How Reframing Conflicts Can Actually Help Your Relationship

    —
May 25, 2023

In the Internal Family Systems model, the practice of speaking for, rather than from, parts when they are triggered is an important aspect of Self-leadership. When people receive a message from you, it has two components: the content (the actual words) and the energy behind the words. When your protective parts are upset and speak directly to another person, invariably they will trigger parts in the other. When, on the other hand, you listen to your protectors and then speak for them, from your Self, the message is received in a very different way, even if you use the same words that your parts are saying. Your words lose their judgmental sting or their off-putting desperation and coerciveness. Instead, your respect and compassion for the other person will be heard in addition to the courage of your convictions.

Self energy has a soothing effect on any parts it touches, whether they are in you or in another person. When your parts trust that you will speak for them, they feel less driven to take over and explode at people. What they really want is to have a voice—to be listened to by you and to have their position represented to others.

Practice: SELF-LEADERSHIP AS A WAY OF INTERACTING IN A CONFLICT

These practices—remaining the “I” in the storm or the empty vessel, and speaking for rather than from your parts—can be combined into a general way of relating as a couple when you have conflict. When you begin to fight, each of you can try the following:

  1. Pause
  2. Focus inside and find the parts that are triggered
  3. Ask those parts to relax and let you speak for them
  4. Tell your partner about what you found inside (speak for your parts), and
  5. Listen to your partner from your open-hearted Self

When a couple is embattled and each focuses inside, as in step 2, usually they only hear from their protectors. If it feels safe enough, moving an extra step toward vulnerability can reap big rewards. That step involves staying inside long enough to learn about the exiles that your protectors are guarding, and then telling your partner about these vulnerable parts. In most cases, when one partner has the courage to reveal the vulnerability that drives their protectiveness, the atmosphere immediately softens and the couple shifts toward Self-to-Self communication.

This is an excerpt from You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For: Applying Internal Family Systems to Intimate Relationships by Richard C. Schwartz, PhD.

Richard Schwartz

Also By Author

No other posts by author

You Might Also Enjoy

The Greatest Wealth Is Found When We Gather Together

When people ask for my personal secret to living a life that is authentically happy and liberating, the first thing that comes to mind are my friends. I’ve known for a long time that I am a wealthy and blessed person. The wealth that I’m referring to has nothing to do with my bank account balance. The wealth that I’m talking about are the meaningful connections that have sustained me over the years. What I lacked in familial bonds, the divine provided in long-term platonic relationships.

One of the clearest indicators of someone who is flourishing is their ability to build and keep meaningful connections and quality relationships. When designing a life that supports your becoming the most fully expressed version of yourself, the people who are closest to you can either support or hinder your progress. This is why I’m adamant about being intentional about my connections.

My “Presidential Cabinet,” which is basically what I call my trusted circle of friends, is filled with some amazing folks. I’m forever grateful for my community of friends that became family, strangers that became mentors, and colleagues that became accountability partners.

In the chapter “What About Your Friends?” from my book, Evolving While Black, I share with you that people who have strong relationships feel the support of family, friends, and others in their community. When you know you have a village of folks you can count on, it improves your ability to recover from stress, anxiety, and depression.

An agreement I made with myself in my early thirties was to commit to choosing connection and community over isolation. This decision is the gift that keeps on giving. The investment you make in choosing your connections is the greatest pathway to wholeness, prosperity, and longevity.

What you should consider as you’re continuing to build out your own Presidential Cabinet

Your connections should include people who:

  • Energize you and help you to create a life of ease
  • Encourage you to make your mental and emotional well-being a priority 
  • Consider you for opportunities when you’re not in the room
  • Show mutual support and respect 

Now that you know what to consider, use these prompts to create a plan

  • Who’s in your Presidential Cabinet, and how do they support you? 
  • Who do you need to add, and how will they support your journey? 
  • If you change nothing, what will your life look like three months from now? How does this make you feel?

My hope for you is that you attract meaningful connections that bring you joy and make your heart smile, laughs that make your cheeks hurt, and love that covers you like a warm blanket. You deserve to feel loved, supported, and cared for.

Until we meet again.

Currently evolving,

Chianti

Evolving While Black
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True

Evolving While Black
Sounds True

Chianti Lomax is a sought-after international speaker, certified mindset coach, and leadership trainer who thrives at the intersection of mindfulness, technology, and transformative coaching. As a registered yoga instructor, certified personal and executive coach, certified workplace mindfulness facilitator, and positive psychology practitioner, Chianti teaches doable habit changes to help increase our well-being and elevate the overall human experience. For more, visit chiantilomax.com.


Author photo © Ambreia Williams

Anna Goldfarb: Wholehearted Friendship

Friendships aren’t always easy and fun. Like all meaningful relationships, they require work. They require nurturing and a willingness to grow. And in today’s world, explains author and journalist Anna Goldfarb, many friendships are being pushed to the brink and painfully ending. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Anna about her new book, Modern Friendship, an empowering guide to creating what she calls “wholehearted friendships.”

Enjoy this conversation that’s filled with insights and strategies you’ll find especially helpful in our isolated, hyper-fluid society. Tami and Anna discuss: the increasing ambiguity of 21st-century friendships; the false promise of social media; the core elements of a successful friendship strategy; memorial friendships vs. active friendships; Jacuzzi friends, bathtub friends, and pool friends; three main causes of friendship breakups; the three requirements—consistency, positivity, and vulnerability; choosing people with whom you can share meaning; the characteristics of wholehearted friendship; and more.

Erica Djossa: Releasing the Mother Load

What have we done to our mothers? Sociologists call our times “the era of intensive mothering,” a period in which moms must be it all and do it all for their children and families. Psychotherapist and maternal mental health specialist Erica Djossa has made it her mission to teach today’s mothers how to take care of their well-being in a sustainable way. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Erica about her much-needed new book, Releasing the Mother Load, and the steps we can take to challenge the norms and change the culture around mothering. 

Enjoy this empowering discussion of: values-centered mothering; mothers as martyrs; the pressures facing a generation of “overinformed, overeducated, and overwhelmed” moms; equally sharing our household duties; the cost of cognitive or invisible labor; boundaries; using the “load map” to redistribute the work; “mom rage,” its roots, and the unique nature of anger in motherhood; identifying the “red light and green light” times for difficult conversations with partners (and sticking to them); overcoming perfectionism; self-compassion; re-parenting yourself while you’re parenting your children; the disempowering belief that I’m failing as a mom; effective self-care for moms (it’s not just bubble baths!); advice for making changes—start small; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

>
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap