Most of the stories we have out ourselves and the world around us have root in our families of origin. Some of these stories are good and help us build meaning in our lives. Then there are the negative stories that we struggle with until we learn to rewrite them. This time of year when we are spending more time with our created families and possibly our family of origin, it is common for our stories to get triggered.
Spending time with family can be a partially difficult time to have unacknowledged stories. I am fortunate enough to still have a great aunt who is living and she lives near me. She doesn’t mean to be hurtful, but she can be pretty critical. Not just of me but of everyone. She is critical of athletes, politicians, family members – everyone. Over the years, I have learned not to bother trying to convince or change her mind on anything, whenever possible I hold my tongue and just nod. That doesn’t mean that some of her zingers never impact me. They often do.
Our romantic relationships are where a lot of our stories play out. When stressed at work, your partner may hold in all their frustration during the day only to come home to you and be a jerk with you. Leaving you to wonder if they just had a bad day or if your relationship is not as strong as you had once thought.
Additionally, we grow up with stories of what a happy couple and family looks like and if our partner doesn’t live up to those, we can start to slip into some bad relationship habits that can become corrosive to the connection over time.
Negative sentiment override
Negative sentiment override is a term that means that trust has been damaged in the relationship and it is impacting how you interpret the actions of your partner. The trust can be broken unwittingly by not going along with our story of how relationships are supposed to work. And before we know it, our relationship problems are compounding. Click HERE to take a quiz and see if you are currently in negative sentiment override.
What to do with our stories...
It's normal to have them but you cannot address what you do not acknowledge. This takes some ownership and vulnerably on your part to examine what you could be doing to contribute to your own discomfort. It is easy to lay blame with your family member or partner, it is brave to think about what you bring to the table.
For example, part of the reason my great aunt hurts my feelings is because I have a story that elderly people are sweet and loving. Her criticism is hurtful because I want her to accept me as I am. Part of her story is that there is a right and a wrong way to live your life. Knowing that we both bring different needs to our interactions doesn't make her comments less hurtful but it makes it easiER to move on and let them go.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!