Have you ever felt like you said something and your partner completely missed the point of what you said?
It’s always helpful to remember that both partners are listening through a filter of their perceptions based on experiences, any unhealed wounding and conclusions that they made up as a result of those experiences. Sometimes I have this awareness after a miscommunication, but lately, with conscious effort, I’ve been able to become aware of this during the episode.
While cooking dinner last night, my sweetheart and I were discussing our day apart from each other. I mentioned that my Dad called me twice in a panic wondering if I was ok. When I expressed my frustration at my father’s behavior, in my opinion, my partner seemed to be picking an argument.
I kept trying to take a breath and not react, but looked at him with shock at what he was saying. At the same time, I also had a curiosity at why he was saying it. He’d been comparing my Dad’s behavior with mine when I worry if he hasn’t contacted me at the same time as usual during the work day. I couldn’t see it as comparable at all I rarely speak with my Dad.
I took another breath to get some space between my reaction time and to get a hold of myself before jumping into what seemed like a pointless argument. I was trying hard to see my partner’s perspective as I know that that helps maintain partnership.
In that moment, I asked myself, “Why was he saying we’re the same?” I admitted that when things are off, my mind goes there, meaning into fear for the person, like my Dad’s did. I think it would go there for anyone you love. Then I had the realization that my sweetie was listening to my complaint from the filter of being a Dad. I said to him, “You’re trying to get me to understand that a parent is always going to worry about their children, aren’t you?” He said he was. I told him I was just needing to vent. That would have been helpful to say up front. There’s always the future.