ERP 076: How To Deal With Upset In Your Relationship In A New Way

By Posted in - Podcast & Relationships August 29th, 2016 2 Comments

Laser Coaching Session With Listener

Please listen to the episode to hear the whole coaching session.

Main Points

1. You can’t change your partner.

2. You CAN work with your partner, if they are willing.

3. By having a different conversation (exploring a new way of dealing with conflict), you will gather more information (i.e. Is your partner interested, are they able, are they willing).

4. Don’t make agreements that you cannot keep, even if it means disappointing your partner.

5. Develop a new system for dealing with upset (i.e. how do we approach each other, how we deal with pain, upset, and disappointment). How do we both get our needs met when there is a conflict?

Developing a new dynamic together takes time and support. There are a lot of reasons why we gravitate towards certain tendencies and patterns. This is where relationship coaching can be really effective.

Mentioned:

Transcript:

Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 076: How To Deal With Upset In Your Relationship In A New Way

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Thank you!

If you are interested in developing new skills to overcome relationship challenges, please consider taking the Empowered Relationship Course or doing relationship coaching work with me.

(2) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Ben - Reply

    September 26, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I admire your courage for going through with laser coaching and for looking for a more constructive way of dealing with issues. It’s great you’re facing the issues head on now, not 20 years into a marriage.

    I can empathize with some of what you’re feeling. My wife’s nature is to be a perfectionist, very critical and can go from 0 to 100 decibels in a split second. Instead of confronting the issues in firm and loving way, I would try to appease her and get her calm down. Like you, I felt I was walking on eggshells. I spent a lot of energy trying not to set her off. Not only was it not effective, I lost my self-respect. Our action/reaction cycle contributed to very dysfunctional relationship, characterized by a horrible power imbalance.

    There’s reason for optimism. Within less than a year, my wife and I have practically eliminated the negative dynamic I described. As Dr. Higgins said “You can’t change your partner. You can only change yourself”. A few changes in my behaviour that proved effective at helping break the cycle:

    • I got clear on my personal boundaries. I decided how I would like to be spoken to. I got clear on what manners of speech crossed my personal boundaries. I chose to no longer participate in interactions where my personal boundaries were breached.

    • I worked hard on improving my ability to stay present and calm when she was upset, so I could respond with my rehearsed responses, e.g. “Honey, you have right to be upset. But you don’t have a right to say things that are hurtful, belittling or demeaning. Let’s take a break now. I’m willing to come back later and continue the discussion when we’re able to discuss the situation constructively”. I’d get up, nod emphatically and leave the room, thereby enforcing a break in discussion.

    • When she was criticizing how I completed a task because it did not meet her impossible-to-meet standards, I’d respond calmly “Right now, are you speaking to me as an equal partner? I feel like a child whose parent is scolding him”. That would often stop her. If it didn’t, I’d go to “let’s take a break now (see previous point).

    • I stopped getting sucked into “well you deserve it”. My automatic response “I deserve spoken to with respect”.

    Stay calm. Speak firmly. What you’ll be doing is the most loving thing you can do.

    • Dr. Jessica Higgins - Reply

      October 3, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      Great feedback, Ben!!! Thank you for taking the time to offer support!!!

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