What would be the first reaction you have?
More than likely it would be nearly the same reaction as anytime you’re about to get into a disagreement of this type. You know, when he does something without telling you and you feel like you should have been informed or better yet, consulted.
Patterns rule our world…
It is through patterns of emotion that we react and deal with things in our lives. We use the same emotions over and over again because we’ve built a pattern of use that protects us, helps us cope, and gives us some level of comfort in knowing what comes next. And it is THESE patterns that will keep you confined to a cage of limits to how you can deal with situations.
It is the pattern you default to that limits your ability to see new courses of action to take in your relationship. Why? Because you can only react the way your know-how.
In fact, you probably don’t even know you do it. If you don’t know you do it, you can’t have control over it. And if you don’t have control over it, then your default emotion and reactions run you, you DON’T run them.
Which can be a problem when you’re in a long-term relationship.
Consider that these problems, that you react to in the same way over and over again can cause you massive amounts of stress. And that could lead to more problems in the relationship, more stress, and even depression.
Where does stress come from?
Stress is created when your view of the world, your view of how your relationship should go, is NOT being met. You have a standard or expectation of how things in your relationship should go. And if they don’t go that way, you default to the emotion and reaction for that situation.
Of course, that doesn’t do anything to progress your relationship or the situation forward. In fact, it may cause it to get worse. You’re reacting to everything and never gain an upper hand because you’re falling into a default way of being with your partner.
When those issues don’t go away and you continue this cycle it impacts you both emotionally and physically. And that compounds matters.
The true impact of your relationships?
Our relationships magnify our emotions and impact every other aspect of our lives. If your relationships at home are problematic, they will impact work. If your relationships at work are problematic they will affect your home life.
Think about times you’ve had a fight with your spouse and left the house in disgust. You may have found yourself in a foul mood on the way to work to arrive even worse than when you left the house. You might even confide in your “girlfriends” at work who will side with your view just because they are your friends.
“How could he do such a thing.”
“He could learn a thing or two.”
All of these comments fuel your anger and you end up taking it out on one of the men in your office. It all continues to escalate unless it’s handled sooner rather than later. I would even bet you take your anger out on your kids if you have any. They’re in your face, constantly wanting something… and you yell at them. They just want to do what kids do and play.
But where does all this come from and how do you break free?
You lose every ounce of power you have when you react in your default emotion or reaction. Consider that you give your power away to your past that has you be the way you are. I’ll explain more about the past in just a minute but for now, I’m sure you’ll agree that you do lose your power in these situations.
You’re not in control. I bet that when you have a problem or an event takes place that doesn’t go the way you think it should, you blame something or someone. You might blame the event for causing you to get upset. You may blame your partner for causing you to “get that way”. But you rarely if ever take responsibility for how you react.
How could you? You think it’s some external force causing you to be a certain way.
The problem is that when you blame something and you DO NOT take responsibility for your actions, reactions, and emotions you are at the effect of life. And when you are at the effect of life you lose all the power in your relationship. You essentially hand it to whoever will take it, push your button, or cause you to react.
That’s no way to live life. But it’s how we all have done it for so long. Until you get responsible.
Hang with me a few more minutes and you’ll get what I’m talking about.
Regain your power!
Consider that the common “thing” in every upset, problem, or negative reaction you have is YOU. And it is YOU who needs to take responsibility for your actions.
You see, no one can push your arm, leg, or knuckle and cause you to be mad, sad, or unhappy. What typically happens is… something happens, you make it mean something, and react to the meaning.
Once you see that it is the meaning that triggers certain emotions, you can take control back. Once you become aware of this meaning, identify where it comes from, you can now choose whether you’re going to get upset or take a different action. Your partner isn’t in your head pushing buttons making you be a certain way. You’re reacting to something he did and the meaning you assigned it.
Once you begin to see that you do have the control you can regain your power over every relationship situation. You get to choose what you get mad at and what you don’t. But you are no longer at the effect of life. Now you get to choose when you act and when you don’t.
And that gives you the tool to work things out, talk things out, and deal with the issues instead of getting upset and moving into your default emotion. You are now equipped to handle problems quickly and easily.
So how exactly do you deal with a problem?
First, take responsibility for your own emotions and reactions. “He” didn’t MAKE you do anything. He did what he did and you made it mean something that caused you to unconsciously react. Now that you know you do that, you can take responsibility for your reactions and emotions.
Now you can get them under control and confront him without the emotions that hold the conversation back. You may find your conversation with him now is empowered by who you are being in the situation. You may find that he respects you more for talking to him in a civil tone rather than reacting to how you’ve always done.
By doing this you will gain a level of power with yourself that transcends the relationship and transforms it into something you never thought possible until now.
Change your relationship and change your life…
Here are the steps you can take to improve your relationship, take responsibility for your emotions and reactions, and move your relationship and life to another level on the playing field.
- Identify one default behavior you do when you get upset with your partner.
- Look at what he did and find out what that action or event means to you. (Be honest here, you can only make progress if you’re brutally honest with yourself.)
- When did you first give that type of event meaning?
- It’s just an event, can you give it up and take responsibility for your own emotions and reactions?
- Now be fully aware of when you’re about to react to an event. Go through the process and just be with it. Don’t react.
- Now you’ve got control and can choose the emotion you want to use to discuss the situation with your partner.
Is it really that easy?
Yes. And it does take practice.
Consider you and I are meaning-making machines who give meaning and react with emotion any chance we get. And it didn’t just start. We’ve been doing it since we were children. And we’ve carried that along with us every step of the way.
So stay tuned for the next post. In the meantime, drop us an email or leave a comment. Let us know how things are going for you.
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