If you’re having relationship problems, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the other person has to change. You are the only one you have (direct) control over, so it’s up to you to improve your situation; OR, you can leave things the way they are, and, instead, change the way you think about them! (Unless, of course, we’re talking about abuse.)
When one member of a couple changes his or her behavior, the other person’s behavior will also change. However, the first behavior change you’re likely to observe in your partner is an exaggeration of the negative behaviors he or she has demonstrated in the past. Then, after discovering that that behavior is no longer successful in generating the responses he or she used to receive, your partner will experiment with new behaviors in response to your behavior changes. This can lead to a better relationship or the discovery that the partnership is no longer viable.
I’m hoping you understand that behavior changes are real. They represent new networks of brain wiring. Learning creates new brain networks. Repetition of behavior reinforces new networks and leads to automatic or habitual responses related to the new learning.
Solidifying new healthy behaviors requires rehearsal – just like athletes expect with the many hours of practice they expect to perform. It also requires awareness of new ways of behaving effectively that can be practiced.
That’s why I use “scripting” and “behavior prompts” in couples counseling.
“Scripting” is a verbal strategy designed to improve couple communication. In scripting the counselor suggests “lines of script” to one or both members of a couple that encourages experimentation with previously unfamiliar ways of sending, receiving, and responding to messages from a partner. Because these suggested “lines of script” are novel expressions for the message sender and unexpected by the receiver, each has an opportunity to experience each other differently. Each partner becomes aware of the other in a new way. The experience can be eye opening. Essentially, scripting promotes flexibility in couple verbal expression, opening additional lines of communication!
The surprise – amazed – astonished – revelation – marvel –
motivate/prompt/stimulate/set in motion/”. to of new learning that will generate the thoughts and behaviors you need to deal optimally with your distressful situation. And, Since
Changing thinking, re-wiring your brain , and changing perspective requires your brain to take in new information. That’s what learning is.
However, new learning (brain re-wiring, i.e. new neural networks) doesn’t usually stick very well, unless it is repeated. That’s where rehearsal and practice come in.
Keating, Daniel. (2017). born anxious. St. Martin’s Press. NY. “ Stress methylation” = epigenetic changes due to exposure in first year
How We Can Break the Cycle, p. 170
Policies for the self p. 180 =
Perception of personal control > less cortisol
Social connection > serotonin & oxytocin > less cortisol
“Reflective consciousness/mindfulness: “purpose, hope, meaning, identity > create a different view of ourselves in the world”
Weisinger, H. & Pawliw-Fry, J.P. (2015). Performing under pressure . Crown Business: NY
Confidence follows success. P.164+