So of course there will be big arguments. Of course there will be people raising their voices and saying things that they might not say in other circumstances. That’s what we as humans do when we have a lot of energy stored up inside us. We have to let it out, and we do, at our partners, especially when things are not going well.
So do fights mean the relationship is on the brink? No, it just means there is stuff to work on. It means there is an opportunity to understand what each person needs. It means there’s hope; hope that when we understand each other we can give our partner what they want. And that’s what everyone is looking for, to be understood by their mate, to be listened to when they need an ear, to be treated tender because the world is a lot better knowing we’re loved.
Don’t let a big fight tell you something else, that if we loved each other you wouldn’t do this to each other. This would be true in a fairy tale, not in real life. Fighting doesn’t mean you are wrong for each other. Fighting means you are desperate for understanding.
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