Important Problems

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The worst thing you can do is minimize the importance of your partner’s life problems. The objective fact is that both of you filter reality through your own subjective lenses, there’s no way around that, but you can recognize this fact in order to keep yourself from projecting your subjective perception onto objective reality, seeing your own point of view as fact and your partner’s point of view as subjectively flawed.

If your partner says it’s important then you have to take this experienced reality at face value, regardless of the subjective level of importance you assign to the same stimuli. Minimization is really about power in that it’s taking control of the shared reality of your relationship and molding this reality in your image.

There is no question that perceptions are often completely out of whack with the activating events that cause them but minimization isolates and therefore adds to the problem whereas joining with your partner paradoxically lowers the intensity of the problem right away because you’re taking on some of the burden. As a result you get your wish, the problem is minimized, but in a way that creates a sense of community rather than more conflict.