Healing a  Relationship

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Guidelines for making up after a fight


If both partners have the ability to ‘make up’ after a fight, their relationship has one of the essential skills for success.  The following guidelines will help when you want to make up in an adult way, rather that leave it to the inner selves:.

1. Stay there - don’t run out and don’t go silent. Distancing is just a sign that one or both of you are not ready or don’t want to make up yet.

2. Use the ‘time out’ approach rather than distancing or withdrawing. Whoever asks for ‘time out’ gets it but only for a short time (ten to twenty minutes) with a firm undertaking that both of you will get together at the end of that period.

3. Try to send at least one signal that your love is stronger than your pain. If this is not possible at that time, don’t put too much effort into trying to make up just now. It’s better to take ‘time out’ while you work on the ‘love signal’ you want to send.

4. Be realistic about the ‘problem’ or ‘facts’ you are fighting about. Could they be based on less than accurate perceptions? Remind yourself that, during a fight, the inner selves are not able to provide reliable data (nor are they good at recalling at all accurately what happened previously). Let that information go, there is no point trying to sort it out or expecting the selves to get it right for you.

5. Balance reality - Accept your share of the responsibility for what happened.

6. Make amends rather than defends. Don’t score points or try to win by arguing from a rational position. Making up is about fixing what went wrong, not beating the other person.

7. Avoid saying ‘sorry’ until after you have made up. If you each concentrate on identifying the pain and vulnerability you are feeling and nurturing yourself through it, you will then have the time and love after that to start nurturing the other person.

8. Identify the ‘making up’ process clearly and verbally, by telling each other what you are feeling and what you want to happen between you that will feel like "making up". Don’t allow things to develop in an unspoken way by giving a kiss or a hug without saying ‘I’m ready to make up’ or something like that.

Keep your eye on the "good" to "bad" ratio

If a couple expect to live together without any bad bits and an occasional fight, they are being less than realistic. However they do need to keep a realistic eye on the ratio of good parts to bad parts in whatever they do in the relationship. A strong relationship is said to be one in which both partners see the ratio of good parts to bad parts as better than four to one.

If one or both partners see the good-bad relationship ratio as anything less than three to one, this is an indicator of real trouble. If the ratio becomes negative (more negative than positive) there is little hope for the future without immediate action.

How to get yourself out of negative bonding -  Stay in the Adult State When You Fight with your Partner

Negative bonding is one of the most common problems in all relationships including families, with people at work or in community groups. Chart one of your own fights between you and another person, to see how closely it fits the ‘negative bonding’ pattern. As you work through to the inevitably painful end* (see point 3 below), keep in mind these critically important rules:

1. Analysing the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of the exchange will put you straight back into judgement and binary thinking and that will put you both straight back into the bonding pattern. Concentrate only on creating awareness of what happened.

2. Going into adult awareness (owning and feeling your own pain and vulnerability) and dealing with it yourself is the only known way to get out of a negative bonding pattern.

3. *No human being in the history of civilisation has ever found a way to stop a negative bonding pattern by using logic or reason.

4. Staying in the pattern and struggling to make it get better is like struggling in quicksand. Getting out of the pattern by going into awareness is the only way to halt it. Name it as you do so. ‘I was in a negative bonding pattern.’


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