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BLOG POST: Break the Rules Preventing an Awesome Relationship
Do you experience déjà vu, broken records and same old stories in your disagreements with your partner? Do you feel stuck and find yourself repeating patterns and fights without knowing how to break the impasse? You are not alone … This is an unfortunate common experience in relationships.
I have cracked the code for breaking the impasse … and want to help you apply this in your relationship.
There are three steps to this process:
1) Recognizing the pattern (observation and acknowledgment)
2) Stopping the pattern (insight and stretch)
3) Repairing, Rebuilding, and Revitalizing (skill and action)
Recognizing the pattern is a massive first step. I know that you know when you are in it. I know you recognize the repetitiveness of it, and the stuck and hopeless feeling. So, recognizing the pattern as the first step might seem silly to you, but stick with me as there is actually a lot more here…
Couples feel stuck when they start arguing and can’t resolve their disagreement. They recognize the pattern here: how they feel, their approach, and the outcome. I want to challenge you to dissect, deconstruct, this further in order to identify opportunities for “doing” something different and therefore allowing, inviting, and creating a different outcome and the possibility for something amazing.
We have a tendency to focus on the negatives, what doesn’t work, weaknesses and deficiencies, and how much our partner “sucks”. This is the kiss of death in life and relationships. This is a sure way of staying stuck in the status quo for what we focus on persists: we co-create it, manifest it, invite it …
The focus on negativity creates a state of fear which induces a fight, flight or freeze response: Thoughts -> Feelings -> Action
If you think negative thoughts, what I call “crooked thinking” (not reality based …), you generate negative feelings (pain …), and therefore the resulting actions are meant to swiftly address this pain. But as they are ill-conceived they are in the form of defense mechanisms and reactivity creating more issues and more pain. This becomes a vicious cycle keeping you from moving forward in your life and stuck in a dissatisfying relationship.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happens in relationships when the focus is on the negatives and what doesn’t work …
Are you generous in your relationship? Do you freely give from your heart with no strings attached, tit-for-tat, score keeping, need for acknowledgement, manipulation, or any other funny business?
This may appear as an obvious rule to follow in our relationship but I actually find that it’s not, especially for couples that are struggling. I come across much crooked logic around how partners choose to interact and give. They create so much suffering.
Partners have different ways of withholding. Withholding comes from a fear of self extinction, not existing, annihilation, and the need for self preservation … The giver has to make sure they also get for in getting they know they exist … Also, being stingy gives the false impression of security, keeping reserves, and being safe or protected. These create a power struggle, conflict, drama, and pain in the relationship. Partners experience this as being taken for granted, abandoned, neglected, and punished. In their stinginess they stifle the natural flow of abundance, aliveness, love, passion – thereby keeping themselves and the relationship in a state of deprivation, paralyzed, stuck …
Time and again the prevalent theme in initial sessions with couples is reactivity, anger, fighting, hopelessness, criticism and lots of pointing fingers. The partners appear to be enemies. The pain is palpable in the room. A real sad state of affairs!
All this noise is just misguided attempts at being heard and understood, getting needs met, getting on the same page, connecting, feeling closeness, love and passion, and experiencing intimacy, joy and peacefulness. This is partners’ grown up version of baby crying to get basic needs met… They are trying real hard to create a Successful and Satisfying Relationship (sm), but what they don’t realize is that their approach is creating more rapture, space, disconnect, and pain.
Their approach is defensive and offensive. It creates a mask that hides their authentic and fabulous selves from each other. It only helps to promote more separateness, dislike and dissatisfaction. Who wants to, or can, get close to a fire breathing dragon or a recluse turtle? These partners are setting up a situation where it is impossible to create a Successful Relationship!
I don’t know why partners can be wonderful people to strangers, and yet awful to each other. Wait, actually I do know why!
There is an inherent risk in being nice to our partner…We create the opportunity for being available, vulnerable, close, intimate, One… Creating the possibility for change, for More…This can be threatening.
Our Ego is not able to tolerate this Togetherness and Vastness…Instead it looks at “being nice” as a danger that we might lose ground and ourselves, as a message that we are OK with the status quo and with unacceptable interactions, as permission to accept getting less than we deserve, as an agreement to live with deprivation, neglect, negativity and even abuse.
But the opposite is true, being Ego led maintains the status quo!
”Always bring yourTrue Selfto your interactions with your partner,” advises Marriage and Family Therapist Emma Viglucci, who is also the founder, Clinical Director & Supervisor atMetropolitan Marriage & Family Therapyin New York City. She advises us to show up to the moment in the present “without your baggage from the past and your expectations for the future”. Emma also suggests that you:
Show your ‘self’ in all your splendor;
Don’t cheat yourself or your partner;
Don’t assign motives, read between the lines, analyze, or judge;
Accept your partner fully for who they are;
Be witness to your partner’s True Self in your interactions
MEDIA: How Much Should a New Love Know... (3/13)
"How Much Should a New Love Know About Past Relationships"
News: CBS Channel 2 News
Local Television: New York
Emma commented on a story by Hazel Sanchez on Tiger Woods about how much one should disclose when entering a new relationship. Watch it here.
MEDIA: Who Shouldn't Go On "Dancing" (2/13)
"Who Shouldn't Go On 'Dancing'"
News: Fox 411 - "In the Zone" (fox411.com)
Local Television: New York
Emma commented on a story by Diana Falzone about the new cast and what they are getting themselves into in "Dancing With The Stars." Watch it here.