I remember being in a session with a couple who were in an ongoing pattern of upset with each other.
I remember saying to them, “It’s just like watching two people throwing logs onto a fire and then looking confused because the fire isn’t going out”.
What I see is both people are part of the problem, and each person thinks the other is to blame.
Blaming others is a disempowering act.
It puts someone in a powerless position because after the blaming comes the waiting for the desired change, which usually never comes.
Waiting isn’t a powerful position as it’s passive, so now the person is out of control.
My starting point with these situations is that you cannot be angry with your partner and understand them simultaneously.
What I’ve discovered is true understanding brings connection, compassion and love.
It’s the confusion that brings fear and a need to self-protect.
So instead of simply going to the normal emotional patterns, which have proven themselves to never work over and over again.
The process is to change the pattern of how the couple engages.
Each person may have a patterned response to external stimuli, but it doesn’t mean that reaction is the only one available.
You see, there are infinite ways to make a difference with someone all people are missing is the knowledge of how.
To do this, we have to change the emotional patterns each individual goes through.
The first part of the new pattern must honour their own needs and not contradict their values.
The second part happens by helping them understand their partners’ behaviours so they can put the correct meanings to their words and actions.
This change comes from understanding the couple’s differences.
Couples have many differences, and because they don’t see or understand them, they become confused and upset when their partner behaves in a different or confusing way.
There are significant differences in a couple’s needs.
Both people will feel their needs are normal, unaware that everyone meets their needs differently.
The love language book became popular as a bridge for couples to understand each other – Love, of course, is just one of many needs that need to be understood.
Not only does each person have different ways to meet those needs, but each person will construct a hierarchy of their specific need in order of importance to them.
So, as an example, love may be critically important to one person, and another person may have a different critical need, such as growth.
That difference alone can change how the individuals are driven and motivated.
We can share the same need, but it becomes more important to one person than the other. We can also share that the very same need and discover it’s met in very different ways – so more confusion.
- There are differences in values.
- Differences in beliefs.
- Differences in how attraction happens.
- Differences in masculine and feminine.
- There are differences in upbringings, so their parenting styles will be different.
These are a few of the many differences, and it’s not understanding these differences that creates a battle between their expectations and how reality of what plays out.
Two people have to be different because it’s how attraction happens, but these misunderstood differences can also cause friction that has the power to turn attraction off.
When expectations are not met, it will usually cause bickering.
I cannot stress enough – the friction you face is connected to not seeing these differences.
Understanding the differences changes how couples respond to each other, and that shows us what that couple is really capable of.
So are you now ready to take back control?