Learn to Decode Your Partner's "Reality"
Ever had this happen – Your partner gets upset about something that seems to you like a trifle. So you downplay it or ignore it and then all hell breaks loose. When you pick yourself up off the floor you are left scratching your head wondering, “What just happened here? All I did was …” Your partner wasn’t logical, reasonable or even slightly made a bit of sense so how do you respond? If you’re like most of us you do one of the following.
- Close your eyes to the illogic and move on
- Try to engage in a rational, reasonable manner
- Put your foot down and assert your right to common sense
But none of these options really work, do they? Because –
- If you close your eyes to it you end up bumping into it over and over again
- If you try to engage, you end up going down the black hole and lose your way
- When you put your foot down it just makes the gap between you larger by filling it with resentment.
So what are you to do when there seems like there are no viable options?
When you encounter the irrational remember this – It’s rational in that person’s world, you just need to better understand their world.
Yes, you heard me right. You are dealing with someone who has a different reality than yours so there will be times when their rationale will also be different. If you ever want to communicate – much less have an intimate relationship, you will need to be able to understand their reality.
But you say, “I didn’t sign up to be a part of someone else’s reality!” You did when you entered into the relationship, for every time we enter into a relationship we are choosing to interact with another person’s reality. Think of it like traveling abroad. When you step off the plane you are now entering into a country with a different set of laws and customs. Yes, there will be a lot of similarities to home but there will be a lot of things you don’t understand and may seem illogical.
Okay, now I’m going to throw you a curveball – sometimes your partner won’t even understand their own reality! Yes, that’s right, we all do things, feel things and say things and we are clueless why. That’s because we humans are great at ignoring our emotions and not tending to our hearts. We think we can just push through childhood trauma or ignore our emotional wounds. But they end up coming back to bite us through our feelings and thoughts that often sabotage our lives. We experience “irrational” fears when we attempt to move forward in our career or feelings of shame when we try to engage in close relationships.
“Okay, now I’m really confused. You’re telling me to try to understand the reality behind my partner’s irrational actions and now you’re telling me they may not even know why they are feeling the way they’re feeling? I give up!”
Real relationships are not for wimps! We all need to roll up our sleeves and try to understand our partner’s world as well as help them try to understand their own world. Believe me, there is logic in there somewhere. Here are a couple of examples of illogical logic.
- A person who continually blows up every relationship that gets too deep even those they desperately desire to intimacy? Irrational right? Wrong! In their world, if you get too close you will find out who they truly are and reject them. They are protecting themselves from that pain.
- A person who never accepts the promotion at work even though it would mean more money, more opportunity, and much more satisfying work. Irrational right? Wrong! In their world, they are certain that they are incompetent and the promotion would only reveal that fact.
How do you live with illogical logic?
You say to yourself, “This makes sense in their universe, I just need to understand it and maybe help them understand it”
You slow down the conversation and begin to ask clarification questions. For example:
- “So what is your greatest fear about this?”
- “Have you felt this way before about other situations?”
- “What was it like in your family when this happened?”
- “Help me understand what you need?”
Believe me, I am not saying this is easy. But if you are willing to choose to discover rather than judge there are great rewards for those who want to enter into this level of real relationships.
As always, if you are needing any help or I can be of any service just reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.