O.K., your partner looks unhappy, withdrawn or tense. You immediately think: "It must be me....what did I do? Why is he or she upset with me?"
It's so natural to assume that whatever is going on with your partner has something to do with you. But, what if has nothing to do with you?
Remember, most of us are not mind readers.
So, you may say, "Are you angry?" Did I do something to upset you?"
Notice that this type of questioning invites a "no," "yes," or "I don't know" type of answer. That's a dead end in your communication. (Try to avoid "Yes/No" questions.)
What if you could turn this moment into an incredibly supportive and loving experience for you both...just by asking the right questions?
Some years ago, I was in the car with Orv. He looked tense and angry. I thought, "Uh oh, what did I do?" But I didn't say that.
Instead I used two of the powerful questions I'm going to teach you.
I said, "Honey, what's going on with you right now? What are you feeling?"
He replied that the computer had left him feeling frustrated.
Phew! It wasn't about me.
Then I asked, "How can I support you? What do you need from me right now?"
His reply was, "Just your smile."
I could do that! And I did!
In an emotional conversation, you need information in order to act appropriately. And, in asking these four powerful questions, you put the ball squarely in your partner's court. You enable them to look inside, see what's going on with themselves, and then tell you exactly what they need in the moment.
That's real empowerment, and once you know what they need, you can give them exactly that!
In other words, never assume that you know what is best for your partner. That will probably lead to crash and burn!
Oh, and don't worry if you get the famous "I don't know."
Just tell your partner, "O.K., when you do know, come and get me. I'm here for you!"
(Quite often they do know, but are afraid to ask for what they want.)
So, here are the FOUR GREATEST QUESTIONS you can ask if your partner looks like he or she is upset, withdrawn or angry.
1. What are you feeling?
2. What's going on with you right now?
Then, when you get an answer…
3. How can I support you?
4. What do you need from me right now?
You don't have to ask all the questions. You can choose which feels the most comfortable in the moment.
(This technique is especially helpful for you men, because you don't have to figure out how to "fix" anything!)
Try it...see how it works. It may feel strange or awkward in the beginning because it's a new way of doing things.
Make sure to ask if it's a good time to talk to your partner and keep eye contact. Ask in a loving way, with real concern.
I think you'll be happily amazed at the results you both will get!
Do you find yourself feeling hurt, angry or distant when your partner behaves in a certain way? Do you blame or criticize him or her for the way you were treated?
It must be their fault!
If only they would see your intentions were innocent.
Perhaps it's time to ask yourselves our master question,
"HOW DID I GET HIM/HER TO DO THAT TO ME.?"
That's right...that's were the gold is.
What in your behavior evoked that response?
What did you do to trigger your partner?
(You should see the look of confusion and bewilderment on our clients' faces when we ask them our master question.)
Perhaps you've heard the description of pointing your finger at someone, only to realize that three fingers were pointing back at you.
What has happened is that you were really innocent, doing what is automatic behavior for for you...following your life scripts.
We really never intentionally set out to ruin our partner's day, do we?
(And if you do, please seek out some professional help.)
But it happens...
including Orv and me.
The good news for us is that we recognize it, look to our own part in the disconnect,
and reconnect quickly back to love and support.
Now here is some really important news...
When we feel attacked or criticized,
As human mammals, we have two deeply automatic choices:
Fight or flight!
When we feel bad, we either retreat, stuff our feelings, only to later explode,
Or get into a fight and blame our partner.
So, before you criticize or blame your partner,
Ask yourself our master question:
What did I do to make him or her do that to me?
Oh yes, it really really helps to speak out loud to your partner
what you realized about yourself and your part in the transaction.
Commit out loud to being more aware in the future,
Keep eye contact, hold hands if possible.
You will be amazed at how much love you both will feel
And how connected you are.
And, isn't that what we all really want?
When we think of "Rescue," we imagine saving a loved from from eminent danger, like a fire or a rushing car! These are authentic rescues.
However, an Emotional Rescue is different.
It's a form of care-taking, a very insidious one, because it looks like love.
In the Emotional Rescue, there is always someone who is afraid to speak their truth.
The reason this form of rescue is dangerous is that it almost always looks like LOVE.
Here are some tell tale phrases:
"I was only trying to help."
"I didn't think he/she could handle the truth."
"I didn't want to hurt his/her feelings."
"I don't want to upset him/her...it's only a little thing."
It's better to keep the peace and let it go."
And, "I didn't really want to do that, but I did it out of obligation."
Of course, you get the idea. The person speaking is withholding their true feelings out of fear of repercussion. We call them the "Rescuer."
Their strategy renders the other powerless, stupid, and unable to act best in their own behalf.
We call them the "Victim."
The victim will often feel the power imbalance, feel hurt and angry, and will end up persecuting the Rescuer, sometimes on an unconscious level.
Study the triangle below on the left...it is often called the "drama triangle. We think it could be a circle as the positions are so fluid.
This an anatomy of a fight.
What are your "favorite rescues?"
We certainly have ours!
Become aware of them and see if you can stop them before they start.
Re-read the definition of "Rescue."
Allow your partner or friend the dignity of coming to their own solutions and solving their own mistakes.
Either wait to be asked for help or...
ask permission before giving advice or jumping in to take over.
Rescue is actually a kinky form of control, a one up/one down situation, in which no one is a powerful equal in the relationship.
CLUE: If you are Rescuing or being Rescued, a tell tale physical sign is what we call a "little glitch of resentment in your chest."
Pay attention, become aware of rescues, and head them off at the pass.
You will be well on your way to
"Creating Love That Lasts!"
what is one of the greatest blocks to a loving relationship?
Stay tuned for our answer! It's not what you might expect...and, there are no wrong answers!
THOUGHTS OR FEELINGS?
What is the Difference?
Why does it matter?
Hot Tip # 2!
What is the difference between a
thought and a feeling?
Why is this so important in good communication and a healthy relationship?
In our years of practice, we've found many people think they are sharing their feelings when they're really sharing a thought, which often results in the listener feeling attacked and defensive.
We'd love to hear your responses to our question.
Remember, there are no wrong answers.
Please go to our comment box below, and fill in the comment box with your answer
During the Holiday Season, many couples and singles feel stressed, overwhelmed or alone and depressed.
We understand. There are so many societal "rules" about how one should "Feel, Be and Do."
For you couples out there and close to us, take time to put yourselves first.
Understand that "obligations" are not "have to's." Negotiate win/wins for each of you.
If you are visiting relatives (Yarghhhhh.....can be sticky) have an escape route planned if either of you feels uncomfortable.
Remember, you don't have to go into debt to express love and caring. Find creative ways to tell your loved ones how important they are in your life.
For singles, or those who feel alone, there are alternatives. Ask to join friends...volunteer at a food bank or an organization that feeds the hungry.
Again, Society tells us how to feel.
These are "Emotionally Loaded" times.
We are already overloaded with television advertisements telling us how we
should feel, do and be."
Take time for you,
treat yourself as the special loving person that you are.
Or...if you need one on one support, you can call us for a private session, either in person, on the phone or Skype.
We'd love to be here for you whenever you need us.
WE JUST CAN'T COMMUNICATE!
Have you ever heard this phrase or even said it to your partner?
In my 34 years of working with couples, I've heard it thousands of times. It's one of the most frustrating issues couples struggle with, and there's a great of truth to what they're saying.
Did you ever stop to think that women and men do, indeed, speak very different languages! Both sexes think we understand what the other is saying, but do we really??
Have you ever traveled to a country and didn't understand the "foreign language" very well? I believe this is a regular occurrence between men and women. After all, we're both speaking English aren't we? My answer is, well, yes and no. I believe we do speak English and men and women both have their own versions that I call "Women-ese" and "Man-ese". Most of the clients Maeve and I have worked with have not realized that there is, in fact, a difference.
I'll give you a simple example. Since many woman are trained not to ask for what they want, they will suggest or ask “around” a request, to avoid being turned down. For example, a woman might say to her man, "Wouldn't it be nice if the window was closed?” Now the man will hear the question and think he's responding to her question by saying, "Yes, that would be great." The woman may feel unheard or ignored since she was actually trying to ask her man to close the window for her. If she asked another woman, in the same way, the other woman would have understood and immediately closed the window.
What I really need from Maeve is a clear, direct and loving request so that I can give her exactly what she wants. I go nuts when I can’t figure out how to please her, if she’s not asking for exactly what she wants.
Man-ese is hard for Maeve to understand when she's helping me with a construction project. She's holding a bolt that I want her to insert into two boards that I'm holding, with the holes aligned for the bolt. I'll say, "OK, put the thing in the thing." Most men would know exactly what to do, but Maeve looks at me with this perplexed look on her face and most likely will say, "What do you mean?" It was clear to me and probably most other men, but I didn't communicate in a way that made sense to her. I think visually and figure she will do the same.
Want to learn a new language? Maeve and I are master communicators and can give you simple tools to learn each other's language so you'll be able to communicate to each other with whole new levels of understanding, connection and intimacy.
LISTENING WITH LOVE
Can you imagine sitting still, quieting your mind, making eye contact and really listening with your whole being to what is being said? Can you imagine not creating a defense or a “come back” in your mind while you listen?
Can you imagine what you will hear, under and around "the words"?
Can you hear the entire, or Meta-Communication, where we said that words are only 10-15% of the whole communication? Tone, volume and body language make up the greatest part of what is really being said.
When we slow down, quiet our minds, let our eyes connect with our partner's eyes and listen deeply, we can finally hear the entire communication, especially the feelings. And then, there is room for true understanding, compassion and validation.
We believe that the best communication starts with the intention to really understand and be understood. It begins with listening with LOVE..
When I'm bare footing I feel safe and comfortable because I know, after years, I trust my driver and beloved wife, Maeve. She knows exactly how to drive to keep me "in the groove."
Building trust in relationship is every bit as important and, indeed, fragile.
Trust is a function of time. It takes time to build trust! This is especially true if trust has been broken and one's heart is hurt or angry.
Rebuilding trust is simple, but often, not easy. The key to trust building is repeating the required new action or behavior over and over until your partner feels safe and comfortable enough to let his or her emotional guard down. Only then can new trust be established.
I'm often asked, "Well, how long will it take?" My answer is, "It will take as long as it takes!" There is no magical time frame. I wish there was!
I believe we all want to be seen at our deepest emotional and spiritual levels. We all need to know we'll be safe from betrayal and pain. Trust is truly Fragile!
The greatest GIFT OF LOVE you can give a beloved
is YOUR TRUTH in the moment..
It takes a "warrior of the heart" to risk telling your most intimate truth.
Yet, it is the way to deepest heart connection and emotional intimacy.
There is an art to sharing your vulnerable truth.
Stay in your heart, and use "I feel" and "I want" statements.
Avoid saying what you don't want.
Your beloved is then empowered to give you what you want...they can't give you what you don't want.
Yet I can't tell you how many times we hear clients spend precious time
telling their partners what they don't want.
We watch the listening partner shrink, withdraw and "go down'."
And, when they hear the TRUTH of what is wanted, they light up, their faces relax
and connection happens.
Try it...hold hands, connect with your eyes and tell your truth.
"I want...more time with you...your attention...understanding...more touch..."
What do YOU WANT right now?
What is your truth in this very moment?
Maeve and Orv Fry
WHO ARE MAEVE & ORV FRY?