I have to share this story about one of my clients – she’s a bio-mom and a stepmom.
When she first came to me, she told me about a huge blow-up she had just had with her spouse about her stepkids.
She felt like they were polar opposites. She felt completely misunderstood.
There was a lot of defensiveness.
She thought her spouse was the problem.
They spent lots of time in therapy figuring out how to stop fighting. Nothing seemed to work.
And I told her that of course it’s not working – as long as she thinks her spouse has to change, their marriage is never going to work. Trying to make another adult change is too hard.
And – all she needed to do was learn a simple, proven, 3 step-process to have calmer, more loving conversations that actually lead to compromise.
So the other day, she was feeling frustrated with her stepkids’ behavior, and wanted her spouse’s support in enforcing a change. She wanted to talk to him about it, but she was nervous.
I told her don’t worry – I can help you. And I showed her how to:
stop reacting to her anger, annoyance, and frustration – and stay calm no matter what
voice her concerns without instigating defensiveness in her husband
spend a majority of the conversation talking about solutions