Written by: Seada
We acknowledge that the cycle of trouble is complex and heterogeneous for each person and couple. Popular belief says that the best solution to ending conflict is a break-up, but I beg to differ.
Negative childhood experiences may be the underlying cause of premature conversations, emotional violence, and ignorance to feelings, all of which can vastly impact the safety and security of adult romantic relationships. To many people, the idea of vulnerability is scary because adverse childhood experiences make vulnerability seem extremely difficult. Being vulnerable with authoritarian parents or adults meant that emotions were seen as a sign of weakness, and weakness was not tolerated but dealt with through punishment or isolation. A famous saying goes, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.”
Without further delay, let’s explore the transition from distant relationships to nurturing relationships.
Communication means to listen to a speaker without interruption, to listen respectfully and with good intent. The listener’s primary responsibility is to provide validation to the speaker’s message. Listening prevents the escalation of anger on either side and reduces power struggles. To act upon this method is easier said than done, I understand. However, I refuse–and you should refuse as well–to allow past experiences to halt personal development.
What does effective communication look like? Practice makes perfect. It begins with a process of reflection:
“Under distress, how do you react? What messages is your mind formulating that drive your conduct? Instead of overreacting to negative commutation, what is your true vision of a proper and healthy response? How will you begin to implement an effective response in your everyday life?”
Once the process of reflection begins to take course, self-control is initiated. The two basic steps of communication are paraphrasing and validating. Paraphrasing says, “I want to make sure I understand your point of view, is this what you mean?” Or, “I may not be understanding, can you please repeat yourself?” Validation says “I hear what you’re saying. Tell me more. How can I help?” I want to make it clear that validation has nothing to do with acceptance or rejection and paraphrasing has nothing to do with mockery.
Vulnerability requires two main concepts: safety and security. In this moment, I want you to recall a time where you experienced sadness and you wanted to converse with a close friend to ease the load off your mind. Of all the possibilities available, you chose the one person who was non-judgmental, open-minded, and who willingly displayed interest. At that moment, a mindful person says, “I feel safe because my best friend isn’t judgmental, and I feel secure because my best friend is listening without instantly responding to my problem with a quick fix, nor are they name-calling.”
Once we begin to master the art of awareness, we have built the foundation of a sturdy home. The walls of our home are built upon fondness and admiration. As we work together to build our home, we are creating a positive perspective which turns our attention towards our partners in times of difficulty. We have learned the value of friendship in our romantic relationships, and it enables our ability to manage conflict and personal development.
Every relationship takes effort to build a strong foundation for growth, nurturance, and love, so begin today by creating shared meaning.