It may seem obvious, but sometimes people act and behave as if they will get what they want by being negative, judgmental, cruel, punishing, or isolating.
This is especially true for people who may have had negative, judgmental, punishing, or isolating parents, partners, friends and lovers.
As parents, the more we tell a child, "Don't do this, don't do that, especially don't put your feet up here, don't go down that path," the more "don'ts' " we say - without giving a positive outcome, the more confused a child will get. This means the child won't know what to do, how to behave, nor what action to take.
Yet as soon as a positive outcome is described - the child knows then right where to go and usually goes for it.
It is the same with all relationships and with adult relationships especially. It is vital to have a positive outcome, behind everything. And I do mean everything.
When asked about what couples want in this way, from saying what they don't want or don't like, couples have to move to what they do like and what they do want. And until they can state their goals positively, no forward movement can happen.
But when they do, then things become not only so much easier, but clearer, with more direction, more energy behind them, and move forwards much much more quickly.
Arguments too can be negative or positive. Indeed, some arguments are masterclasses in destroying the other person and destroying the relationship. What we teach at the Heart of Relationships is to have a positive outcome in mind at the very start of your argument. Then you can argue in a very different way.
You might like to try this for yourself. Of course, this won't stop other people arguing negatively. They might simply act like they want to be right, win the argument, and do whatever it takes to do that - however much it costs. People like this can start arguing about something small and in seconds bring the argument to a dimension which will destroy the relationship, the other person, and the future, taking "evidence" to support a negative outcome in the present and for the future, from having a bad judgmental attitude about their partner and the past.
Frequently the self-consciousness that they actually are being judgmental and negative about their partner, the past, the present, the future, and this situation, is completely missing in a haze of blaming, and likewise any attempted communication - however innocent, positive, or clear - is also taken in the same way and seen as criticism.
They effective pace failure from the past into the future.
And until the person changes and comes out of state, they are virtually impossible to work with. They need to be their own drivers. The need and wish for change can only come from them.
Listening is not an option when the other person is blaming and hears everything you are saying as blaming them. This not only limits the conversation it effectively blocks any way forwards, permanently or temporarily.
What is going on is likely to be not only they are not hearing you but repeating a primal pattern from their childhood or when they were younger from a major carer in their lives where they really were criticized, blamed and punished. This is especially true for those who have had negative, critical, isolating mothers or fathers when they were young.
Despite being a pattern originating from childhood, often the person's adult mind has rationalizations why they are being cruel, blaming, and punishing and supports this pattern.
The negative pattern may be limited to certain areas, or can play a much bigger role in the personality constellation and the person's life - and consequently their partners'.
Or both people can have this pattern of negativity, blame, and punishment, without a positive outcome in arguments.
And this is life destroying. Literally. Not only is it life-destroying, it is literally a waste of precious time people could be building up their lives, working together, being more intimate, having more fun, building up themselves and the other person.
Quite simply, it is not only unenlightened, it is foolish to spend hours or days or weeks on maneuvers which isolate oneself from one's most intimate partner - and destroying the relationship, the other person - and it is wasting their time too. And squandering the present and what the present can be.
The sensible thing is to learn from the past, live in the present constructively, and build a really good future together.
A major shift we encourage and celebrate at the Heart of Relationships is when the person's adult mind begins to be aware and wants to change negativity and uses their intelligence in a new way. So that instead of supporting a negative pattern, their adult self throws all its resources, intelligence and wisdom to creating a new positive pattern and way of being, for a more integrated, whole, creative and playful pattern, which they - and consequently their partners and most intimate relationships - can grow out of.
Simple as this sounds, I know many many people including therapists who don't live their relationships by this simple piece of information.
But in this way, people who come to the Heart of Relationships are more advanced than anyone who has a negative outcome as their priority for relationships, arguments, and living - because they want a positive outcome and are aware of and working on themselves to achieve this now.
This is why working with couples who are aware is such a pleasure - from this awareness and from wanting something different miraculous things are possible.
If you are reading this, there is a good chance you are already ahead of the game and have this attitude, and that is a place where real movement can happen.
At the Heart of Relationships we are here to support you build this attitude and share with you the skills, tools and experiences you can have which can change your life and relationship, in ways in which you can build and create more beautiful experiences, working together, supporting each other. And by our attitudes and the way we live our lives we live our talk, and create a space for you to do this.
If this is something you would like to do by approaching whatever issues you are dealing with in a way which is positive and expands your insight, wisdom, connection, and creativity, call Linda on 0753 421 3557 or John on 0800 024 8647 where we shall look forwards to sharing your journey, and be guided by you to help you both create the amazing relationship and life you truly want and are capable of, when you are ready to take the first step.
Click here for more information on the London Couple counselling programme
John Donlon - Couple Counsellor and Relationship Coach
THE RELATIONSHIP EXPERTS International Relationship Experts John Donlon and Linda Connors have over 30 experience between them. They offer powerful and life changing relationship couple counselling and personal development programmes. They work with individuals and couples in the UK, America, Europe and Australia. If you are in relationship crisis are ready to take the first step into saving your relationship you can contact us on 0800 024 86 47.
John offers relationship advice, solutions and share their thoughts on love, relationships, marriage and intimacy.