Stepping on a land mine

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We all know that relationships are challenging, to say the very least! Among the many challenges of a relationship is “never knowing when you will step on a land mine”, meaning one could say or do something that appears so completely innocent and yet it sets our partner off in either anger, sadness or any unexpected emotional reaction. And neither person saw this coming!! Have you ever said to yourself “Wait….I didn’t mean anything by what I said” and yet your partner is having a strong reaction that makes absolutely no sense to you! This is a landmine, but what do we do with these landmines in our relationships?

The tricky part is, how do we deal with this unexpected land mine? It is helpful to understand that we have wounds from the many experiences in our life. Of course, it is easier to understand a land mine if we know our triggers. However, knowing our triggers can take a lifetime of introspection. If we can recognize that these triggers exist we can understand that our partner does not intend to step on a land mine. Think of this as “you become the salt in an open wound”, ouch!

For example, if one partner makes a suggestion to their partner as to how they can do a task easier, the intention is to be helpful. But, if their partner grew up in a home with criticism and shame, well then, they will experience being triggered with helpful suggestions only to interpret them as criticism and shame. Additionally, if the person who is triggered is unaware of the wound of criticism and shame, the inclination will be to blame their partner for their reaction. These types of arguments happen all the time in relationships. My suggestion….know your triggers as best you can and share them with your partner so that you can invite understanding, compassion and empathy to your relationship. Please know, I have no intention to make this sound easy, it is very hard work for both people in the relationship!!

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If you want to learn more about relationships – I wrote this for you “Ten Essential Things I’ve Learned About Marriage & Relationships” I’ve included the lesson that saved my marriage. I care about the work that I put out to you, and I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know!

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Thanks for reading!

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Details of any stories told in my blogs have been changed to protect the identity of people that I work with in therapy.

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