January 30, 2015
Remember I talked about associating Haruna's not calling me spontaneously with him not missing me or caring in my last post? If you haven't read it, pause and read it here first. Well, I found this story about a couple Martha Beck calls Tom and Jerri that relates. It shows the way they both interpret each other's actions and how it exacerbates into reoccurring conflict.
Tom and Jerri were furious at each other. On their way to my office, they'd stopped for a cup of coffee. Tom had also purchased a newspaper and flipped to the sports page, holding out the front section and asking Jerri, "Do you want to look at this?" At that point, Jerri burst into tears, all communication ceased, and the couple was officially at war.
Clearly, this had nothing to do with the newspaper. However, the coffee shop incident was an excellent "access point" for figuring out the core issues that were causing conflict. The key to this process is simply asking each person to describe, in detail, the meaning he or she gives to an event.
"He never gives me his full attention," Jerri said. "He finds anything to distract him—traffic, the sports page, whatever. And then he gives me the rest of the paper, like he thinks I'm behind on current events."
Tom's jaw dropped. The motives Jerri had ascribed to his actions had nothing to do with his real intentions. "All I wanted to do was check the baseball scores—my dad and I used to do that. I gave Jerri the rest of the paper because my mom always read it."
Likewise, when Jerri began to cry, Tom knew that, as he put it, "she was accusing me of being a bad husband, trying to control me." This could not have been further from Jerri's intent. "I needed his attention for five minutes over breakfast. If I get that, I feel close to him all day."
Like Tom and Jerri, you'll often find that the behaviour you don't like is triggering insecurities, fears, or unfinished grief. The next time you feel hatred flaring up, wait until you're no longer frothing mad, then calmly check whether the meaning you attach to events is the same as your partner's intention, listen to the response, and then suggest alternatives that might meet both your needs. This technique can turn a maddening moment into an opportunity for deeper mutual understanding and a significantly happier relationship.
January 23, 2015
I have been reading articles that suggest that fights in relationships are more reoccurring old fights than spontaneous new ones.
They suggest that we get embroiled in the same fights by falling into old patterns of communicating which inevitably lead us down the familiar road to old arguments.
This explains why we fight and settle only to fight again over the same/similar issue, because at the bottom of the issue is a deeply held belief that "so and so doesn't respect me", or "so and so thinks she is better than me" or "so and so is just selfish".
So our interactions with them flare into fights that justify what we believe to be true about the person, almost like a self fulfilling prophecy- "You see! I always knew she never liked me!"
These fights are triggered by unresolved feelings rather than unresolved issues, and escalate by force of habit as we revert to old patterns behaviour.
Haruna and I have had "new" fights over the same old issues too.
I get annoyed with him when he doesn't call me spontaneously some of the time. Reasons being that I associate the activity to how much he misses me or is thinking about me.
When this occurs, what I am really getting aggravated about is not the small sin of omission to call but the big sin of commission of not caring enough or missing me at all. After all if he crossed my mind in the course of my day I would give him a buzz and because that's the language I speak, it becomes the language with which I have interpreted his actions as well.
So I would begin to act out according to my belief:
"He doesn't miss me or he would have called"
And what do I want?
"Him to miss me."
So what do I do.
"Withdraw, cut off communication, become scarce"
So that what would happen?
"So that he would miss my presence and have to call to find me."
It's amazing how my inner dialogue would kick into gear with varied suggestions of what I would do to achieve my objective. I would hear my thoughts schedule how I wouldn't talk to him for another three days and I would picture how our following conversations would be and how offended I would act and feel. Lol! (I really can't wait to get older and more mature. Oh, the perils of childish ways!)
Sometimes I would address my inner child and say I was only feeling this way at the moment, and I would feel different in a matter of hours and if I then wanted to call or be amicable when he called, I would act based on how I felt then and not premeditate my actions to suit feelings that would have changed.
So I decide that to be scarce is to be missed right? Then what?
Sometimes he would miss the signal and assume I was busy and sometimes he would call and I would be distant and he would leave me alone.
The theories suggest that to break the pattern, we have to change the behaviour we choose when triggered by the feelings we have not resolved, which is not being missed in this case.
This means that rather than withdraw to achieve being missed I engage and talk to him about how my mind interprets this omission and the feelings it triggers and also deal with it within by parenting that inner child that feels she isn't being missed or is being taken for granted when she isn't called on the premise of a whim.
"Hush now Behbeh, of course he misses you!"
January 16, 2015
I find it alarming when people remark that they don't think so and so who is on their case is their type. I look at them alarmed because I used to think precisely the same way, until I met my type.
He checked out on everything on my list.
Love. Religion. Looks. Job. Interests. Tribe.
But it turned out that my Mr Right wasn't right for me!
Like the old me, proponents of this mind-set without fail always have a ready list of what their type looks like.
1. Mutual Attraction
Love or chemistry usually comes up on the list unsurprisingly but love spells c-o-m-p-a-t-i-b-i-l-i-t-y; that thing that means both of you are very comfortable and behave the closest thing to yourselves without feeling like you are stretching outside of your individual comfort zones.
One of the ways you know you are compatible with someone is if it isn't hard for you to please them. If when you do your hardest they aren't impressed, and it takes more and more out of you to make them happy, there isn't much of a fit between both of you and that's not something you want to manage.
2. We have to share the same religion
Beyond having the same faith is having a common application of faith; one person might interpret the other person's level of faith by church activities, how many tongues one speaks and what department in church one belongs to but the fruits of faith like respect towards all class of people, a tempered appetite for wealth, or a kind acceptance of people for instance, may be absent.
3. He has to have a good Job
Earning an income is important but beyond that is how the income is earned and spent. Does the person incur debt and you find this uncomfortable? Is their car, home or furniture on credit? Are they accountable with money? Generous? Are they in any commitment where certain amounts of their income are unavailable to them e.g dependents, loan repayments e.t.c. Is this person splashing money around town without a kobo in his bank account? As they say, it is not what you earn but what you save.
4. He has to be good looking
I used to say and I stand to be corrected but for a woman, looks begin to pale where there is chemistry, humour and understanding and all those things she needs from her man. When these things are absent even good looks aren't enough to console a woman who lacks her man's attention and affection.
5. He has to be of a certain tribe.
Whenever this sentiment comes up I always say better to say I love you to each other in the language you both do not understand than I hate you in a language you both understand.
6. He has to come from a good family
This is very important but we need to be careful with our definition of a good family because families are not perfect, neither are ours so we need to keep a level and realistic perspective. Family cultures and personalities are different making it is easy to find irritable behaviours or traits in even in the most ideal families so the assessment of a partner based on family background should be fair and in keeping with the golden rule to do unto others what you want them to do to you.
Now, I find it amusing when people remark at how unawares they were taken in love with someone least like their "type". I look at them bemused because I think precisely the same way now having met my significant other.
I didn't have much of an impression when I first met him. I hardly noticed him among the group of people who he attended my talk show with. When I eventually did notice him, I called him Haruna to the guffaw of his friends who found it a funny name to christen him. While I can't remember what I thought of him at first impression, I certainly didn't think he would mean more to me at the time.
First impressions are just that!
There will be second, third and one hundred impressions after.
So why play judge and pass judgement without the possibility of bail, when the jury of future impressions haven't sent their verdict in?
When all the facts you need to make a decision are in, then you can decide if someone is your type but not before and certainly not on first impression!
image source: http://memegenerator.net/instance/51429120
January 09, 2015
You can't go to a company called "Peace Makers" or make a jar of home made peace!
"Ok. Give each other a hug. Shake hands."
So you hug the piece of wood and shake the lump of clay with an unfeeling heart of steel. But the peace was not in the hug or in the handshake.
So where is peace?
Peace isn't in being happy with the outcome.
Peace is in being able to live with the outcome. In finding a perspective to see the same facts to be able to accept them.
Peace isn't in achieving a resolution on your terms.
Peace is in resolving the bone of contention in keeping with God's terms and in harmony with higher laws e.g. abiding by your moral code, keeping the golden rule, aligning with what is right etc.
Peace isn't in getting a fair hearing, having wrongs being righted, finding who is at fault, who should be blamed, and where things went wrong.
It is in seeing the bigger picture beyond right and wrong.
Peace is in accepting it is not all about you and seeing it from everyone's point of view. Seeing the human condition that necessitated the offending action, hearing the words before seeing the bad attitude and the rude approach, understanding everyone's agenda- what outcomes they are likely to support and why. Seeing that supporters won't support you because you are aggrieved but because you are right at best or you align with their agenda at worst.
Peace is not in regaining control. It is in having control over self when you loose control over the situation.
Peace is not in teaching a lesson, it is in finding the lesson.
Peace is not about the other person, it is about you coming away with a conscience unperturbed.
Peace is not in keeping people in line. It is in not getting out of line.
More often than not, peace is more than a feeling. It is a decision.
A decision to let it go.
A decision to let go.
And in finding peace you discover that peace was not in the way you felt about the situation but in the way you felt about your decision.