Molehills Out of Mountains
By Dr. Steve
Click Here to Return to
the Table of Contents
The Blueprint for
only way to even approach doing something perfectly is through experience and experience
is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
move forward by first reviewing where weve been. Making molehills out of mountains
is a process of conflict resolution that enables you to forge understanding, resolution,
and forgiveness out of the disagreements and unresolved conflict that exist between you
and your partner.
mechanism that enables you to create such a transformation is a relationship skill
Ive called pinpointing the issue. Remember, the first premise of pinpointing
the issue is that there are two levels to most unresolved conflict--the
circumstance and the underlying relationship issue. The circumstance is the event that
precipitates the conflict between you and your partner. The underlying relationship issue
is the unacknowledged issue embedded in the circumstance of the conflict. I have discussed
with you the four likeliest themes that the underlying issues might be: 1) feeling
unaccepted; 2) unmet emotional needs; 3) feeling unappreciated; 4) power and control.
second premise of pinpointing the issue is that many times two people choose to
focus only on the first level of the conflict by trying to fix only the circumstances of a
disagreement without acknowledging the underlying relationship issue. When this happens,
its inevitable that the circumstances of the conflict will continue to reappear
until the presence of the underlying relationship issue is acknowledged and resolved.
third premise of pinpointing the issue is that you have a choice as to how
youll address any existing
conflict--fixing only the circumstances or fixing both
the circumstances and resolving the underlying relationship issues. The advantage of
addressing both the circumstance and the underlying relationship issue? By resolving the
underlying relationship issue, youll likely eliminate the need for the circumstances
of the conflict to reappear in your relationship.
fourth premise of pinpointing the issue is that there are signs and symptoms,
think of them as cues, that an underlying unresolved relationship issue is present in your
conflict. Let me take the time to identify for you what some of those cues are.
first cue is what I refer to as being stuck in the circle. Being stuck in the
circle is a familiar experience for most of us. Can you think of those times when the same
disagreement appears over and over again? The disagreement doesnt go away no matter
how much you try to make it go away. Its like a piece of toilet paper stuck to the
bottom of your shoe. You cant seem to shake it no matter how hard you try.
you begin to notice that youre revisiting an issue time and time again, its
likely that youre stuck in the circle. You may be noticing that all of your attempts
at fixing the problem arent working. If this is true for you, perhaps its time
to consider that theres an underlying unresolved relationship issue to address as
second cue that might indicate the presence of an underlying relationship issue
embedded in the circumstances of your conflict is if your reaction to what precipitated an
argument is out of proportion to what actually precipitated the argument.
how a friend of mine notices this cue when he runs into it with his wife. Steve, I
can tell that theres more to a disagreement than just the disagreement itself, when
on a scale of one to ten, the event were squabbling about is a two but my reaction
to that event is a twelve. Thats when I know its time for me to step back and
figure out just what the hell else I need to be working out with my wife.
an example of what I mean. Perhaps you and your partner come home one night and discover
that your dog has tipped over the garbage can. While you begin to clean up the mess, your
partner blames you for your dogs actions. Not only are you blamed for your
dogs actions, but a whole list of grievances that date back to the first time the
two of you met comes spilling out of your now agitated partners mouth. When this
happens, its a good sign that theres much more going on than whos
responsible for what an unattended dog does around the house.
of my favorite cues that tells me I need to focus on an underlying relationship issue is
when I begin to realize that Im keeping score with somebody. You know,
Im keeping track of all the unfair things that are being done to me by somebody
else. Or I make note of every mean thing said to me. There are times that I keep track of
every inconsistent behavior that a person acts out. You know, those times when they do the
very things to me that upsets them when I do it to them.
is a sure sign that somebodys feeling unappreciated, that theyre somehow
feeling as if theyre being treated unfairly. Unfortunately, taking ownership of
those feelings often gets lost in all the work it takes to keep track of every perceived
wrong that has been perpetrated.
see, thats one of the problems with scorekeeping. You wind up putting more effort
into documenting your emotional injuries than you do talking about your hurt feelings with
your partner. Its a wonderful way to build a case against your partner, but how
helpful is it as far as resolving anything? No, if youre putting more energy into
tracking how unfair your partner is treating you, youre perpetuating conflict rather
than resolving it.
those are the four premises of pinpointing the issue. Dont lose sight of what
mastering this principle will do for you. Youll lessen the burden that any
relationship bears when there are unresolved relationship issues lurking in the
remarks. Slippery evasions. Icy withdrawal. Cool indifference. Biting sarcasm.
Stubbornness. These are the slings and arrows we cast when we weigh down our relationships
with the emotional baggage derived from our unwillingness to resolve the issues in our
relationships. The longer we give life to these issues, the greater toll they take on our
emotional and spiritual well-being.
So, give yourself the opportunity to grow into the skills I have suggested throughout the
book. Give yourself permission to wrestle with them. Some will feel more comfortable than
others. Youll likely feel awkward with many of the shifts Ive suggested. You
dont have to use them all at once, or any of them at all for that matter.
is etched in stone. Ive merely suggested ways to enhance your ability to lessen the
conflict that exists in your relationship. Your job is to adapt those suggestions to your
style. In creating your own style, youll create a way of pinpointing the issue that
suits you best.
Once youve pinpointed the issue, what do you do next?
Here are some specific guidelines to follow as you begin to talk through the identified
Resolve your issues in a climate of cooperation, not anger.
your marker back out. I want you to underline this message. If you dont understand
it, if you dont follow it, if the spirit of what Im suggesting isnt
honored, all of your hard work will go for naught. Pinpointing the issue cannot be
performed in a climate of anger. Let me repeat
that--pinpointing the issue cannot be done
in a climate of anger. Resolving your underlying relationship issues must be done in a
climate of cooperation.
clear about what Im telling you. Im not saying that you cant be,
dont deserve to be, arent entitled to be, angry, hurt, enraged, resentful or
any combination of emotions. Im simply saying that when you get down to the basics
of pinpointing the issue, it must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not retaliation.
makes sense, doesnt it? Anger is the energy by which you make a mountain out of a
molehill. Cooperation is the energy by which you make a molehill out of a mountain.
whats the practical application to this? Dont attempt to resolve anything in
the heat of the moment. If you or your partner are feeling too angry to constructively
explore the relationship issues, dont do it at that point. Its okay to walk
away until a time exists when cooler heads can prevail.
can see why its important to do this work in a calmer climate, cant you?
Theres much for you to think about. Theres much you need to understand beyond
the pain that oozes from the wounds inflicted by your partner. More importantly, you need
to see beyond your wounds long enough to see your partners side of the disagreement,
as well. All of this can only be done when youve had the time to defuse your
its okay. Give each of yourselves permission. Dont believe that the heat of
the moment is the time to make everything right. Walk away. Cool off. Think things
through. Focus on all that youre learning about yourself. Try to understand
whats stirring within you as well as your partner. Ask yourself what the situation
calls for. Empathy? Validation? Affirmation? Appreciation? Checking-In? Self-disclosure?
Taking ownership of your feelings and actions? Letting go of the laundry list?
told you at the beginning of our journey that I wanted you to have a menu of choices to
choose from rather than rely upon familiar actions that sabotage your well-being. Do you
see how many choices you have now? Use them! Theyll serve you well. But you
cant apply them effectively when youre enraged. Remember, the point of making
molehills out of mountains is to embrace a process that heals the inevitable wounds that
two people inflict upon one another. Use the new choices youre learning in a climate
Express your needs rather than defend your position.
you see the distinction between expressing your needs and defending your position? A
position is a stance you take about something in dispute with your partner. Your needs are
matters that hold importance to the well-being of you and your relationship.
about this for a moment. Is it safer for you to defend your position or express your
needs? Which leaves you feeling more vulnerable--I need you to be there for me
or Here are my ideas about how and why youre never there for me?
your position is an accusation that you must prove correct. Expressing your needs is an
invitation extended to your partner to join you. Defending your position is a
pronouncement that your partner has failed you. Expressing your needs is a declaration of
the regard that you hold for your partner.
you furiously defend your position, any attempt to address the underlying relationship
issues will have an inevitable slant to it. Focusing on your position requires that you be
right and your partner be wrong. Successfully defending your position hinges on your
ability to debate your partner rather than understand your partner.
your position freezes you in a battle of wits where the only skills that matter are your
ability to explain and justify. Can you see the inevitable harm defending your position
inflicts upon your relationship? Championing your position requires you to dismiss your
you see the paradox of attempting to resolve conflict by championing a cause? You will
inevitably create more conflict than you resolve.
the other hand, making molehills out of mountains is the end result of two people honoring
each others needs, considering the best interests of the relationship. What are the
best interests of your relationship? Do these examples make sense to you? Connection.
Honor. Respect. Growth. Honesty. Openness. Interdependence.
to consider the interests of your partner rather than defending your position can create
an important shift between you and your partner. Selfishness will transform into sharing.
Competitiveness will transform into cooperation. Antagonism will transform into mutual
respect. Self-centeredness will transform into consensus building.
the ultimate benefit of the shift Im proposing. You cannot possibly begin to
understand your partner while youre defending your position. Quite simply, as long
as you defend your position, youll perpetuate a log jam of ill-will. By expressing
your needs and honoring the needs of your partner, youll begin the process of
tearing down the walls that have developed in your relationships.
TIPIdentify the issue rather than focus on the problem.
youve created the appropriate climate within which to begin to resolve the
relationship issues. Youve taken the time to diffuse the emotional charge that
exists between you and your partner. By backing away long enough to let your feelings cool
off, you can come back together with the goal of creating a climate of cooperation and
next step is to make a shift in your mindset. That shift--stop defending your position.
The best interests of your relationship are served by expressing your needs rather than
defending your position.
theres one last shift to be made as you get into the substance of discussing the
relationship issues. That shift is what Ive been alluding to throughout this book.
Shift from addressing the circumstance to discussing the underlying relationship issue.
Afterall, thats what this whole exercise is about. Agreeing to focus on something
beyond the circumstance that has precipitated the conflict.
speaking, what that means is for you to take some time to reflect on what the underlying
relationship issues are bubbling beneath the surface. Ive given you an overview of
the predominant themes that you can expect those issues to be. Take the time to figure out
how those theme(s) may be a part of the conflict youre experiencing.
careful not to overwhelm your partner with a bushel basket full of issues all at once.
Take the issues one at a time. You dont have to resolve all matters in ten minutes.
Be considerate of your partner. Check-in with them to insure that theyre up to
moving on with you.
be afraid to take time out. Dont be afraid to put some of the issues off until
another time. Try to prioritize the issues you want to explore. At the same time, consider
tackling some of the easier stuff first.
important of all, dont get lost in the details of the circumstances. You can always
come back to figure that one out. Remember, the circumstances have been hiding the
relationship problems long enough. Dont be tempted to fall back into that old habit
one more time.
last thing I want to remind you of is your commitment at the beginning of the book--let go
of the familiar for something new and effective. The biggest shift of all will be shifting
from trying to fix the problem to trying to resolve the relationship issue. Rest assured,
with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears you can transform your unresolved issues into the
foundation for your relationships well-being.
are important guidelines for you to follow when you begin the process of resolving your
underlying relationship issues. Dont expect to follow them perfectly. Think of them
more as a beacon to guide your efforts. Use them as a marker to let you know whether
youve strayed too far from the target youre aiming for. If you can remain
mindful of them, they wont let you down.
you have a better sense of what it means to pinpoint the issue and how to go about
untangling the oftentimes complex issues that exist in your relationship. In the next
chapter, Im going to discuss with you some specific tools that will enable you to
successfully navigate the choppy waters that get stirred up from trying to pinpoint the
issue. As you become comfortable with using these tools, youll discover that
youll be better able to stay focused on the underlying relationship issues and much
less distracted by the circumstances of the conflict.
Tools of the Trade
skills will not make your work necessarily easier, but not using them will make your
journey all but impossible.
want to share with you some tools youll find invaluable. These tools will enable you
to more effectively maintain your focus on the underlying relationship issues. A word of
caution. You dont have to use all of them all of the time. Nor do you have to use
any of them exactly as Ive suggested that you use them.
of these tools as concrete ways to avoid many of the pitfalls youll discover once
you try resolving conflict the way I have suggested. Remember, our goal is to learn how to
more effectively resolve conflict. The key to being effective? Put down your old ways and
begin using these new ways.
result of using these new tools, youll discover a new world open to you. The more
comfortable you become with these new tools, the more confident youll feel about
yourself. The more confident you feel, the better able youll be to eliminate much of
the long-standing resentment and mistrust that exists in your relationships.
what it will be like for you to settle your disagreements in a manner that leaves you
feeling understood by your partner. What effect will your ability to better respect and
honor your partner have on their willingness to be there for you? Can you envision the day
when you resolve conflict just as easily as you begin it?
much closer to that day than youve ever been before. You have all the ingredients
necessary at your disposal. New relationship skills. The tools to implement those skills.
The courage to create the necessary shifts Ive suggested to you. Most important of
all, the patience to see things through.
Live in the
here-and-now by resolving the unfinished business from the there-and-then.
start with a global guideline applicable to all your efforts at making molehills out of
What were trying to do is set your relationship free--free from the
shackles of unresolved underlying relationship issues. Conflict that remains unresolved
does one thing--it leaves your relationship shackled to the past.
and your partner carry around the energy of all your unresolved conflict like an emotional
ball and chain. The energy that Im talking about? Hurt. Anger. Resentment. Feeling
wronged. Wanting to even the score. Do you see the drain these unresolved issues create
upon your relationship? How can you possibly be in the moment if youre focusing on
all your yesterdays?
simply, you need to clean up your past in order to live in the present so that your future
can be different. The path to arrive at such an end is to develop the skills that will
enable your relationship to be grounded in the here-and-now rather than anchored to the
events of the there-and-then.
whole purpose of making molehills out of mountains is to resolve the disagreements from
the past that continue to live and breathe in your relationships to this day. By resolving
these disagreements, you can begin to heal many of the wounds created throughout your
relationship. You see, thats the whole reason to go through all of this work. To
stop the emotional bleeding. To do away with the hurting. To undo all the ways people have
of disrespecting one another.
process of making molehills out of mountains is the means to clean up the stuff that gets
in the way of two people caring for each other. So I ask you, are you ready to put down
your weapons long enough to stop the fighting and begin the healing? Are you ready to
trade in your weapons of destruction for tools of cooperation?
youre ready to end the war, then the first thing you must do is stop living in the
past. Do you get my point? Are you ready for the past to be put to bed? Are you ready to
smooth off those rough edges from the past that you continually use to this day as a
weapon against your partner?
see, the choice is a simple one. Do you get more satisfaction from nursing your
resentments, righting your wrongs, avenging your hurts, or healing your wounds? Isnt
living in the there-and-then merely a tactic--a way of avenging the wrongs you have
suffered? Although this may bring some sort of satisfaction to those who are so inclined,
how does it help you heal the rifts that exist between you and your partner? Heres
an important question for you to ponder--does reliving the past contribute to you
resolving the underlying relationship issues or keeping them alive?
see, many of us wrongly believe that the only way to heal the wounds weve
experienced at the hands of our partner is by seeking revenge. But heres the truth.
Theres only one way your wounds are going to heal. I talked about this earlier
in the book. Your wounds will heal as your partner begins to understand what your
experiences have been like. You can only get that acknowledgment if youre able to
express whats going on with you in the moment--in the here-and-now.
in exquisite detail every crime thats been perpetrated in the past brings everything
out in the open, but it does little as far as healing the wounds of the relationship. To
work towards that end, you need to stop using the hurts of the past as a weapon and begin
using the skills we have discussed throughout this book in the here-and-now.
need to stop using the hurts of the past as an excuse to make your partner jump through
hoops of contrition.
need to stop using the hurts of the past as a wedge that you place between you and your
you need to do is work on the relationship as it is today.
need to work towards creating a climate of understanding by being emotionally forthright.
need to work towards creating common goals that will enable your relationship to grow
rather than decay from the baggage of the past.
here-and-down is a powerful balm for what ails any two people. Quite simply, the
here-and-now is a bridge between the wounds of your past and the hopes for all of your
Focus on behavior not personality.
you shift from the past to the here-and-now, theres a second shift thats
necessary to make. Begin to focus on your partners behavior rather than their
you understand what the distinction is? Do you attack somebody for who they are or do you
express how that persons behavior affects you? Do you belittle every characteristic,
idiosyncrasy, way of thinking and feeling, that your partner exhibits or do you identify
specific behaviors that create a problem for the two of you? Quite simply, do you believe
that the formula for you getting along with your partner is predicated upon them changing
who they are or what they do?
it from a pro, theres very little that you can do to change somebodys
personality characteristics. Answer this question for yourself--just whos likely to
change the essential pieces of who they are, even if they could, just because those pieces
are displeasing to you?
it more likely that your partner will simply feel attacked, disapproved of, and unaccepted
by you when you focus on those aspects of who they are rather than trying to understand
them? And if thats true, what reaction do you think youre likely inviting?
resentment, justification, blame, defensiveness. Now that seems pretty self-defeating,
doesnt it? Focusing on your partners personality is like pouring gasoline on a
fire. It merely escalates the level of conflict youre attempting to resolve in the
first place. Just remember, if your partner is busy defending themself from your attempts
to change who they are, theyll never be able to listen long enough to begin to
understand where youre coming from.
on the other hand, is an easier pill to swallow. You can see that, cant you?
Its less personal, although it may still sting. But more importantly, behavior is
something we can more easily modify than our personality. Behavior is something we have a
choice about. Behavior is an area of our life that we have more direct conscious influence
dealing with the underlying relationship issue will always sting, it will always be
uncomfortable, you can more effectively make molehills out of mountains by focusing on a
persons behavioral choices rather than personality. For instance, whats safer
for you to hear?
you leave the dishes in the sink for me to clean, I feel angry. Or Why are you
so lazy? Cant you stop being irresponsible long enough to think of me? Youre
more like a child than an adult, now get in there and clean up the kitchen.
you leave me out here waiting for you for a half-hour, I feel like Im
unimportant. Or Dont you ever think of anybody but yourself? Youre
so selfish. How inconsiderate can you be? Im nice enough to come down here to pick
you up from work and this is the thanks I get, you ingrate!
you see how focusing on a persons traits will lead to defensiveness whereas focusing
on somebodys behavior is less threatening?
take a moment to see if you can identify how shifting the focus from personality to
behavior might benefit you. Write at least three examples of how you may attempt to
resolve conflict by focusing on your partners personality rather than their
In order to understand how you may be sabotaging your best
intentions to resolve conflict, its important to have an appreciation for how
focusing on your partners personality affects them. Take some time and think about
the following two questions. How does your partner feel in each case you listed above?
how does your partner react to you when they are made to feel that way?
In each example you listed, how can you shift from focusing on their personality to
focusing on their behavior?
trust you can see that focusing on your partners personality is a short-sighted
solution to a long-term problem. On the other hand, focusing on your partners
behavior is a long-term solution to enrich the well-being of your relationship. Living the
spirit of this tip will go a long way towards relieving much of the tension in your
relationship. More importantly, focusing solely on your partners behavior will
restore respect, elevate trust, and enhance the good-will between you and your partner.
Use I statements rather than You statements.
youve got the appropriate focus, the here-and-now. Youre starting to make the
distinction between who your partner is and the actions your partner takes. Next,
lets explore some very specific ways to talk about the conflicts that exists between
you and your partner.
tool is an important guide for how to more effectively express yourself when youre
trying to focus on the underlying relationship issues. Using I statements is an important
means of defusing much of the defensiveness that is present when two people are working on
using I statements when you express yourself to your partner, you can lessen the
defensiveness in your interaction. The less defensive the two of you feel towards each
other, the better able you are to hear each other. Creating a climate where you can listen
rather than defend is a prerequisite to using any of the other skills we have discussed
throughout this book.
Do you see how this tool is a fundamental ingredient for creating a climate of
reconciliation? I statements are the language of taking ownership. You statements are the
language of blame and shame. It really is that black and white. Effectively resolving
conflict with your partner is predicated upon your willingness to take ownership.
very simple. Taking ownership means developing a better awareness of yourself. It means
being aware of how your behavior affects your partner as well as being aware of how
youre affected by your partners behavior.
taking ownership only starts with awareness. If all you are is more aware, youll
have only accomplished half of the job. The next step is expressing what you need to
express. Feeling wronged by your partner is not a license to go through life as a victim.
Taking ownership requires you to work things through with your partner.
become as aware as you can be of how you allow your emotions to rule you. When youre
hurt and angry, do you take ownership of your emotions or do you disown them by blaming
your partner? You see, theres that thing about choices again. Acknowledge how
youre feeling or disowning those feelings by blaming your partner.
can see the damage that disowning your feelings by blaming your partner does, cant
you? Just what are the words that convey blame? It all starts with finger pointing. And
verbal finger pointing always starts with, You ...
the other hand, taking ownership always starts
you can easily see what impact either style has on your partner. You... serves as a
cue. It signals your partner to prepare to be attacked, criticized, or discounted. And
when we hear that signal, we prepare to defend and counterattack. How much listening takes
place in that climate? How likely is it that youre going to be heard?
the other hand, I... serves as a cue as well. Its a signal that you want to
share something about who you are. You want to share something important about you with
me. It signals that this is a time to listen to you rather than argue with you. And so, if
were of a mind to listen to you, well feel freer to listen rather than
ready ourselves to be
talking about something very fundamental here. Its another one of those shifts.
Im encouraging you to shift from a posture of blame and verbal finger pointing to a
posture of responsibility by taking ownership.
escalates conflict. Taking ownership transforms conflict into resolution. Blame
demeans both you and your partner. Taking ownership elevates the esteem of both you and
your partner. Blame keeps your relationship chained to the past. Taking ownership
emancipates your relationship into the here-and-now.
look at me in disbelief when I suggest something so simple as taking ownership and
communicating that ownership through the use of I statements. However I assure you that
this is a very powerful formula for reducing the antagonism that creeps into
point is simple. Your willingness to examine your part in any piece of conflict will
contribute much to the well-being of your relationship. Your ability to express your
ownership by communicating with the use of I statements will cement the resolution you and
your partner are working so hard to create.
Express how youre affected by your partners behavior rather than
interpret the meaning of your partners behavior.
the choice--interpreting your partners behavior or articulating how youre
affected by your partners actions. So many relationships get swallowed up by this. I
see so much damage caused by the endless time that people spend interpreting each
point of making molehills out of mountains is to take ownership of how youre
affected by your partners behavior. Yet, how many keep that information to themself?
people avoid expressing how theyre affected by another persons actions by
interpreting what motivates somebody to do something. Quite simply, they shift the focus
from themselves to the other person. Theres no way you can resolve any relationship
issues when you continually take the focus off yourself and attack your partner.
we may be adept at interpreting our partners behavior, but it doesnt help the
situation, even if our interpretation is correct. You see, interpreting another
persons behavior only makes that person defensive.
see no advantage at all in telling someone how you interpret what their behavior means.
Its just like good advice. Its seldom asked for and rarely followed.
the other hand, if we focus on what the literal behavior is, if we focus on how we are
affected by that behavior, we stand a greater chance of being heard and effecting change.
treat me the way you do because of the bad relationship you have with your mother.
Cant you see how all the crap you dump on me is because of all the hostility that
you have towards your mom? If you learned how to respect your mom, you would learn how to
I understand how upset you are. However, when you start yelling at me, I feel hurt
and defensive which makes me want to lash out at you. I deserve to be treated better by
you and you deserve to be treated better by me.
effective is interpreting why somebodys angry with you (you treat me the way you do
because of the bad relationship you have with your mother), as in the first example?
effective is identifying the behavior (yelling at me), and how I am affected by it (I feel
hurt and defensive)?
always have a choice as to how youre going to address the issues in your
relationship. You can choose steps that create understanding or perpetuate anger and
mistrust. Interpreting somebodys reason for doing something perpetuates
misunderstandings while expressing how youve been affected by somebodys
behavior builds a bridge of understanding.
Check things out.
last step is critical to avoid the inevitable misunderstandings that arise when two people
are doing the best they can to express themselves. Afterall, its easy to understand
how misunderstandings arise.
molehills out of mountains is very much like walking a minefield. The land mines that we
need to navigate are the sensitivities that we have, the sensitivities that our partner
has, and the inevitable vagaries of the spoken word.
point Im trying to make is that dealing with your unresolved relationship issues
will challenge you to effectively communicate with your partner. There are many obstacles
you need to overcome. The trickiest obstacle you will struggle with is the static created
by the combined influences of your emotions and your life experiences. You see, those two
influences combine to create an inherent bias as to how you choose to understand what is
being said to you.
of this phenomena, your sincere attempts at pinpointing the issue can be undermined by the
filter through which you hear what is said to you. If you can accept your fundamental
vulnerability to that phenomena, then you are half-way there.
you recognize that you often color whats said to you and done to you by your own
subjective filters, you can take action to dilute the impact of your filters.
instance, when youre confused by what your partner is doing or saying, why not get
out of your head and check out with them what youre experiencing and understanding?
if youre wanting to see how well youre understanding something that your
partner intended to communicate, get out of your head and ask them, This is how I
understood what you just said to me--is that what you meant?
if youre familiar with the way you may distort things from time-to-time, you can
become sensitized to being aware when those distortions appear. And again check-out with
your partner what they are meaning by what theyve said to you.
points a very simple one. Dont let your filters sabotage your attempt to
resolve the issues that may exist between you and your partner. Be wary of the ways you
interpret the events in your life. Use the simple skill of checking things out in order to
keep your relationship grounded in the here-and-now rather than keeping it stuck in the
misunderstandings created by the distortions created from your past.
Well, there you have it. Throughout this book, I have shared with you many of the tools I
teach everyday in my private practice to people just like you. Some of these tools work
better than others. Some of these tools suit one individual more so than others. What I
can tell you with great assuredness is not what tool will work best for you, but what
enables any of them to work at all.
secret ingredient is you. Your courage. Your compassion for yourself and your partner.
Your sincere desire to do the work rather than just go through the motions. Perseverance
through the hard times. Understanding and kindness. You need a heavy dose of kindness to
get through all of this.
people who are most successful with these tools have only one aim in mind. Theyre
eager to create the most loving relationships that bring honor to themselves and care and
respect to their partner. For those people, to do anything less is just not acceptable.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.