Relationship BLOG SERIES
This will be a 4-part series, where we will explore one topic each week. Each week will delve deeper into a piece of what makes up this topic.
We will start with an overview of the topic and the sub-topics we will investigate each week.
Sometimes we go through difficult or challenging times in our relationships. Many outside influences can steal our time, our focus, and our patience. This can lead to creating stresses within our relationship with the person we hold dearest. Think about how many times you have had a bad day at work, then come home only to have to deal with uncooperative and challenging children, while also trying to take car of all the other things you are required to do to keep the household running. Picking kids up from school, running around to various after school activities, then to make it home to more work. Preparing afternoon tea, making sure homework is done and helping them do it, feeding the dog, preparing dinner, and cleaning up after everyone.
The work never seems to end. Then your wonderful partner arrives home, but instead of taking the reins for a while so you can catch your breather, they also had a difficult day at work and are in a terrible mood. So, they plop themselves on the couch and zone out completely. You of course have by this time reached your limit and the volcano explodes.
“Why can’t you help out a little? Can’t you see I’m trying to do several things at once? I’m not the only parent here, can’t you help with the kids?” Of course, your partner becomes defensive and annoyed at your attack, so they completely shut down and the night is full of tension and anger. This happens night after night, leaving you both with unmet needs and deeper fears not being dealt with.
Many psychotherapists believe that attachment theory plays a significant role in how we develop and sustain our relationships with our partners and our loved ones. This loans itself to the idea that how we bond or don’t with our parents as children, has a powerful connection to how we form relationships with others in our adulthood.
If you find yourself struggling with your own emotions, your relationship with your partner or children, there is a possibility you are functioning from an unprocessed emotion. These unprocessed emotions trigger behaviours that have been developed over the years and become a sense of safety when you are feeling alone. Such behaviours, like avoidance, anger, or defensiveness, usually contradict what we are really feeling and typically push away those we want to feel safe with.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Assess and Recreate Expectations
Take a moment and look inside yourself and ask, “What am I really feeling?” Look at what was going on with you, before, during, and after the incident that caused the response, you had. Consider if you are really struggling with your own insecurities and may not have realised there was more to your outburst. There might be more to the build up than you just being overwhelmed. It’s important to:
- Identify your own expectations.
- Set boundaries.
- Be truthful.
- Don’t let others influence you.
- Remember that no relationship is perfect.
- Honestly consider, “Are my expectations realistic?”
Examine your beliefs on love
We often don’t realise that our partners have a completely different way of showing love. This creates issues when they do not show it the way we do. These differences can lead to the development of beliefs about our relationship that fuels fear. It’s important to look at:
- How you show love?
- How do you expect to receive it?
- How does your partner show it?
Become aware of your relationship’s dance
We can look at relationships, of all kinds, as a dance. In the beginning it’s easy and fun, and both partners are forgiving of the others faults or mistakes. As time goes on the music changes. You and your partner step on each other’s toes. This is a normal part of relationships. How you handle the toes stepping determines if the relationship comes apart or strengthens and grows.
We will look at two types of people in relationships. Those that are Fight or Flight in a relationship and those that are Dance Steps that Build Connection.
HOW DO WE FIX THIS?
If you become aware of your expectations and your partner’s expectations of love and you understand your relationship dance, you can evaluate missed opportunities to connect with your partner.
When you understand your own inconsistencies with your behaviour and feelings, you will begin to understand your partner is feeling them too. By examining your dance, you will begin to gain empathy for your partner, and this may open the door to connection rather than arguing.
If you want to find out more on these topics, we will cover the areas as follows:
Week 1 – Assess and recreate expectations.
Week 2 – Examine your beliefs on love.
Week 3 – Become aware of your relationship dance.
Week 4 – How do we fix this?