Feelings as Control, Feelings as Responsibility

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Feelings as Control, Feelings as Responsibility
Discover the difference between sharing feelings as a form of control or taking responsibility.

One of our members emailed me with the following request: "Margaret, would you consider writing some dialogue on people sharing feelings, and the differences between pulling and taking responsibility for own feelings?"

Following are examples showing these differences:

"The other night you said some things in our argument that really hurt my feelings, and I'm still feeling upset about it."

This woman is letting her partner know that she is upset by what he said, and she is making him responsible for her hurt and upset. Instead of recognizing that she caused her own hurt by whatever she told herself regarding what he said, she is avoiding this responsibility and blaming him.

If she were taking responsibility for her own feelings, she would first do an Inner Bonding process to learn about what she told herself that caused her hurt. Then she might have the following dialogue with her partner:

"The other night you said some things in our argument and I ended up feeling really hurt. I did some dialoguing about it and realized that I had let myself take your attack personally. But I'm wondering if we can set some ground rules regarding what we say to each other in our fights. Are you available to talk with me about this?"

In this case she is not making her partner responsible for her feelings. Instead, she is requesting a learning discussion. If her partner is not available to discuss this, then she would need to accept this and learn to disengage from conflicts that are personal attacks.

Another example:

"I just want to let you know that I'm really angry at you for changing our plans at the last minute."

This man is making his friend responsible for his anger. He is telling her that she caused his angry feelings. He is hoping that by letting her know that he is angry with her, she will change her behavior and not do that again.

If he were taking responsibility for his anger, he would first do an Inner Bonding process to explore why his inner child is angry at him - how he did not take care of himself in this situation. He might discover that he often puts himself in this position with this friend, knowing that she is not reliable. If he were focused on taking care of himself rather than controlling her, he could decide to either accept that this is likely to keep happening, or only make spontaneous plans with her. If he doesn't want to accept it, he might then have the following discussion with his friend the next time she tries to make plans with him:

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Margaret Paul

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Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
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