The Story I Tell Myself
“He obviously does not care about me because if he did then he would contact me more often during the day”.
This, or something similar, is a common frustration I may hear in my therapy office when working with a couple.
At this point, I may pause the couple and invite the one sharing to rephrase that sentence starting with, ‘The story I tell myself is that…he obviously does not care about me…etc’.
It may be true that he does not care or it may not be true at all or perhaps partly true. I invite couples to be cautious about the story their mind is telling them, as it is not always the full whole picture.
Many times, the story we tell ourselves, is a lot about our own pain, sensitivity and hurt, sometimes from the past. For example, if someone grew up with a critical parent then they may understandably be very sensitive to comments and negativity. They may then react very strongly to any comments which may not have been intended in a critical way.
Be mindful about whose story it is…
Take ownership of your story.
Share your story with your partner in as non-reactive a way as possible…this will increase your chances of better being heard by them.
Ask your other half pleasantly regarding what will help you manage ‘your story better’.
Express your needs, speaking calmly and from the heart.
Putting it into action:
Try using the phrase (The Story I Tell Myself…) in your own relationships. When you find that you’re triggered by upsetting thoughts that may or may not be true, then use the following suggestions in an unaggressive way:
- Take a few deep breaths and connect to presence and stillness within.
- Say “The story I’m telling myself…” and finish with the thoughts, frustration or upsets that you are thinking.
- Then, wait for the right moment to share your ‘story’ in a non-blaming, shaming or critical way, using the words, ‘the story I tell myself…’
- Be open to hearing and receiving (& believing!) your partner’s story! They may also have a story, just like you!
Remember, your relationship has many ‘chapters’…be mindful about how your story unfolds.
Wishing you a mindful connected day.