Crazy Fighting

Ever been in a fight with your partner and suddenly realized that you didn’t really know what the heck you were fighting about?

That’s because few people are truly aware of why they have such strong feelings about certain things. We think that the argument is about stuff like …

  • She spends too much money!
  • He doesn’t listen to me!
  • She never picks up after herself!
  • He never wants to go out and have fun!

There are all sorts of stories about people getting divorced for seemingly unimportant reasons. Here are two examples from a Reader’s Digest article entitled “12 Crazy-But-True Reasons People Filed for Divorce”

Rashida Lucas divorced her husband, T.P., because, as she said on national television, he was just "too nice." Chief among Lucas's grievances were that T.P. said "I love you" too much and that he was such a good cook that it had caused her to gain weight.

For one Japanese couple who had been married for six years, the movie Frozen was the deal-breaker. After watching it, he made the mistake of asking her, "Did you really think it was that good?" Well, apparently, she did, and the fact that he could even ask that question made her question what sort of person he was. And she couldn't seem to "let it go," moving out of their marital residence soon after.

So why the overreaction? Why do we get so crazy over things that are not “craze-worthy”?

It’s primarily because we are not in tune with our own emotions and instead look outside of ourselves for solutions that only internal examination can heal.  The term for this inward examination is emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

It means that when we experience an emotion we are able to do three things:

  1. We are able to accurately define what we are feeling
  2. We are able to determine the true source of that feeling
  3. We are able to express the feeling in a healthy way

This isn’t easy folks, especially when we avoid self-examination.  But the truth is …

The unexamined life is not worth living
— Socrates

Some of us have been working a lifetime trying to master defining what we are feeling, understanding why we are feeling it and learning how to express those feelings in a way that doesn’t do harm to ourself and others. But until we do, resolving conflicts will always be a mystery because all we can do is make a vain attempt to control our environment and reduce whatever is triggering our emotional wounds. This means we either retreat from anything or anyone who causes us problems or we rigidly force our will upon them. Both strategies do not promote healthy relationships.  

And to a great extent, this is why we fail to resolve our arguments and why we keep having the same battle over and over again. We are really battling ourselves and until we discover that fact we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US.”
— Walt Kelly

Now, I’m not saying that we are the enemy – that attitude would be incredibly counterproductive. But what I am saying neither is your partner the enemy. The real enemy (if you must have one) is the unrecognized and unexamined emotional trigger that is empowering your arguments and making it so difficult to connect with your partner.

And that means we all need to take responsibility for our own emotional reactions and begin to develop the Emotional Intelligence to choose a different way of resolving our conflicts.

If we can ever be of help to you or you have questions about Building Real Relationships don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

The Surprising Essential for a Good Marriage

I often sit in front of couples silently praying for wisdom to help them get unstuck from the destructive patterns that are spiraling their relationship down into the black abyss of divorce.  I think if I could just say the right words or use the right interventions then the relationship can be saved. So much pain is produced by their bickering, fighting, insults, accusations and hurtful words. My heart breaks at the pain we humans can inflict upon each other and I desperately want to stop it.

But what I have come to realize is my best insights and carefully crafted observations are useless without one crucial ingredient.

There needs to be a willingness to change.

Sometimes this willingness comes out of frustration – after they have tried everything and failed.

Sometimes this willingness is a huge leap of faith – trusting in the knowledge and skill of the therapist.

And sometimes this willingness comes out of pain – they would just like the fighting to stop and feel peace.

At the core of this willingness is a much-maligned character quality called humility, a willingness to look critically at one's self before attempting to change their partner. When this quality is present miraculous breakthroughs become possible.

But where there is no humility the opposite is true. All the insight, skill, and brilliant counseling will not move couples closer together. At the core of truly intimate relationships is the ability to suspend one’s own prejudice and look compassionately and empathetically at their partner.

This should be no surprise. Even the greatest teacher, healer and lover who ever walked this earth could not perform his miraculous interventions when hearts were hard, eyes were closed and ears stopped up.

For this people’s heart have become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
— Matthew 13:15 NIV

So my simple word to you (and me) is to soften our hearts, open our eyes, unstop our ears and let the healing begin. For as surely as God made us he desires to bring healing into our lives and our marriages – if only we will humble ourselves.

5 Steps Towards A Great Relationship

You Deserve A Healthy Relationship..........So Where did it go wrong?

In our counseling practice,  we often meet with clients who have experienced multiple failed relationships and who seek guidance to try to “fix” the problem. After they share their  painful and frustrating relationship failures We will ask , “So what do all these relationships have in common?” At this point, a blank stare usually replaces their tears and then a spark of awareness comes over them as they say – "me".  Years of research indicates that when we have a healthy relationship with ourselves we will attract and nurture healthy relationships with others. Or as some wise sage once said, “hockey players date hockey players” - meaning we inter into relationships with those who see us as we see ourselves. 

Yes, we are the one constant in all our relationships. Therefore if we want our relationships  to be richer, deeper and more fulfilling we must begin looking at the relationship we have with ourselves.  So the million dollar question - What can we do to build healthier more intimate relationships? 

1.       Know yourself and become self-aware:

 How well do you know you  - your strengths,  your challenges,  your passions, your dreams? What brings you happiness or what fills your eyes with tears? Take a journey of self-discovery because it is only when we truly know who we are deep inside that we are able to share this unique and beautiful self with another and build a truly intimate and dynamic relationship.

2.       Accept yourself:

This does not mean that you think you’re perfect nor need to be. It means that you are comfortable in your own skin (warts and all).  If you are unable to see and accept the beauty within yourself  first then it will be very difficult  to accept the respect and admiration  from another,  fracturing the basis for a healthy relationship. 

3.       Commit to growing:

Relationships are never static they are either growing or dying. This is also true of the relationship you have with yourself. It is fun to be in a relationship with someone who is growing and expanding – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and / or relationally- is that you? Challenge yourself to explore new wonderments - be more interested and you will become more interesting. 

4.       Become Transparent and Authentic

Being transparent and authentic requires that we place a higher value on our own opinion of ourselves then we do on other’s opinions of us. If we derive our self-esteem from the judgment of others then we will conform ourselves to what we think others will accept and admire and hide behind this façade – never really allowing others to know us. Eventually those closest to us see through the facade and may feel deceived creating trust issues.  So start every relationship being the true you - if someone doesn't like the authentic you they are not the one you want to invest in. 

5.       Love yourself

Loving yourself means that you are committing to becoming the best you can possibly be. It is not narcissistic because when we truly love ourselves it increases our ability to love others. Those who possess a healthy self-love are not at war with themselves and able to look outside themselves with empathy. When we love ourselves we are able to give the best of ourselves to others without fear of being overwhelmed, consumed or oppressed. This is because those with self-love have healthy boundaries and employ good self-care. Therefore they are attracted to, enter into, and maintain good relationships.    

Due to our human nature no one gets through this life without bumps, bruises, and a few scars.   We all, at times, need to step back and reflect on who we really are and who we really desire to become.   We invite you to experience the  "self-reflecting" 10 Day journey of Self Love.  Check out this  thought provoking book and learn how to have your best relationship with YOU. Click Link Below and Start Your Journey  TODAY

 

Do you have a story of how "Self Love"  changed your relationships with others. We would love to hear it..... Please send to connect@totalwellnesscenter.net.  All stories remain confidential.