Regardless of race, gender, colour or creed, in relationship there will be challenge.
This type of challenge, the ‘bully’ challenge, will seem like they are bossing you, ordering you around, trying to control you, and even nit-picking away at your every move.
Usually when this happens, it’s an attempt to control the environment.
And trying to control the environment is because the other person feels unsafe.
And feeling unsafe, is another way to say, they are feeling helpless, powerless or alone.
And feeling helpless, powerless or alone is..the root of human suffering.
So, they are suffering.
And we all know, that can be a horrible feeling.
So as we begin the process of ‘de-labelling’ our partner from a bully, we can begin to see the underlying structure to their behaviour. They are suffering and the only way they know how to “NOT SUFFER” is by beginning to control their environment.
And guess what?! …You are their environment.
So, it may seem like a personal attack. And maybe they are saying things that are not reprehensible, horrible, frustrating, but consider that BOTH of you are suffering in the moment. They are feeling helpless to something, and you are feeling helpless to their behaviour. So no matter how much want to label them a challenger or a bully or a big old boss, the reality is that you two are mirroring each other in the moment. Both of you are helpless and powerless to something…
And as you simultaneously suffer, you want to control their behaviour. So both of you, as futile as it is, are trying to control each other. A recipe for divisive turmoil.
What to do about it?
1. Acknowledge Your Own Suffering – It’s vitally important to see your own position to the situation and what is happening.
2. Understand Empathetically Where They Are At – It’s rarely about you per se, it’s more of a reflection of their own anxiety with feeling helpless and you are a great projection to fire a dart at.
3. Hold Space for Both of You – It’s important once you become aware enough, to hold space quietly, and let them know through your eyes, posture, heart and tone of voice that you see them for the suffering they are going through, that you feel their pain and helplessness, and that you are here in the present moment for EACH OTHER.
If you can hold this intention, both of you can suffer together, feel the pain, and together give rise to more ease and connection on the other side.
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