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How to Improve Relationships in Difficulty

How to Improve Relationships in Difficulty

Hot Topic – Improving Relationships

Recently, I have noticed many people experiencing difficulties asking about improving relationships. When conflicting conversations arise in relationships that we value it can be extremely stressful. You too have been there right? When someone you love or care about says something and your brain goes into a fuzz of either shock or other emotion, rendering you incapable of your usual calm and wonderfully wise responses.

This blog is designed to offer you a way to navigate safely. Now this is not a guarantee, just a gentle guide through to the wisest part inside of you.

The people that inspired this post include two couples, one family dynamic (siblings and parents), and a group situation. In all of the above there are people who are upset, care about each other, and things are being said that are hurtful making everything seem worse and escalating out of control.

There are several energetic principles that apply and can be useful to you. Because it’s such an important topic for us all, and there are so many energetic principles, I am going to do this is a two-part series, with the next one coming out next Saturday at the same time.

Matched Energy Grows

The first principle is one strong emotion matched by the same strong emotion doubles and grows that emotion more – when it is a positive one that’s good and when it is a negative one like anger or hurt that’s bad. Why is this important to talk about? Well for most people, and it’s a normal human reaction, if someone shouts in anger at you, then your first response will be to ‘want to’ shout back in anger. This is because ‘like attracts like’ –  as in an iron magnet attracts iron filings. Even a timid person who normally goes into fear will somewhere in them be feeling anger as a natural normal response, it’s just that they hide or repress it.

We have all been there where we have had an argument with someone we love and then regret it later, and then both people are left more upset.

The Science of Triggers

When someone says or does something that makes you feel very strongly, a big proportion of what you are feeling has nothing to do with the current situation or what has been said. A much larger proportion is related to memories of previous situations where things have been said or done that were very upsetting. These are called ‘triggers’.

Triggers are basically things said, done or circumstances that trigger memories of past situations that hurt, or upset you. Triggers can be anything from a smell to a specific phrase or even an item such as money or food.

We live in an age where many large-scale experiments have been done by scientists, physicists, psychologists and may other ‘Ologists’ for that matter. And we have the reassurance of all these studies to prove what we already know in ourselves, for who better to know human beings than a human being – who better than you? But we doubt ourselves often when it counts most.

One such experiment studied people’s reaction to an object, then the same people were asked to close their eyes and imagine the same object. In both cases when the object was really being seen and also when it was being imagined, the same areas of the brain were lit up. So this basically demonstrated that your brain doesn’t know the difference between what it sees and what it remembers because it reacted the same both times.

Each time we have a similar experience or emotion our brain creates a new connection within it (involving peptides and neurons) or it reinforces an existing one. Over time, when things happen or are felt regularly, these emotions create strong neuron nets in the brain. So when you had that situation arise last month, last week or yesterday, when something was said or happened, that same neuron net is triggered in the brain. A trigger then is when something is said and you have a very powerful emotional reaction, maybe one that an outsider would even say is all out of proportion.

Responding with anger to another angry person, just increases the anger

Responding with anger to another angry person, just increases the anger

An Example Please!

So for example, let’s imagine you are at home and about to have dinner with your partner or your family, and you said to your partner could you lay the table please. Your partner rather than saying ‘sure will do’, may have said ‘Oh My God! Lay the table? Don’t I lay the table every F****** night! What’s wrong with you telling me to lay the table! What kind of imbecile do you think I am?!’  You may be stood there open mouthed and shocked at where that was coming from, and thinking I’m just communicating with you that I’ve done this bit and it’s time for that bit to be done. Wow!

Your partner on the other hand maybe completely has lost themselves in the emotion and is not even aware of how they are coming across. What you may not be aware of is that you happened to say the very thing that was said to them every day when they were young – but at that time it was said in a very different circumstance and context. When they were young it was said by a very controlling and abusive parent who also said ‘you are so stupid with it’ every time. Can you see how that same phrase being said to them now may trigger memories of emotions from their childhood.

Take time to Process Rather than Project – Think Improving Relationships

The important point here is that when the other person is triggered it is ‘almost’ like their subconscious takes over. When someone shouts or projects their strong emotions on to you, you have a choice. A choice. You can either ‘get all het up and project back’, or you can decide to be the person that is going to ‘hold the space’ for a better relationship for both of you. You can decide to ‘hold the space’ to allow transformation and release from a potentially painful past.

This is not an easy thing to do. Why? Because more often than not when one person projects their emotions onto you, your own past experiences and emotions may be triggered. Now, in reality, it isn’t that simple. As a human being, you will have to ‘feel your feelings’ and may go through a whole gambit of emotions and internal or external dialogues before you can arrive at a place of calm or understanding. Sometimes this is a longer chain of processes and sometimes it is a very short one.

When triggers are going off, that is not the time to decide to go into a resolution conversation – emotions are too high, and when emotions are high, intelligence goes down. (A very wise man I respect very highly says that in his training’s 🙂 )

Draw on the Reinforcements you Know

I would suggest that instead of ‘projecting’ your emotions onto the other person, you leave the conversation or move it onto other less emotive topics. Why is this so powerful? Well if over 85% of all communication is body language, and tone then you can imagine that your emotions will get communicated even if you watch your words. So that is why it’s important to work through your own emotions for yourself or with someone’s help.

This is also a good time to remind yourself of the love you hold for them and the love they hold for you. Just like your brain and theirs remembers any negative memories it also has neuron nets storing lots of positive experiences and memories – those that you have in store with this person. That means you can draw on these as well.

How to Improve Difficult Relationships

How to Improve Difficult Relationships

Let’s bring it together – Ka-Ching!

So when a triggering situation arises stop and follow the steps below to improving relationships:

  1. Allow the charge of emotion to dilute down. Even if it takes a week or two, have patience it will be worthwhile.
  2. Set up a time to meet and talk, and make it clear you love that person, plus you’d like to support each other on what triggered
  3. Take time to work through and process what is coming up for you if you are triggered. This means work out what memories came up and what was said or done to trigger them. Awareness is a big step towards undoing this (more on this in blog part II)
  4. When you talk make sure you pay particular attention to listening, to understand what triggered for the other person
  5. Then explain what triggered you, and your job is to talk authentically and from the heart about you, do NOT talk about the other person and their experience.
  6. If you have processed your emotions well then you should be able to hold the space for a good conversation. How? Because you will be bringing a completely different level of emotion to the table to reduce the other persons’ charge

Please share this onwards for others to benefit, because it’s good to help others. And if enough people get this next time you find yourself in a difficult situation the other person may hold the space for you if they’ve read this. Isn’t that a great thought :-)!

Let us know on Facebook about your experiences with this, and any feedback because it’s from your feedback we know what you’d like more of.

In Part II next Saturday I will be talking about further energetics principles to help in improving relationships.

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