It’s rare I allow a couple to engage in conflict in my sessions. I don’t see the point in them paying me to watch them argue, they can do that at home for free.
There are occasions when I will learn about their conflict by letting it happen which is what I did with this couple.
I’m making notes as a client is sharing what they deem to be awful behaviour by their partner, each time they mention something that makes their partner wrong or a bad person I write the question why?
What I’m meaning when I write WHY is to prompt the question “why is it this way?”
You see until we understand the answer to the question “WHY” how can anyone possible judge what is happening?
Far too many people are only seeing their problems from their own perspective and that is why they judge, and it’s foundational to why their marriage isn’t working.
They see good and bad – I have to unteach that model.
I don’t see good and bad people at all – I see happy and unhappy people.
Unhappy people do things out of character whilst under stress and so the key is to look for the core emotional driver so I can help them rather than kicking them when they are down.
When you know why they do what they do, then you can help them which is what good partners should be doing.
When couples learn simple cause and affect this practical psychology model helps them to safely navigate their probems.
You see people don’t think enough, their judging isn’t loving so that’s not helpful to either person.
I wanted to learn how this couple engaged in their conflict model so I allowed them to engage.
This lady was tearing into her husband, I watched as she was practising the reverse of everything I teach.
So stopped her and I asked, why does she feel qualified to be the judge of him?
“He’s done so many bad things to me!” she responded
I said this may be true, but I’m assuming you want the marriage to work?
She said she did.
“So, how is your judgment of him this way going to help him to change?”
I went on. “If you look at him right now, he’s just feeling worse and attaching and stacking his resentment toward you.”
“You have a choice you can make things better or make things worse, it’s up to you?”
“I want to make things better”, she replied.
“Great then your first step is to STOP thinking you are the judge of him you are killing his emotional core it’s why he is playing you up.”
“I’ll show you both right now how to get the best out of each other!”