20 minutes | Mar 12, 2020

Relationship Workshop: Disagreements

On this episode of the podcast, Jeff and Terry host a mini relationship workshop focusing on disagreements within our relationships. In this workshop, you will learn that you get to choose your response to a disagreement. They also offer insight on how to choose a response when all you want to do is react. Transcription of the Podcast Jeff: Again, I’m looking out here at a beautiful blue sky. Now I can look at that blue sky and I can say a couple of things. I can say, “It is gorgeous out there, it’s a bright sunny day.” Or I can look at this flag waving in the background going, “Oh, I can tell by the direction that flag is waving, there is a cold north wind out there,” and I can pick, right? I can go, “Wow! I’m going to go outside and I’m going to freeze because it’s really cold out,” or I can go outside and go, “Wow! It’s a bright sunny day.” Jeff: (singing) Jeff: Hey, welcome back to another Journey Podcast and we are excited to talk about relationships today. In fact, we’re going to do a little relationship workshop because relationships are important. My name is Jeff. I’ve got Terry here. Terry is a licensed full-time counselor- Terry: Hi. Jeff: And deals with… Tell us a little bit about the sort of what you do during… What is your day job? You’re dealing with a lot of people walking in and they have some really deep weeds, relational stuff going on, right? Terry: Oh, yeah. I would say 90% of the time it’s a relationship workshop in my office. Jeff: Right. Terry: We’re working on different kinds of relationship issues that show up. We may have other things we’re talking about like addictions and affairs and things like that, but ultimately, it’s about relationships. It’s about that sticky icky kind of stuff that happens between two or more people. Jeff: Well, and the thing is for you and other counselors, the thing that I always sort of find interesting sitting back on the sidelines is that, and tell me if I’m off base on this, but a lot of people really wait and really get into a lot of hurt and a lot of struggle and it’s like, “Oh, what is the very last thing I can do on the planet to do… Oh, okay, I’ll go to a counselor.” Right? Terry: I had a couple come in one time years ago and one of them said… I asked what brought them here and they said, “Well, we sat down with a phone book,” how long has it been since we had phone books, right? Jeff: Yeah. Terry: They sat down with a phone book and they had one page open to counselors and they had one page open to divorce lawyers and they were trying to decide which page to look at. Jeff: Wow! Wow! Terry: It had gotten that far in their relationship. And so I think you’re right. I think in a lot of cases it gets to that point where we have tried everything we can possibly think of, nothing’s working, we either have to reach out for somebody or we have to break it off. Jeff: Right. Right. So the hope is here with the Journey, and there’s a lot of hopes that we have around Journey, but one of the hopes is that people will engage with these podcasts and that they can actually get some good counsel, although this isn’t counseling, this is coaching. But if we have people like you on the podcast, we can actually get some very good tips and some help to navigate some of these relational issues. Jeff: So yeah, let’s dive in here. And like I say, just sort of have this as a little mini relationship workshop here and talk to folks that hopefully aren’t in the deep weeds yet. So why don’t we start out, Terry, why really would we even want to address our relationships? Why would we want to be kind, gracious, to one another? After all, if I’m here and you’re there, why don’t we just go at each other and the last one standing wins? Terry: Well, yeah, you could try that. How’s that working for you? Jeff: Not real good, right. So… Terry: No, I think that’s the approach a lot of people have is they’re at such loggerheads by the time they walk in that there’s so much anger and there’s so much negativity and there’s so much… there’s just a lot of hurt underneath the anger. I tell people, I see anger as a secondary response, the secondary emotion. We don’t get angry usually unless we’re hurt and we feel somebody is responsible and those are the components that make us really, really angry. Terry: And then anger is a defense mechanism. It’s something we try to do to regain some of the power we feel like we’ve lost by being hurt. And so we get angry and it’s kind of like… One example I’ve used a lot of times, it’s just using anger, especially in a marriage or in a tight relationship, a good relationship, or a relationship you’re trying to make healthy, it’s kind of like using a hammer as the only tool in your toolbox. Jeff: Ouch! Terry: If you had to replace a light switch, would you grab the hammer? Jeff: Right, no. Terry: Well, no. You [crosstalk 00:04:45]- Jeff: Well, that’s right. Because I’m so terrible with tools I wouldn’t even know what to do with… But, yeah, right. You want to start- Terry: You want to start with a screwdriver- Jeff: Right, the right tool for that. Terry: You want to find another tool. A lot of times by the time people come into counseling they don’t have any other tools, the only tool they have in their toolbox is hammer. And that’s just not working. Jeff: Right. Right. And so healthy relationships, and let me just underline this here. We could just land on this and then just hit the pause button. But really healthy relationships are so important. If you’re not in one now, if you can think back to when you were and just the joy that comes from that and the energy that’s gathered versus the bucket draining-ness of unhealthy relationships, this is really important. Terry: Right. Jeff: Really important stuff. Terry: Well, and I think what happens a lot of times when two people, whether it’s a man and wife or whether it’s a brother and sister, it’s a parent and a child, when two people come in to talk about their relationship, a lot of times what I see is a lot of finger pointing. If he would just change, if she would just do something different, if he would just stop doing something, then this would be okay. And a lot of times I feel like one person is dragging another one in and they’re saying, “Here, change her, change him.” Terry: The reality is it takes two people to make this relationship work or not work. And it’s not just one thing or another, it really gets down to kind of what we’ve talked about is how do you talk to each other? Do you use that hammer of anger? Are you feeling justified in just being angry all the time? And how is that working for you? How’s that affecting the other person and how are you feeling? When you spend a lot of time being angry, I’ll just ask you back, “When you spend a lot of time angry, how do you feel? Energized or worn out?” Jeff: Right. Exactly. Well, and I think as you’re talking, it’s really easy and it always has been easy to avoid healthy relationships, right? It’s really, really easy to just be mad and move on kind of thing. And especially with social media, it’s made it a lot easier to just sort of get that jab out there. Terry: Right. Jeff: And so it seems like, and this is just what I found in my own life, is I’ve got to really put that relational piece as a priority and say, “Yeah, it really is worth the energy that it’s going to take to do this, but it is going to take some energy and it’s going to take some time.” Terry: Right. Well, you have to answer for yourself that question of, why do I even want to do that? Why not be angry? Why not be compassionate? At least I gain respect. If I’m angry, it feels like people are respecting me. But the reality is they’re not, they’re just avoiding you because you’re angry. Jeff: So what can you do if you’re angry, if someone’s angry consistently, but they don’t know how to change. That’s just their mindset, that’s just their life, right? They’re just an angry person. What are some tips there? Terry: Well, I think it depends a lot. If somebody comes into my office and that’s the situation, I have to do a lot of assessments. So the counselor in me just kind of do a little alarm thing that says, “Hey, we’re not going to be able to solve that here.” If somebody is as angry as you’re talking about, I really suggest that they find somebody to meet with, find a licensed counselor, a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, whoever you want, but really sit down and say, “Hey, I am angry all the time and I don’t know what to do about it.” Jeff: So really it’s that conversation before the conversation that you’ve talked about in the past, right? To really kind of come to a point where you can sit down with somebody else and to start having some healthy conversations. Terry: Right. If somebody is just feeling angry a lot and it hasn’t gotten to that point, I guess my encouragement would be, do something about it now because it will get to that point. It becomes a habit and it becomes a way. Our brain has pathways to it and the more we do something, it’s like a muscl
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