We expend so much energy in our relationships, trying to “communicate,” to “get our partner to understand us.”

We battle, we rage, we contradict.

We get offended at what they tell us about ourselves.

We try to tune them out.

But what if they’re right?

Peter Kramer reminds us that personal growth happens within relationships. I’ve been trying to understand What does he mean by this?

This is what I came up with this weekend:

If you’re in a long-term relationship, then:

  • Your partner knows you very well
  • S/he has spent tons of time observing your behavior and thinking about it
  • S/he has a different perspective on you than you do on yourself
  • S/he loves you!

These are powerful reasons to try and hear what your partner is trying to tell you!

I do also understand the limitations:

  • Your partner may be angry
  • S/he is not objective
  • S/he may be manipulating you (at various levels of consciousness)

But, still…their messages are worth regarding. If you can!

It is extremely difficult to process unflattering messages about oneself.  Cognitive dissonance immediately kicks in and the mind automatically begins rationalizing the message and deflecting it:

  • I’m not flawed, you are!
  • I don’t need to change; you need to quit nagging!
  • You just don’t understand me.
  • You’re always so negative and unsupportive….

And so on…!

And yet, the very fact that what your partner says makes you flinch, is a sign that they’re on to something true. Here’s Steven Pinker in How The Mind Works:

Sometimes we have glimpses of our own self-deception. When does a negative remark sting, cut deep, hit a nerve? When some part of us knows it is true. If every part knew it was true, the remark would not sting; it would be old news. If no part thought it was true, the remark would roll off; we could dismiss it as false.

Here’s a notion that’s both unnerving and stunning:

  • In certain ways your partner knows you better than you know yourself…
  • And sees your weaknesses and flaws more clearly than you do…
  • And still loves and cherishes you!

So maybe it’s time to listen?

To be continued…..

photo of rebuilding at Ground Zero, The Freedom Tower under construction.

Good Music for a Good Cause: UFO’s album, Unity Creates Strength, benefits Chile and Haiti.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 1 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (April 19, 2010)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (April 19, 2010)






    Last reviewed: 29 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Cousins, L. (2010). What If Your Partner Is Right About You?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/always-learning/2010/04/what-if-your-partner-is-right-about-you/

 

Always
Learning


Archives



Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed


Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



School
Resources

 

Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed


Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Recent Comments
  • Dad of 5: Where you say “Nor should we expect to go to math class, listen one time, and immediately “get it.”...
  • MsJustice: what about kids/young adults that have a mental illness? Does this apply to them too? I have a son who is...
  • Joe: Is there perfect empathy? No, but this is not a binary, all-or-nothing thing. I agree it’s a definition...
  • One KP: I do agree with you Colleen, it is a definition problem we have here. Also the other challenge we are faced...
  • Bette: There are some things in life we must memorize. My concern with the Common Core principles is that the most...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!