Couples Counseling Articles

If You Can’t Name It Or Claim It… You Can’t Change It

It doesn’t help to tell your partner how much you hurt or what a disappointment they’ve been unless you’re willing to look at the whole picture.

They’ll take it as an attack and fight back with an argument or they’ll shut down. None of that works.

You can’t have a real conversation with your partner until you can agree on what happens between you. You’ve got to be willing to look at the data.

Ah-ha moments come with new insights. By seeing patterns… and recognizing how we effect each other when we dismiss, blame, criticize and ignore.

Without exploring what’s really happening, it’s impossible to accomplish much.

After all, when we don’t like what’s happening, it’s easiest to blame somebody else. “It’s not me, it’s you…” Then you’re off the hook.

It’s easy to say, “This has happened before. It’ll happen again. It’s hopeless. S/he’ll never change. I’m done.”

And don’t forget to refute anything that makes you look bad.

The solution is becoming more and more clear. Our partners are mirrors… they reflect important information that gives us a new way to see ourselves. Looking into that mirror creates an emotional experience – sometimes lovely. Sometimes too harsh to take in.

And if all there is… is a negative pattern and our own experience… one we’re unable to share with the beloved… how can we possibly make change for the better?

Loving couples know how to step out of their negative cycle. They can have fundamental disagreements and talk about them. That does NOT mean they agree OR ‘agree to disagree’… they simply agree on what’s happening between them. That’s what allows them to talk about what they think and how they feel.

Because it’s safe, they can hold the possibility of another point of view, listen with an open heart, hear another’s pain, and respond with compassion… even when it’s difficult… or risky.

It’s a messy process. Anything less than that is a stress-filled downward spiral.