>Let’s unpack…

I promised to talk about what’s getting set off for you by your partner’s behavior, and then I got distracted. BAD Therapist! No cookie for me!!!

So you remember the 90/10 rule, right? (Go ahead, click the link, I know you don’t have all day to keep this stuff in your head – that’s why you have me!) The 90/10 rule means that you absolutely have a right to be pissed at your partner, because what they just did was definitely ignorant and/or selfish. That’s a given.

However, there is also definitely a reason why it pisses you off so much. That’s what we call ‘baggage’. Let’s unpack a little.

  • What needs do you have that are not being met by your partner? (i.e. – they never listen, they never follow through, they’re always distracted, etc.)
  • What feelings come up for you when you’re confronted with your partner’s behavior (i.e. – anger, frustration)
  • What does that feeling remind you of? Note: take your time on this one, we’re looking for something that you wouldn’t normally see – (i.e. a parent’s dismissiveness, a childhood bully’s ridicule, a traumatic event)
  • What feelings come up for you when you think of that ‘reminding’ event? (Again, take your time – be patient with yourself- this is not always an easy question. Usually more sensitive feelings arise here, like sadness, fear, anxiety, etc.)

Putting it all together: Would it be accurate to say that your feelings from the last question could also apply to the situation you started with? Does your partner’s withdrawal to their computer at night make you feel not only angry, but also sad and lonely? What stops you from sharing those feelings with your partner? (calmly, at a quiet time, of course…)

Very often, when deeper feelings are triggered by our partner’s current behavior, we sort of regress back to a more helpless time, like childhood, and forget what powerful adults we are. That’s why you can be a powerful CEO at work, but feel absolutely frozen in the presence of your partner’s negative behavior. There you go. Mystery solved.

Tell me what you think. I’m so very interested in you.