Relationships: 3 Secrets To Manage Conflict in Your Relationship

IMG_8311Are you in a relationship where your partner is quick to anger and insists on confronting the issue when you are not ready to? Do you struggle to understand why your partner ‘shuts down' refusing to speak', when you would prefer to deal with the issue immediately? Does your partner often take a certain course of action without consulting you, failing to understand why you get so upset about this? These scenarios are representative of some of the common complaints that couples bring to counselling. Our response to these dilemmas is something along the lines, ‘Why can't you be more like me?' In my recent article, ‘9 Keys to Strengthen and Improve Your Relationships' I gave 9 keys or statements that indicate what personality type a person is. Each of these keys fall into one of 3 centres: the head-centre, the heart – centre or the gut- centre. I invite you to read the description of each of these and tick the points  that apply to you. The centre with the most ticks is very likely to be the centre you predominantly operate from. You might like to invite your partner to do this same exercise and compare your responses.

The Head- Centred person or Thinker (Keys 5, 6 & 7)

* Predominant emotion is fear. * Gives ground. * Indecisive – processing, analysing and weighing up all the data, the thinker acknowledges that life is not black and white but all shades of gray and that every perspective holds its own truth. * Action centre is underdeveloped. * Relys on outer authority, comfortable with rules, structure and authority . * Basic life instinct is to be empathic, attuned to the situation. * Basic life question is ‘Where am I?'

The Gut-Centred person or Feeler (Keys 8, 9 & 1)

* Predominant emotion is anger but they have little control over it. * Have difficulty listening and absent-minded. * Holds their ground; planted;rooted. * Decisive – ‘yes means yes and no means no'. * Low value of perception, therefore least developed. * Relys on their own inner authority, having high expectations of self that is dictated by ‘shoulds' and ‘oughts'. * Basic life instinct is survival. * Basic life question is ‘ How safe am I ?'

The Heart-Centred person or Doer (2, 3 &4)

* Most in touch with their action centre, and have an instinct for imitation. * Feeling centre is underdeveloped, being most out of touch with anger. * They take ground, having a lack of psychic boundaries, moving in to the psychic space of others. * Their predominant emotion is anxiety. * Basic life instinct is relationships, understanding others through analysis. * Basic life question is ‘Who am I with?'

For your relationship to truly benefit from this knowledge, it is not enough to have insight into the differing way you each function. For change to occur, you must be willing to be more accepting of the way your partner functions and prepared to work on those aspects of your own functioning that have a negative impact in your relationship. This is never easy because it forces you to stretch yourself in ways that you will experience as uncomfortable and unfamiliar. When both people in a relationship choose to do this, change begins to heppen. I encourage you to seek the support of a professional counsellor who will help facilitate this growth process in your relationship.

If you  are experiencing conflict in your relationship, want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full relational potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

Relationships: 9 Keys to Strengthen and Improve Your Relationships

light_by_captivatedimages-d5dvvlqDo you get along with most people? My own experience when working with people suggests that whilst most of us get on with most people, there are always certain people that we find difficult to understand and get on with.

Sometimes you may struggle to understand why a person thinks the way they do, or holds a differing belief or value system to you evoking anger in you or by contrast, intimidation. Sometimes you feel irritated by a particular person or find yourself in frequent conflict or you just don’t like them for no apparent reason. Getting along with people is a skill we all need but how and where do we learn the skill?

Your family of origin is the context in which you learn how to do relationships, as you observe your parents or significant care-givers relational style. As a child, you developed your own relational style within your family context, responding to the specific stressors and challenges you experienced. If there were frequent arguments between your parents, you may have taken on the role of a mediator, prioritizing the need to keep things peaceful and settled. If your father was abusive towards your mother, you may have taken the role of protector out of the need to defend your mother. Some of us feel very isolated and abandoned as children. If that was the case for you, you may experience yourself as being different to others, having learned to live within your own imagination.

Relational styles vary. Have you noticed that some people seem to get on with others effortlessly whilst others struggle to get on with people?  Whilst your relational style worked for you as a child within your family context, as an adult you are exposed to a much broader range of relational styles that frequently challenge the way you do relationships. This becomes particularly apparent when you experience a life crisis and discover that the skills you have relied upon to relate to others, no longer work and even keep you stuck in problematic situations. It is at this stage, people often choose to see a counselling professional in order to understand themselves and others in relationship.

It was during a period of personal crisis that I became aware that I needed to understand myself at a deeper level and change the way I related to other people. At that time I was experiencing chronic depression and felt crippled by fear. I withdrew from life, seeking to protect myself from other people’s judgements and expectations, feeling inadequate and insignificant. My recovery from depression was significantly facilitated by the decision to pursue personal self-awareness and the way my relational style impacted others in relationship.

Whether you are at a time of personal life crisis and/or relationship crisis or simply want to strengthen and grow your relationships, I recommend these 9 keys (known as The Enneagram). These 9 keys provided me with a very accurate psychological tool that helped me understand and work effectively with other people instead of being fearful of them. I have since used this tool in every area of my life; my marriage relationship, my family relationships, my personal friendships, my workplace relationships and in my work as a therapist.

These 9 keys give insight into what a particular personality type values and prides themselves on. By identifying the others personality type on the enneagram, you begin to become aware of how they function and how to initiate a relationship based on an appreciation of one another’s strengths and differences.

Here are the 9 keys to strengthen and improve your relationships:

Type 1    The Perfectionist; ‘I am right’

Type 2    The Giver; ‘I am helpful'

Type 3    The Performer; ‘I am successful’

Type 4    The Romantic; ‘I am different’

Type 5    The Observer; ‘I am knowledgeable and wise’

Type 6    The Loyal Sceptic; ‘I am loyal’

Type 7    The Epicurist; ‘I am fun’

Type 8    The Protector; ‘I am strong’

Type 9    The Mediator; ‘I am settled’

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When you begin to pay closer attention to what a person is saying you will hear what a person frequently states or implies about them. Noticing what a person prides themselves on, you can start to appeal to that part of them.

For example, to get along with a Type 1, you need to allow them to feel that you value their advice by asking them what they think, listening carefully, and giving respect to what they say. Whether you agree or not, this person is more likely to support you, because you have given value to them. To get along with a Type 4 it is important to acknowledge that they are different, invite them to share their unique perspective and in particular their creativity. Give them the creative director job and they will do it with flair!

If you want to know more about these 9 keys, look out for more articles to help you to understand your self and others so that you can continue to strengthen and grow your relationships.

 If you want to grow personally and in your relationships, experience wellness and reach toward your full relational potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.