What you are arguing about isn’t what you think.


You may have had inkling about this or somehow discovered this before. By holding this in your awareness and approaching each other differently, you may save yourself and your relationship more heartache….an awesome shift in the way you relate.
The arguments you have with your partner aren’t really about what you think they are.
It’s not about the dishes or who is “always” late, it’s really about the feelings these experiences evoke in each other on a deeper level.  These myriad of experiences and feelings are fundamentally what drive couples in times of distress.
Underneath the complaint or the disagreement is a “primary fear” of rejection or abandonment. The reaction to the perceived loss off connection triggers an “attachment alarm” in the brain to initiate a fight, flight or freeze response (witnessed as criticism, blame, attack, or withdrawal).

The Way Through:

If you are having a disagreement with your partner, become curious about yourself and your partner and try to get to the underlying emotions that often get covered by the surface complaints. For example, what story does your partner believe about what your behavior means about him/her – or the relationship? Remember the “charge” is usually around a fear of loss in some way ie, loss of partner, loss of connection.
If you can see your partner through this new lens; past the behavior and into the sea of what the behavior invokes in you, you’ll be far better equipped to diminish the threats and de-escalate the conflict by not wasting time going round the details of the story.

The Challenge:

The next time your partner does something that irritates, angers or upsets you, before you launch a grenade, ponder for a moment what his/her action means about you, how he/she feels about you or the relationship.  If you look closely and honestly at your feelings/thoughts, you can then approach your partner from a heart-centered place. For example, instead of attacking him/her with, “I can’t believe you made me wait alone here in a restaurant for you again”, you may verbalize, “I feel really unimportant when you’re late.  It appears to me that you don’t care about me when this happens.” Wait for your partner’s response. What is often restored is the security and connection of the relationship – fundamentally what was misplaced all along.
In the end, approaching your partner from a “feeling place” will get better results. Additionally if you remember that we all seek safety and security in our relationships, you can better understand how even small perceived threats can be triggering for both partners.
Enjoy a fun video that illustrates above!

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