Tag Archive | communication skills

When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

So often I hear from couples that they get to a place in their relationship where they are just constantly yelling at each other. And not only do they complain of having constant yelling matches but also that the arguments are as often as not about nothing so that afterwards they are left wondering what was the point of it all anyway.

It may surprise you to know that there is actually a point and if you think that that is actually nothing to do with the topic of the argument you would be right.

The point is this. As you come through the honeymoon phase of your relationship there is a need to re-establish your own identity separate from each other. All this time you have been entangled with each other in a dance only for two. You now need to pull away from each other again in order to get on with your own lives.

This is totally normal and as it should be. You need to re-immerse yourself in your work, in your friendships and in your own interests to ensure that you continue your personal journey as you carry on with your couple’s journey.

To allow this you subconsciously start to find the flaws in each other. This includes the discovery that each of you are human after all with all of the faults and failings that comes with being human.

For so long you have simply only seen each other through rose-coloured glasses. This is now the time to take off the glasses and notice that your partner is not all you’ve attempted to convince yourself they are.

You struggle with this idea. Your prince or princess is really human after all just like you.

The only way you can humanly separate from another person is to create conflict. Just like an adolescent separating from his or her parents has to create conflict so too you do. Otherwise why would you move away from each other at all?

The tricky bit in all of this is firstly to recognise that the fights are for a good reason even if there seems to be no reason at all. Then, and maybe even more importantly, it is going to be critical for each of you to embrace the opportunity that you are providing each other here for growth ensuring in the meanwhile you don’t lose sight of your relationship in the process,

Something to note here is that there are people who are addicted to love. These people are likely to use these fights as a way of leaving the relationship and to seek another to replace it. Some people go their whole lives flitting from one relationship to another. They may even believe that the relationship is over so can’t even contemplate that maybe it’s just a phase.

Then there are others who just believe that they will never actually find love at all and give up even trying to find the way out of the current dilemma.

So if you find yourself yelling and arguing with your partner, pause a moment before making a decision about whether to quit or not. If the arguments really don’t have much substance, other than it being a tug of war to prove that you are right, maybe there is something else going on here.

If this happens take the time to really look deeply within yourself to check whether this is really just a phase and it’s worth the effort to work through or is this truly a sign that you are simply not compatible and maybe should separate from each other before too much damage is done.

If you can’t see the difference clearly seek some professional help before making a decision you may come to regret.

One strategy to really test this out is to commit to going all out for at least thirty days giving 100% of your effort to this relationship without question or regret. Love your partner unreservedly with all the love you have. This might even mean stepping back to allow that person some space to grow in as you take space for your own growth.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Seven Rules for Effective Problem Solving

Seven Rules for Effective Problem Solving

 

I’m often asked why when a couple starts a conversation about something that is really important to them it often just ends in another fight.

Improving your skills in this area will help your relationship mature in a healthy way keeping it strong and happy.

For a couple to reach decisions without unnecessary battles needs skill.

Here are 7 rules for couple problem solving that may be helpful for you to keep in mind for when you are trying to solve a problem that has come up between you and your partner:

 

  • 1
    Remind yourselves about why you are there. Take breaks as needed throughout the conversation as needed to keep your energy positive.
  • 2
    Focus on only one issue at a time. Agree on what the problem or issue is, so you are not trying to solve multiple problems at once or work at cross-purposes by trying to address different issues.
  • 3
    Avoid being attached to a particular outcome. Avoid stating something as absolute fact. There is really only a perspective: yours and the others.
  • 4
    Encourage and freely share thoughts, feelings, and opinions with love, respect, and kindness. Avoid criticism or domination of each other. Strive to be open to all expressions without taking offense.
  • 5
    Carefully monitor and modify your attitude and tone of voice. If underneath your words is criticism, disrespect, or sarcasm, your spouse will hear them, even when your words are positive.
  • 6
    Listen to each other carefully and without interruption and request clarification as needed.
  • 7
    Strive for shared agreement, even when it takes longer. At times you might need to agree to disagree or even to deferring to the other’s solution. Regardless still look at and carry out the decision as a jointly agreed. But do not defer just for the sake of getting consensus. It may be better to take a break and come back to it again.

 

And just as importantly review significant decisions after some time trying them out to assess whether they are working or whether you need to start the process over again. Stay aware for when you need to involve someone else, like a counsellor or mediator, in a discussion or decision to ensure the greatest success.

Decisions work best when you have equal voices in couple discussions. It is important for you both to express what is on your minds and in your hearts freely. Either withholding your opinion or dominating the other in the conversation may negatively affect the outcome.

If one of you tends to be more dominant in speaking, you will need to be even more attentive to give the other an opportunity to have their say. The quieter of you may also need to practice assertiveness. Free expression happens when you are both willing to listen to each other without interruption giving whatever time is necessary to ensure that both of you fully understand what the other is saying before saying what you want to say.

It is important to ensure the genuineness of your motives and intentions in any discussion. If either of you has a hidden agenda—an unspoken intention or goal, or you just want to manipulate the other, any decision you come up with will most likely not work.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Are You Thinking of Leaving? Consider These Seven Things

Are You Thinking of Leaving?

Being the one to decide whether or not to leave a relationship can be just as hard as the one being left, and for some even more so. The one being left really has no say in the matter. The one making the decision to leave is the one taking absolute responsibility for what will happen next.

And although you may be very dissatisfied with your relationship or are wondering if you even have any love left, you may feel reluctant to really make the break.  When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time fear of the unknown can stop the most determined of you in your tracks making the decision even more difficult.

Here are a few things to consider before making the final decision to stay or leave.

  1. Do not expect yourself to feel love for your partner when you are feeling resentful.  These two emotions are almost incompatible. Actually part of the process of leaving anyone is that you must feel the resentment and even anger otherwise you probably wouldn’t consider going at all.
  2. Do not let anyone pressure you into a decision. Imagine yourself living with your partner on even days and living apart on odd days to see if you can get a really good idea for how it’s really going to be like to be separate from each other.
  3. Discover how you allow yourself to be a victim by talking to friends or a therapist.  You will not stop feeling resentful until you stop giving up your power. Tormenting yourself over whether or not to continue the relationship may interfere with looking at the changes you need to make in yourself.
  4. If the decision is too hard for now take some time first to focus in on yourself and figure out what there is to learn about relationships that you may have missed that put you in this predicament in the first place.  Identify one change to start with that you are going to make in yourself for the better.  Make this change consistently until you sense that you are no longer acting like a victim.
  5. Only when you have learned your own lessons and made some changes in yourself make your decision.  Don’t be hurried into it either by yourself or by others. The years you spent together deserve that much thought. This will give you a much better sense of what you need to do. And of course don’t be surprised that in the meanwhile your partner may make your decision for you as they are going through their own process and challenges.
  6. If there are problems with physical or substance abuse, a separation may be needed to save the marriage or to save that person from their habit.  Often, people stay in such relationships until they have no love left.  It is better to recognise problems early and insist on living separately until the other person has sought help. Promises to get help should be ignored until the person takes action and makes significant changes.
  7. Whatever the decision you make about your future it must be viewed from the perspective that it took the two of you to get you to this place so each of you must take responsibility for your part in it. Only when you accept responsibility and do your own therapy around that can you really make a good decision for yours and your partner’s future together.

And let me add one more that is probably even more important than the ones above.

Do not leave one relationship on the promise of another.

These relationships rarely survive as until the lessons are learned from the previous relationship the likelihood of coming back to exactly the same place is actually fairly high. That’s why they call them “rebound” relationships.

Oh and don’t count on a new partner to take away any underlying insecurity you might have. That is why new relationships, gone into too soon after the last one ended, can be fraught with danger and are likely to end you up in exactly the same place.

Learn what there is to learn about yourself, others, life and loving and then, if your love is still there, renew your commitment to this relationship. If however the time is right for you to move on then do so without regret, without resentment, without anger but with love and gratitude for the time you have had with each other and all that you have learned and experienced together.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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True Love, Lies and Deceit

True Love Lies and Deceit

Is it possible for someone to truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit?

What a great question this is to get me going for the week

The short answer is this:  NO! Someone cannot truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit. But it may be a little more complicated than that.

Lying and deceitfulness can be a natural response to being constantly tormented, fear of being found out, or from the modelling we get from the most important people around us, generally our parents.

There are also gradients of lies. There are the lies of omission when we don’t tell someone that what they are wearing doesn’t go with whatever, their body shape, the occasion etc.

On the other end of the continuum are the really big lies that have a huge impact on people’s lives, individuals or whole countries, which can and do change the course of history.

My curiosity is pricked when I hear that someone is being deceitful in their relationship. Is this a cold-hearted act of cruelty with no regard for the impact the lie has on another or is it something much more than that?

My belief is that lying is a complex issue that really needs to be viewed not just in the context of the current event but in the context of a whole lifetime of experience.

When we are very young we learn to tell lies as part of socialising us to the norms of society. So we are taught to hold our tongues when we get crushed under the hug of our big, fat aunties and respectfully say ‘thank you’ for the gift that we really didn’t want. We also learn in the process that lying can protect us from being punished, sometimes in very, even too harsh ways. Lying can even become habitual as a way of avoiding the anger of someone in a position of authority over us as well as a means of avoiding the feelings of fear that can go with that.

As an adult we normally grow out of this behaviour as we meet with other adults face to face, in truth and in good will, to manage our conflicts in an adult way no longer needing to resort to old patterns of behaviour. Sometimes however old behaviours are so entrenched that the habit has become hard to shift. Alternatively the person is triggered to feel the same sort of fear they experienced as a child and respond from an internal child part of themselves rather than an external adult part.

In these situations the lies and deceit are not intended to hurt but become the habitual response of someone who doesn’t yet have the skills to manage themselves in a more mature way.

So to come back to the question at the beginning of this article

Love is a mature adult feeling that is pure and clean with no unresolved issues attached to it. So to truly love another implies that you are fully there with this person in the most vulnerable way possible. This means that your heart, soul and body are open and exposed without any defences. So to put it more simply, love and lying simply cannot be present in the same moment.

While we are humans, and we will slip up, for us to be truly in love with another requires us also to be truly honest. If we cannot be truly honest then we can’t possibly truly love because instead of being there fully in the present we are being held back by something from our past that will need resolution.

So if you are being lied to and hurt constantly by your partner and they are unable, or unwilling, to do what it takes to change then you really do need to think about the long-term viability of your relationship.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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If You Were Someone Else, Would You Marry You?

If You Were Someone Else, Would You Marry You?

I started this article by considering a question sent to me by a client, and echoed by many others, who wanted to know what was reasonable to expect from a partner in marriage. As I was scouring other emails to see what related questions there were on this topic I came upon this pearl I just had to use it as it summed up so beautifully exactly my thoughts on the topic of expectations.

The email started with the line that is the title of this week’s article and then went on to say: “Worry less and be happy. Because the happier you are with yourself and your life, the more attractive you are to your partner. .. Start today to work on being the kind of person you would want to know, date, and marry. If you’re not that kind of person, how can you expect your spouse to stay attracted or stay passionate?” I absolutely agree with these sentiments.

What can I expect from marriage?

The way to live this is simple: remember when you first met and what it was that attracted you to your partner in the first place. It might have been their smile, their easy laugh, their care and consideration of you or their willingness to listen to you ad nauseam.

Now contemplate how you responded to that.

Your response would naturally have been happiness, in being paid so much consideration, and joy at being the centre of someone else’s attention pulling you even closer to each other.

While we all start our relationships this way the sad thing is that somewhere along the way we returned to our selfish habits and forgot what it was we did at the beginning that endeared us so compellingly to the other.

So the way back to that special place is, as my client suggested, by being the best and the happiest you can be and behave in the way that you did when you first met every day of your life. In addition expect no less than that from your partner.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

A famous Couples Counsellor by the name of John Gottman speaks of four distinct ways of interacting that doom your marriage to failure. These are the absolute contradiction of how you should relate to your partner and expect your partner to relate to you.

  1. The First HorsemanCriticism – this involves attacking with blame someone’s personality or character, rather than a specific behaviour. If there is something you don’t like about what your partner is doing let them know what that is and what you would rather they do instead.
  2. The Second HorsemanContempt – this has a conscious or subconscious intent of insulting or belittling your partner with words or actions. Just remember your partner has all the faults and failings of all human beings, yourself included, and deserves to be treated with the respect that everyone deserves.
  3. The Third HorsemanDefensiveness – This has to do with denying responsibility or making excuses or whinging and whining when things don’t go your way. Stand up and be willing to accept your part in any misunderstanding that comes up between you and do what you need to do to repair the damage done.
  4. The Fourth HorsemanStonewalling – This happens when you refuse to respond to your partner or even to get into a conversation to find a resolution to an issue. Of course there are going to be times when it’s not good for you to respond because of high emotions. If this happens simply let your partner know that now is not a good time to have this conversation with a promise to return and/or even a time to make that happen.

So be yourself the person you would want to marry each and every day. There really is no greater joy as, in being that, so can your partner be.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Have You a Question About Dating That You Really Want Answered?

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If you would like to attend this free seminar please ring 02 99978518 or email admin@northernbeachescounselling.com.au with the words: “Yes I would like to attend the seminar”.

Have You a Question About Dating That You Really Want Answered?

Some excerpts from my workshops.

Why Do We Lie?

Why Do We Lie

 

There’s a joke told about politicians that goes like this: “How do you know when a politician is lying?” The answer: “When his lips are moving!”

The truth is we all tell lies!

The more modest ones are called “white lies”; they are generally harmless and don’t upset people too greatly if discovered. Such lies tend to be said to save someone’s feelings, like when we compliment someone about how they look, or to save our own, such as when we make up reasons for my not being able to do something when we really don’t want to do it anyway.

Lies can be by what is said as well as by what is not said. 

Men and women tell different kinds of lies. Men most often tell lies to protect themselves. They may lie to you about the way you look; they may say that you look good no matter what you wear. They just do not want to break your heart; they want you to be happy. Such lies are very sweet; in fact, if your man tells you such lies, then you should be very happy. He truly loves you.

Men may also lie about the things they can do. Men always have an ego factor, all human beings have, but it is found in men to a much greater extent. They can never let someone bruise their ego. Therefore they lie about the things they are capable of doing. They may say that they can do something or have done something where in reality they may not be able to do it at all. This sometimes presents itself in their boasting about women they have been with.

Sometimes men just lie about household chores such as the bills, grocery or fixing something. They may tell you that they have done something, when they might not have done it.

Men sometimes lie when they are cheating. Their intention is not necessarily always to deceive. Sometimes they have good intentions. He may be lying about cheating because he feels guilty that he cheated on you. He may even lie to you because he is afraid of losing you. He might have huge regrets about cheating on you.

So while men often lie to protect themselves from someone else’s outrage, women are more likely to lie in order to protect someone else. This might be to protect their children from being in trouble for some misdemeanor against the other parent or to help a girlfriend who needs someone to cover for her or to support her in front of her partner or other girlfriends.

Women are also more likely to lie about others, particularly other women and do so as a way of making the other seem less attractive.

These lies may be bad enough but then there are the lies that are more serious and which really hurt relationships such as when we lie because we are concerned that the other person might respond in a particularly angry way, maybe  rightfully so, or because we have really done something wrong and for which we are feeling guilty.

In amongst these are the lies that are told with the complete intention of hurt or betrayal. They might be cheating on you and they are not telling you because they want to have their wife and mistress, or for women they want their husband and boyfriend, both at the same time.

Some people lie to you for financial reasons, because if you found out about their cheating or gambling, you may feel you need to leave the relationship.

And of course there are those who lie to themselves in order to justify what they do.

Just keep one thing in mind, when you suspect that someone is lying to you try not to see the lies, try to see the intention. If the intention is good and they did not want to hurt you, then you should find a way to forgive. But if they intended to cheat you, then something much more sinister is at play and this needs to be exposed and dealt with before it gets out of hand particularly as it might be a threat to your whole relationship with them.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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