Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wanting to be Strong, Wanting a Strong Relationship

StrongTrue or False? “Strong people have strong relationships.” On the surface this statement appears to be true. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your personal strength to be in a relationship.  Insecurities interfere with having a close relationship.

But there are many times when individual strength conflicts with relationship strength. Imagine your partner has said or done something that is so insensitive that you feel hurt and angry. Now imagine your response. Are you more likely to express your hurt or your anger?

I find that many choose to express their anger because they feel stronger when they express anger. Even passive individuals will store up anger, then feel stronger when they explode.

Yet what is stronger for the individual isn’t what makes a relationship stronger. Anger creates distance in relationships. Anger triggers defensiveness from those who feel attacked. Anger does not attract change, in fact, it makes change less likely to occur.

Your partner is more likely to be motivated to change and meet your needs if you resist expressing anger and challenge him or her to care for you. This requires you to express your views, feelings and desires in a vulnerable tone of voice. You must replace anger with an expression of hurt feelings.

Notice how uncomfortable it is to express vulnerable feelings. Anger feels more comfortable because you feel stronger, yet vulnerable expression creates a stronger relationship. It’s your decision to make – a stronger you or a stronger relationship? 

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