In today post I’m going to explain “the cause and effect problem” so many couples suffer from but are unaware it exists.
I’m going to share with you three real life examples of actual situations that happened in my sessions.
So if you are struggling with a relationship problem and you want it solved this could be another step closer to helping you understand more.
Many people struggle with understanding the dynamic they are in and how to make the changes that would support a reconnection.
They practice their problems and ineffective fixes for too long so they give up without understanding their truth.
There is hope once you know what you are dealing with
When I meet these couples my belief is different to their belief of hopelessness, because I have seen so many couples who thought there was no hope only to discover how their dynamic really works and why it didn’t.
I have seen couples who have been emotionally and sexually dead for over ten years rediscover their connection once they understood how they lost it and what has to happen for them to keep it alive.
They learnt the cause and effect model that helped them stop doing what didn’t work and they learnt how to start doing what would work.
Like so many other couples, these couples are confused because in their quest to make things better, they actually make them worse, and they don’t know why.
Here is the start of the problem.
They don’t learn from what clearly doesn’t work
The biggest problem is they don’t learn from the proof of what they are seeing.
Those who do see their actions are taking them to a disconnect/divorce they don’t want; they do stop the actions that are making things worse.
BUT they are unaware of what to change them to, and so this also creates a different, but equally problematic dynamic.
The process to be successful must be to stop what isn’t working and replace it with what does.
An example of what won’t work “So I won’t complain anymore (my partner doesn’t like it) I’ll just grin and bear it”!
This is an example of a one-dimensional fix that will just grow a different problem, usually resentment that will kill intimacy.
For most people, they blindly keep practising the same old path of destruction.
They can see their partner isn’t responding well to their actions, but they keep creating the same problem because they can only see the situation from their own perspective.
They hope their partner will eventually get it and see it their way, unaware that will never happen.
In their mind, their actions should fix the problem, but it clearly isn’t being fixed as their connection is getting worse.
So they can end up making a potentially devastating conclusion.
They can assume their partner is the problem, unaware their lack of knowledge is disabling them from creating the fix they really want to create.
They are unaware of their lack of knowledge, so they can conclude that either their partner is the problem or their partner doesn’t love them or care.
Neither assumption is good!
In most cases, I see their partner does care, but they are also suffering from the same lack of knowledge and self-limiting perspective and this cause and effect ping-pong creates an unhappy distortion.
Self-protection is a common model for one or both people, and the relationship dies because it’s being starved of what it needs to survive.
She was so shocked
One lady in a session with me had a husband who she was disconnected from.
She concluded the problem was him in her eyes, he was rude uncaring and dismissive.
Her negative feelings about him led her to become his judge, she was constantly making him wrong, which led her to a negative actions towards him.
She would ignore him, dismiss him, have no time for him and put him down, she had a generally unpleasant energy when she was around him – she admitted she didn’t like herself when she was with him.
She learnt with me that his behaviour for a man in a relationship was totally normal; in fact, this was his way of caring for her it wasn’t wrong just different.
He is designed differently so her assumption of him was incorrect.
For years she was responding to her own internal construct about who he was rather than really knowing him.
Being seen was the very thing she needed from him, but she was unable to see who he really was.
She created expectations he was not designed to deliver on and when he didn’t deliver she blamed him.
You see the way he managed her problems was the way he handled his own.
My clients get to learn these differences because they affect everything.
She was visibly shocked at this news – she never knew and this new was the start of her changing her approach to him.
The Cause and Effect model
What is important to understand are these two points.
- The cause and effect of your actions on your partner.
- The cause and effect you are having on yourself.
You see if a person wrongly concludes their partner doesn’t care or love them, this assumption will create a powerful process of emotional detachment or self-numbing in that person.
The effect of that process will kill attraction and any intimacy in most people.
This can then put stress on the marriage as the marriage is full of negativity and lack.
Couples in this place can conclude the relationship is at the end so it’s dangerous to get this wrong.
He was blind to her suffering
Look at how the cause and effect of this gentleman’s thinking helped him to get it so wrong and nearly cost him his marriage.
He loved her, but he couldn’t see her pain and suffering.
In a session with him I ran a mindset shifting process to help him gain a perspective that would build a way for him to see his problems in solvable terms.
He told me that he thought the relationship was great until the intimacy stopped.
I told him that if she stopped the intimacy, it’s highly likely she would have been suffering for a while, probably a couple of years before that moment.
Initially, he disagreed because he used his own perspective, which was a pattern I had to change because it would always bring him problems.
The simple fact was she was suffering, but he couldn’t see it.
The reason he couldn’t see it was because the way she suffered was by being quiet and saying nothing regardless of how she felt.
To most men, a consistently quiet woman who never complains is clearly a happy woman.
But for many women with this pattern of not wanting to rock the boat, she never said a word despite her suffering.
She thought he would see that her silence communicated her unhappiness, that assumption was her mistake.
She was unaware he would translate this as her being happy because that’s what being quiet meant to him.
He used how he would feel as a means to judge her behaviour; he quickly discovered how wrong he was.
As in most cases they both misunderstood the dynamic they were in and the result took them to a divorce position.
They entered crisis and needed specialist help to get them out.
When both people can only see their own world and assume the other person’s world is the same as theirs, the cause and effect can be catastrophic for that couple and family.
What I see happening is both people are unaware of how their thinking is affecting their emotions and their conclusions.
This means that very bright good-hearted people are making themself feel emotionally bad due to their own incorrect data.
Their thinking is wrong, and they don’t see this fact until it’s too late, and now they are in a life altering crisis.
The cause and effect here is how they translate their partners’ behaviours, which leads them to disconnect from themselves and their partner.
This process creates highly negative emotional states that can lead people to want to exit their relationship as many do.
My advice & approach
There is no question that when relationships go wrong, the process is painful, and the person(s) with this pain is going to be full of memories that prove to them the relationship could be wrong for them.
The unhappy feelings that come from the process they ran must be honoured, understood and looked after.
The next step is to help the person that went through this pain and suffering understand how their thinking led them to that emotional outcome.
Look at this example of this process in action.
“She was ungrateful and selfish”!
One gentleman was so upset with his wife because she was so disinterested in his job and what it created.
His perspective they were lucky and had an amazing life, what was wrong with her!
He did very well financially, but she never seemed impressed or grateful; at times, he wished he hadn’t bothered.
He even asked her to go and find her dream house.
She found it, and he bought it for her and the family to move into.
He was so excited to tell her the great news!
He told me what happened – when he did tell her this amazing news, she said, “That’s nice, I’m just off to the shops”.
He couldn’t believe that was her response, how ungrateful!?
His own thinking and triggers led him to become full of resentment, and the result is their connection became compromised and it broke.
At first sight, this would look like an ungrateful wife until you look closer.
You see, she never wanted him to get a job where she never saw him and she had to bring up the kids like a single woman.
She told him this would job won’t help them, but he took the job anyway against her wishes.
He thought that him getting this amazing job would help her to see how amazing he was and give them the life he thought she wanted.
To be clear he never asked her what she wanted he thought what was important to him was important to her unaware how different she was.
She saw this job would affect their connection which was already a concern for her, he thought she would be proud of him being successful gaining them wealth and stuff.
To him money was really important to her she valued other things like connection.
In reality, all she saw was his lack of care or understanding for what she needed; she felt ignored and insignificant.
To her, the stuff meant nothing; it wasn’t her dream, it was his.
So I said to him..
If you want to get her excited about your future together, you must invest her by creating that vision together so what you’re creating is her dream too.
Then if you do have time away from her you are doing it for her too.
She wasn’t ungrateful; she was giving you the message that she felt alone and abandoned.
She didn’t say anything to protect the marriage and her love for you.
In the end, your resentment towards her became too much for her.
She gave up her own dreams and herself for you whilst you ignored her wishes and put your work first, and the result of these actions only made you more unhappy with her, because she didn’t love what she never wanted.
She knew you judged her, and this made her feel unloved.
You saw her as ungrateful, but in reality, she had nothing else to give she was empty and deeply sad.
To her love was more important than money.
As I explained the reality of their dynamic, the penny dropped and he sat head in his hands, rocking back and forth.
Suddenly he could see what she had gone through.
Now the mindset shifted in him from ungrateful and selfish to empathy and compassion.
Today is very different now he understands her emotional system. They now make all the big decisions together and she now sees all he wants is see her smile and feel joy in her life.
This is why the “cause and effect” on each other’s emotional system must be understood before two people are in a position to fix anything.
Todays post has given you a start to understand the cause and effect couples are not seeing, but this is the tip of the ice-burg.
If your relationship is suffering and you just want to know what to do, this knowledge will be critical to change the patterns and make the changes last.