So many of our “big projects” are coming to gorgeous fruition. Life indeed is Grand! How about you? What accomplishment or deliciousness are you celebrating from this year? Nothing is irrelevant, a given or expectation. Anything beautiful in your life you Allowed and coCreated. Acknowledge it, own it, celebrate it. We create the life we have, take credit and delight…
We get what we put in… This brings me to today’s writing. We are on Element2 of the Successful Couple Strategy™:
Element1 – Context & Mindset
Element2 – Communication & Alignment
Element3 – Clarity & Dynamics
Element4 – Connection & Intimacy
Element5 – Collaboration & Partnership
Today’s topic – Fighting Without Resolution. Unfortunately, it is very common for couples to fight and not resolve the issue at hand. There is a multitude of reasons for this. Here are a few, the partners:
- Engage in discussing what’s bothering them at inopportune times, or downright inappropriate times
- Start discussions with a hothead, when they are still triggered
- Address their concern by going after their partner and the perceived infraction
- Get hang up on being right, making their point, winning the argument
- Lose sight of the topic at hand and bring up other prior (also still unresolved) frustrations
- Turn the discussion into how the other is not showing up right, or is fighting unfairly
- Make it their business to teach the other skills, tell them what they did wrong or what they could do better
- Take on a defensive stance and go on the offensive
- Use the moment to address everything that is bothering them
- Go at the conversation attacking their partner, their character and making character flaw observations
Can you see how these would not be conducive for addressing concerns, understanding each, getting on the same page, resolving issues and building and sustaining intimacy? What’s really interesting is that even though this approach doesn’t work, partners keep doing this over and over. This is how they keep trying to work on things and make changes. It doesn’t work!
It doesn’t work because they can’t expect their partner to be able to discuss or address something potentially intense at any given moment because they want to. Or, for the other to have that expectation in turn. Partners need to proactively select a time to have a productive discussion.
It doesn’t work because they start conversations from an unresourced state. They are triggered and sensitive. They go in with guns blazing blaming, criticizing, shaming, demanding, controlling, attacking and the like. They go in making their partner wrong off the bat. They go in as a victim and injured party. They don’t give the partner the benefit of the doubt, speak about their own experience and never mind taking ownership for what they contributed to the situation.
It doesn’t work because they get caught up in the reactive moment and lose sight of the topic at hand. The interaction becomes about everything else. How they are talking, how they are not using skills, how they do everything wrong, how they always do this, how it’s hopeless, how everything stinks, and on and on… They miss the forest for the tree. Instead of showing up with their best self, with a collaborative, compassionate and flexible approach.
And, even worst of all. It doesn’t work because they are attacking who the other person is… They are devaluing, questioning, and shredding their partner. Who the heck are they to question the other? How dare they assume they have that right? Because you are disgruntled, married, hurt and possibly your partner actually wronged you, it still does not mean you get to be a jerk.
It is our job to be our best human self that we can possibly muster at any given time, and to give ourselves the opportunity to that. Going into discussions without that intention doesn’t serve anyone! It sets you up to show up with the little you. And, it sets you up to get nonsense from your partner. Why do that to yourself?
This is why when we are in session the discussions go much better, because these things are not allowed. It behooves you to bring a cleaner version of your approach to your conversations. And, you don’t have to have the most amazing skills in the world, be perfect at delivering them and be a saint. Your attempt at doing things differently goes a long way in and of itself… Your partner can see the investment and they usually respond in kind…
Note, sometimes you might try, and the moment still turns into a s*t show. Listen, nobody and no relationship is perfect. It happens. What becomes important then is what you do afterwards. How you conduct yourself and go back in… How you learn from the experience and work on doing better next time. Learning from your mistakes and continuing to invest on becoming the best version of you. This is at the crux of it all.
ASSIGNMENT: Do a review of how your discussions usually go and identify how you contribute to the conversation going south. If you can’t find anything this could be part of the issue in and of itself… If you were in the conversation, you contributed to how it went… Own your side and focus on making the changes you need to make… This alone helps start a new pattern…
As usual the focus is on what we can change and what we have control over… Stop wasting your energy and time trying to change your partner and focusing on creating something different by telling your partner what they need to change… Stop giving your power away! Focusing on your side is super empowering and that’s how you create change, and ultimately the relationship and life you want. You can do it!
Stay tuned for next week’s issue on a Changing Dynamics topic…
Complete the Assignment, and share your takeaway, insights, and results with a note in the Comments box at the end! I’d love to hear how you are using this content.
Copyright (c) 2019 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 a variety of Successful Couple™ content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com.