How to prevent intimacy and withdraw from love in your relationship – Six steps in what not to do:
Step One. Repeat your negative narratives to yourself and your partner: For example: “You never clean up.” “You always focus on the kids.” “You always/never want sex.” Closeness and intimacy are soon threatened. (“always” and “never” are frequent symptoms of negative narratives.)
Step Two. Begin to justify always and never narratives with ‘evidence’: “Germs are dangerous.” “This spoils kids.” and “Your sexual drive is not normal.” These justifications trigger us into hurtful arguments about who is “normal” or “reasonable”, who is right and who is wrong.
Step Three. Seek support from social media, friends and relatives quoting your evidence: Say to them, “Would you believe it, s/he thinks it’s OK to leave food out overnight..” or “Wouldn’t you agree, being with your kids 24/7 is bad for them.” “Sex! S/he won’t even talk about it ..” The worst version of this is enlisting your children to support your negative narrative about their other parent or stepparent.
Step Four. Begin to use this ‘witnesses evidence’ for your negative narrative as a weapon against your partner: When a friend says to you “You are SO right about the sex; poor you ..”, you say to your partner “All our friends agree that you ….”
Step Five. Interpret conclusions. The way your partner insists on continuing with that behaviour means they “don’t care”, “don’t love me”, “actually want to annoy me.”
Step Six. Repeat your negative narrative. Carve a well-worn track in your brain so it becomes almost impossible to break out and see your partner differently. And then you begin to feel like a victim, helpless and powerless. Separation may creep in as a option.
Bravery can melt the ice of your negative narrative. Can you concede that you might be part of the problem too? Are you big enough to grant your partner the dignity of being human again and having their own reasons for behaving this way? Have you the strength to be curious and listen with new ears?
Have you the courage to initiate a non-judgemental conversation?
With thanks to The Neuroscience of Human Relationships by L Cozolino,
Games People Play by E Berne
Getting the Love You Want by H Hendrix,
Person to Person by C Rogers & B Stevens
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