Perhaps you struggle to openly and honestly ask for what you want and need.
You may try to express your desires and concerns openly, only to find that the other person doesn’t hear you or appreciate your position. It may feel like you have the same disagreements over and over, falling into the same patterns of criticism, blame or avoidance. You may be looking at your spouse or partner thinking, “Is this the person I chose or married?” Resentments and frustrations may be running high, consuming your thoughts and interrupting every part of your life.
You Are Not Alone!
It’s completely normal to occasionally become irritated, have disagreements, and face challenges with yourself and the important people in your life. It’s common to exhaust the same strategies, time and time again, in an effort to be understood or have the other person empathize.
To navigate through this ongoing disconnection and conflict, you might feel like you’ve morphed into a role others want and expect of you, rather than living in accordance with your own truth. This can occur due to the fear of disconnection and loss of the relationship, or the fear of dealing with emotional punishment (such as stonewalling, anger and rage.) There is an acronym I use with all of my coaching clients; I say as human beings we all have doctorate degrees from MSU (Make Stuff Up University).
Communication, in concept and theory, should be a natural and organic process; the foundation for every healthy and fulfilling relationship. If that is so, then why is it so difficult? In my relations coaching practice, I have worked with hundreds of couples, and I have found there are some common traps that seem to be universally present in relationships.
MSU is where someone says X, and you interpret, analyze and assess it as if they said Y. This certainly can go both ways in the interaction. This pitfall is not just limited to words but also gestures, sighs, and micro-expressions on one’s face.
Unfulfilled expectations are another common issue that brings people to coaching. When you or the other person expects a response in a particular way and the other is not giving that response, disappointment hits. Our minds starts analyzing, assessing and adding meaning to the other’s response, making it difficult to hear what is really being said. (aka MSU)
Another trap is being preoccupied with how you believe others perceive you or attributing your own perceptions and motivations to others. The psychological term for this is “projection,” which is one of the defense mechanisms of our ego’s survival strategy (we all do it to a lesser or greater degree).
The answer is YES, with a caveat. I am here to support you, but this work will require you to open up your blind spots, which will shift the responsibility back in the court of each person within the couple. Doing this allows each person in the couple to access his or her own true power, which is not with the use of force, guilt or manipulation. It will shift the dynamic of being the victim of the person you love (with your partner as the perpetrator) to being a safe, loving and compassionate partner. You will see yourself and your partner from a new lens.
Of course your relationship can still transform. When working with couples, yes there is the dynamic of the couple; also the couple is made up of two individuals. It is great if you both want to participate, but it only takes one person to change the dynamic.
In my couples counseling, in addition to my individual coaching, I work with my clients from the starting point of exactly where they are. No two individuals are exactly the same, nor are any two couples. Here are a few different ways of how you and your partner might work with me:
I can work in whatever way opens you and your partner to this process.
I do this kind of work because at heart I am “hopeful romantic.” I truly believe, and have found in my professional experience, that nobody wakes up in the morning saying to themselves, “How can I be the most hurtful, irritating and annoying to the person I love the most?” We get triggered and our communication and interactions go amuck.
Some of my favorite and the most effective tools that I will use in my couples counseling are the following:
If you are struggling in your relationship or wish it could be as great or even better than it was in the beginning, take advantage and schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me and you can decide for yourself if I am a match for you!