Love and Logic for life
When I do parent coaching, I use the curriculum of Love and Logic. One of the key principles that I take from it that is applicable to most all relationships is the idea that “I am not going to tell you what to do, I am going to tell you what I am going to do."
The benefits of this principle are numerous.
It is instantly empowering because we are finally in the realm of control. We can't control if our children are being rude, wandering the house past midnight, breaking curfew, or doing poorly in school. We can't control our alcoholic husbands, or partners who are raging, or spouses who are sleeping around. But we can control our own actions when it happens.
Not only does it locate the control, it also locates the responsibility. Apart from parenting, most often we are seldom responsible for the poor choices the people we love make. This principle allows us to take a breath, take a step back, and decide how to locate the damage with the person who is causing it.
In Al-Anon, there is an ongoing joke, where 2 people come into a meeting. One looks completely exhausted, deranged, malnourished, overworked. The other is well-dressed, well-rested and composed. Who is the addict?
Oftentimes, codependents hold the whole picture today so that their partner can keep using or acting out. This Love and Logic principle reminds us that we are not responsible for the choices of our loved ones. We are only responsible for our own.
Listening to Our Own Needs
When our loved ones need us, oftentimes we cannot hear ourselves. This principle brings the focus back to ourselves. What do we want when this happens? How can we take care of ourselves when our partner rages, lashes out, or gets drunk? What do we need to do in order to say "Feel free to keep doing _______, this is what I am going to do when you do."
It is Irrefutable.
Nothing ignites an argument faster than telling the other person what to do. When we talk about ourselves and why we need to do what we do. We are able to say “This has nothing to do with you (which oftentimes it does ), this has everything to do with me. I need this. Thank you for letting me take care of me." When we own what we need we relinquish the other person from taking care of us. We resign from taking care of the other person. We finally have a fighting chance to get things right.