The less you rely on your partner, the less connected you feel to your own needs and to their needs. This is because needs are inherently relationship bound. You need things from your partner, your environment, your friends, your workplace and your family. As you subjugate your needs, that space can grow to become filled by resentment, deprivation and negative assumptions.
The longer this persists, the more entrenched you become in these patterns.
The more deprived you feel, the less likely you are to give. It turns into a competition over who does more, who gives more, and who suffers more.
In this article you will learn several practical ways to end this vicious cycle. To start, allow me to offer a couple of foundational tips for communicating effectively with your partner:
- Timing matters! Don't choose a time when your partner is exhausted, or has just come back from work, or is about to fall asleep, or is watching his favorite program.
- Try to think beforehand about what you need, and what you want to get from the conversation.
When you expect to not get what you want, you’ll tend to act in a way that confirms that negative expectation, which then creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Wait a second (you may be thinking). Why would I sabotage my own needs?!?! This is such a crucial question to think about. It's not rational. It's not conscious. But there is a specific kind of satisfaction that's derived from proving you are right about being a victim... that your needs won't be met.
Such “pleasure” can be so strong that it overrides the underlying need.
In other words, it becomes more important to confirm your deprivation than to actually get what you need and want. This is known as the confirmation bias, which is the tendency to search for information that proves what you already think. This sabotaging part does not expect her needs to be met. It's like “the devil you know.”
People are often shocked when I explain this concept. They don't believe that they would do such a thing... but it's common human behavior. It doesn't mean that you have a “bad” relationship. Nor does it mean that you have multiple personalities. It means you need to work on how to communicate effectively.
Communicating effectively means being open and willing to work on understanding what is contributing to the problems. Work at understanding your own role, triggers and what you may inadvertently be doing to antagonize your partner.