Remember the incident about the un-rinsed dishes from my May 24 blog titled, You're being defensive again. No, I'm not? The unintentional hurts the couple - let's call them Brunhilde and Bruno - flung at each other seemingly out of their control.
They are served by two mental systems:
The thinking mind and the survival mind.
The first processes slowly, and the second reacts lightening fast. We'll discuss them more in future blogs.
Brunhilde is orderly; un-rinsed dishes offend her sense of neatness and order. It's not that she is OCD, she just appreciates a neat, clean place.
Bruno gets it but doesn't mind messiness; in fact, being pressed to keep things neat feels like being controlled over minor concerns.
Seeing the unwashed dishes, Brunhilde's survival mind automatically sends signals that she experiences as tightness in her chest and frustration. She will deny this since it's unconscious. Her thinking mind was helpless other than to do the fight-induced bidding of her survival mind and say (with an edge in her voice), "You didn't rinse your dishes again," with emphasis on the again.
Had she trained herself for this kind of thing, she might have said, "Bruno, please rinse your dishes," or "Can I rinse your dishes for you?"
Had Bruno trained his mind to deal with Brunhilde's reactivity, he might have noticed similar sensations and thought, "That's Brunhilde," then rinsed the dishes. Either one could have avoided the fight so both are responsible.
They were doing their "dance", a term we'll be hearing a lot about.
With this introduction to the challenges of being a couple, you're ready to learn how much more your thinking mind can regulate your survival mind than you may realize.