Only Ask… And You Will Find Out What He Actually Means

by Annie Kaszina on July 1, 2006

Have you ever listened to a question about your values, or
a question like: “What’s most important to you in a relationship?” and thought:
“That’s so obvious that I don’t even have to think about it”? I know I have.


I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of a kind of “I know what I
think so I don’t even have to think about” reaction. More than once. It’s a sort of knee-jerk “I know my own mind”
reaction.

Of course, it begs the question: “how do you know,
if you don’t even think about it?” Could anything have changed since last you did think about it, if
you ever did? And since thought is
hardly an endangered commodity, what’s wrong with taking a few moments to
explore your own? The chances are
you’ll come up with something really useful.

This week I was working with someone who wanted to create
a meaningful relationship in her life. She went about it with a lot of courage, she did the best she could and,
sadly, ended up with an abusive partner. 

F. told me that she and her partner had ‘connected’ more
or less immediately. They had a lot of
common ground; they had both had a difficult upbringing and been through bad
relationships in the past. So there was
a fair bit of mutual comprehension. She
had taken that to mean not only that there was a lot of empathy and
compatibility, but that they both wanted the same things. 

Like so many women, F. had worked on inference: “if he
says the kind of things I say, he must feel like I do.” 

Generally, the simplest way to gather information is also
the very last resort. If you ask
questions you will, most likely, receive answers. The more specific and well thought out the questions, the better
the answers are likely to be. This is
one case where less is less. More
questions will provide you with more information. Somewhere in all the information, you will start to see the vital
pointers you need.

Sure you have to ask in a non-threatening way. It’s not an interrogation. But most people are more than happy to talk
about themselves (you might even recognise the interminable bore before it’s
too late). Only ask and people will
furnish insights into their core values and the way they see the world. All you need to do is pick up on them. 

Someone’s core values, the ones they operate by in the
enlightening anecdotes they recount, may not necessarily as reassuring as the
ones that they pay lip service to. They may swear by honesty and integrity as
principles, especially where you are concerned, but proudly tell stories of
cunningly exploiting others.

If someone is unwilling to talk about their past history
that in itself is a cause for concern.

F. was understandably devastated by the breakdown of her
relationship. She also felt incredibly
foolish. In fact, she had never been
stupid, or blind. She had not seen and
had not known what made her partner a bad choice, because she had not been
taught what to look for.

Suppose you were taught from an early age to cross roads without
looking. Suppose you were told just
to walk out into the path of oncoming cars, that everybody does that and
it works just fine. You’d probably
believe what you were told and try it. Armed with the misinformation you had, you probably wouldn’t register
the significance of the head turning other people were doing before they stepped
out. Short of being incredibly lucky,
you’d soon sport the label “accident prone” – always assuming you survived at
all.

Abused women, like F., are disarmed by all the
myths about love and relationships that hold sway in our world. Nobody teaches them that what they don’t
know about relationships can harm them. Big time. 

A
while back a reader berated me for pointing out that some women are much, much
more successful at relationships than others. This reader accused me of suggesting that abused women attract bad
things into their life. Clearly, no one
in their right mind sets out to attract bad things into their life. Abused women, sadly, lack the training to
know when they are in the path of a juggernaut. That is their problem; it’s certainly not their fault.

 


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