Monthly Archives: July 2017

Stop the lame blame game.

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Stop the lame Blame game.  There are better ways to play.

Stop the blame game | Couples counselling Brisbane

If you want to change the behaviours and habits in your relationship when it comes to conflict, you must step out of the “you said, I said” trap. It just becomes a circular argument. One of the things you have to do is stop the blame game. It’s probably the number one thing you have to do.

You must stop blaming the other person and recognise when you are actually laying blame. Because what happens when you stop blaming is that you must take responsibility. You can’t take responsibility for the other person but you can take responsibility for your own actions. What a relief!

People who are not taking responsibility  for their own actions and what they’re doing, will, in an argument, say: “Hey, you parked the car on the street and I asked you to park it in the garage and by the way, you didn’t do the laundry… and you didn’t pack up the business things in the living room… and they start to bring in everything.

They want to bring it all to the party and pile everything in because it’s a defence. We do that to protect ourselves – if I can one –up you,  I’m going to be able to protect myself. It’s actually got very little to do with your character, though it looks like it.

It’s more a case of ‘if I can bring you down, I’m OK.’

It’s a pattern many people fall into and while it looks narcissistic on the surface there are often childhood wounds behind this.

And even those who’ve had wonderful upbringings with caring parents can have some aspects where something didn’t fit perfectly. There can be learned behaviours – when people criticise you all the time, for example, you might criticise other people.

So my theory, and this is backed up by research, is that behind  the arguing when we want to defend ourselves is often a case of the core hurts behind who we are that drives the anger because we don’t want to believe those things are true – but we think they are.

So there’s a fixed belief about ourselves that deep down might be that we are unworthy or inadequate.

You need to have agreements in place.

Going back to the car on the street scenario, you might say, ‘let’s park the car in the shed on Tuesdays and can we also make sure that all the business items are put away at the end of the day, and that the laundry gets done when the basket is full’. So we have an understanding of what has to happen. Then you can say, hey honey we had an agreement, why didn’t that happen. It’s a question, not an attack… so when you do that you hand the responsibility back to the other person but also the opportunity to explain.

If you are still feeling frustrated about the car being on the street a few weeks later then it’s time to ask yourself why it’s so important to you… and there might be some more discussions to have.

But the main thing to remember is: STOP BLAMING.  You can’t have helpful discussions – the kind that move your forward – when you’re playing the blame game.

The body signal path to anger

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Couples argue sometimes. Fact.  But learning to recognise some signals your body is throwing out can change everything.

This is something I see a lot – it happens with so many couples. But it can be avoided – it’s when a man becomes defensive in a discussion with his partner. If that defensiveness leads to him getting angry then he often enters that fight, flight or freeze response. His brain is shutting down, he’s not engaging with her anymore.

All the time this is happening his body is giving out signals that if he just listens to, he can change the outcome of the argument.

Most men are unaware of this but his body will be sending out signals that he is getting angry. I had one client who said his hands would get sweaty, some people’s nostrils flair or the hair on the back of their head stands up.

What you may try to do is ignore it but you don’t recognise that your body is telling you you’re getting angry.

So, you are talking with your partner and feel yourself getting annoyed with them pay attention to what your body is saying. Then you’ll know when you’re feeling angry and when it’s time to go and cool down.

A lot of people have trouble walking away because the other part of the equation is the partner saying, ‘why are you walking away from me?’ So, she will want to pursue.

But if he firstly says ‘I can feel myself getting angry here. I need to calm down’ he knows he needs to walk away, take a deep breath and cool down.

Before all of this, you need to have an agreement with your partner that says ‘when I am getting angry I’m going to walk away and I’m going to come back later so we can engage.’

It’s very effective

So if you’re sitting with your partner and having a coffee you can say, ‘you know if I do get crazy, because I know it’s upsetting for you, I’m going to tell you that I can feel my body getting ahead and I’m going to move away. And we can revisit it when I’ve calmed down’.

The key is paying attention to what your body is telling you when you are starting to get angry.

Dan Siegel, author of Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, talks about this. Remember Maxwell Smart? And all those doors closing? It’s like all the departments in our brain closing in this situation – you stop to empathise, you’re not attuned with each other, you stop identifying who they are… all these things shut down in our brain and we are unable to talk and we know we’ll get angry.

It happens to all of us.

But the most important thing to remember is just pay attention to your body and know when to walk away.