Ok you are in a bad space. Either it’s all fight or all flight or a mix of fight and flight. Maybe it’s cold shoulder time. Maybe it’s all your fault time. Any way it’s no good. Stop this pain now!
1. Take a turn at listening
Decide if you are going to talk or listen. Choose listen. That is the best option most of the time.
Listen so the other will talk. Or they respond well in some other way.
This takes courage. You may have to listen to outrageous crap. You may hear a whole pile of accusations. Or instructions on how to be a better person. Or hear lists of defects. Maybe examples from the past of irreparable blunders. Maybe ultimatums and threats.
Decide to listen. The decision goes something like this. I will be a saint for about an hour. I’ll drop all my defence tactics. I won’t move away. I will assume goodwill. I will postpone all judgment. I will leave behind sarcasm. I will soften my eyes and not roll them.
2. Ok that’s about impossible till you do step two. See through all blame to the pain.
You never…. do the dishwasher… you never initiate sex etc.
Of course this is not true. Also it is an attack. An invite to defend. Don’t defend. There is no need. You partner is in pain.
Take the leap to see the pain. Imagine this is your partners best way of saying I love you and I am in pain. The pain might be scared alone sad hopeless despair. Why do they have these feelings. Always because you are important to them. They want deep connection. They would rather drive you away than not have you really there with them.
See right through to the base line. Anger is just a flag. So is frustration see beyond those layers to the desire for being loved and valued unconditionally forever. It’s not to much to ask. We all want that. At some level. You partner just has not got in touch with that … it’s all about the dishwasher.
3. Be a scientist
So far all you have done is a bit of inner housekeeping. You have made a mental shift. Maybe it has already helped. At least you have shut up. Maybe your body has softened. Maybe your partner can see it. BTW if you have not got to step two. Go and do the housekeeping. Read this all again. Write in your journal. Go for a self talk walk. Now for step 3. The action step.
Actually there is more imagination before the action Re assess. Fine tune. than action. Imagine crossing the gap. Imagine you are there in that messy world of pain with your partner. See the hurt as best you can. See the unmet need. See the hole that is at the source of the pain. Be a courageous experimenter. A scientist. Make a hypothesis, speak up as a observer with a hypothesis
I imagine when you see that dishwasher you sink into despair and think you will never get the love you want.
Observe. Were you right? No.
You don’t feel despair- you just get Angry.
Back to step 2. Anger is a flag. What is the unmet need?
You get angry when you think it’s unfair and and how can you feel close when there is so much unresolved injustice.
Keep going back to 1, then 2 don’t quit, stay courageous. Keep going to step 3 till there is a strong ★ yes ★
4. The experiment is done. Now sum the outcome as a logical truth.
You want us to be close but while your need for justice is not met your anger gets in the way.
You make sense.
Your partner always makes sense. You might not agree with their premise. But you grasp the logic.
When I walk to the dog before I give you a hug you think I don’t love you and you get scared I’ll leave.
5. Don’t try to fix it. Instead be with their feelings.
I did not now how scared you get. That might be terrifying.
Not terrified? More troubled and worried.
The fight is over when you land on the exact feeling. Then mirror the Feeling firmly
Now you might feel relieved?
Now what? You want to be listened to? You want your say?
Take a few more turns at listening. Make that 10 turns. Be a Buddha
Next post. How to talk so you get heard.
Please leave comments on how you got on with this radical outrageous over the top courageous listening.