Wednesday, December 20, 2017
FEELING: How are you feeling about what’s happening?
THOUGHT: What are you thinking about your partner?
ACTION: How do you express the problem?
FEELING: What do you imagine your partner is feeling on the receiving end?
THOUGHT: What do you imagine that your partner is thinking about you?
ACTION: How does your partner respond?
Note how the interaction continues and how it finally ends (for instance, there is an explosion; or both withdraw). For the questions about your partner’s or friend’s experience, it can be helpful to ask what he was feeling and thinking—but only if you can talk about this productively. Otherwise, try empathizing with him to imagine his responses; or ask someone you trust for help.
It can also help to review the patterns of interaction in the relationship:
- How do you and your partner affect each other’s feelings and actions?
- What patterns do you notice?
- How does this interaction reinforce your beliefs about how worthy of love you are? How does this interaction reinforce your beliefs about how emotionally available your partner is?
At an appropriate, calm time, you may want to talk with your partner about this exercise, sharing your insights. You might also ask your partner about how the interactions affect his sense of being worthy of love and his sense of how emotionally available you are. There is a lot here to make sense of within yourself, as well as to try to work through with your partner. So this is an area that you might find helpful to spend some time reviewing. You might also find it helpful to think this through a bit now, then return to it again at a later time.
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