January 3, 2003
January 3, 2003


We constantly assess other’s actions based on our own experiences. The ALL IN THE FAMILY sit com had Archie Bunker accepting abusive behavior from his childhood because he felt he turned out all right. In his mind this justified his negativism, bigotry and his abusive put downs of his family and friends.

A woman may complain that, “He doesn't call me so obviously he doesn't care about me.” It may be that he is overwhelmed, busy, depressed or ill.

“She doesn’t ask about how I feel, therefore, she doesn't love me.” It may be that she doesn’t realize that you expect this type of communication to illustrate that she cares.

“He doesn’t help me with the house work.” His mother's Traditional role left him with unrealistic expectations because she did everything which currently is opposite of the prevalent Partner type of relationship that today's women find acceptable.

Another woman will say, “He doesn't give me a present on my birthday, Christmas, etc.” therefore she concludes, “He is disrespectful, and doesn't love me.”

People need to broaden their understanding of another's perspective. One's own experiences is only one form of understanding. Reading HEAR MY CRY, by Bernadine Fawcett depicts 99 different perspectives from the point of view of the title of each vignette. It is a type of self help book that shows rather than tells how differently each person views life. Reading novels and/or self-help books, watching movies, talking with others, learning differing cultural cues all aide people to broaden their perspectives.

More importantly ask your significant other what kind of childhood they had. Why do they view the issue as they do?

Be ready to accept the answers. Often people discount what they can't understand.

If you are perplexed, Say so. Question deeper, Get more details. Try and imagine how different individuals respond to a situation. No two people react exactly the same.

Role playing which is literally switching perspectives, in which one takes the others point of view helps enlighten your perspective.

Hurt feelings usually disappear when you truly understand the other person's motives. Then healing can take place. Negotiations about how to build greater understanding and solutions to your disagreement need to follow. However, one needs to remember that solutions that are not followed lead to greater discord. Act on your resolutions and happiness will follow.