Save Your Relationship AND Yourself
“Maybe in my next life I’ll have a relationship that I can speak up in.”
“I don’t want to say anything because he’ll shut down and walk away.”
“It’s too hard to talk about – leaving is just easier.”
These are all things right out of my clients’ mouths. Maybe you can relate?
Do you suffer in silence rather than speak honestly, thereby avoiding the risk that your partner might get upset, shut down, or leave?
I want you to think about this logically for a moment. To avoid having your partner be upset or leave, you’ll be upset or leave without giving your partner a chance to respond. Hmm…
The relationship is already dead or dying because of your own lack of honesty.
I understand that, as a woman, you may have been taught to NOT speak your truth, meaning what you really think, feel and want. Instead, you may have been taught to tell people what you think they want to hear, or what you think you should be feeling or wanting.
What a terrible mistake! Not only is this a relationship killer, it’s deadly to you, too.
If this is you, you’re not alone. When I first got together with Susan I stuffed a whole bunch of things that I was unhappy about, things that I didn’t like or things that I didn’t want. I thought a good relationship was one where everything was smooth.
It’s how I survived growing up. When I was honest about how I felt with my dad, I got yelled at or hit. When I was honest with my sister, she’d go away and sulk. Note to self: don’t do that. It hurts. Instead, say and do what they want so they’ll be happy.
In other words, I’ll take the hit to keep the relationship smooth.
Yes, my survival strategy worked as a seven-year-old, but now, I’m frickin’ 53 years old! I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself – even if Susan is mad at me or leaves. Sure, it may hurt, but I can tolerate Susan’s reaction. It’s only the little kid inside me that thinks I can’t.
I help my clients identify and take care of that little girl inside. Then we work on the grown-up part, learning skills to help her mitigate the effect of a partner’s reaction. As a result, her little one feels taken care, and she feels strong and empowered to speak up.
You may be thinking, “Why should I bother being honest? I know how he’s going to react. He does it every time.”
You may not realize just how patronizing and disrespectful that statement is. Sure, you may have evidence that it’s happened 10 or 100 times before, but you’re not giving your partner a chance to hear you and possibly respond differently.
Have you ever thought, it may be how you’re having the conversation that may not be working?
The biggest mistake I see clients make is blaming their partner for why they are upset. Sure, maybe he’s doing something that’s bugging you, yet, there’s a way to say it so you’re taking ownership rather than blaming him or her.
The key is to talk about yourself. Why’s this something is so important to you. When he does something, talk about the impact inside of you. Reveal how you truly feel, but don’t try to change him.
Or you can choose to suffer in silence and then bitch to your girlfriends. Unfortunately, that won’t change anything at all and you’ll still be miserable.
Be willing to say what’s true for you and risk losing the relationship versus killing the relationship and yourself while you’re in it.
You might be surprised at what happens when you do.
P.S. If you’re challenged by the communication in your primary relationship, check out Ignite Your Relationship Mojo . It’s a six-week coaching program designed to help you feel empowered, alive, and passionate in your relationship.
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke are Master certified life coaches, business consultants, speakers and authors of The Beauty of Conflict. They believe real relationships are the key to creating great business results. They’ll take your team from mediocre to great.
Interested in coaching? Check out CrisMarie’s executive coaching and personal coaching, or Susan’s personal coaching and equus coaching.
Want to take a class? Sign up for one of their virtual classes: Get Unstuck, Relationship Mojo or come to their signature retreat Find Your Mojo in Montana. Click here to check out all their service offerings.
Click here to contact them to coach with you, consult with your team, or speak at your next event.