Saturday, November 07, 2009

It takes work. No really.

This article doesn't really tell me, or probably most of us anything new but there were a few good tidbits. I am well aware that relationships, all of them including our friends and family, take work. There is no coasting through, there is little or no mind reading. It's also true that we tend to partner with people who remind us of our parents. I know I have. My last three major relationships definitely mirrored my three parents in good and not so good ways. It is my hope that now that I have gone through those archetypes in some major ways, that perhaps I am largely done processing my past in that fashion.

There was an interesting point made about what we do as we flail against our disappointment. The author suggests that we hurt ourselves as well as our partner as we go down a path of ineffective strategies:
  • Being right
  • Controlling their partner.
  • Unbridled self-expression
  • Retaliation
  • Withdrawing
Wow. I don't think I have done much to control a partner, but perhaps I am deluding myself, nor am I into retaliation. However, sigh, being right? Withdrawing? Check and check. Not being heard, or my perception of that I have not been heard, is a hot button for me. Like the size of Texas. I hold onto my being right like a shield in battle; it is my amulet against being misunderstood.

The most of rules that Real lays out are simple but not always easy in the heat of the moment. I love the first suggestion which is to go after what you want, but check in with yourself first to ask yourself what you really want in that moment. Simple and absolutely brilliant. Of course I love the suggestion to make positive statements rather than complaints. It's all about reframing. A friend used to refer to me as the Queen of Reframe. Listening and responding generously I can do. Sometimes. There are times when I am less than generous in truth. It is something I keep striving to improve on. To me it sounds a bit trite, simplistic even to suggest that one is anger because they are trying to control something and it's not cooperating. I do understand that could be what's going on, but having been angry for reasons beyond trying to control something or, let's get real, someone. Yes letting go of trying to control some things is important for one's happiness and sanity but it is not the only place anger stems from (of course if I were willing to take his course for $3400 {per couple} I might get a better answer than the one in a quick article found on the web). The last "rule" is to keep one's eye on the prize, the prize being the relationship that is worth working on and for, rather than being quick to think leaving is an option.

There are no fast and easy answers, and this article certainly has limitations but it has a few useful suggestions but I can't say I would buy his book or cd; as far as taking one of his programs, um, no thanks. Clearly this is a topic I have been giving a lot of thought in the last 12-15 months but the work is always ongoing. So far BC and I have been doing pretty well at following the suggestions in the article. My hope is that we can keep doing the things that work, figure out new ideas for the things that don't, and be willing to seek help rather than be miserable or walk.

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