Tag: fighting in relationship

Happy couple looking out at the water

Relationships: Hard Work or Adventure?

Successful relationships are a Work in Progress

Has your relationship become stale or filled with constant conflict? It’s probably because it’s stopped growing.

Do you even look at your partner anymore? Or if you do is it only when you’re mad? Relationships stop growing when we think we know everything there is to know about ourselves and our partner. If you’re feeling bored, lonely or frustrated in your relationship then it’s an indication that growth and progress has stopped.

Let’s change the word ‘work’ to Adventure and Curiousity.

The truth is, you don’t know everything about yourself, so how could you know everything about your partner. They probably don’t understand themselves fully either. Few people do. And when you’re truly okay with that it can become exciting and an adventure to find out more.

Why would I want to? I can hear you thinking….

Because thinking you know everything feels safe..Yes safe can be good… except that to make a relationship safe you have to make it fit into a box. It’s safe from change but it’s also limited from growth. Feeling safe is enticing until it becomes boring, suffocating and lonely.

Being Curious means actively learning to understand yourself and that is called Differentiation.

Differentiation in simple terms means being okay to be different and letting others/your partner be different as well.

Here’s an interview with a couples therapist Ellyn Bader talking about Differentiation in Relationships.

I think a lot of partners have the misperception that they’ll lose their relationship if they differentiate. There is a fear of really showing yourself as deeply, as broadly and as expansively as you might.

Defining Differentiation in Couple Relationships

I define differentiation as the active ongoing process of a person being able to define their thoughts, their feelings, their wishes and their desires to one another and to be able to tolerate the partner doing the same thing.
When people are afraid of differentiating, they are afraid if they show their authentic self and the other one doesn’t like it or doesn’t agree with it, that they’re going to end up in a big fight or they’re going to end up with the other person leaving. When that’s true, they don’t show themselves very well to each other.

Why Relationships Fail

When you look at why relationships fail over the course of time, one of the core reasons that relationships fail is due to a lack of differentiation. Without differentiation, relationships get stale. Interactions become repetitive and partners end up bored or lonely. They end up bored because the relationship isn’t growing and it isn’t changing, or they end up just competing with each other and being really angry and really nasty to each other. That’s one of the reasons that relationships fail.
Another reason is the re-triggering of old trauma. Partners over time trigger and re-stimulate either old trauma in each other or also they do hurtful things in the here and now to each other that can be very traumatic. Either way, with the lack of differentiation or with trauma, people need skills and capacities in order to manage themselves well in a primary relationship.

The most stuck relationships are those where each person wants to keep the other unchanging. They remember how they were when they met and they want that to last forever.
Then they don’t explore or push each other to grow. They don’t take risks or try new things. It becomes a very, very narrow way of living in the world.

Differentiation is the route to aliveness and expansiveness, to authenticity and vulnerability, and resolving conflicts and handling not liking each other at times.

Most of us have learned to define ourselves in terms of what we do and spend little time understanding our inner workings.

If you’d like more aliveness in your life whether you’re in a relationship or not find a way to challenge your norms. Start questioning your default behaviour and try doing something different. Look at your partner with different eyes as if you’ve never seen them before.

If you have any questions I’d be happy to help. Or check out some of my other blogs with tips and suggestions.

Excerpt taken from The Couples Institute Blog Differentiation Blog by Ellyn Bader

Relationship Stress. Communication and Anger Management

Thinking of leaving your relationship? Read this…

Relationship stress is hard

But that daily relationship stress is nothing compared to the pain and changes you’ll go through with divorce or separation. It’s a misinterpretation to think divorce is easy judging by the rising rates. You’d think it’s as simple as finding the best recycling for an old car stereo or laptop. No!! It’s not!! Not for a lot of people.

Where did we get the idea that relationships are disposable?

(Stay tuned for the new blog)

So if you’re thinking of leaving your relationship or marriage this article will help.
Learning about all the pain, changes and, thankfully, eventual growth that you can go through with divorce and separation will leave you better prepared to take that step.

Note: there is one swear word at the beginning of the article. If the word offends you please blink quickly and continue reading.

What Nobody Tells you about Leaving your Spouse.

Anger Management and Communication in Relationship with Liz Coleman RTC

Change Your View of Fighting in Relationships

Fighting and conflict in relationships can feel horrible.

So it’s not surprising that most couples feel like it’s a set back to their progress. It’s such a common way of looking at it because, really, it seems to shake the stability and safety we rely on. Even though ‘needs’ seem to be a bad word in our society the truth is we NEED our relationships. (I mean all relationships here but especially intimate ones)

Interdependence

Our confidence and safety in the world depends on the stability of our relationships not in a dependent way but an interdependent way. It’s possible to love and be close to someone without giving parts of yourself away. As well it’s possible to be independent without losing the relationship. If you want to understand healthy needs in relationship read Dr Sue Johnson’s book Love Sense it’s brilliant.

Getting a different perspective with curiousity and questions

After having a big fight our perspective is often very narrow and influenced by the hurt or anger we’re feeling. Even if we’re talking about the other we’re seeing them through the filter of our emotions. In other words we’re very personally focused. But I encourage you to take a broader view and get curious.

You may be tempted to answer the following questions for your partner or focus on their behaviour or perceived needs. We think we know what they’re thinking but stick to your own feelings, behaviour and needs to get the best results. (otherwise it’s mind-reading and that’s a whole other blog)

Questions for after a big fight

1)What was the fight really about? Not the content and words but the underlying needs and wants. For example, Were you feeling unimportant and wanting to be seen, heard or respected? Were you feeling worried and needing reassurance from your partner? Or were you feeling overwhelmed and needing acceptance or help?

2)Was this something that may have built up? Often couple’s will let the ‘little’ things go because they don’t seem important and they don’t want to dampen the good mood but these moments can start piling up like little resentments stones until they burst.

3)What have I been hiding, avoiding or not sharing in order to ‘keep the peace’?

4)How can we work together? What can each of us do? This could feel challenging so make it easy and do-able for you. And taking a broader perspective will always see the situation as a possibility for growth and improvement. It doesn’t mean you’re broken or set back it just means you’ve reached a place where to grow more you both need to learn something and gain awareness.

Getting closer to someone means constantly facing and removing the blocks to love you’ve set up for yourself that at one time protected you but are now blocking you from experiencing the love you want.

Happy couple looking out at the water

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