Relationships can be, and in many cases are, difficult. Struggle stems from people attempting to get their needs met in ways that are inconsistent with meeting the needs of others. This dynamic is as true for business and personal relationships.
I had a client whose wife told him she wanted a divorce. This is not rare since it seems that no one enters my office without a very compelling reason, and his spouse wanting a divorce was pretty compelling. This particular gentleman came to me and expressing his desperate desires to save his marriage. It seemed that he and his wife had spent years creating a dual, collaborative, dysfunctional relationship. Often these dual dysfunctional relationships are referred to as love/hate relationships.
My client explained that he really loved his wife and wanted their marriage to work and yet, he spent the greatest portion of our sessions elucidating exactly why it was impossible to love and accept her.
“She is impossible,” he would repeat over and over again. Occasionally and quite reluctantly he would share with me a story where he recognized his behavior had been impossible as well, but for the most part, he excused his behavior as justified reactions to her difficult behavior.
After listening carefully and patiently, I finally asked why he stayed in the relationship if he believed it to be so impossible?
He answered, “Because I love her.”
I asked him why his wife wanted a divorce. He told me that she said she did not feel loved anymore. She told him that she didn’t feel safe. She didn’t feel close and connected to him. She didn’t trust him. She didn’t feel listened to. She didn’t feel appreciated. She didn’t feel valued, and the list went on. “But,” he would quickly insist, “Neither do I.”
Any of this sound familiar?
Most of us have either felt these same frustrations, or we’re close to someone who has.
So what is the answer?
Well, the truth is many people feel these conflicting feelings all the time. You can love someone AND be convinced that they are impossible to love simultaneously.
How can this happen?
Because we love people's centered color personality tendencies. Centered color personality tendencies represent what is most wonderful about each of us. A person's centered color personality tendencies are the traits and tendencies we fall in love with. Anything that is good, great, amazing, loving, endearing, tender, kind, etc. comes out of a person's centered color personality tendencies.
What we intensely dislike, and even grow to hate are people's extreme color personality tendencies which represent what is worst and most vile about us. Our extreme personality tendencies represent the most annoying, hateful, disrespectful, judgmental, accusatory, impatient and demeaning traits we have.
Everyone has centered personality tendencies and extreme personality tendencies, the trick is to keep bringing our extreme tendencies back to center whenever we get angry, frustrated or feel out of control. This takes a commitment to loving ourselves, our partner and our relationship.
So what is the secret to returning to our centered strengths and loving traits? The secret is gratitude. We move into our extreme color personality tendencies because we begin to feel entitled to something, anything. When we feel entitled we lose our ability to appreciate what we have while we narrowly focus on what we perceive we lack. While staring at the world through lenses of perceived lack it is easy to feel slighted, frustrated and miserable. This misery, brought to us by entitlement, is the opposite of love, the opposite of grace, the opposite of goodness. When you partner is behaving out of the extreme, entitled color personality tendencies, you must challenge yourself to remember all that is best about them, their centered color personality tendencies because those positive, loving tendencies are the truth of who they really are.
In our society people make statements like, "Well, after four months, I finally saw the REAL them." This statement refers to the fact that after four months, they witnessed what is most broken, angry, frustrated and damaged about their partner. This statement is completely backwards from the truth. The REAL us is our best qualities, our centered personality tendencies. Our extreme personality tendencies are evidence of our capacity to feel frustration, confusion, jealousy, anger, hostility. It shows how each person has the ability to betray what is best about them, but it is never evidence of what is real about us.
Attempting to love someone's extreme personality tendencies feels impossible because it is impossible. Our extremes are unlovable. But we are not required to love that which is unlovable. Love asks that we simply remember, in the midst of entitled extremes showing their ugliness, that entitled extreme personality tendencies are not the TRUTH about the person we love, they are instead the enemy of loving relationships and show themselves to kill and destroy our happiness, laughter, joy and loving bonds between us. Our extreme personality tendencies are a lie. Do they look real when we are lost in them? Of course they do. Just as darkness looks real, when in truth, darkness is simply the absence of light. But love is the only truth and the only thing worth believing in fully, constantly and unfailingly.
When your partner is behaving out of their impossible extreme tendencies, take a time out and return to love. Invite yourself to remember what is good about your partner, what is most beautiful about your partner, because their centered personality tendencies, are worthy of love and what is true about your partner. Once you understand the truth of your partner is the best of them, not the worst of them, then you will realize with love, nothing is impossible.
Personality expert Dawn Billings is the author and architect of the Primary Colors Personality Tests and Insight Tools, and the founder of RelationshipHelp.com Dawn is the executive director of the luxury Relationship Help Resort in Arizona, and author of the Relationship Help at Home online program. Dawn is creator of OverJOYed Life, a powerful, positive work culture initiative. Dawn is also the inventor of the patented parenting tool for toddlers called CAPABLES.
Dawn was selected as one of the nation's emerging women leaders by Oprah Magazine and The White House Project in 2008, and one of "15 Women of Achievement" by the Georgia YWCA.
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