4 thoughts on “The key to successful relationships: Intolerance

  • July 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

    “blaming your partner for how you feel”
    People definitely look to others as the causes of their own emotions way too often. But it is a powerful influence, especially with someone in a close relationship.

    I’m for teaching people to develop greater emotional self-sufficiency and not passively drift with whatever outside stimuli one happens to be bombarded with.

    But if we as a culture don’t accept that it is possible to cause feelings in others, the concepts of emotional abuse/mental cruelty and many forms of harassment would be difficult to maintain.

    I’m afraid that taken too far, the principle of no one being responsible for anyone else’s feelings could lead to a much more harsh, abusive environment.
    “He’s tired and upset . . . he didn’t mean what he said.”

    “She was triggered by memories from her family of origin, and can’t help how she reacts.”

    “He’s doing the best he can do.”

    But aren’t these explanations sometimes reasonable? Problems come when the behavior happens all the time, but it’s treated like some kind of exception over and over.

    • July 2, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      Edward, thanks for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I agree, anything can be taken too far. We would never want to suggest that if a person is truly a victim they are responsible for being abused. Not at all. There are victims in the world, but in general, the vast majority of adults are not victims so we invite them to take responsibility for their emotions. We do this by teaching a new way to use language.

      Instead of saying, “She frustrated me.” We use ReSpeak to say, “I frustrate myself.” Instead of saying, “Your response disappoints me,” we would say, “I disappoint myself when I read your response.” (Just so you know, that’s not the case. I appreciate your response).

      Our point is that too often we hold other people responsible for how we feel. And too often people make excuses for their own behavior. We are encouraging people to set the bar higher and not settle for mediocrity within themselves or their partners.

  • July 3, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Thanks for the clarification. Yea, expectations are a big part of negative emotions. We set up unrealistic expectations and get upset over completely normal events like they are some kind of disaster. And then there’s the whole issue of reading all kinds of arbitrary things based on our own feelings into other people’s words or actions and assuming with no evidence that they are insults directed at us.

    • July 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

      In the world of Reology we believe that people’s comments, even their insults, are not statements or accusations about us——but rather the speaker telling us about him or her. If we hear them in this way then we are less likely to be reactive. Instead, we can try to understand their experience without taking it personally.


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