The Three Choices in Relationship Distress – Which will you choose?

Dan Wile suggests couples typically use three choices of action when faced with relational conflict:

  1. Attack and Defend a most hurtful way of handling things. This is where one party lashes out criticising their significant others character by finding fault and inadequacy and attacking them personally. This drives their mate away. When a person feels attacked they get defensive which also further distances and harms the relationship.
  2. Avoid or Deny. This is when you ignore or minimise your unhappy feelings about the issue at hand.  Self talk might sound like “It’s stupid to feel this way,” or “I just won’t think about it (say anything, ignore it or pretend it’s ok) and maybe it will go away.” “It’s no big deal.” This sort of downplaying really disheartens the partnership. When the issue continues it gets harder to maintain this avoidance.
  3. SelfDisclose and Connect. You can talk about how you feel about the issue and work on common understanding – this doesn’t mean you have to agree. You may not find the perfect solution or compromise but you have allowed for emotional connection and intimacy building.

Is there a particular style you identify yourself as using from the list? Be honest now. Here is your challenge – move beyond attack and defend, avoid and deny and use the only workable option self disclose and connect.

This will require courage and self-confrontation.

Read on for suggestions as to how to start to rebuild the intimacy with sharing yourself and reconnecting here: Continue reading The Three Choices in Relationship Distress – Which will you choose?

Are you in Stuck in the Avoidance Trap?

Many couples coming to marital therapy at Marriage Works relationship practice are suffering from disappointment and resentments in their relationships. In part this is due to their inaction with dealing with the issues head on.

This holding pattern can go on for many years, simmering below the surface, fracturing the relationship. The occasional explosion will occur and some problems might be discussed resulting in a honeymoon period of closeness and intimacy before the old avoidance pattern resurfaces and the resentment cycle kicks in.

Sometimes this crisis will take the form of an extra-marital affair or it may be embedded in workaholism, chronic busy-ness, gambling, alcohol use, or other third party preferences to the relationship. It is not uncommon for a couple to be in my office two years out from the infidelity with cycles of hurt and remorse playing out for both parties but no resolution.

Often I see a fixed pattern and story of a marriage in heart failure that builds to a breach rising into conscious awareness for the pair. Even after the reconciliation phase many relationships fail due to not dealing with the deeper issues that lead to the crisis in the partnership.

The real culprit here is the Avoidance Trap not confronting or being vulnerable with each other.

Please click text to continue reading… Continue reading Are you in Stuck in the Avoidance Trap?

Happy Fathers Day!

Hello Dads everywhere this is your day to celebrate your special Dadness.

Fathers bring a wonderful influence and meaning to children’s lives.

Parenthood is a terrific learning experience where all the good stuff totally outweighs the nappies, sleepless nights and tears when you get a giggle and a smile from your child. You can bask in their warmhearted delight.

Enjoy your Day Dads!