What do you do when your partner has a habit of changing your words and your meanings in conversations and then makes you responsible for their interpretation of what was said?
I know this practice frustrates so many people and can send them round in circles with no helpful conclusion.
I remember one lady in a session did exactly that with me.
I shared with her a thought and she instantly made me responsible for totally different words and with a very different meaning.
My words had clearly got close to her real problem and so her defense pattern kicked in and she let me have it.
I helped the lady understand her interpretation of my words was not accurate, but it showed me one of the core reasons they were struggling.
Her mind had filtered my words to fit her story of needing self-protection, her response was a reflex.
First I had to correct her interpretation, but I also had to help her understand why her words and meanings were so different from what I was actually saying to her.
This helped her understand the bias she was in and how unhelpful it was to her, even if it was trying to protect her.
She was in a pattern of looking for what’s wrong and without thought, she was clearly practicing this pattern in her marriage.
She wasn’t listening to what was really being said, she was in a pattern of wanting to avoid certain feelings that would be painful to her.
She wasn’t trying to be unfair or difficult she had just been suffering and was not consciously aware she was doing this pattern during conversations.
Rebuilding relationships is about becoming more conscious and taking back control of unhelpful patterns and replacing them with constructive ones.
Ones that grow more connection through the alignment of each other’s experience and caring about that.
If she had run this pattern at home there would have been no witnesses to who said what and the couple would leave the conversation disconnected and frustrated.
It’s healthy for couples to have passionate differences of opinion but, unless the conversation ends with more connection and more security the relationship is being eroded.
Understanding is so important. This lady can now choose responses that are in alignment with her core values and this is the start of a foundation of growth for her and her marriage.