Your Personal Power
By Dr. Steve
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Beyond Good Intentions
worthwhile men have good thoughts, good ideas, and good intentions, but precious few of
them ever translate those into action.
-John Hancock Field
are the circumstances in your relationship that bring you to your knees? Those
circumstances that never seem to change, in fact many times, trying to change them only
makes matters worse. Does the word powerless come
to mind--a feeling so pervasive it overloads your emotional circuits? Feeling totally
ineffectual. Anything you do or say has no impact. Nothing seems to make a dent. The
spirit of cooperation that once existed between you and your partner has been replaced by
the corrosive cycle of blame/defend, accuse/justify, attack/retaliate, and finally,
there anyone who hasnt experienced that familiar feeling of frustration over and
over again--frustrated that you and your partner just cant seem to get beyond what
keeps the two of you bound in knots. Youve talked it to death. Ignoring it only
makes you feel worse. Youve tried to convince yourself that you just wont care
about it anymore, but thats like seeing how long you can go without inhaling.
well does any of that work for you? Its unlikely that any of those strategies are
very rewarding in the long run. Why? Its likely that you arent using the
relationship skills that can easily enable you and your partner to stop hurting each
my most fervent belief that much of the pain that you experience in your relationships can
be alleviated if you master a few simple skills. Quite simply, there are specific skills
that you can learn that will make relationships less conflictual, if, youre willing
to use them.
me emphasize that last point. You must be
willing to create relationships with people that are dedicated to resolving rather than
perpetuating conflict. Sadly, not all people are willing to surrender the emotional
benefits they experience from being in a conflict-filled relationship. But I can tell you
this much. Even if youre willing to be in a conflict-free relationship, if you
dont know and use the skills necessary to keep a relationship open and growing,
youll find your best intentions undermined.
the first point I want to make is that you need more than good intentions to create
relationships that are nourishing. Theres a very simple saying I have, You
must work differently at your relationships, not harder at them. If all you do is
continue to try and solve the challenges in your relationships the same way you always
have, then you will continually get the same results.
many of you, the skills that Im going to discuss with you will create different
outcomes than those of your old strategies. Learning these skills can change the way you
and your partner respond to each other. By changing the way you respond to each other, you
can insure a different outcome than you are currently experiencing.
the first step towards ending the discord in your relationship is resolving to do things
differently. Its likely that some of your old ways arent working. But I
promise you, there are new skills that can get you over the hump.
its not enough that I believe this. Its not enough that I can see the benefits
of mastering these simple skills. You need to be able to see whats in it for you. So
lets stop and think about this for a moment. How will you benefit by learning a
different way of responding to your partner when the two of you are stuck in familiar
patterns of conflict? Can you envision using these familiar patterns as opportunities to
understand each other rather than to defeat each other?
stop here for a moment. Try to focus on exactly what is to be gained by stopping the
fighting and bickering. Do more than think about it. Take the time to put it on paper. The
reason for this is simple. Youll refer to these pages time and time again when your
resolve wavers. Seeing is believing. Being able to reference why youre doing all of
this hard work when you feel frustrated, will inspire you to stay on your path. Use the
space below to write down how youll benefit by learning how to resolve your
misunderstandings differently with a few new relationship skills.
know how challenging this work is. Maintaining your optimism for change, your hopefulness
for well-being, and your belief that you can effectively use these new skills is essential
to your success. Whenever you feel your spirit wavering, refer back to these pages.
Knowing how youll benefit by creating different ways of solving problems in your
relationship will buoy your spirits when youre feeling paralyzed by discouragement.
know you possess the necessary courage to weather the dark storms. There are times when
youre going to feel awkward. From time-to-time your partner may not be as supportive
as you would like them to be. Moving out of the familiar and into the unknown is enough to
make anybody take pause.
has the same effect on us all. We stop dead in our tracks. Looking for a way to retreat,
self-protection becomes our number one goal. And eventually well reach for ol
faithful--our old habits. Not because those old habits are effective, simply because
proposing a new standard. From here on out, commit to using skills that are effective
rather than merely familiar. Dont settle for the comfort of what you know best,
venture into the realm of the new and unknown. I realize what Im asking of you. But
if you can just hang on to your belief in the benefits that you listed above, youll
feel less unsure of yourself and more encouraged to venture forward.
you embrace the formula Ive just suggested, youll begin to notice subtle
changes. Your fear will lessen. Your confidence will increase. Those old ways will be less
seductive as you discover you have more and more choices. Ultimately, youll discover
that the more choices you have to resolve the conflicts in your relationship, the more
empowered youll feel. And believe me, there isnt a better gift in the world
that you can give yourself.
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.