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How to ask for your desires, wants and needs

Hi, it’s Ginny Lindsay, From 2 to 3 relationship counseling. What a beautiful day it’s been today. And I just wanted to share some thoughts about asking for what you need. So what I mean by that is many people come in and what they do is they come in asking for what they don’t want, hoping that their partner is actually going to pick up on what they do want. So let’s use an example of when you’ve come in, something’s gone awry the relationship, and you’re really upset about something. And so mostly what happens is you don’t do this and you don’t do that, and your parents do this and it’s very critical. So first of all, we get the criticism, then often the contempt comes in, then often the character assassination comes in. And then what tends to happen is our partner doesn’t hear us, they’ve gone into defensiveness and then they’ve gone into reactivity as well. So it really all goes a bit pear shaped.

So what I want to help you with is how do you get your needs met by actually understanding yourself first? So if you’ve had a whoosh, so we’ve talked about before, but I’ll share it again, the window of regulation. So in here we have the window of regulation. So this is your reactivity at this end and your feelings. The other end is your cognitive and your ability to think straight. So when we have a whoosh, naturally our feelings are going to rise. And when we’re in this space, we’re in a fight flight overwhelm numbing out defensiveness, and what happens is when our feelings are up, look at our ability to think straight is switched off. So then what happens is we then go in with all the attacking because we’re not actually thinking straight. So what we need to be able to do is to be able to say, “I’m having a whoosh at the moment. I need to calm myself down.”

And so when we actually take ourselves off to regulate, to be able to calm down, to be able to ground ourselves is when we can start to make sense of what actually happened for me. What was the value, the expectation, the dream, the hope or the belief that wasn’t met for me? And instead of going in with the you, we want to go in with the I. So we want to come in and say, “When I heard this, this is what I felt. This is what I thought. This is what it meant to me, and this is what I need.” Because it’s the need that we can have then a constructive conversation about. It’s the need that our partner is able to work with. And so with the need, you might say, “Do you think that’s possible?” Because they’re not going to be able to meet everything. So we then put that out and pose that as a possibility of, “This is what I need. Do you think you can meet that? Or how do you feel about that?”

Because it’s an interactional pattern that we want the other one to buy into. But also we want them to be happy that it fits for their needs. So that’s the way we want to do it. Instead of coming in with the critical you, you, you and lots of criticism and contempt, we actually want to be able to regulate, make sense, first of all, ground ourselves, what was the unmet need, come forward and put that need so then our partner has something constructive to be able to work for and with you. And so then that’s how we’re going to get our needs met. So I hope you’ve found this helpful. Hope you’ve had a wonderful Saturday, and I’ll see you soon. Take care.