A Better Relationship Means Telling Your Partner Where it Hurts

Much of the conflict in our lives begins when we feel that we are suffering (either alone or at the hands of those we’re in conflict with).Brian Lynch, M.D., has shared his thoughts on suffering and how we can see it in a different way. This helps tremendously when trying to create more peace and more constructive conflict in our lives. When we or our partner are suffering, we can remember these “four rules for managing suffering.” They come originally from Dr. Tomkins and his “central blueprint”:

1) We want to maximize the expression and the experience of interest and joy in our lives and the lives of those around us.

2) We want to minimize the expression of negative feelings of all concerned. Those feelings I will specifically name as: anger, fear, distress, disgust and shame.

3) The way to achieve the goals of # 1 and # 2 is to express ALL FEELING whether they be positive or negative!

4) We do this by educating ourselves and others about the importance of feelings both negative and positive. We develop understandings between us that it is ok to express any type of feeling. We develop articulated rules for doing so.

… Always keep in mind that this can happen to and be expressed by anyone in the room. We need not feel guilty for expressing our suffering if we are not the ill partner. Expressing our suffering lets the other know that their suffering has meaning and is reflected in the other. We all end in recognizing, on a higher level, that to suffer is human and in the end we feel better.
(See the whole article here)
This can apply to both physical and emotional distress. As Brian Lynch points out, we all suffer at some point in our lives, and really, we can understand suffering as caused by suppressed emotions.This means that we can relieve suffering by sharing with others those emotions that we are painfully unable (or unwilling) to share. For example, a current conflict in your life may be caused by the pain you get at being unable to tell someone how angry you are about something that happened last year. Or, you may be running into conflict because you are unable to tell someone, “I love you, please stay with me.”
It is important to understand how this ties into why we fight and get into conflicts with each other (and why we sometimes fight the most with people we love the most). Conflict is all about trying to get the other person’s attention, and make a connection someone whose understanding you want or need. Conflict, essentially, is about telling each other about our suffering. However, most of us grew up in a home where it was not okay to “whine” or “dominate” the relationship with our “problems.”
This is not what conflict is about - acting this way leads to deeply unsatisfying interactions in relationships. To achieve more happiness and peace with our partners (and even friends or family), we must understand that to freely express (on BOTH sides) emotions and ideas is not “whining.” To talk about your problems is not “domination” if you are willing to listen to your partner’s problems, as well.
Do you need help unlocking the source of your pain? Is there a deep wound that you don’t know how to express to your partner, something that’s eating away at your heart? Talk to Dr. Nora today, our expert conflict coach. Your first conversation with her is free!
Dr. Nora

Dr. Nora

Dr. Nora is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Sign up for free, here on her blog, to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! We can begin by you having a complimentary consultation with Dr. Nora. Visit her coaching site today to talk with Dr. Nora and receive a plan for action to change your life. She's ready to help!

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