Is your partner saying that it’s hard to talk to you because you –
- Turn into your mom or dad?
- Become a different person when you cross the bridge going to your parent’s home?
- Take on the tone of a “critical parent”?
- Go into attack mode when you feel threatened?
- Cower when you feel threatened?
Give your partner the benefit of the doubt if he/she is saying that it can be hard to talk with you. You mind works like a computer during a conversation. It goes on a search looking for a response to what your partner is saying. It can only respond with the information it has. The information your mind has is the information it unconsciously absorbed and the information you deliberately learned. Consider what your life has been like and how you’ve responded.
If you’ve been told that you’re acting like your mom or dad, ask yourself if it’s true. It wouldn’t be unusual if you are. You and I live with our parents during the most impressionable period of our lives. It’s not unusual for a child to internalize a critical parent and become critical in adulthood. And, if a parent blew up it wouldn’t be uncommon for the child to grow and do the same thing. Neither would it be uncommon to feel weak if a child grew up with weakness.
Along with what you know to be true as an adult, there can be another part of you that’s uncertain about your place in the world; uncertain about how you’re being accepted and treated. So, when you communicate with your partner, he/she is going to pick up on whether there’s been a change. You can be an adult and feel like a child and act like a child. Sometimes difficult experiences are dissociated.
For example, have you ever felt that you have an inner childish part of yourself that acts like a –
- “Critical parent” who wants perfection in you and your partner?
- Childish defensive guard when you feel attacked?
- Weak child who retreats and hides when you feel threatened?
- Distrustful child who wants proof your partner can be trusted?
Effective communication calls for you to become an expert on yourself. Your partner is an outside source of information. Think about what he/she is observing. Does a part of you need more understanding and comfort? Does a part of you need to grow up? Your partner may have seemed to offer you the love, attention, and security you craved and then disappointed you. You may sense your partner failing you as others have. But, is this the truth?
Your partner needs to be able to tell you the truth without your overreacting. Problems created by neglect, abuse, and combat can be difficult to resolve, but the brain can recognize that this is now and not yesterday. Triggers can be understood and worked with, habits can be changed, pain can be expressed, comfort can be given, and humility can be learned. “You may be right,” are freeing words. Our faults are heavy, burdensome baggage that we can gratefully let go of.
Relaxation exercises, meditation, Yoga, contemplation, praying the rosary, praying the Jesus prayer, and hypnosis all seem to calm the brain’s alarm center and activate the executive part of the brain.
Solitude and contemplation allow you to more easily observe what your body and mind are doing, what others are doing, and what’s occurring around you. As a result, you can respond more realistically and creatively. Intense issues can be difficult to resolve by yourself. Consider therapy and hypnotherapy.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions. I always look forward to hearing from you. Next article: “What Do Mean? I’m a Great Partner!”