Playing a game of emotional tennis with your partner? Squash it.


Playing a game of emotional tennis with your partner? Squash it.

What if you could save your relationship by not engaging in your partner's upsets, moods, anger, blame, and verbal attacks?  What if you could stop taking all of that personally?  What if you no longer felt like you had to defend your side of the story?

I ask these questions to my clients and they often become confused asking me in return, "Tamara, how could I not take it personally when he's yelling at me and blaming me for losing his temper?", or, "How can this relationship be saved when she goes off on me every other week?", or, "He's wrong, so don't I need to defend my point of view" 


Now I want you to imagine that you and your partner are like tennis balls, playing a game of tennis. Your ball is your own special brand of energy, which is based on your own ancestral and childhood experiences. Your partner's has his own special brand of energy, based on his ancestral and childhood experiences. Now, the tennis game starts when you meet. This game is fun, exciting, uplifting and wonderful.

Then, one day, he becomes triggered by something you said or did, that really has nothing to do with you, he's just reminded of a painful experience from his past. His tennis ball ends up in your court with a whole lot of anger, upset, or what have you. You then pick up that ball filled with his energy, get triggered yourself, based on your own painful past experiences, add to that ball and lob it right back in his court with your negative energy added to it.  Then, he has to defend himself on top of his anger, which adds even more energy to that ball, he lobs it back to add more of yours.....and back and forth it goes, until you are both so upset, so angry and wondering, "can we even be together?"

Know that you, and almost everyone else on this planet, is operating from a place of having a story. This story is your life or your background, whether you came from a broken home, were abused, abandoned, or mistreated. This story of your life is yours, but it's not you. It's not who you really are, but it's certainly your creation - a creation that you probably adopted from your family.

What I want to make very clear is that you and your partner are a made up of pure energy. That's who you really are. You are not your story. Only your ego wants you to believe that. Who you really are is pure potential that can create (and dis-create, for that matter), manifest and actualize anything that you choose. ANYTHING!

Now, I am going to share with you how to handle your partner's emotions. When he or she is triggered, and coming at you with anger, which means they are deeply entrenched in their painful story in that moment:

Don't argue against, or try to change, their point of view. Just listen. You can even say to yourself, "it's an interesting point of view." Feel even curious about their perspective. Don't judge it. Don't take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. 

This article was originally published at Tamara Green. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Tamara Green

Social Worker

Tamara J. Green, LCSW
Loving Relationship Expert

Location: NY, NY
Credentials: LCSW
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