“Relationships” encompass those who share our physical or emotional space: parents, children, partners (gay or straight), bosses, co-workers employees, room-mates, and even sales people.
Our closest relationships are always the most challenging, such as those with whom we live who can “get on our nerves”, or family and friends who can “push our buttons”. Throughout our day we are always given opportunities to be our “higher selves” (our most tolerant and accepting self). It is an ongoing practice to treat people with respect and kindness and not be reactive. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and special. Relationships can be difficult and complicated. There is no ‘one size fits all’ formula to resolve issues and conflicts that arise between people. However, there are basic guidelines of respectful behavior that help people resolve differences. It can help to talk to a Relationship Coach to sort out priorities, know when to “pick your battles” and learn techniques of respectful communication.
The Language of Criticism
“My way is right, yours is wrong.”
Constructive criticism among couples is an oxymoron. People are sensitive and feelings easily get hurt. For example, a simple comment like “you are loading the dishwasher incorrectly” or “you are not gardening the right way,” often causes the other person to react with annoyance, hostility, become defensive and criticize in return. Voices are raised, anger ensues and people say things, they later regret. Arguments escalate and may even lead to physical confrontation.
One tries to convince the other that their perception is accurate or their memory is correct and that the other party is wrong. When in reality, no two people perceive or remember things in the same way, leaving room for many potential disagreements.
Instead of speaking up when feeling wronged, put down or diminished, sometimes one can “shut down” and “stuff their feelings.” Resentment builds and they can “explode” over something relatively minor unrelated to the original subject matter.
Couples may tease each other or use sarcasm saying indirectly what they cannot say directly. The teaser may say “I was only kidding” or “you are too sensitive.”
All of the above causes hurt feeling and emotional pain which diminishes the quality of the relationship and erodes the feeling of trust. When couples learn to communicate in an open and honest way, each person knows that they are being “heard” rather than just being “reacted to”. “Listening” and “being heard” is the foundation for creating an emotional environment where each partner can speak their truth and speak from the heart rather than the ego’s need to be right. If you care more about your partner than your ego’s need to be right, Relationship Coaching can help you turn your destructive patterns of communication into positive and healthy intimacy.
If some of the above rings true or sounds familiar, relationship coaching may help you turn your relationship around to achieve a supportive and harmonious partnership.