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Seeing Both Sides Of Relationship Patterns - Part II
Continuing on with exploring how we do us in relating and in particular: 'what is my contribution to us?' Spotting one's own contribution particularly when relational anxiety is up, isn't always easy.
We can become aware of how seemingly emotionally reactive our partner is whilst not being tuned into how we are coming across. We can become critical and focused on point-scoring at the expense of the relationship’s overall health. We can focus on what our partner needs to do rather than on what I need to do.
In times of relational harmony, have we taken the time as a couple to agree to the guidelines of how specifically we will argue? Importantly if we have, then under pressure do we adhere to them or feel we are justified to break the rules we set up.
Can we step away if things are amplifying unproductively and just as importantly finish challenging discussions later rather than sweep them under the carpet?
Seeing Both Sides Of Relationship Patterns - Part I
Generally, when you listen to couples going through relational challenges you can hear a fixation on their partner's present shortfalls or an over fixation on their own while their partner is faultless.
We can overly blame other or overly blame self but any attempt to adjust in a relationship from that limited focus alone is likely to only temporarily (at best) relieve relational stress. Short term, emotionally reactive adjustments that are designed to get back to momentary relational calm can be actually building to long term relational strain and distance.
This episode looks at one of the automatic patterns utilised by couples to manage intimacy, closeness, anxiety and general family system pressure. If we can observe relating patterns and label them then we are at a choice point about what, if anything, we would like to do. Can I clearly see my part and your part in this dynamic from a calm position?
It takes two to engage in a relational pattern and often a host of supporting others. This episode pattern of relating is focused on over-functioning and under-functioning in relationship. I hope you find it helpful!
Treating Self As You Treat Other
Ask me to be present for another person in their moment of perceived failure and I am there with love, compassion, support and nurture. I’m full of encouragement and able to see effectively where they have done better than they presently believe.
However, in my moments of perceived failure, I take a very different approach! The automatic go to seems to be one of critical self-disgust, self frustration and anything else I can think of in the moment to metaphorically punish myself for! It's amazing how quickly I can go historical and bring up a mountain of other perceived failures to throw in my own face! Apparently, this is meant to help, ha, ha!
This episode looks at giving to self and approaching self in a way that we would do with others.
How can I get to more self-compassion, self-support and self-love? It is quite possibly in the moments where I most want to deny myself my own loving compassion that it is most needed.
You Should Really Know What I Need
The idea that the more we love someone the more skilled at mind reading we become causes more problems than it solves!
"You should know what I need if you really loved me!" This isn't helpful and in part stems from childhood where it was our parent's job to interpret our requirements. Depending on your family system that often didn't work so well either!
Healthy dynamics involve communication and willingness to clarify. As we grow and mature our needs change and also how specifically our needs get met.
It is fantasy to think that even with the best fit person for you, that they will magically always be in alignment with you and one step ahead of your requirements. Something of that nature is probably closer to unhealthy enmeshment than to separate adults willingly forming a relationship together and continuing to commit to the relationship as it evolves over time.
This episode looks at how the mind-reading assumptions that can appear in relationship dynamics get in the way of healthy relationship communication.
Toxic Relating and Dynamics of Polarity
One indicator that you may need to access the kind of relationship you are in is seemingly radical relating swings. The relationship brings you both the highest highs and lowest lows. How can someone treat me so well one moment and so horribly the next?
When they are good and showering us with attention it feels amazing and then when they withdraw and freeze us out it feels like such a lonely and desolate place.
How can one person be so charming and then so hateful? The confusion that ensues can engulf us and keep our attention distracted from the fact that they say all the right things and do none of them!
This episode looks at the emotional roller coaster effect of these radical swings in relating and their potential impact on our well being.
Looking At Lopsided Relationship Dynamics
I am fascinated by patterns of relating that we fall into in relationship especially with the passing of time. Some of these patterns promote intimacy, closeness and desire.
Others patterns, if left unattended over time, can leave our relationship vulnerable. We can be in a relationship and yet feel frustrated, lonely and unsupported.
In this episode, we look at how couples can slowly fall into the trap of being overly focused in one area of relational life (eg: career) and expecting our partner will cover off the other areas (eg: keeping up with family commitments). It is wonderful to work as a team and be responsible for different areas if that is agreed upon. However when this tips into becoming, for example, overly responsible at work and yet having no idea about the day to day running of the family home then we may have taken things too far. This means that consequences are likely to start appearing over time such as feeling like an outsider in your own home.