Road Ends in Water

Einstein’s words: “You cannot solve a problem at the level in which it was created” have never been truer than in those painfully dead end and stuck places we find ourselves.

Road Ends in Water images

Take for example, a person needing to share a vulnerability with their partner in order to get a need met. The stuck place of the relationship has a pre-set choreography that might go something like this: if either partner dares to risk being and speaking up with vulnerability, the partner chooses to get defensive, assuming the share is really an attack, thus putting the partner on the defensive. The choreography plays out where both partners blame other and defend self. This is followed by a well rehearsed need for both to retreat while off looking for inner validation. The original need is still unresolved and now has added stress from the blame and attack which ensued as one expressed a need. The ongoing choreography for this couple has each person returning to the relationship with unresolved issues and resentment, plus some painful wounds in need of healing. No place for safe expression, needs go unexpressed, or shared in toxic ways. The couple remains at a dead end, because the level at which the problems are created are unable to find resolution.

Another couple is afraid to share, with an unspoken agreement to keep sensitive topics submerged. Both walk on eggshells around these censored topics, unless and until they start drinking. Then all pent up and unexpressed things are unleashed in a blast of ugly attacks at the character of the partner. Until they find courage without a bottle, they are trapped in the level at which the problem exists. Original problems are heaped with added pain and hurtful attacks, undermining trust and safety. What they know to do, they continue to do and nothing improves between them. They are in despair and stuck; not wanting to end the relationship yet helpless to find resolution.

A third example illustrating this is the couple where one holds the role of silence, and walks on eggshells because they believe if they open up, their partner will retaliate in anger and aggressive words. To avoid the anger, they hold back, and build a silent arsenal of resentment. Guaranteed that until a new level of problem solving is implemented, this couple will find no satisfactory resolution.

It’s doubtful that people start out seeking a relationship, guaranteed to bring them to a stuck and miserable place every time certain topics or situations or behaviors show up. Yet many of us end up there.  Afraid to look for new ways towards resolution, people settle into a despair, stuck in the level of the problem. Fear of change, fear of stepping out of familiar, or fear itself keep us at the level at which the problem exists. We get stuck in familiar patterns, and find an odd comfort in the pain of familiar.
If the road we drive ends at a river we need to cross, we’d better find a bridge or learn to swim. Our car cannot ferry us across the water.
What river needs crossing in your life?
Where do you settle?  
How much frustration is stacked up at your dead end?
What would you do if not afraid?
By the way, among the many benefits of coaching is the ability to shake things up in a good way, and generate perspectives and options. If you're ready for movement and positive change, let's chat.