2013-07-31 12.37.11-1By Ashlee Secord

Have you ever found yourself really irritated with something your significant other did?

No?  How long have you been together, a week?  Maybe less?  I joke, but for the most part, I believe it is safe to assume that we have all been irritated with the people we are closest and most intimate with.

How does this happen?  At one point in the relationship it felt as though neither of us could do wrong.  All errors would be forgiven. Life would be good regardless of the circumstances we would face together.

Yep.  Until the dishes overflow for the 3rd day in a row, the honey-do list stacks up without a single project crossed off or the third week has gone by without sex …again.

Instead of any of these (or your own unique circumstance) being an isolated incident: the dishes haven’t been done today. They are interpreted through our negative messages, which I started talking about in my first blog HERE, and that is when things begin to go haywire.

So lets say the individual who sees that the dishes are not done for 3 days in a row has one or all of the following messages: “I am not a priority,” or “I don’t matter,” or “I am alone.” Is it so far fetched for them to see the undone dishes and take it personally? They have “plugged in” to the actions (or inaction) of their spouse and associated personal meaning to it. Since my spouse did not do the dishes, they do not care about me.

Since we are each individuals and our worlds center on our thoughts and interpretations we have a tendency to forget that others are having their own experience, as well. We tend to assume that the actions and words of others are against us, an attempt to hurt us. Since we interpret their actions and are feeling pain as result we assume this is true. We’re plugged in to their actions and their actions are directly interpreted through our messages.  Now, if only I could get them do things my way, I wouldn’t have to hear all these negative messages!

Now let us unplug from our significant other and see the truth:  The dishes are not done.

That’s it.

Well, it is not quite that simple.  If something is out of the ordinary in your relationship, it is important to be curious with other person.  While the circumstance may be causing you hurt remember that there is more than one experience occurring and to compassionately begin looking for a possible reason why things are out of the ordinary. It may have absolutely nothing to do with you.  Do you see how this is different from assuming they are trying to hurt us?

Too often we attach our meaning to people or things that are ill equipped and, to be honest, not responsible for giving us our value. Yes, including our spouses.  If we are not plugged in (relying on others to tell us how we feel about ourselves) we can allow others and ourselves to think, feel and act without attaching so much value to it.  We are free to be who we are and those closest to us are free to be who they are.  A win-win.

When we are plugged in to others we are literally imprisoned to what they say and do.  We were having a good day until (enter perceived offense here).  Just because we have attached meaning to their actions and words does not necessarily mean they are saying something about us. We interpret it to be saying something about us. When, in all honesty, the words and actions of others are saying volumes about them.

So long as we are “plugged in” to the words, actions or behaviors of others and rely on them to keep our negative messages at bay we are constantly at their mercy.  What they say and do will be an ongoing report card of how we are doing in life.  We no longer hold the reigns to our own life. That is, until we take matters into our own hands.


Ashlee Secord has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2009. Contact Thrive Therapy today to set up your free phone consultation and initial session to begin working with Ashlee and unplugging from others thoughts, feelings and actions.