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​“Stop Trying To Change Me”

Have you ever heard from someone close to you, “stop trying to change me!” ? Only to reply back, “I’m not, I’m just trying help you understand.” This kind of dialog could be a cue that you are hurting your communication. It’s common to fall onto this rabbit trail when sharing your perspective, even if you pride yourself on being a good communicator. Why? When we are emotionally invested, the stakes are higher which charge our emotions and derails communication.  

Just for fun, take a good look into your own motive regarding a topic of interest. There’s a strong possibility you may unconsciously (or consciously) be “trying tochange” that other person. In close relationships our emotional investment can cause us to bypass our understanding that we cannot change anyone but ourselves. It causes us to deny the respect and space we’d normally give to another person for their personal opinion. Close relationships can cause us to cross those boundaries. Once you start with thoughts like, “that’s just ridiculous”, “you have to be kidding me” and “are you just stupid”  (add a chuckle here); the emotional engagement has begun. Recognizing how emotionally charged you are feeling, will make all the difference in how you are able to honor the other person’s opinions. Further thoughts may be if I could just get this person to see things my way, it would go much smoother and be less emotionally draining.  These thoughts are all cues of emotional attachment. 

Knowing each of us is on a journey of our own, traveling at different speeds and on different plains, is what can lead to frustration. Our journey encompasses our experiences, our desires, our fears, our influences, our age, our spirituality, and our education, as well as our exposure to life and the world beyond our own backyard. Many close relationships present this challenge, (children, parents, family members), but I’m going to focus on giving some tips for diffusing your emotional involvement within marriage for now. How can we make sure that we have a conversation with our mate that does not feel like it’s controlling, manipulative, or pressuring? How can we avoid defensiveness, frustration and explosions, whenever we engage with differing viewpoints?  Can we have a difference of opinion without it turning into emotional sparring? Absolutely!!!

First check in on your part. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll recognize when you have an emotional investment. Once you do, you can begin to diffuse it, so that you can stop reacting to it.  It can be helpful to ask yourself a few of these questions.Why am I so emotionally invested in this topic?What is my attachment is to it?  What will happen if this person remains in their position?How can I move forward and not disconnect over this difference?Then accept it for what it is at the moment. You can share your position and release the other person from having to adapt to your way of thinking. It really is simple, but it’s not always easy. 

It takes practice. This is the fun part of Relationship Coaching, training someone how to be responsible solely for their emotions and not someone else’s. It can be incredibly freeing—for both of you. You can look forward to talking when you are able to diffuse an emotional charge. In most situations you can improve your communication and alleviate defensiveness, which is an unhealthy drain to personal or intimate conversations. 

If this was helpful, please let me know. I’d love to hear your feedback.

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