When people are under the gun, unless they are super clear on what their job is, they may unconsciously resort to four main default "jobs," while what they are actually contracted to do takes a close, sometimes distant second.
On a recent summer day, a large group of family and friends were enjoying a picnic at a local state park. After eating, the kids jumped up to play, while the parents hunkered down at the next table for some adult time, which was abruptly interrupted.
I recently received this comment from a colleague who unsubscribed from my e-mail list: "I just have too many emails coming into my box, I need to streamline, you understand!" I certainly do understand.
You can’t always choose how life is going to go, but if you pay attention to the roles that simply take over and lead you nowhere, you can begin, as Katherine models, to select what roles you want to play. And that enables you to steer the relationSHIP to safety in rough waters.
Katherine got into the car, and immediately felt Steve’s lousy mood suck all the air out of it. “Oh no,” she thought. She knew Steve wasn’t thrilled about going to visit her brother’s family. It was a chilly winter Sunday. He wanted to lounge about, watch the games, and stay put. But she expressed it was important to her and he had agreed to go. Does he always have to punish me with his mood? she wondered, agitatedly. She was...
We know the limitations of avoiding big conversations and feelings in relationship on a regular basis, so avoidance is obviously not recommended as a long term strategy. But it can be used in moments, in small doses, as in the story above, to preserve a more important, agreed upon value.
Wouldn't it be useful if more personal fights had a more professional consideration, with less defensiveness, less reactivity and less projection? The 6th post in the Relationship as a Team series.