When Your Partner is not The Issue, Perhaps You Are

It was classic one finger pointing at my spouse, three pointing back at me.

The Problem

Man, I was pissed off. For the second time in a week, she changed plans. Then she decided she couldn’t meet me, as intended.  Damn, it was her idea in the first location.

She left me one of these voice text-memos. “Listen, I’m headed home. I want some time alone. I hope you will come by later.” I wasn’t even part of her choice.

And who feels the effect?

Speaking My Truth 

And then I thought, I want to tell her truth. This isn’t working for me. I really don’t feel like a priority for you.

She wants to know where I stand. I have been enjoying”flexible nice man” and it is not serving me. No more withholding.

Damn! Relationships are such a pain in the ass.

I begin recording a voice memo back to her.

“Hey babe, that did not work for me. For you to send me a voice memo and then go home. We had plans and besides… it does not feel right for me to now drive to you… and also…”

She said she wants some alone time. I don’t need to dump this on her today. I delete the voice memo.

I take a breath. Damn, I am jacked up.

I toss the telephone on a table. Shit, I do not know what to say to her. I pick up the telephone. I text a reply –“Got it. TTYL.”

I am proud of not escalating, making something from nothing. However, it is not nothing. Then, what is it?

I want some time. I am able to reply in one hour. Let her have her time. I want to determine what’s happening inside of me.

I tap in. It is clear to me. I’m angry.  And I know that under anger is frequently sadness.  I am sad, disappointed that I didn’t get an opportunity to see her.

I feel some more, I think, Did I tell her to call me before she made her choice? I believe it further. Shit, I did not. I advised her to come by or text me. I wasn’t very clear.

In actuality, I understand, I advised her to care for herself and allow me to know what she chose. I was being my classic, flexible nice man. A mask I have worn often previously. A pleaser, a caretaker…before my mad jerk shows up.

Wow! Instantly, my jacked-upness deflates, like hot air gushing out of a balloon. I feel relieved, humbled, and even proud for pausing and viewing things.  Old patterns die hard, but with work die nonetheless.

I was pissed off at myself for not advocating for what I wanted. And I was ready to dump it {} , in the guise of”speaking my truth.”

I laugh. What an great realization.   A large mistake to educate me, to not wear the wonderful man / mr. trendy”all great” mask. But instead, to talk for what I need — respectfully. Superior stuff. I smile.

The Debrief 

So, what’s the takeaway here?  Just how easy it is to project at our partner exactly what we’re avoiding in ourselves.  And what a superpower in order to do otherwise.

A couple of questions to ask yourself the next time you are in conflict.

  • What am I upset about?
  • Is it at myself for not behaving a particular way?
  • How would I do the interaction differently next time?

The point is that we can always do better.  Ultimately, our best powers lie in the way we appear, not in how we could alter or control our spouse.   Sure, we could create requests.

And… love yourself when you screw up.  The comparison is moping, beating yourself up, and then projecting it in your relationship.

Remember, each of us is fully responsible for the connection, not one another.

And finally, it is not conflict in relationship that is the issue, but one’s inability to take care of it skillfully.

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Previously Released on stuartmotola.com


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