Relationships and the 'tyranny of shoulds'
Wedding buzz killed off by living under a tyranny of ‘shoulds’?
Relationships often transform once the initial excitement has subsided. You can be left with a bitter aftertaste if you expect life, and everyone living in it, to be a certain way. This is known as the 'tyranny of shoulds': He should think about my feelings before he stays out late. She should know that I need time to myself.
We all have needs, and so the 'shoulds' are an attempt to communicate these needs. But your needs are more likely to be met if you consider these three things -
1. Communication comes across better in a less mandatory way. If you replace 'you should' with 'I would like it if you could...' it sounds as if there is more wriggle room for the other person. As a result, it is less likely that their defences will be up, and they are more likely to listen.
2. If your partner is listening, rather than defending a perceived attack, they are more likely to hear how important this is to you, and why it is important.
3. With more wriggle room for the both of you, there is the chance that your partner might also communicate their needs in response. Once you have heard your partner's perspective, you might end up altering your position.
I hope that you find this helpful. Do get in touch if you would like to discuss any of this in more detail.
Chris Warren-Dickins BACP Registered Counsellor
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