Watch Your Words - Partner Edition, Part 2

Sep 27, 2020

Improving your Connection

Last week, we looked at this idea that the partner/mate we choose, resembles both the positive and negative traits in our caregivers when we were children. We identified that we are attracted to our partners when it comes to them having both the positive and negative traits of our childhood caregivers, because our old brain is seeking reparation from our childhood wounds. We choose someone that has the ability to help heal our childhood wounds or hurt/worsen these wounds.
According to Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, authors of Getting the Love you Want, the following are tactful tools to help you heal childhood wounds, optimize communication and connection with your partner, and to be in a loving, safe relationship.

  • Narrowing your Exits – often times partners tend to fall into a habit of “avoiding each other.” Whether it be through staying late at the office, scrolling social media, watching tv, reading romance novels etc., these habits are considered “exits.” And often times have become a typical scene for a couple because of anger and fear. Anger because of wish fulfillment – you’ve set up an expectation that your partner will fill the void of your childhood wound and fear because you see them, subconsciously as an enemy – “any person…who is perceived by the old brain to be a source of need gratification and then appears to be withholding that gratification is cataloged as a source of pain, and pain raises the specter of death.” The recommendation is this: narrow your exits gradually. Eliminate one of your exits, the easiest to eliminate and use that extra time to work on putting your feelings/emotions into words and communicating with your partner.
  • Imago Dialogue – developing a new way of communicating with your partner, knowing your partner, connecting with your partner and developing a conscious partnership broken down into three steps. First and foremost, before entering into this type of conversation, ensure that it’s an appropriate time for both individuals.
    •  Mirroring – a sender will make a statement. The receiver of the statement with restate the sentence word-for-word or paraphrase and then ask if the message was received correctly. Then the receiver of the message can state, “is there more about that?” This gives the sender an opportunity to elaborate, if needed.
    • Validating – this is an opportunity to affirm the internal logic of each other’s remark, “what you’re saying makes sense to me. I can see how you were thinking and why you would think that way.”
    • Empathizing – “’ to feel as one with.’ When you and your partner are empathic with each other, you are as emotionally close as two people can be.
  • Caring Behaviors – this concept takes into account each partner writing down lists of ways their partners can please them. Not only does this eliminate the idea that our partners can read our minds, but it also allows your partner to know exactly what you want. When developing the list and setting number goals for the day/week, this takes out the tit-for-tat mentality. “Most relationships are run like a commodities market, with loving behaviors the coin in trade. But this kind of “love” does not sit well with the old brain. If John rubs Martha’s shoulders in the hope that she will let him spend the day going fishing, a built-in sensor in Martha’s head goes: Look out! Price tag attached. There is no reason to feel good about this gift, because I’ll have to pay for it later.’ Unconsciously, she rejects John’s attentions, because she knows that they were designed for his benefit, not hers.”

These are just some of the useful ways you can develop a compassionate and exceptional relationship. 
When it comes to watching our words, the things we say, the way in which we say them and the impact our words can have on others, can be detrimental. And the thing about our words, especially the hurtful ones, typically come from a place of our own hurt; our own wound. Watch your words, you and your partner are worthy of healing.

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