Nothing can be more irritating than when your partner won’t listen to you and starts trying to “fix” you in the process–and you want him or her to change.
**Question from a reader…
“My fiance has been through personal development work and so understands the importance of taking responsibility for our actions and our feelings EXCEPT – the problem is that he keeps telling me to take responsibility for my feelings instead of him taking responsibility for his actions. Basically, he took the responsibility advice as he can behave however he will behave and I need to control my feelings and take responsibility for them if they make me sad or upset. There is no connecting, no relating, no understanding – just a “mentor” telling me to change my feelings about what’s happened.”
Yes, we’re all for both people taking personal responsibility in a relationship–in fact, that’s the only way it will work in a healthy way–BUT when there’s no connection in the process, that can really be a problem.
Here are some ways to create more connection, be heard AND be responsible…
1. Be sure that you are taking responsibility for your feelings.
By that, we mean that you are questioning the untrue stories in your head and not believing everything that you think.
We would also be curious as to what he means by “taking responsibility for your feelings.” Listen and find out more.
2. Take the emotion or feelings out of it, don’t get defensive–Address what you want.
Get as calm as you are able to be because when you’re in a heightened emotional state, you can’t think or speak clearly.
It sounds like he doesn’t want to change what he’s doing that upsets you but you want him to change.
Your feelings are an indication that there’s something to look at beneath them.
When you look beneath your feelings, it’s no longer about feelings but rather about how you want to connect with him–and how you want your relationship to be. (And he may see that he isn’t doing anything wrong.)
3.How do you want to be treated in this relationship and is this a deal breaker for you?
First, get clear about what you want this relationship to be and how you want to be with a partner.
In this case, it sounds like there’s something specific that happened that he doesn’t want to talk about with you.
If you’re clear about what you want your relationship to be, be open to honestly working out an agreement, then ask for that kind of discussion.
If he’s unwilling to face what happened and continues to not want to talk about it, you have to consider whether this is a deal breaker or not.
Your feelings are a result of your thinking so we suggest you open to finding a way to be together that works for both of you (instead of just venting which he obviously doesn’t want to hear).
See what the two of you want for your relationship and see if you can agree.