We are back looking at couples Reaching Out For Help
Let’s Look At Our Basic Human Needs
In psychology, it is assumed that people have certain basic needs and in our program (Dynamic Discovery) they are classified under 5 headings for which we apply the acronym LAFFS:
1) Love & Belonging – this includes sex, families or loved ones as well as groups.
2) Achievement, Power and Recognition – which includes feeling worthwhile as well as winning.
3) Freedom – includes independence, autonomy, your own ‘space’.
4) Fun – includes pleasure and enjoyment.
5) Survival – includes nourishment and shelter,
Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all the time acting to meet these needs, but we don’t necessarily act effectively. Socializing with people is an effective way to meet our need for belonging while isolating and self-pitying in the hope that people will come to us is generally an ineffective way of meeting that need; it is painful and costly (in psychological terms) and seems to never work in the long term.
So if life is unsatisfactory or we are distressed or in trouble, one basic thing to check is whether we are succeeding in meeting our four (4) basic psychological needs (LAAF) – only those 4 because the 5th, survival, is implied – because it is in how we meet those 4 ‘psychological’ needs that we run into trouble.
Here are five suggestions to deal with your partner:
1. Ask for ten minutes to address the objection(s). Because the primary problem appears to be stubborn defensiveness the real problem is fear. Be straight with your partner and ask them – without being demanding – to help you understand. For the fearful person, once the fear is identified it can be addressed and acknowledged as to why it is real for them. They can then consider accepting that their fear may come true and may not – but more likely if it is obsessed about.
Then one must determine whether they have done what is within their control to do: if not, then the things not yet done must be listed and acted upon; if there is nothing more to do, then it is time to move on.
You can calm the waters by admitting that you have a big part in resolving your differences, but it takes two people to have a conflict and two people to solve it. It’s important for each partner to look at their part and how they can, together, improve their partnership.
2. Describe the benefit to your partner. Consider what your partner’s perspective might be. What would he or she get out of seeking help? You could maybe suggest that it would make you happy and would show you that he/she is making an effort. You could also suggest that it would help both of you to understand each other better and the two of you will likely learn some new skills/techniques that would decrease your arguing and allow you to have more fun.
3. Pique his or her interest. Find an article, e-book, podcast, or a video on YouTube – or on our website (www.dynamicdiscovery.ca) and ask your partner to read, watch, or listen. You can use this as a conversation starter. Ask your partner what he or she thought about it or what part he or she related to. Then share your thoughts. Make your partner the expert on the topic and ask if he or she thinks most men/women feel that way.
4. Use the term “coaching” instead of “counseling”. Going for coaching sessions puts the focus on learning new skills and techniques and off the prospect of blame and right vs wrong, not changing him/her or his/her personality. Many men in particular often can relate to a coaching metaphor, as sports teams need a good coach to be their best.
5. Ask your partner to talk to the coach – alone – just once and test it. He or she may resist less if it’s understood that the commitment is for just one introductory session. It is important that your partner meet the Coach and ask questions he or she may not ask in front of you. After meeting the Coach, he or she may see the value and want to continue. Also, this moves the fear of the unknown out of the way.
6. Deal makers and deal breakers
In order to structure the terms of a relationship (the rules by which it’s administered), make a list of deal-makers and deal-breakers. Please note that the list is not to be a list of the things you want your partner to do and what you are willing to do to make it possible. The list is to be YOUR deal-makers and/or deal-breakers to enable you to remain in the relationship. The list is usually 3 or 4 (or 5 or 6) points – such as: “I will not accept __(insert the issue or behavior here)_____”, or “I must have __(insert the issue or behavior here)_____”. You can read more about this in our blog Rules in Relationships.
You might want to use one or several of these ideas when you approach your partner. The bottom line is that one person can work on his or her part of relationship issues, but there is much more that can be accomplished when both partners avail themselves of the process.
So, What Now?
While the solution to all human problems is ‘simple’, never confuse simple with ‘easy’. For example, if you’re an angry person then the simple advice would be “stop being angry”, which is good advice but does not explain how to stop being angry. If great advice is all we need then we could just ask every person we meet to advise us – or one could just tune into Oprah or Dr. Phil.
But changing long-established behaviours is not usually an easy fix to make. And that is why in Dynamic Discovery we show you how to switch from unwanted to wanted behaviours. In order to gain a much deeper understanding of yourself and how to deal with and change thinking, doing, and feeling behaviours check out our website – www.DynamicDiscovery.ca – for information about us, and about our e-book, Dynamic Discovery, and the Dynamic Discovery Workbook.