You can’t change anyone but yourself and you will make yourself miserable when you try.
Your relationship is a hurtful cycle of conflict. You accept responsibility for your bad behavior that co-created an argument. He denies his malicious actions, saying YOU are the problem. You want to resolve the recurring conflict in your relationship. He wants to avoid confrontation and protect his fragile ego.
Or maybe it's you: You hyper-criticize, nag and castrate your boyfriend or husband, causing him withdraw and loose his affection for you.
Guys, flip the dialog.
Relationship conflict is a time for candid self-reflection. When hurtful words are exchanged with your boyfriend or husband, it’s important that you examine your thoughts and actions, the way you behave and the way you should behave, and the consequences of your own bad behavior.
Conflict is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship.
According to Stephen Covey, we should seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Translation: try to understand the other guy’s point of view or hurt feelings before you unload your grievances.
If you want to heal the discord in your relationship, you must put aside your anger and hurt and your immediate need for an apology from your partner and approach him with a sincere desire to resolve your differences. For the moment, his feelings are more important than yours and you listen with an open mind to his side of the dispute. You listen. You validate. You accept responsibility for YOUR actions that offended him—and you sincerely apologize.
The benefits for you in doing this are:
Identifying the negative patterns in your life and changing your bad behavior will gain you spurts of personal growth. Check!
Letting go of your anger, resentment and your need to control your partner empowers your spirit and bolsters your independence. Check!
Honestly confessing your hurtful behavior to your partner admonishes you of guilt and clears your conscience. Check!
Having a clear conscience strengthens your moral core and helps you more clearly evaluate the health of your relationship. Double-check!
Now—it’s your turn to be heard!
People with a strong moral conscience will work to iron out the misunderstandings in their relationship. They will fess up to their hurtful behavior and they will sincerely apologize to the person they have offended.
People who are prideful, morally weak and self-absorbed will do whatever it takes to avoid responsibility for their harmful actions to protect their vanity.
You put aside your pride and you apologize for your bad conduct that co-created the conflict in your relationship. Now, you expect him to belly up to plate for his unkind behavior. When he does, you have orchestrated a step towards having a healthy, mature relationship.
Sadly, your partner is notorious for denying his duplicitous, insensitive, toxic behavior. When you try to communicate your hurt feelings to him, he twists your words and he contradicts the truth to cover up his guilt. He twists your words and he makes flimsy excuses to manipulate you, discombobulate you and talk you out of your hurt feelings. He blames you and he tells you, you’re the one who is the problem. He denies his bad behavior, he denies your reality and he wounds you double-time.
You can't seem to make your partner understand how his bad behavior is steadily pushing you away and destroying your respect and love for him. Your get a sickening, sinking, hopeless feeling in the pit your stomach. You suppress your hurt feelings, you retreat to the spare bedroom, you pull the covers up to your chin and you're engulfed in your emotional pain. The next morning he feigns a “good morning” or he cooks dinner for you, or he offers to wash your car to placate you.
Acts of service without a heartfelt apology does NOT cancel out a person’s malicious, unkind behavior.
And he (she) goes on with his (her) life as if nothing ever happened, waiting for you to JUST get over it.
But you’re not going to get over it without his (her) contrite apology because your soul is hemorrhaging.
Girlfriend—is this how you want to live your life?
Conflict can’t survive if you refuse to participate.
It’s the longing, expectation and hope for your partner to change his (her) hurtful behavior that perpetuates your inner conflict, uncertainty and heartache.
Stop wasting your time trying to explain yourself to a man or woman who is committed to denying the truth about his (her) dastardly behavior.
If you want to diminish the effect your partner's hurtful behavior has on you, you MUST do these 3 things:
- Turn loose of the expectation that he (she) will change and you will dilute your inner conflict.
- Let go of your anger and resentment you have towards him (her) and you will restore your emotional stability.
- Make decisions about your life that are right for you—and not him (her)—and you will emotionally outgrow your dysfunctional partner.
Now go take care of business!
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A Breakthrough in Self-Esteem, Relationship Understanding and Personal Healing for Women
by Nancy Nichols
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