The Bully Factor

 In What is Marriage

When his fourteen year old daughter recently told him in a cold and brutally insensitive tone that she ‘didn’t want to talk about it’ – a friend of mine replied (in a kind and warm tone) ‘please do not bully me.’

The daughter looked at him and said ‘what?’ He explained ‘I love you and that makes me vulnerable to you. You don’t have to use such power on me to be heard. A simple ‘I don’t want to talk about it right now’ would be sufficient and also make it easier for me to hear you.’

In partnership our fears can inflate what we think our partner’s reactions might be to align with our own self definition. I’ve seen couples create massive dramas out of fear they might not be heard, or they might be shamed or ridiculed for a simple opinion. Those fears may have grown out of experience with the partner or they may be luggage we carry from childhood.

A good reminder is this: I have no idea who my partner is or how they will respond to what I have to say. My job is simply to communicate what I have to say, believing as much as possible, that they are interested and willing to hear me.

Pay attention to your own inner bully and notice how it changes the quality of communication in your relationship.

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