by Sabine Brosche
When couples have a problematic situation, there is often an underlying belief that makes each feel as if their partner needs to change.
As we untangle what is really going on inside each partner, I often find that each has a long list of requirements for the other. Often it is a list of urgent wants and needs.
I need you to commit to our relationship.
I want you to be more vulnerable.
I want you to be more alive and engaging.
I need you to make me a priority.
I want you to be more attentive.
I need you to contribute more to the relationship.
Or in other words: I need you to change.
Each desperately wants the other to move, change, take responsibility, be more committed, show up…etc This is how couples can get locked into a stuck dynamic.
The focus is on The Other. The urge for the Other to change can become very strong and even emotional and physically painful. Eventually, it can drown out love and understanding.
My approach generally is to invite you both to take a look at this dynamic and come back to the self. Let us work with the part you have control over: you.
I do believe we have no control over another’s internal world. Nor do we have the right to demand the other to change. We are responsible for our own evolution and they are responsible for theirs. This can be an inconvenient and sometimes painful approach especially when we feel with every fibre of our being, all will be well if only the other person would change.
The good news about this approach is that this: once we realize that you can not change or control another person we can get started to untangle our own ‘problems’. we can take care of our own reactions, and inquire into our own ‘hurt’.
While we are triggered, we can access our own unresolved internal issues. And often it takes us far beyond our current relationship situation and back into the past. We get to meet a younger self that most likely experienced life as confusing, frighting or painful.
It is in our own internal world that we can explore, experiment and let change happen. And if we do it will affect our relationship in a way that we cannot have foreseen.