Siding with the enemy
Ever been in the situation where you tell your partner about a frustrating situation with your boss
your partner sides with your boss? Frustrating, right?
So what is going on here? Well often it is actually about discomfort with feelings. Here’s what
1. Partner 1 starts speaking about a situation they are unhappy about, perhaps they feel
unsafe, unimportant, not respected, disappointed etc.
2. Partner 2 perceives that their partner (who they love and care for), is hurting or anxious or
3. Partner 2 feels uncomfortable and out of control, their partner is hurting and they can’t fix
4. Partner 2 decides to try to find a way to make those feelings better and as they can’t change
the situation, they try to bring about some change in Partner 1!
5. Partner 2 gives ‘helpful’ instructions to Partner 1.
6. Partner 1 might feel unheard, angry or perhaps feel that they have done something wrong.
So whether you’re partner 1 or partner 2, or both at different times, a good place to make some
changes is around step 4. If your partner is starting to give you instructions, try asking them just to
stay present with you. You might ask ‘Could you please just hear me for now and I can ask you later
for some advice if I need it?’. If you feel yourself wanting to instruct your partner when they are
telling you about a problem, just check in with yourself, how am I feeling right now? You might find
that you need to take care of your own anxiety so that you can just be present with your partner. If
you feel it’s really important, you can ask them later if they would like your input on the situation. In
the moment, your partner needs to know that they are heard and understood. Try asking questions
about how they felt, what it was like for them and what they feel worried about.
Connection is the glue that holds relationships together, connection is more important than problem