It is not uncommon for couples to have the same recurring issues and arguments… If partners are not intentional and proactive about addressing the underlying reasons for these, they will continue to have them… Not addressing relationship dynamics can break a couple… Banging around unconscious as to who you really are, what really is driving you, what you really want and how this impacts interactions with your partner, is a sure way to create a dissatisfying relationship and mediocre life. Ouch!
Is this how you want to live your life?
Unless we’ve done personal development work, we all walk around with most of ourselves unknown to ourselves. Isn’t that something?
We have unconscious and subconscious mechanisms at work that inform most of who we are and influence most of what we do… A minuscule of our experience actually happens in our conscious mind…
The subconscious mechanism has to do with how our mind works… We can identify our unsupportive scripts, negative narratives, biases, fears, and limiting believes and address them. We can focus on reducing our Negativity Bias.
The unconscious mechanism has to do with how our embodied-brain works… We can identify/infer our wounds, emotional programming, and physiological responses and address them.
How we were raised and what we experienced growing up influenced our embodied-brain development, our sense of self and our impression and experience of the world…
Left unexplored, we are only aware of and know a small percentage of ourselves and how we experience the world…
The world, our reality, is not a static knowable objective truth to boot… If we are ignorant about our Reality, and take everything we think and experience at face value, we are in for a rude awakening…
Our thoughts are not who we are and what the word is… We can’t believe everything we think!
This is where partners get into trouble. Partners sensitivities might get poked by the mere being of the other person and their imperfections.
- They make assumptions and assign motives as to what they are perceiving.
- Their interpretations are influenced by their limited and unexplored knowledge of themselves.
- They rely on their senses and their logic to interpret an interaction and experience their partner and their relationship.
- And, their senses and logic as limited as they are, they are usually additionally compromised for whatever reason.
When understanding interactions and relationships from this concept, it is really a marvel that people are able to have any sort of good relationships… The whole thing is a constant moving target!
Luckily our brain doesn’t like open loops, questions, and the unknown. I say luckily because then it looks for patterns and responds accordingly, this is useful. Otherwise, it is not great that the brain fills in the blanks with whatever it needs to reassure itself or prove itself right… This continues the virtual reality and veil we live with…
But, working with patterns allows us to plant the flag somewhere, address the experience we are having, and give us the ability to do something about it…
Working with the Unconscious Mind
I usually tackle this topic from the unconscious perspective, as this is where a lot of our programming happened growing up. This is when we literally wired our embodied-brain that’s now used to sense and perceive the world around us… (Element3 of The Strategy, of course addressing our conscious mindset and subconscious, is super important and a priority as well – Element1 of The Strategy)
In interactions with our caregivers we formulated our neuropathways and developed and integrated the structures of our brain. When our interactions were less-than-perfect (because no caregiver person is perfect), we wired ourselves according to the experience that now informs our sensitivities…
We have a filter that is on the lookout for preventing the same pain… The brain is amazing at this. Put the brain on something and it’ll find it, it’ll look for an answer to whatever question, and work on closing any open loops.
Therefore, if we have a theme of a certain kind of parenting growing up that scarred us in some way, the brain will latch on to that pattern…
It is imperative that we are aware of how our brain works so it doesn’t trip us up!
Changing the Patterns
It is our job to discover what is the pattern we keep playing out. What is our brain looking for? What keeps triggering us? How do we respond in the face of this experience that perpetuates the cycle? And in turn, how does this interact with our partner’s sensitivities? How are we co-creating our reality…?
Once we identify what is triggering us ongoingly, we can translate that pain, feeling, wound, into a need. What is the message of the feeling we are feeling? What do we need to give to ourselves to meet the need? What mindful and respectful requests can we make of our partner to help us meet our needs?
And of course, we reciprocate. When they get triggered, we try to understand what might be happening for them. We check if we are understanding them (we don’t run with assumptions!). We ask what we can offer to help them meet their needs. We can have conversations about patterns, needs, and meeting them… It just requires intentionally.
Note, I set this up from the perspective of one partner. These interactions are much easier if our partner has similar awareness and motivation to work on themselves and the relationship. But note that they don’t have to, partners get stuck on this. When we focus on what we do and how we show up, we can create change… We are not at their mercy!
APPLICATION: Take inventory of the theme of your recurring issues, arguments and fights…
- What keeps coming up for you?
- What keeps getting triggered?
- What are the feelings/emotions?
- What are your feelings telling you?
- What are the driving needs behind the feelings?
- How can you go about self-agenting to meet your needs while remaining mindful of your partner and their need and respectful in your approach?
We have to take responsibility of our own experience and how we co-create our reality… This self-agency allows us to create the relationship and life we desire…
Wishing you much joy, connection and love today and always…
With Much Love & Light!
Copyright (c) 2021 Emma K. Viglucci. All rights reserved.
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and the Successful Couple Strategy™ that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly connection notes in your inbox with Personal Development and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com