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Polar Expressed


April Fool's Day was originally a term coined by farmers concerning unexpected and wide variations of weather patterns during the month of April. One day it would be 90 degrees and the next there would be a frost. We in California have been experiencing these "polarized" weather patterns a lot this winter and an unusual rain fall following several years of drought.

Polarization exists in therapy as well. It is when two opinions are in direct opposition of each person's perceived goals, objectives, or purpose, and each remains polarized (unable or unwilling to move) in their position. We see this polarization in politics, religion, racial, social, and gender biases as well, but in therapy we see it whenever there is conflict in relationships.

An example of this polarization of view points can be seen with husbands and wife's who "scream" at each other, or children who are being "disrespectful and rebellious" toward their parents. If I believe my position is 100% correct, I'm less likely to listen to your position if it is not in agreement with my position. You believe your position is 100% correct, and therefore we can not and will not acquiesce to the other's position and "loose" the fight. We have come to polar disagreement and one where no one wins and everyone looses in one way or another.

Unfortunately, often the solutions to this type of unrelenting arguing is separation, isolation, and selfish endeavors (affairs, alcohol/drug abuse, porn, cutting, and other self-harm behaviors), which do nothing to mend and everything to destroy the relationship.

The Bible says it this way,

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child;

children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death." Matthew 10:21

I share with clients about a 90% percent rule wherein I show them how to take apart the discussion and find the 90% they can agree on. Then we pull out what is really behind the argument; usually feelings of hurt, frustration, or fear. There will always be the one or two items we just can't agree on and that is when we have to respectfully agree-to-disagree.

This April Fool's day, I hope you are able to avoid the foolishness of fighting, and if not, let us help you change your polarized expressions to one of connection and peace. Call Encouragers today to schedule an appointment.

Vicki Coffman LMFT

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