>It’s not about the toothpaste.

You’re staring at your partner’s toothbrush, resting comfortably on its spot above the sink, dripping creamy white froth onto your shiny faucet. Drip. Drip. Driiiiiip… You have asked them to rinse it about Forty. Billion. Times… Each drip raises your anger to a new level until you are moved to storm down the hallway and screech horribly, “WHY DID YOU EVEN MARRY ME IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!??!” True story. Embellished just a little.

It’s true that something huge, like an affair or a betrayal, can come up and smack the hell out of your relationship, but more often than not, I see people like the couple described above – the little things scrape, scrape, scraping away at your relationship, until you’ve hit the very last nerve and there’s nowhere else to go. Of course it’s not about the toothpaste. But there is clearly a message in that toothpaste that is setting off all KINDS of triggers – likely about not feeling heard, or respected in some way. To make it worse, if you felt that way as a kid, especially with a parent or caregiver, that stuff all comes up in the moment with the toothbrush – And where do you put it? Your partner becomes the target of all of that emotion, projectile vomiting directly from you. And when they can’t respond to your pain, you become even angrier. You know where it goes from there.

So here’s the thing. Your partner can help you heal from those feelings, that’s why you chose them; but you both need to understand what feelings you’re setting off for each other, so that you can respond without setting off world war three in your bathroom. If you feel like you’re always doing something wrong, or that your spouse is always screwing up, maybe there are one or two issues being triggered?

In my next post, I want to talk more about what’s getting set off for YOU – by your partner! Please post a comment below if there’s something specific that’s been bothering you, and I’ll do my best to address it.




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