Communication Sabotage: A Common Mistake Couples Make
My guy got upset with me the other night. It was just a little rift, but we haven't had one in awhile so it really got my attention.
He said to me, "You think you know what's going on in my head, and you don't."
He was right.
I do think I can read his mind. And I absolutely can't. In fact, if I'm being real, there's no other mind in the world that can confuse me more, which is part of why I like him so much.
Empathy and insight are two of my natural strengths, but these are not the same as mind reading. I forget this sometimes.
Once he brought this to my attention, I could see how I did the very thing I warn others against. I let my ego take control; I chose to see fear over love.
Here's how it went down:
Hours before our planned phone conversation, I got stuck on the fearful thought, "He doesn't want to talk to me tonight."
I knew he didn't want to talk to me way before our conversation even existed! I convinced myself this was true, despite any evidence (a good indication it was only happening in my own head). Had I paid closer attention, perhaps I would have caught this. I didn't.
First mistake: The fearful thought remained in my mind as my phone rang. And what did I do? I approached our conversation as if he was disinterested, of course.
Immediately, I was distant and short. Within a few seconds I ended the call abruptly (yes, I said seconds), failing to even ask how his day was. This, of course, was not very kind and didn't feel so good to my guy.
Second mistake: Fear trumped love. I care so much about my man — of course I want to know how he's doing at the end of the day! Fear made me skip over this loving step and jump right into see ya later! Not so cool.
The next day I said to him, "You know, you don't have to call me if you don't want to talk."
He responded, "What are you talking about? I know that."
"Well, like last night, you didn't have to call."
"Shelly, it wasn't me who didn't want to talk last night … it was you."
Oh. Shoot. He's right. I did the very thing I was convinced he was doing. Our partners really do reflect us back to ourselves! Projection is powerful.
We have to be careful when it comes to our egos. They are sly and they are cunning. They will make us think we have this whole thing figured out, and really we're just duped.
I thought I knew what was going on the other night. In fact, I thought I was doing him a favor. But in truth I just ended up being short and rude. That's not how I want to show up in my relationship; that's not how I roll.
I'm grateful he called me out on it because now I can keep a closer watch on my "mind reading" tendency. I'm committed to gaining consciousness, one step at a time.
The moral of the story is: beware of those irrational thoughts that veer you away from love. It's those thoughts that cause us to push good things away. They convince us that something is wrong — when all that's actually wrong is that we've attached to a fearful thought.
I apologized to my man, which of course he accepted, and committed to work on my tendency to think I know what's going on in his head. I'm grateful to have him by side — to make mistakes with, to be human with, to be confused about what's happening in his mind, and to continue to learn the lessons of love.
If you have experience with "mind reading" or attaching to ego thoughts, please share them with us below. Remember, admitting where we've made mistakes is the first step to changing our relationships and our lives. I can't wait to hear from you!