Newton’s Third Law of Motion – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And for every reaction, there is a counter-reaction, and so on. This means, for every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting upon the two interacting objects.
Can you see how this law of motion applies to human relationships? Consider the interdependence in a couple’s relationship. When one partner does or says something, the other partner has a reaction to it, either positive or negative. Each then creates a subsequent reaction in the other person, heightening the exchange in either a positive or negative way. It becomes a potentially indefinite loop (negative loops can feel like “to infinity and beyond”!). This interdependent looping is a part of all relationships, partner or otherwise. As parents, we can potentially be in these feedback loops with our children for what seems like all the time (especially if in the teen years!). How we feed off each other is Newton’s Law of Motion in relationship perspective.
March 2019 To-Do:
Consider the interdependence in a relationship in your life. When your partner/child behaves a certain way in a disagreement (i.e., yells, walks away), what happens in you? What do you start thinking, feeling, and want to do? (i.e., feel blamed or criticized, yell back or walk away). And then when you act upon it, what do you see as the counter-reaction in your partner/child?
Sample mapping: When my partner/child ________________ (i.e., criticizes, withdraws), I begin to feel ________________ (i.e., mad, sad), I then think ____________________ (i.e., my partner/child doesn’t care about me, misunderstands me), and I then want to _______________________ (i.e., fight back, pull away). This exercise is based upon Conversation #1 in Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, by Dr. Sue Johnson (2008).
As always, I invite your questions and comments! Here's to more positive than negative looping in life!