In most of your relationships, you probably feel like you have value and worth. And you probably work really hard at that. You want to be a good partner, a good friend, a good daughter or son, a good coworker, a good boss...or even a considerate store shopper or sidewalk walker. Right?
It’s awfully confusing when your "value-add" seems to actually work backwards with some people
What is your "value-add?" It's the value you bring to the relationships in your life, no matter how little or big.
In the field of Positive Psychology, there is the concept of mental strengths and their associated weaknesses. When you think about it, we all have characteristics that are accepted by our communities and societies as values or strengths.
These can be empathy, curiosity, integrity, community, security, persistence, and bravery.
In the High Conflict Relationships Course, we take a slightly different approach. Instead of thinking about strengths and weaknesses, we think of the same concepts in terms of values and vulnerabilities.
Hmm... Think on that one for a moment. (Then take a deep breath... Good.)
If you’ve been to therapy before, and maybe even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard that it’s important to be vulnerable in important relationships. This might look like sharing intimate information about your hopes and dreams. It may also mean revealing your fears and worries, and perhaps sharing your experiences and plans.
That kind of vulnerability helps promote connection and intimacy. It supports two people growing closer together. Ahem, well, two reasonable people.
In high conflict relationships things tend to play out differently. In our world, being vulnerable can actually mean giving the other person too much information - or insider knowledge. In high conflict relationships, being vulnerable can give the high conflict person all the info they need to keep you engaged in the unhealthy patterns and cycles of relationship conflict.
So let's get on the same page about "vulnerability."
Generally, when you have a vulnerability, you are exposed somehow, maybe physically, financially, emotionally...or all three. In the High Conflict Relationships Program, we're again going to adjust the definition to our own context.
In our world, vulnerability means being at risk of being used by a high conflict person to get their needs met. Vulnerability also means being susceptible to staying in the high conflict cycle while you figure out if you can trust your perceptions of the relationship.
Your values — and the vulnerabilities associated with them — are what make you awesome and unique and special. Your values are what attract people to you — especially high conflict people.
If this sounds familiar, you may feel rather stuck
You're trying so hard, yet getting nowhere. Your next step is to dig into your values and begin to understand your vulnerabilities. As you do, you may start to notice how your values and vulnerabilities show up in the patterns of your high conflict relationship.
In the High Conflict Relationships Program, we work on understanding our values and vulnerabilities. Then we learn how to get those amazing values working for you the way they should. Why? Because when your values are working for you - not against you - you begin to free yourself from the high conflict relationships that are causing so much turmoil.