Relationships and conflict

Unfortunately, often the most natural and automatic response to a difficult situation is precisely the one that is not only ineffective but actually counterproductive. A simple example is when Mark, in a moment of frustration, says to John, “You never help around the house!” John is likely to respond, “Yes I do!” I cleaned out the whole garage last weekend.”This is a natural, quite reasonable. But it is not productive. If John could say, “You must be feeling extra frustrated right now. Is there anything I can do to help?” this wouldn’t be a natural response, but it would be far more effective and relationship enhancing. Mark’s original comment wasn’t effective either, of course. But he was feeling it right then, so he blurted it out. Quite normal and understandable.”

A love relationship works only when it empowers both partners to become more of their true selves, not less. Denying your needs to keep peace is one of the worst ways you can work alone to improve your relationship, and it is the most insidious, because it is, by definition, unconscious. (If you are aware of what you are denying, then you aren’t denying it!).


From Susan Page’s book “How one of you can bring the two of you together”

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