Quitting the Blame Game

Why is it so difficult to maintain a happy relationship?  Does it ever feel to you like you are on a roller coaster ride and when things are good, it is smooth sailing, but when things go bad, your stomach turns over and you feel like you are running downhill and just can't stop?

When things are great, they are great.  However, relationships need to be managed, not controlled.  When a couple can't "get over" the last fight or disappointments and resentments, the love starts to chip away.  Some people say they feel they are "walking on eggshells" with their partners or they act like a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality. Whatever you call it, it doesn't feel good and it makes you wonder if you can ever be happy with him/her again.

When you are feeling rejected, abandoned or dismissed, you are hurting and most people are not at their best to communicate and solve issues when they are coming from a place of pain and hurt.  What do most people do at this point?  What makes them feel better?   They start to blame each other for whatever is going wrong in the moment.

It is very normal to want to blame the other.  After all you are feeling hurt and want to hurt back.  My question for you is, "How effective is this, in solving the problem"?

Usually when one person blames the other, their partner will either blame back, become defensive, or withdraw.  None of these responses usually lead to a resolution.
What you need to ask yourself, once you calm down, is the question "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  Most people think they are right and invest a lot of time and energy in trying to convince their partner that they are right.
While feeling right feels very good in the moment, if the issue has not been resolved, you can be sure that a similar argument will occur in a few weeks or months.  If you are tired of walking on the treadmill and getting nowhere fast, it may be time to look for a different way of dealing with your disagreements.

In my e-book, "Discover the 3 Secrets to Living Happily Ever After" (to be released in April, 2009), I go into detail of how you need to communicate in order to understand your partner's  perspective as well as how you need to learn to communicate your needs in an effective non-confrontational way. This manner of communication will lead to a much more successful and harmonious resolution of the issues.

I will give you 3 tools right now for improving your communicating style with your partner.

  1. Ask yourself on a scale of 1 – 10, where are you right now?  With 0 being no patience, angry, ready to explode and 10 being, feeling calm, in control, and rationale. Where are you on the scale?  If you are a 4 or under, this is NOT the time to have a conversation with your partner.  It doesn't matter what words you choose, your tone will come through as angry and your partner will react by either becoming defensive, or withdrawing. Once you are on the scale of 5 or more, ask your partner when would be a good time for him or her to sit down and have a discussion. Make sure there are no distractions and each of you have the other's full attention.
  2. Telling your partner that you appreciate something about him/her will go a long way towards setting a positive tone for the evening.   Saying something like, "You know honey, I really appreciated you remembering to bring home the milk when I asked you", or "This was a great supper, honey, thanks.  I know you went to a lot of trouble to make it for me and the kids".  These comments are very effective when said with love and sincerity.   If you are feeling too angry to be able to say something positive to your partner, then you are also too angry to have any kind of serious discussion with him/her right now.
  3. The third tool I will give you is a question to ask yourself.  When you feel the need to criticize or argue about something, ask yourself, How important will this be to me in 5 years from now" Most of the things we argue about are trivial and  are more about control and needing to feel right, than an essential issue that will change the face of your relationship.

I hope these tips help you to bring more harmony into your relationship.  If you feel you need more one-on-one help to mediate the issues and to provide more tools and skills to improve the communication and active listening skills of your partner,  please feel free to contact me by e-mail or by phone.  I am also available for telephone counseling and use a toll-free service.

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