This post is a follow up to my last post regarding 'Relational Intelligence'. One definition of accountability is taking, or being assigned responsibility for something that you have done or something that you are supposed to do. Sometimes we may not even be clear regarding what we are supposed to do, or what is expected of us. At other times we clearly know when we are not doing things we need to, or should have done. Sometimes when we don't know what is expected of us we need to clarify expectations and establish clear boundaries There are times when we clearly know that our actions have been hurtful, that we have been mean spirited, and that we have crossed boundaries and our actions were inappropriate. Why is it that we are willing to speak to the partner, or spouse that we say we love, in a demeaning, dismissive, and contemptuous manner. We would never talk to anyone else with such disrespect. How is it that we don't realize (that I have mentioned before) that we are polluting the environment that we need to sustain us. I believe that we can't hurt anyone else without hurting ourselves, and when we are hurtful to someone we love there is no doubt that we are hurting ourselves. Unless we have a personality disorder or something more serious issue, where we don't experience genuine guilt or shame, we may need to find a way to rid ourselves of the shameful experience of our actions. One convenient way to do this is to blame the person that we hurt. Now we have not only hurt them once, but twice. When they stand up for themselves, we now have the opportunity to hurt them again, by becoming defensive and discounting, or discrediting their experience. And to top it off we are now unhappy in the relationship and we can't figure out why the other is such a jerk. A related question, "Is it possible to resent someone just because we have been mean to them"? How can we move our relationships on a better path? Is there a better way to do this, and what needs to happen for us to look at our own behavior? How can we accept responsibility for our actions, and better understand the part we play in our relationship? This relationship is something we either "build" or "destroy", together. A long time ago, my late wife told me that I had a tone in my voice that she didn't like. I asked if we could tape the next conflict that we had because I was sure my voice did not have a tone! I listened to my voice on the tape recorder, I was surprised that I could easily hear the unpleasant tone in my voice. Sometimes we have a blind spot, and sometimes we know that we are acting in a thoughtless and uncaring manner. If we apologize for our behavior we become vulnerable. Do we often make a choice between being vulnerable or stressed and unhappy? We can only be intimate if we are vulnerable. What a dilemma! It is important to remind ourselves that we can only be intimate if we are honest, both with our partner and ourselves. If we are having difficulty being vulnerable we might ask, "What is our fear?", "Is there a power issue being dealt with here"? This post doesn't even touch the surface of this issue, but we can ask these question each day, 'Am I being honest with myself? What could I do better? How can I clearly and respectful let my partner know what I want? Can I improve my ability to listen and be less emotionally reactive? These are questions for all of us, including myself. Trust me I have my own issues!
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