It seems to me that, although we often don’t have a choice about whether pain comes into our lives and relationships, we do have a choice about whether that pain becomes “stuck pain” or “growing pain.” We can choose to just endure the pain that comes our way and try to ignore it and/or numb it as best we can. We can blame others or the world and wait for them to change. This path keeps us stuck and stagnant. On the other hand, we can get the support we need in a painful situation and put forth the effort of understanding what in us may be causing us to experience the situation as painful. We can then look at how we might grow through this experience into being stronger, more fully alive and more deeply connected.
Mary Simon, PsyD
We have probably all had the experience of being in the middle of a fight with our partner and thinking to our self… “That is absurd. How can you possibly think that? You have got it all wrong.” It is my contention that those thoughts are an indication that I have totally lost my neutrality and that my non-verbal behavior is about to become dismissive, invalidating and maybe even condescending.
I generally know my partner to be thoughtful and reasonable. Why do I doubt that now? Well it is probably because she is disagreeing with me. She sees something differently from me. My sense of self is threatened and I feel an urge to fight back and assert my superior knowledge or right to my own opinion. It is actually my own insecurity that is taking command of the ship.
If I presume that everything she says, thinks and does makes total sense (to her) from within her own perspective I would never look down on her and become arrogant and dismissive. If her ideas do not make sense to me it means that I have not taken the time to inquire into her world view to see how it makes sense to her. That needs to be my next job at those moments.
When I say, “You are not making sense!” I am actually saying, “You are not making MY sense.” How pompous I must sound at those moments.
~ Dr. Howard Lambert