One of the fundamental skills that are lacking in almost every client I see is the ability to attach an accurate meaning to their partner’s words and actions.
Too many people are attaching the wrong meaning to their partner’s words and actions, they end up believing their own meaning and then feeling bad about the thoughts they created from those meanings.
In short, they make themselves feel bad and then blame their partner.
These examples illustrated below I see every day in my sessions. Please note there are exceptions to what you are about to read but they illustrate over 90% of my client’s thinking.
Correcting the meanings people attach to situations is critical because “different” doesn’t mean “wrong”.
Let’s look at a typical example I might see, they are totally unaware of what is happening and can stress a perfectly good relationship.
A wife may become upset when her husband shuts her down as she is speaking to him.
He may become frustrated with her and tell her to get to the point.
She may conclude he is rude uncaring and lacks empathy, but is that true?
In reality, she is being triggered by her meanings and expectations of him which he is blind to.
How he is responding to her words in his mind equals him caring and loving her, it’s just not the way she needs and he doesn’t know this, to him he is helping her.
The meaning she can attach is he doesn’t care so she is likely to become upset, which can shock men.
The repetitive nature of her thinking can lead her into an emotional shut down as her meanings are telling her he doesn’t care about her so she might protect herself from that meaning.
This meaning she has attached is not true of his intent, it would only be true if he was a version of her, which he isn’t.
Now let’s look at it from his perspective.
You see the way men deal with their own problems is to get rid of them as fast as possible all he wants is a peaceful life – fast!
If a man has a hard day at work it’s unlikely he wants to talk about it because that would mean reliving what he didn’t enjoy the first time around and that makes NO sense to him.
Many women want to talk about things they didn’t enjoy because they process their emotions differently.
So to him when he stops her talking he is helping her, to him, he is being kind because he is helping her to get to the point fast so he can help her stop thinking about it and move on to fun stuff.
He thinks – after all, why else would she be talking to him if she doesn’t want his help?
He is totally unaware of the caustic effect he is having on her by him thinking this way.
Men can become totally confused when she becomes upset after he tries to help her and he too can put incorrect meanings to her responses.
Like “she is impossible to please”, and “talking with her always leads to more problems”.
Many men do leave their wives because his confusion over her upsets leads him to the meaning he can never be successful with her or she is just so negative.
In fact, because both people are not understanding each other on an emotional level the very thing she needs he will stop doing because for him a problem shared is a problem doubled.
So men can refuse to speak to his wife about problems as a means to protect the relationship.
Understanding these differences is a critical skill or the wrong meanings will get attached to the relationship.
I see so many people have put the wrong meaning to their experiences with their partner and their emotional reactions have shut down their love and attraction for their partner.
For couples to be successful with each other they MUST understand how to put the correct meaning to each other’s actions.
In their sessions, couples are taught these critical skills to build a flow of safe connection.