In the above video, Tracey Janke from Startpoint Counselling talks about relationships.
We are a relationship based species that means that we seek out other people to live our lives with. Now, we know not everyone in the world is like that, but the majority are.
Everything that we know about relationships is based on observation. We observe what happens in

 

 

The Fourth Horseman is STONEWALLING

Stonewalling occurs when someone completely withdraws from a conflict discussion and no longer responds to their partner. 

It usually happens when you’re feeling inundated or emotionally overwhelmed, so your reaction is to shut down, stop talking, and disengage.

When couples stonewall, they’re under a lot of emotional pressure. This pressure increases heart rates, releases stress hormones into the bloodstream, and can even trigger a fight-or-flight response.

In one of the Gottman Institutes studies, they interrupted couples after 15 minutes of an argument and told them they needed to adjust the equipment. They asked the couples not to talk about their issue, but just to read magazines for half an hour.

When they started talking again, their heart rates were significantly lower, and their interaction was more positive and productive.

During that half-hour, each partner, without even knowing it, physiologically soothed themselves by reading and avoiding discussion. They calmed down, and once they felt calm, they were able to return to the discussion respectfully and rationally.

The remedy to stonewalling is to practise physiological self-soothing, and the first step of self-soothing is to stop the conflicting discussion and call a timeout:

For Example

“Look, we’ve been through this over and over again. I’m tired of reminding you—”

Remedy:“Honey, I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I’m feeling overwhelmed and I need to take a break. Can you give me twenty minutes and then we can talk?”

Failing to take a break will lead to you stonewalling or bottling up your emotions, or you end up exploding at your partner. Either way, it is going pear-shaped.

When you take a break

· Make it for at least 20 minutes. It takes that long before your body calms down.

· Make sure that you make a definite time to come back together to discuss things; otherwise, your partner will believe that you have put a resolution on the “never-never plan”.

· During this time you must avoid thoughts of righteous indignation such as “I don’t have to take this anymore” and innocent victimhood such as “Why is he always picking on me?”.

· Spend your time doing something soothing and distracting, like listening to music, reading, or exercising.

Communication is the backbone of any relationship. As relationship specialists, StartPoint Counselling has helped many couples remove the toxicity in their communication and rebuild their relationships.

Call us now on 07 3458 1725, and we can equip you to change your relationship into one that you will want to be part of.

Couples Counselling

The Third Horseman is DEFENSIVENESS

Defensiveness is a self-protection mechanism which comes out in the form of moral outrage or evoking a sense of victimhood in an attempt to fend off a perceived attack.

People often become defensive when they believe they are being criticized (First Horseman of Toxic Communication). Defensiveness is a way to push the problem away but it never helps to solve the issue at hand.

Defensiveness is a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying that the problem isn’t me, it’s you. At times this blame extends to other people, the family we grew up in or the world in general. however, the problem is not resolved, and the conflict escalates further, which paves the way for other horsemen, such as criticism and contempt, to enter into the argument.

The remedy is to accept responsibility, even if only for part of the conflict.

For Example

“Did you call your parents to let them know that we’re not coming tonight as you promised this morning?”

Defensiveness: “I was just too busy today. You know how busy my schedule is! Why didn’t you just do it?”

Remedy: “Oops, I forgot. I should have asked you this morning to do it because I knew my day would be too busy. Let me call them right now.”

By taking responsibility for part of the conflict, “I forgot”, this partner prevents the conflict from escalating by admitting their role in the situation.

Communication is the backbone of any relationship. As relationship specialists, StartPoint Counselling has helped many couples remove the toxicity in their communication and rebuild their relationships.

Call us now on 07 3458 1725, and we can equip you to change your relationship into one that you will want to be part of.

Rebuild trustIn my previous articles I looked at How to Strengthen Trust in Your Relationship and Three Reasons Why it is Difficult to Move on After There is Broken Trust. Click on the links to read these articles if you missed them.

In this article I will explain how to rebuild broken trust in your relationship.

Broken trust in a relationship cannot be fixed by confining the problem to the past and moving on. There is no simple way to undo the damage. To commence the process of rebuilding trust the untrustworthy party must show they clearly understand what their partner has felt and experienced.

The person betrayed is likely to be suffering from some or all the following and will require their partner to understand and accept that their suffering is real.

  • Shock and or Depression – They often feel numb and have difficulty functioning in day to day life.

  • Self-Doubt and Shame – Many betrayed partners blame themselves for not having seen what was going on.

  • Commencing Detective Mode – Betrayed partners often go through their partner’s mobile phone, credit card statements, wallets, and pockets, as well as asking endless questions, to understand what has happened.

  • Symptoms Such as Anger and Mood Swings – Betrayed partners will go on an emotional roller-coaster ride with no apparent reason for the mood swings.

  • Seeking Revenge – An anger driven partner may act in ways that they later regret as they try to hurt the one who hurt them.

The Repair Process

There are some steps that you can take to start the rebuilding process. These steps will not be quick and will require time to produce the required result of restored trust.

The offending partner needs to be willing to prove to their partner time and time again that they’re genuinely sorry and work on earning back the trust. Your partner is not going just to trust what you say but will need to see consistent changes in your behaviour. They will need proof that you’re serious, reliable and safe to love before they’re going to trust you again.

As the offending partner, you need to

  1. Take full responsibility for your actions and choices. This means taking a long, hard look at why you cheated and how you can make sure you never cheat again.

  2. The betrayed betrayed partner will want complete disclosure. If the relationship is to continue, full disclosure all at once shields the betrayed partner from the ongoing emotional blows which occur when partial truths are revealed over time. It also increases the odds that trust can be rebuilt. An unfaithful spouse who tells the full truth and then continues to be honest about his or her behaviour has a much better chance of eventually regaining the respect of the betrayed partner.

  3. Ask your partner what they need, do whatever you can to change the situation and make it better.

  4. Give your partner the time and space to vent their feelings. This includes crying, allowing them to ask you questions about the affair and giving truthful answers. All the while, you should stand firm, stay faithful, continue to apologise and reach out to them with compassion and understanding.

  5. Accept that sometimes it’s going to feel as if you’re moving two steps forward and three steps back. Put a plan in place that will help you stay calm and while you navigate through the inevitable obstacles, landmines and setbacks.

  6. Be sure that all the promises you make are promises you keep. Your words and actions must come from unwavering integrity. Make yourself and your agenda an open book.

  7. Practice the following daily: Affection, Attention and Appreciation. Show your partner how much you love and appreciate them in big and small ways every day.

  8. Ask your partner what they need to see to assure them that you are genuine in rebuilding trust. For example, they might ask for access to your phone or computer at any time without notice.

As the offended partner, you need to

  1. Allow your partner to prove themselves to you. Try to avoid being quick to assume that they will screw up

  2. Let them know that you appreciate every change they are making no matter how small. If they do not get supporting feedback, they will give up.

Rebuilding trust takes time and can be an involved process.

Need help? Tracey Janke is skilled in assisting couples in rebuilding trust. For a complimentary 15-minute phone session to find out how I can help you with your individual situation click the link below.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2019

If you like this article and would like to get copies of future articles directly to your inbox, please click here and sign up to receive a copy of “Relationships Done Right” twice per month. As a bonus, you will also receive my free mini e-book on Low-Cost Ways to Boost Romance and Passion in Your Relationship.

 

BrokenEvery case of broken trust impacts us on three levels, and the damage on each of these levels is what holds us back from healing the broken trust and moving on. It doesn’t matter whether the broken trust is real or perceived; impact occurs on these three levels.

The Emotional Level

For everything that happens in our lives whether good or bad we have an emotional reaction. Every experience that we have is stored in a memory not only as what happened but how we experienced the event using our five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The question is how that information makes us feel. We are not dealing with merely an event when it comes to memories, but an event that carries some very real information for us. When we encounter distressing situations in our relationship, we link things that have happened to us in the past to what is happening now. It may not be the same, but if it is similar, we will react strongly. The more times we experience a similar event, the stronger our emotional reaction. When trust is broken the impact on the emotional level is severe because broken trust represents the loss of so many things to us. It can mean things like the loss of security, the loss of stability, the loss of self-esteem and so on.

The degree of damage that exists on this level, that is not recognised by other people, and is left unhealed is the number one reason why it is difficult to move on after trust is broken.

The Perception Level

Perception encompasses our belief or opinion about certain things or people.

When something happens repeatedly, you will form a belief or opinion about the likelihood of it happening again. When we have a perception of how a person is going to behave in a situation, we place that perception on that person, and in our eyes, our perception defines their character. We perceive that they will do a specific action when faced with a particular set of circumstances. If that perception is negative, then we expect our interaction with them will be more negative than positive.

Human beings tend only to observe and hear things that confirm what they believe. So at this point no matter what your partner does which is right, if there is broken trust, you are only picking up in your interaction with them what is bad and what confirms that they are untrustworthy.

Our perception of our partner after they have broken our trust is the number two reason that we find it difficult to move on once trust has been broken.

Behaviour Level

Based on how strong our emotional level reaction is and how strong our perception of events or people becomes, we will moderate our behaviour in response. In a relationship, our emotional build-up and our perception of our partner can lead to behaviours on our part which at the worst destroys the relationship or at the best keeps our partner at arm’s length.

The actions that we take at the behaviour level as a result of the damage at the emotional level and the perception that we have built up of our partners, is the number three reason why we find it hard to heal and move on after trust is broken.

Summary

In relationships where one of the partners has cheated on the other and trust has been broken, there is a great deal of emotion built up which leaves the injured partner to believe the other one will always break or damage their trust. As a result, the hurt partner cannot just move on (change their behaviour) but will instead adopt practices that can destroy, cripple or keep the relationship at arm’s length. To begin to heal the relationship and to rebuild the broken trust the damage at the emotional and perception levels must be addressed first.

Next time we’ll look at how to rebuild broken trust.

If you like this article and would like to get copies of future articles directly to your inbox, please click here and sign up to receive a copy of “Relationships Done Right” twice per month. As a bonus, you will also receive my free mini e-book on Low-Cost Ways to Boost Romance and Passion in Your Relationship.

Broken trustTwo types of trust can exist in a relationship

Firstly, there is conditional trust which says I trust you only when I’m having a good experience. If I’m not having a good experience, then I don’t feel that you have my back and I don’t feel safe.  The result is I don’t trust you. Conditional trust is found in the early stages of a relationship. Relationships based on conditional trust are easily broken and hard to repair.

Secondly, there is unconditional trust. This type of trust develops in a relationship over time. We feel safe and secure with our partner, and we think that they have our back in both good times and bad. Unconditional trust is the type of trust that can survive minor indiscretions in a relationship. If our partner for whom we have unconditional trust acts out of character, we realise that and work to resolve the issue.

Broken trust occurs when we perceive that something that we have agreed on in our relationship does not happen. When we talk about broken trust, many people focus on infidelity, but trust is also broken over time with an accumulation of small things such as not keeping your promises, not taking responsibility, inconsiderate behaviour or constantly missing important events.

Trust is paramount to the success of a relationship. We should be able to count on our partners. Many partners attempted to mask small issues with little white lies in the hopes that they will go unnoticed. Unfortunately, when the little white lies are exposed, the trust is further damaged.

Over promising and under delivering is one sure way to cause the trust to disintegrate over time. Often, we overpromise in the hopes of keeping our partner happy. Unfortunately, in the long run, we’re damaging the relationship. Better to promise less and deliver more.

Keeping some secrets may seem harmless, but it slowly destroys the sense of security that your partner has in the relationship. It in effect sends the message that there is a part of you that you are deliberately withholding from your partner. Healthy relationships have transparency as their foundation.

To keep trust strong in your relationship

  • Keep your promises – under promise and over deliver

  • Take responsibility for your choices and actions – avoid blaming other people. People tend to trust people who take responsibility.

  • Avoid inconsiderate behaviour – people need to feel that you are there for them before trust can exist

  • Avoid constantly missing important events – attending events that are important to your partner shows them that you are dependable and trustworthy

  • Be open and honest – don’t keep secrets from your partner

If trust is suffering in your relationship, getting professional help now, will stop the damage spreading and restore your relationship.

Call Tracey Janke 07 34581725 or book a complimentary 15 min phone consultation for more information.

Next Time – What gets in the way of repairing broken trust?

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2019

Not happyWhen I’m having a conversation with somebody, there is one significant thing that gets in the way if I’m not careful. Because I experience life looking from the inside out, I am aware of everything that I think, everything that I feel and everything that I see.

I am a product of my environment which consists of the family I grew up in, everything that’s happened to me in life, and what sense I made of that as far as creating my belief systems. I also have some emotional triggers that exist because of things that previously happened in my life. These emotional triggers are what we refer to as the buttons that people press that set us off.

Now, because I have experienced myself all my life, I tend to regard how I function, how I think, and how I see things as normal. When exposed to something over a long period, we naturally believe that it’s normal. The problem happens that while I think that I am normal, I also associated another word with that. The word that I associate with it is the word “right”. I am normal, and I am right. This tendency to believe that if we are normal, we are also right, is taken to the extreme with those who claim to be normal and “morally right” and then push their morals and values onto others.

So in a conversation, a problem can occur when I am interacting with somebody and putting across how I feel and what I think about the topic. If I consider that I am normal, I will tend to try to shut down people who disagree with me because if I’m normal and right, then the other person is abnormal and wrong. And so, I will tend to try to convince them by making lots of statements, and probably increasing the volume with which I am speaking to get the point across.

If I’m in that state of mind, then there are several things that I am not doing. What I am not doing is listening, trying to understand by asking the other person questions, or being open to a different point of view about something. In a relationship, this type of interaction has quite devastating consequences.

The key word in relationships is understanding. I firstly need to understand myself as a person in terms of how I think, what drives me and what are my passions. I then need to understand my partner in the same way. Armed with the understanding or myself and my partner the question that I need to answer is “how if we have these differences do, we function as a couple?” As tricky as that question seems, there is an answer. It is one of the most common issues that I need to deal with when I’m working with couples.

Believing that we are normal and therefore right is a common tendency amongst human beings for the reasons that I gave earlier in this article. I can suffer from it myself if I am not mindful of my tendency to do this. The best way that I find to stay mindful of this tendency is to say to myself, “I’m not normal, but rather I am abnormal”. If I come from this angle, I realise that I need to take the time to understand people that I interact with, because they’re not going to be like me.

The Art of Painless Communication is an ebook I wrote to help couples and individuals to dramatically decrease the likelihood of ending up in an argument when communicating. Learn how to share information in a way that promotes understanding and reduces conflict. Get your copy here.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2019

wants, desiresNobody does anything in this life without starting with expectations about how it should work. From the moment that we get up in the morning until we go to bed, we are constantly having expectations about our day.

We expect that we can get to work without having an accident, we have expectations about traffic conditions, expectations about how much work we can get done in the day and so on. Despite having expectations, most of the time we don’t consciously think about them. Even if we do consciously think about our expectations, they are usually not well defined.

Many people have expectations along the lines of I expect to have more money. Unfortunately, without clearly defining what that looks like, it is more like a wish than an expectation and represents the tip of the expectation iceberg with the bulk of it undefined.

When our expectations are not met, even if they are not well defined, we quickly lose our happiness and look for someone to blame. To look at the money example again, even though I do not have a clearly defined idea about what more money means, I get upset because I haven’t got enough money and I can’t afford things. Often we hear the disappointment of broken expectations in the statement “I expected so much more”.

Expectations hold immense power. If we can clearly define them and work towards them, then they have the power to drive us to achieve and create. If they are not clearly defined, then we cannot work towards them, causing great discontent with our situation. This discontent has the potential to drive us to walk away from things and to walk away from people.

Understanding and being clear about your expectations is paramount to success in your relationship.

Most of the time our expectations in relationships are unspoken, or we are not fully clear about what they are. Unmet expectations quickly give rise to feelings of incompatibility in a relationship. For instance, a common expectation in a relationship is “If I need the support of my partner because I’m going through difficult times then I expect that they will listen to me, try to understand and support me”. Many times, however, this doesn’t happen. We try to get support from our partners but they don’t listen, listen and don’t understand and don’t try to understand, or they shut us down. As a result of this unmet expectation, resentment starts to creep into the relationship. Repeat this a few times and add in some other unmet expectations, and quickly the feeling of incompatibility and resentment rises.

On the other hand, if you take the time to examine what your expectations in a relationship, take the time to sit with your partner and share those and gain an understanding of what is important to each of you, then those expectations will help you to strengthen the relationship. Shared expectations allow each partner to be clear on what the other is wanting. When each partner meets the expectations of their partner, it shows commitment, empathy and understanding. These are building blocks in a relationship.

Take the time to work out clearly what your expectations are in your relationship. Try to write down at least five of them. Don’t just stop with generic things like I want to be happy. Take the time to define what makes you happy. Now share these expectations with your partner. What of these expectations are achievable easily and what may require some compromise? Have the discussion.

If you take the time to put an effort into your relationship, then the improvement in the relationship will come back to you as a reward. It’s a boomerang effect.

Defining expectations is a fundamental part of the work that I do in restoring and enhancing relationships. If you want to know how I can help you in your situation, call me on 07 3458 1725.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2019

We are now a few days into 2019 so the enthusiasm of the start of the New Year is probably waning a little bit and the cold hard truth that this is just another year is starting to set in. Same old, same old. But you can change that if you want to.

If you want this to be a different year you need to take the first step and clearly define what you want in 2019. I don’t mean just some sort of general idea like I’d like to make more money or I’d like to be healthier. Those statements do not really define anything but rather indicate a general sort of direction.

The interesting thing is that people will not accept a general sort of direction in real life but when it comes to defining goals we seem to think it’s okay.

If I gave you a package and said deliver this to a town out west, you would think I was crazy because I am giving you a general direction only. Instead, in order to be able to complete the journey, you will require more detail such as which town, which street, what street number et cetera. So what I am suggesting to you is that when it comes to deciding what you want in 2019 you need to be more specific.

What do you want to see a change in your relationship or in your personal life? Once you write down the general idea, get specific. What exactly will it look like when you have it? Write as much detail as you possibly can because the detail is a key to achieving what you want. As you write the details you will also develop an emotional attachment to what you’re describing and that is another key to moving towards what you want.

So what do you want it 2019?

Communication ProblemsIdentifying what it is that you are looking for in your relationship is a good first step because most people don’t do this. While they don’t clearly define their expectations, on some level, they’re aware that they’re not getting something met in the relationship. This is what I call unspoken expectations. By making a list of what you want in your current relationship those unspoken expectations are brought to the surface.

We must communicate our needs and wants to our partner for them to be aware of what we want. Often in a relationship, we feel that our partner should somehow magically know what we want and what we need. We are different and individual beings, who think differently and see and react to things in a different manner. Thinking that somehow our partners can work out what we want, and need leads to disappointment.

Clear communication is the first step in getting your wants and needs across to your partner. Unfortunately, we tend to communicate our wants and needs by saying things like “I need you to support me better, and you don’t.” We state our need, but then we attack our partner. It is like saying I need ……..and is your fault I don’t have……..

The first reason why you don’t have what you want and need is that you don’t ask and the second reason is that if you do ask, you ask in a way that repels your partner instead of engaging them.

The best approach to a conversation where you are explaining to another person what it is you need is to stick to using ”I” language. When we use this type of language, we are saying I need…… and when I don’t have it I feel……. You own the need, and you own the way you feel when the need is not met. Conclude by asking your partner if you both can talk about how your need can be met in the relationship without dramatically compromising them. Now, remember this works both ways. Your partner can do the same when speaking with you.

Communication in this way at least gets across your wants and needs in the relationship in a way which is least likely to cause a negative reaction. Any movement towards meeting your partner’s needs makes them happier, and that happiness feeds back into your relationship.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2018

In a relationship facing difficulties, it is common that each partner believes that the other partner is largely responsible for the issues that they have. This is often heard in phrases like “if only you could” or “if only they didn’t” then things would be better. The idea that one partner is heavily contributing to the relationship problems is generally based on the belief that we are normal and anyone that thinks or has different opinions to us is wrong. In other words, we are the normal one in the relationship and our partner is not.

Sometimes we are aware that some things have happened in our past which are probably impacting the relationship, but that is readily dismissed as not that significant. In my experience problems in a relationship can never be attributed to one person. Certainly, there can be one member of the relationship who contributes to the issues to a larger degree but how their partner interacts with them is magnifying the issues.

Issues occur in relationships because when we come into the relationship, we bring with us things from our past. Most people refer to this as “baggage”. Baggage implies that it is something that we can get rid of. However, this “baggage” is parts of our personality which have developed throughout our lives. As such they really can’t be gotten rid of, cut off or bludgeoned into compliance.

Each of us is an individual. We are born into a family. There is some genetic code from our parents which predetermines part of our personality. The rest of our personality develops based on

  • how we are treated within that family (accepted and loved constantly, acceptance and love happen sometimes or completely rejected)
  • the ethnic background of that family
  • the socio-economic background of their family
  • the beliefs of the family which we take on
  • the beliefs of those that we see as authority figures in our lives which we take on

Couple this with the experiences that we have in life that we interpret through our belief systems, and we end up as adults with a particular view of how we understand the world and how we react to the world. Unless somebody had the same journey, you have no chance of finding someone who is the same as you.

It is also interesting to note that parts of our personality developed to help you cope with things that happen in your lives. For instance, if you are in an abusive relationship, then you will develop certain parts of your personality to help you cope with that. You may become subservient, or even a victim to help you survive. But that now is part of your personality and can easily be triggered in relationships. Sometimes we look for relationships that put us back into that type of place because it makes us feel comfortable on some level.

All of these parts of us are brought into a relationship when it first formed. A relationship has three parts. There is Individual One, Individual Two and then the relationship which is the sum of the two. Individual one has things they bring from the past; individual two has things they bring from the past and those things react together within the relationship.

Unless you can understand your drives as an individual and understand your partners drives you will never be able to understand what caused the issues in your relationship. Understanding drives are critical to resolving the issues in a relationship.

When a couple comes to see me for the first time, I concentrate heavily on understanding the individual drives and how they are playing out in a relationship. Many people think if they could just get out of their current relationship get another that one will be better, but how many times have you heard of people getting back into a very similar relationship and ending up with the same sort of experience.

Relationship counselling/coaching is based on identifying drives and determining how to manage them best. Because they are part of your personality, you are simply not going to be able to cut them off. You can push them down, but eventually, they will resurface. And when they resurface, it will be because they get triggered by something, and they tend to return with a vengeance. Understanding your drives, understanding when they work for you and when they work against you is essential to improving your life as an individual and improving your relationship.

For further information contact Tracey at start point counselling on (07) 3458 1725 or schedule a 15-minute obligation free online concentration with me by going to http://startpointcounselling.gettimely.com/book.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2018

Not in LoveI love my partner, but I am not in love with them, is a common statement that I hear during my work with couples. What exactly do we mean when we say this?

The first thing we need to understand is that the word love has multiple meanings and the way we determine what love means is from the context in which it is used. For example, I can use the word love three times in a sentence, and each time it means something different. I love my husband, I love my dog, and I love ice cream.

What does “love” mean when we use it in the sentence” I love my partner, but I’m not in love with them”? To understand this statement a little bit better I’m going to swap the word “love for other words and I think you’ll start to get the sense of what is being said.

I love (as in care about) my partner, but I am not in love with them (as in connected with them). So the statement becomes “I care about my partner, but I am not connected with them”. What’s gone wrong in this relationship is the connection has dropped. Initially, the connection would have been there, or the relationship would not have developed. Even with the most broken relationships that I work with, most clients can think back to a time when the relationship was good. At that point, there was a connection. Indeed the early stages of a relationship are the time where we’re most focused on each other.  This period is known as the Honeymoon Stage and is the bonding stage.

As the relationship develops, it starts to go through changes which can occur through any number of things such as a focus on individual careers, children coming into the relationship or being so busy that we are time poor. The result is a slow eroding of the initial connection. Since we are in a relationship with somebody that is special for us in some way, we, of course, care about them. But if the connection has dropped then, we feel that we are not in love with them.

As a relationship develops focus naturally shifts from “it is all about us” to who am I as an individual in this relationship, what are my needs and how does that work in this relationship.  This is a normal stage in the development of a relationship. At this point, the connection is under stress.  The task in a relationship at this stage revolves around understanding our partner, understanding what is driving them and being OK with the changes occurring in the relationship. If we can do this then we feel we still have a connection. I believe that connection is based on understanding. Understanding is the glue that holds relationships together. If you’re not sure about this, let’s have a look at another statement that couples often make as connection erodes in their relationship and that statement is “we are two strangers living in the same house”. Strangers do not understand each other.

To understand somebody, particularly your partner, you need to have a curiosity about them and the ability to take the time to ask questions to find out all that you can about what drives them, what their view of the world looks like, how they see things, what their opinion of things is and how they react to things. This takes dedication on your part. This dedication is driven in a romantic relationship by a commitment to see the relationship strengthen and work long term.

Asking questions that are framed to understand the other is the answer to the connection problem. When I’m talking about questions, I’m talking about curiosity-driven questions which come from the point of view of “just so I can understand, please tell me the following…”, rather than using attacking questions/statements such as “I just cannot understand why you keep doing such stupid things” or “Why are you so stupid?”. Attacking questions divide while inquisitive questions connect.

If you want to connect with your partner more, questions are the answer.

Want to know more? Call me 07 3458 1725.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2018