Navigating Rough Patches in Relationships
Ryan has recently gotten feedback in two of his close relationships, and we debrief how he's responded, both internally and externally.
RSP (Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria) can come into play whenever we receive negative feedback. Perhaps you feel rejected by the other person, but it's also possible you reject yourself, and then react to that self-rejection. It's usually both.
A process we settled on:
- When receiving the feedback, notice how you feel.
- Feeling defensive or hurt? Acknowledge the feedback, express gratitude for it, and step back to sort out your interiors.
- Ask yourself what you're afraid of, what you feel the need to protect/defend yourself from, and where in you those fears/impulses might come from.
- Use your tools. Reparent, self compassion, self acceptance, surrender to what is, become the observer, journal, take it to your therapist, take a walk and talk to yourself, you know the drill.
- Ask the forward-moving questions. What do you need to own? What's not yours to own? Do you need to make reparations? Is it in everyone's highest good to mend the relationship? Are you ready for that conversation? Are they?
- Check your motivations. Do you want to repair because disrepair is uncomfortable for you? Are you looking to escape feeling rejected or unwanted? Is your sense of worth tied to whether or not others accept you? Are you trying to control the other person or the relationship? If yes to any of these, keep doing the work.
- If you do move into repair, lead with listening. Hold space for them to share their experience and their interiors, and honor those as just as valid as your own. Detach from outcomes, and prioritize connection over restoration, and being curious over being right. Be okay with the conversation not going the way you hoped it would.
Ego's place in the spectrum: THE MIDDLE.
- One end: Control. If Ego is at the wheel, you're gonna try to control everything, which is impossible and unhealthy.
- The other end: Apathy. If you can't control everything, Ego is tempted to decide it shouldn't try to control anything, which is unrealistic and unhealthy.
- The middle: Surrender. You control yourself and stop trying to control everything else. YOU give your Ego what it wants, or it will try to take it from others (affirmation, love, validation, attention, protection).
- Abby is grateful for HERSELF.
- Ryan is grateful for the two people in his life who gave him the feedback that sparked this episode.
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