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Are You An Expert In Your Relationship?

What image of ourselves do we let other people see? If we are honest, most of us would admit that throughout the day we wear many different faces or masks that we show to the world outside of ourselves.

Most of the time our faces and masks are innocent enough. Making pretend does not usually cause us or others any harm.   

Wait a minute. We need to correct that. If, let’s say, we pretend or believe ourselves to be an expert on a subject when all we really have are strong opinions about an issue, innocent or vulnerable people who take our advice can be hurt.  Having a strong opinion or a booming presence does not make what we say the opinion of an expert. Neither does someone calling us an expert make us into one! We will stop there because neither one of us is really sure how to define expert…  

What we are sure of however, is that neither of us ever get to have an expert opinion about what is causing our relationship stress, or what the absolute best solution is in any given situation. Acting like “the expert” in close family and romantic relationships will almost certainly hurt the people we love. This is important for couple’s to understand. The mask of “expert” in a relationship is dangerous because the faces or masks we wear with loved ones usually (not occasionally) cause us significant problems.  

“The Expert” mask will typically masquerade around by using one or both of these two distinguished names:

  1. “I. M. Right”
  2. “U. R. Wrong.”

When we allow the voice behind this face to speak for us as if we are right and the other person is wrong there is going to be a problem in our relationship.  

The truth is that the real reason we employ these “expert” faces is because we are afraid of losing an argument, or worse still, because our very beliefs, sometimes as thin as reeds, are being questioned.

Neither I. M. Right or U. R. Wrong can hear what our partner is trying to say. Ever. This refusal to be wrong damages both our spirits. We cannot force our truth on our partner. They must be willing to receive what we give with an open heart. Ask the God of your understanding to help you see the basic motive for wanting or needing to be right, and that your truth may not be your partner’s truth.  

Are You An Expert In Your Relationship?

John and Elaine Leadem

John and Elaine Leadem are licensed clinical social workers whose combined investment in the field of addiction treatment spans more than sixty years. Their commitment to helping recovering families has provided the core inspiration for the development of a "A Decision to Be IN Love"© which has helped many couples move from the traditional parallel model of recovery to strong united core support group. They are both certified Sex Addiction Therapist and have co-developed a model for treating couples during the crisis stage of recovery. In addition to being the co-directors of Leadem Counseling & Consulting Services, Elaine and John are seasoned therapeutic retreat leaders in working with recovering couples. As a team they have thus far co-authored three books:

In addition, John and Elaine are in the final stages of publishing their two latest masterpieces: Raising the Bottoms: A guide to training professional interventionists, and A Decision to Be IN Love: A therapist guide to treating couples recovering from addiction.

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APA Reference
Leadem, J. (2017). Are You An Expert In Your Relationship?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 17, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/couples/2017/04/are-you-an-expert-in-your-relationship/


Last updated: 27 Apr 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Apr 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.