Most people are not conscious of when they are operating from their ego wounded self – the part of them that wants to control. They generally don't know they are being needy, demanding, blaming, attacking, guilting, and so on. And, they often don't remember what they said and did while operating from their wounded self.
Therefore, trying to talk about a difficult or painful situation after the fact generally doesn't get anywhere, or leads to even more conflict.
The challenge is to respond in the moment. Yet we often don't know what to say in the moment because we have rarely seen people lovingly speak up for themselves. We have a sad dearth of role models for loving self-care.
For example, let's say your mother is making a statement that feels to you like a guilt-inducing statement. What are some of the things you can say to take loving care of yourself?
"Mom, are you trying to make me feel guilty?"
"Mom, it sounds like you want me to feel guilty. Is that your intent?"
If she says, "No," then you can say, "Good! I'm glad to hear that. It sure sounded that way to me, and it makes me sad to think that you would want me to feel guilty."
How would you feel if you spoke up for yourself like that?
You can use the same kind of statements for many different situations:
"Are you blaming me for your feelings?"
"It sounds like you are trying to intimidate me. Is that your intent?"
"It sounds like you are telling me that it is my duty to have sex with you. Is that what you are saying?"
"Right now, it feels to me like you are pulling on me for my attention and approval? Is that accurate?"
"It feels to me like you see me as an object to be used for your gratification. Is that what you are meaning to imply?"
"When you say you want that, it sounds like you are expecting me to buy it for you. Is that your expectation?"
"It sounds like you are telling me that you can't be happy unless I change - that your happiness is my responsibility. Is that what you are saying?"
"When you complain like this, it sounds like you want my sympathy and agreement. Is that what you are wanting?"
"When you talk on and on about yourself, it sound like you are saying that what you have to say is important and what I have to say isn't. Is that what is happening here?"
"When you are silent and non-responsive to me, it seems to me that you are trying to punish me for not giving you what you want. Is that your intent?"
"When you say you are going to do something and then you don't, it feels to me like you are being passive aggressive. Is that accurate?"
You get the idea. When you speak up in the moment, naming your experience of what is happening and asking if this is accurate, you are making your own feeling important rather than ignoring or discounting yourself. Additionally, you have a much better chance of the other person getting what you are experiencing than if you say it after the fact. If they deny your experience, as in the above example with Mom, you can say you are relieved to hear it - and the guilting, blaming, etc. will likely stop for that interaction.
If they get defensive, you can also name that with a question:
"It sounds to me like defending yourself right now is really important to you. Is that accurate?"
The more you trust your experience and name what you experience as their intent, the better chance you have of having a clear interaction.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week eCourse, “The Intimate Relationship Toolbox” – the first two weeks are free!
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This article was originally published at Inner Bonding
. Reprinted with permission from the author.