When we inquire within to identify the source of our reactivity, then share it with our partner, we begin to break free from old, conditioned patterns of behavior that no longer serve us or our relationship.
The four most common strategies that most people rely on when they feel threatened are to:
Dismantling these kneejerk reactions is a courageous process that requires both self-awareness and self-disclosure, but the results are transformational, Taylor says. The key is to focus on your own experience, without blaming or criticizing your partner.
In other words: Be mindful:
For example, if one partner goes ballistic when her beloved is five minutes late, instead of screaming at him and calling a thoughtless jerk, she might stop to explore why she’s so distressed. In doing so, she may discover that her response has much less to do with her devoted and usually on-time partner than the fact that in childhood her mother never knew what time—or day—her angry alcoholic father might turn up.