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Learn How Responsibility will set you free

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

KC: What is responsibility and how does it relate to your relationship? Responsibility is taking a look at yourself. It is taking ownership of what you may have caused or contributed to causing in your relationship. Responsibility is taking ownership of your happiness and the success - or failure - of the relationship. It is forfeiting the right to place blame. Too often we place the responsibility of the relationship on our partners, which causes us to give-up our power.

O: One thing responsibility isn’t is Fault. Fault is weak and disempowering. Fault doesn’t create the possibility for change. Fault and responsibility both deal with the past, however admitting fault leaves us in the past, and we instead want to create a powerful relationship for our future. Enter: responsibility.

KC: So here is our first tip on how to take responsibility. Become present to how you are being, not how they are being. Oftentimes we have found this easier said than done. However, the biggest mistake we see couples make, and it’s one that we often make as well, is that we get caught in the muck of believing that our partners are the ones who are causing us to be unhappy.

O: It’s easy to point fingers at our partners. At times, we believe it's their fault that we are unhappy. “If only they would change”. We think that if they change their behavior and they act how we want them to act, then we will be happy. So long as we place the burden of responsibility on our partners to change, we will remain disempowered and emotionally reactive to everything they do and don’t do for us.

KC: But we have good news for you. Your partner doesn’t need to change in order for you to be happy in your relationship. What a relief that statement is!

O: Although, we do believe it’s important to be self-expressed and share the impact your partner's communication - or lack thereof - has on you.

KC: Traditionally, couples will communicate like this or similar to this: [pause] “When you do {blank}, you make me feel {blank}”.

O: Here’s an example from our relationship: When you don’t cuddle me at night, you make me feel unloved.

KC: We don’t want to take anything away from this form of communication. In therapy, this can be a big step, learning to be self-expressed and communicate your feelings to your partner. It can also provide short-term relief and is a step towards improving the level of vulnerability you share with your partner. But we have found that this kind of communication is just that: a step. [pause] Our experience has demonstrated -- from my therapy practice, to the people we coach, our friends, and even in our personal relationship -- that this format doesn’t lead to the type of massive relationship transformation we’re talking about.

O: In the moment, using the statement “you make me feel” may make us feel better in the moment, but just until our partner does the thing that upsets us again, then the cycle repeats itself. What’s more is that when we communicate like this, we may cause our partner to feel attacked, thus reacting defensively. We see this over and over again. So there is a piece in this form of communication that is still missing.

KC: It’s the piece about responsibility. All this statement does is tell my partner that I emotionally react to them whenever they do that thing I dislike. If we want to be free we need to take it a step further.

O: We’re going to use an example from our relationship. If it doesn’t all make sense to you right now, don’t worry, that's what the rest of our Listenable lessons are for.

KC: Ok, so when Olivia and I first started dating, we were kissing and making out on her bed. I asked her if she was comfortable taking it to the next level. She replied no, and that was the end of it. Later that evening, Olivia had explained what went on for her during this interaction.

O: When KC asked

KC: Do you want to take this further?

O: I immediately thought he was only interested in sex, and not a relationship.

KC: which wasn’t true.

O: Right. But here’s the part that almost everyone leaves out -- why that feeling came up. It wasn’t because of anything KC did. Another person in this situation might’ve interpreted what he said as him being considerate and thoughtful. So I have to be responsible for the way I felt at that moment. My thought that , He only wants sex, was created from a bias, aka, a past based situation I had been in. I was bringing my past into my current relationship and that’s something to be responsible for if I want my relationship to not only work, but to thrive. I can’t blame KC for making me feel a certain way.

KC: Due to the way Olivia chose to communicate this with me, I didn’t feel defensive, guilty, or ashamed. She created the possibility for me not to take it personally. Even though I was the stimulus that caused her to feel that way, it wasn’t me that MADE her feel that way.

O: We’re going to be delving more into this concept, and others, in the rest of the course, so stay tuned to learn more.

KC: and if you came to this course to learn ways in which to change your partner so you can be happy, you won’t be getting that from us.

#change #anxiety

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