I Win – We Lose

I Win, We Lose - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog Post

Do you have to be right at all costs?

Is your need to win destroying your relationship?

Try to win and you will both lose – every time, guaranteed.

There is one simple idea that can transform your relationship: Be more interested in understanding your partner than in winning an argument.

Embrace this principle, save yourself heartache and massive counselling or legal bills.

A Natural But Destructive Impulse

Wanting to be right is natural, it gives us a sense of strength and safety, the world makes sense.

But it is disastrous for relationships.

When we need to win we ignore and trample on each other’s feelings. Our goal is to invalidate and discredit our partner’s perspective. Disagreements become hostile debates as opposed to challenging, spirited discussions.

A vortex of hostility and resentment leads to distance and complete communication breakdown.

When we are in win-win mode, the exchange may be loud and high-octane but partners are disciplined and committed to understanding each other’s perspective.

Dominator or Doormat?

Do you go for the first strike to defeat your partner first? This is a way to avoid shame and humiliation. You fear that if you do not overpower your partner that you will be overpowered. The world is black and white, you are either a doormat or a dominator.

The Answer…Compassionate Listening

IMAGO Dialogue moves a couple through the 3 levels of compassionate listening (mirroring, validation and empathy). The goal is not to agree with your partner, or even to like what they have to say but to strive to understand the world from their perspective.

Listen so fully that you can say…”I see why that is important to you…”, “That makes sense…”

When there is a commitment to understand the other point of view (even before your view is understood!), the urge to win is extinguished.

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 8:00 AM and is filed under IMAGO and Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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