by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
It is whatever you believe it is, until you don’t. And then, it is something else. That’s the nature of our beliefs and our reality. Our experience is what we think, not sometimes…every time!
Has your partner ever come to you and insisted that you are doing such and such…? And he/she says it as though it is fact. Yet, in your heart of hearts, you know this assertion not to be so.
You also know that the lie he/she is believing is the root cause of the conflict between the two of you. It’s not about you; rather it is between their belief and their experience.
Huge Fights Arising Out of Small Matters
Domestic abuse disputes often arise out of the simplest things. It can be a belief one partner holds about the other, which then triggers a line of inquiry that takes the form of an inquisition.
This inquisition is experienced as harassment and intimidation—spiraling off and out into verbal attacks, emotional abuse, physical blows…out right domestic violence. And then you and your partner look around and wonder, how and why is it that we are destroying our relationship? You both know you have it all…in your home…and in your lives. Yet, you lack peace and harmony in your relationship.
What’s in these little lies that one holds? And how can they be dealt with to ease the pain, rather than light the fire?
Questioning Your Beliefs Before Badgering Your Partner with Your Falsehoods
Many domestic explosions could have been avoided all together had one or both people put the thoughts that stir distress up to inquiry. What I mean by this is the mere questioning of the operative beliefs that are associated with internal stress.
You can do this yourself as the person holding the belief that yields distress, or the inquiry can be inspired by the other person (depending on the rigidity of the power and control dynamics within the relationship).
For example, starting with the question: “Is it true?” can create an opening for a reality check. The question: “How do you react when you think this thought?” yields a whole other dimension of insight.
And then, “Who/What/How would you be in this situation/with this person/within yourself if that thought hadn’t occurred to you?” opens another glimpse of understanding. (Paraphrased version of The Work, Byron Katie)
Using this process of inquiry will amaze you with its stunning impact on diffusing what could have spiraled out of control. The more you practice this, the more you will discover how you can derail thoughts that do not serve your highest good from becoming episodes of verbal emotional abuse and domestic violence assaults.
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Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention