Avoiding Your Feelings by Focusing on Your Partner

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We all have many addictive ways of avoiding feeling our painful feelings and taking responsibility for them. Some of the ways are obvious, such as using substances and processes. Some of the ways can be very subtle.

Leon often struggled with feeling empty inside. Inner emptiness is a symptom of a lack of love inside, and Leon frequently created this inner lack of love with his self-judgments and staying in his head – ignoring his feelings. Sometimes he would fill the emptiness with food, work or TV. But other times he would act out addictively by bringing up issues – generally the same issues over and over – with his wife Susan.

The major issue he focused on was how they spent money. He would start the conversation by stating, “We really need to talk about the money situation.” Susan would feel a knot in her stomach, knowing that Leon was aching for an endless discussion about money that would likely end in a fight and distance. She felt like she was in a no-win: if she talked about money, it would go on for hours and end in anger. If she didn’t, she would be accused of withdrawing and running away from problems. There seemed to be no good way out for Susan.

Eventually, Susan learned to trust her feelings and say to Leon, “I will be happy to talk with you about anything when you are open, but right now your energy feels closed. Let me know when you are feeling really great and then we can talk about it.” Not surprisingly, Leon never approaches her to talk about money when he is feeling good!

Carole periodically says to Rick, “We need to talk about our lack of communication.” Rick immediately knows that Carole is feeling badly and is trying to feel better by getting in to a long and drawn-out conversation about their lack of communication. If he engages, he ends up angry. If he doesn’t, he gets blamed for not communicating. Rick has learned to disengage just as Susan has, saying, “I’d love to communicate with you about anything when you are open, but right now my experience of you is that you are angry, and we are not going to get anywhere. Let me know when you are feeling good and then we can talk about anything you want.” Again, when Carole is feeling happy, she never brings up their lack of communication!

The subject can be anything – child raising, how time is spend, how much TV kids watch, health, nutrition, how clean or dirty the house is, chores that need to be done. It is not that these things don’t need to be discussed – they often do. But there is a huge difference between approaching your partner from a true desire to learn and resolve issues, or a desire to avoid your anxiety, emptiness, loneliness, heartache, or helplessness.

Lovingly Disengaging

If you are the partner at the other end of what may feel like an attack – even though it is couched as a question or a statement of wanting to talk – your best bet is to trust your stomach! If your stomach gets tight when your partner comes to you to talk, trust it. Learn to take loving care of yourself by refusing to talk when you are picking up your partner’s needy, abandoned, or angry energy. Recognize that your partner is acting out addictively to avoid responsibility for his or her own feelings, and that trying to talk will only create more conflict.

However, it is most important when you disengage, that you do not withdraw your love. It might even be helpful if you give your partner a sincere hug, coming from your compassion at knowing that your partner is hurting. Let your partner know that when he or she is open to learning, you will be there – to talk about an issue or to be of help with whatever your partner is feeling.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover addiction-free joy? Learn Inner Bonding now! Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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