#2 – Don’t Take it Personally
No [One] enters into a [relationship] as a blank slate. They have a lifetime of hurts and fears that they carry with them. Any reaction they have is filtered through their unique experiences and views.
It is so easy to react to every word or action as being directed to you, but the reality is that they are operating from their own place. You are not the center of their world; they are. It’s strange, it’s easy for us to identify the multitude of factors that influence our own thoughts yet we seem to think that our partners somehow don’t posses that complexity. When you feel attacked by your partner, don’t take it personally. Try not to be defensive by realizing that they are projecting their own fears and wounds. If you can remain open, it is possible to work down to the root cause of the verbal strike.
I’ve shared my struggle with this issue with Brock. He can easily be overwhelmed with emotion and intimacy (issues that go back to childhood). I am learning not to take it personally when he needs distance; it is not about me. Likewise, he does not take it personally when I need time alone to decompress and recharge.
Taking things personally has been my biggest challenge of all of these. As life so often does, it is making sure that I get repeated lessons here. By choosing to share my writing (and my life) publicly, I have been the target of many attacks. I have come to learn that when someone (especially a stranger) is so threatened or incensed by my words, that they are really a trigger of some other event in their life. It’s not about me.