>I wouldn’t nag if you would just listen to me!

Do you keep pursuing no matter what?

Enough with Charlie Sheen. Frankly, if he weren’t getting so much negative attention, he might have a second to breathe and consider whether his actions are actually helpful to him or not.

How often do YOU consider the helpfulness of YOUR actions? Are you, like so many of us, stuck in a relationship pattern that seems to have a life of its own? In the next two weeks, I’m going to address a few of the typical cycles and suggestions about how to break the pattern. Keep coming back to see if yours is one of them!

Pursue/Escape: The Pursuer typically expends a LOT of energy repeating themselves or yelling at their partner, or some combination of both. The Pursuer complains that their partner “doesn’t listen”, so they yell louder/repeat more until they’re nagging. The Escapist can’t get a word in edgewise, so they defend themselves by looking for the nearest escape route. This can mean physically leaving the room, or mentally shutting out the Pursuer.

The Pursuer can break this pattern by asking their partner, nicely, to engage in a conversation about the topic of concern, and ask their partner what they think about it. Be prepared for the Escapist to be reluctant to respond, as they may be thrown off by the sudden change in your approach. They may even wonder if it’s a trap.

The Escapist can change this pattern by intervening, ideally by calmly stating, “I’d like to respond to you,” until the Pursuer hears them and shuts up long enough to allow an actual response. The Escapist can use those precious moments to say, “I think what you are saying is important, but when you yell or nag at me, I can’t hear what you’re actually saying, it all just runs together.” Or something like that. Use the words that make sense for you. If you’re in a relationship with a Pursuer who doesn’t give you a moment to intervene, try standing on your head; I’m sure it will make the Pursuer take a moment to ask you what the ‘heck’ you’re doing.

Thursday: Help! We BOTH need to be right!


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