- by Bonnie Bernell,
Many times, we are the only one
who can make us feel better, again. For a couple relationship
to be happy and stable, over time, though, EACH person must be
willing to look at themselves. Here are some ideas to help you
1. Learn about your own patterns of becoming overwhelmed
and remove yourself from situations where that is occurring.
Calm yourself and then resume your conversations. Talking when
flooded with feelings is usually useless, and often harmful.
2. The easiest, cheapest way to calm down, which
is always available, is to breathe. Breathe deeply pushing air
into your stomach without straining your chest and then slowly,
slowly blow the air out. Do this two or three times, at least.
3. Put your partner in perspective. Your partner
is a tender, wounded person as you are and sees things from her/his
own point of view. S/he has a right to his or her feelings and
thoughts. You do not need to see everything from that point of
view. Free yourself from that viewpoint and review how you see
4. Ask yourself what you have control over in the
situation and what is your business? Take care of your business
and learn to detach yourself from what you cannot change.
Often, you will find you are trying
to change your partner. He or she is really not someone you have
much control over. Look to your own business.
5. See if you are in a two choice dilemma--that
is, you want two things that are mutually exclusive, e.g. you
want your partner to do what you want and to feel perfectly free.
6. Continue to remember good things, generous, helpful,
and positive experiences you have had together.
7. Take a walk or do an activity you enjoy. Try
to experience the joy of it for yourself.
See if you can forget about your
partner and the hurt for a bit. This becomes a chance to see
the experience differently.
8. When you have taken a break from the problem,
go back and see if you can hear anything about what your partner
was feeling that could be a result of the manner in which you
9. While not using your partner's negative view
of you as the truth, see how you feel about what you did--are
you completely satisfied with your part of the exchange? Ask
if this was the best you? Were you feeling panic? blaming? or
using bad timing? Your intentions were probably good but you
may have expressed yourself in a way your partner saw as hurtful.
Remember we judge ourselves by our intentions; we judge our partners
by their behavior.
10. Try to hold two different points of view at once:
your partner's view of the situation and your own. They are each
valid. See if your tender parts got in the way of being close
to each other. These are the fears and defenses we all have and
need to learn about so they do not run us. They take time to
learn about and more time to change.
11. Give yourself compassionate understanding and
then see if you can also see your partner more compassionately.
12. Remember, as long as you stay angry at your partner,
you avoid looking at yourself.
13. Think about how your partner's style and yours
is different, and how misunderstandings result because of those
Copyright © 2001 by Bonnie
L. Bernell . All Rights Reserved.