The great neutralizer in the Relationship debate:
Hard to argue the fact the biggest road block clearing the path towards resolving conflict is the ‘It’s not my fault!’ syndrome. Listen we can start with tired clinical phrases that begin with using words like – I felt or when you say or do this, I feel – all designed to lessen the ‘blame’ dance. The fact is in the middle of a contest of trying desperately to be heard and understood and trying equally as desperately to feel your needs have importance, the battle is difficult and neutralizing the heat of the moment is a challenge.
Trust is elusive and flighty. Conflict challenges trust. Trust is the deep connective thread that weaves the basis of your relationships, the intimate, the family ties and the casual. If your conflicts are woven with – I don’t trust you or I don’t trust you understand or care to take the time to understand, the undercurrent will carry the contest in an entirely different direction leading ultimately to negotiation and appeasement, generally short lived. We live our emotional life much deeper than the shallow pool of in the moment promises. We live our lives much deeper and no amount of compromise or empty moment to moment eclipses of promises to change will ever satisfy the burning desire to be heard, understood and acknowledged.
When your next contest occurs, do this:
Use words like we, not you. If you manipulate each other, then admit it. We have a tendency to appease each other. We have a tendency to interrupt when the other is talking. We have a tendency to talk too much when we aren’t heard. We also have a tendency to talk too much when we think our partner is actually listening – talk about trying to solve the grocery list instead of the item at hand … We contribute to the breakdown of healthy communication that could effective get this resolved quickly so we can move on and trust each other. Once you establish you both have times when you truly suck and are really not trying and acknowledge that yeah, you want a loving, fully functioning relationship, one you can feel safe and flourish and grow in, then acknowledge the we in the relationship, not the you.
Once you’ve acknowledged the We, then go back to the basic – someone’s feelings were hurt by a particular action and by a particular lack of understanding. If there has been a long history of that pattern then expect it may or may not require a little more attention to detail. If it’s not so big a deal, then listen, understand and acknowledge a solution and then celebrate the success. You will likely be revisiting this scenario again so build trust and exchange a promise to use we and we will continue to keep our eye on the prize of building a relationship with mutual respect and embrace.
You’re here because you want a loving, safe relationship that allows you to go out into the world knowing your home is where you partner is and where safety lies. That is where safety is and where your foundation is and where your special skills of listening and accepting the we build the foundation of a loving relationship. We want to feel loved and important – not you – we.