Problem Is It?
By Susie and Otto
When a problem,
challenge or issue comes up in a
relationship or marriage, whose problem is
Is it yours? Your
This is interesting
because whether you are in a relationship
where you feel like you are really alone,
you're walking on egg-shells or maybe
you've gone from relationship to
relationship and have not found the heart
connection that you want.
question that we hear is: "It's not my
problem. It's my partner's problem, so what can I do
It doesn't matter
whether the problem is jealousy or maybe the
person withdraws and won't communicate with
you, maybe the other person allows
his or her anger to come between you, maybe you
just don't seem to be "on the same page" or
maybe your partner takes no
responsibility for his or her actions.
Our answer is always
If there is a problem
in your relationship or maybe in
relationships that you've had in the past,
look at yourself first because you are part
of what is happening.
Now, of course we in no
way find it helpful to lay blame in your
direction. Blame of any kind--whether it's
toward you or your current or past
partner--is of absolutely no benefit to
anyone except to keep someone in roll of
victim or martyr.
With that being said,
we'll tell you about a situation we observed
recently to illustrate what we mean.
We were at a gathering
and one of the women seemed pretty upset as
she explained in an exasperated tone that
her husband had left the party to go home
and had left the keys to their van locked
She wanted to go
home also but was upset that she had to
figure out how to get there--without their
van. She blamed him completely for her
Now on the surface, it
certainly looks like this situation is all
her husband's "fault" if you want to lay
blame on anyone.
But as we discovered later,
her husband had talked with her prior to
leaving, but they hadn't really listened to
each other and made their desires clear for
We're guessing but they
probably do this particular "relationship
dance" quite often of mis-communicating and
misunderstanding one another--not truly
being "present" with each other when they
are talking with one another.
So it's not just "his"
problem but she has a role in their dynamic
If that's the
case--that both people have a role in
contributing to most if not all relationship
problems--how do you begin dealing with the
situation if you feel that the other person
is the problem?
Here are some ideas
that we've used when we've thought the other
person has the problem and we hope that they
shed some light on helping you with your
1. Own your part of it.
Don't be seduced into thinking that it's all
the other person's fault. It may be that the
two of you are looking at the situation from
very different eyes and from very different
Take a few steps up and
out of the situation and look at it from a
hawk's perceptive high in the air.
truly look at the situation from that
vantage point, you will probably see how you
from something you did or did not do.
2. Take steps to truly
feel what you are feeling about what has
happened. It may trigger memories from past
relationships or it may be a past hurt
that surfaces--along with what's currently
When you pause to
feel what's there for you, the whole
situation becomes clearer. It's very easy to
react from old patterns and not to go
underneath of those patterns and discover
what is really there.
Give yourself the
space and time to contact what's inside you.
3. If it's appropriate,
tell the other person what you have
discovered about this situation and about
your part in it-- without blaming either
yourself or him or her.
Do not speak from your "head" but rather
speak from what you are feeling from your
heart. The other will know and feel the difference and it can
make the difference whether he or she reacts
defensively or not.
4. Tell the other
person how you would like your relationship
to be and state your commitment to doing
those things. You first have to figure
what that means and then have the courage to
ask for it.
Be sure to be honest with
yourself about what you want and be honest
about your commitment to doing it.
If you want better
communication, commit to stopping the things
that you do that prevent communication.
might be to make sure that you are present
with one another when you talk with each
other, opening your hearts to one another
and making eye contact so that you "hear"
what each other is saying.
If you're in a
relationship, especially an intimate
relationship, there are undoubtedly things
that come up that may be considered
Whether they are big ones or
small ones, take the time to look at the
situation from the hawk's
discover how you can grow as a person and as
If you do, you'll find
that you become happier in your life and