The Soft Start Up-Part 1. Most of us know that it is not easy to start a conversation about something that is concerning us in our relationship. Over the next several weeks i will be addressing this issue and how to heighten the success of conversations about challenges between partners.
This week-Give the benefit of the doubt. Yes, you have told your partner both nicely and angrily what is bothering you many times before but he/she just doesn't get it, doesn't care, is hostile to you, is self centered etc. Even if this is true, approaching your partner by giving the benefit of the doubt can create an easier entrance into difficult issues. "I know this is an area we have talked about before and is obviously more important to me than you but i would like you to hear me out and consider my request even though it may be challenging for you." This is indeed hard to do if you have many angry feelings about not being heard but in fact whatever you are asking may be very difficult for your partner to do for some reason(conscious or unconscious) that is not clear to either of you. Try to keep in mind that the most important part of this contact is staying in process with your partner about your concern and not shaming her/him, or laying on the guilt, or character assassination("you are just so selfish"). Even if you don't get what you want immediately, you may find change coming shortly afterwards when your partner has had some time to think about your needs and is not busily defending his/her own position because you have not attacked her/him.
Part 2-Self Soothing-next week