In any relationship, when one or both partners hold in feelings and don’t say what they are hurt, angry or frustrated about, a brick wall often develops in the Child Ego state. I call this the wall of trivia because many of the frustrations are small things, but when held in, one on top of the other, the wall becomes larger and difficult to deconstruct. Firstly this is done because a person feels scared to speak, fearing anger, conflict, blame, or in the extreme, physical harm. Therefore, It is vital that a relationship is safe from harm, either physical or emotional. Only in a safe environment will people feel free to talk about their beliefs, feelings, and frustrations. Secondly, Keep in mind that when conflict arises it is growth and change wanting to happen.

How does the wall of trivia develop

Imagine two people face to face with their Inner Child Ego states facing one another. Each time one person does not express a frustration; a brick gets added to the wall. As a result, the couple may think they are doing well to not fight, by stopping the anger. Often couples say to me, with pride, ‘we never fight.’ However, when anger is blocked, then all feelings get blocked. The couple feels the wall that has developed, and soon one or both start to feel that they no longer love the other. Passion, excitement, joy and sexual desire are also blocked. Most importantly this leads to feeling the relationship is over Consequently couples separate unless they un-block or deconstruct the wall by talking about their frustrations and anger, or issues they are sad about.

How can we change the wall of trivia

As a relationship therapist, I have worked with hundreds of couples that come to therapy on the verge of divorce, where one or both state they don’t feel they love the other anymore.

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When I describe the wall of trivia, they usually say, ‘That’s just how I feel.’ They are sent home to make a list of all the things they have been angry or frustrated about since they met. Big and little things. Many say, ‘that is going to be a very long list.’ When they come back with their lists,

I sit them down facing each other and invite them to start talking and expressing their frustrations, one at a time. Firstly, It is very important to take turns and listen and hear each other. Do not adopt an attitude of defence or get into, ‘Well I did that because you did…’ or, ‘I would not have done that if you had ….. Or had not….’ Consequently that will lead to more anger and you will get stuck.

You need to adopt an attitude of wanting to really hear and understand how the other person perceived the incident. How they felt about it, what it meant to them. Secondly, ask questions. How did you see that? What did that mean to you? How did you feel about that?

Ask questions, rather than be defensive.

You can also ask, ‘Did that remind you of anything from your childhood?’

Many times and probably most times, things that upset us have some historical sore spot to them. That does not mean that your partner is not at all responsible for hurting you, but it does mean that if the sore spot from childhood was not there, then the incident might not have had such an impact. In addition, when you start talking about your list of frustrations it may seem daunting, but after talking about a few, the others will usually disappear. Because the process of talking is that you will connect to each other again, and regain closeness. Most importantly, keep the intention of wanting to hear and understand each other. Cross the bridge to their thoughts and feelings, leaving yours behind until you have really heard your partner. Then he/she will cross the bridge to your feelings and perceptions. Hence, a truly loving relationship develops, and you will have love and connection, which is what we are all wanting.

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Further reading is available at Imagorelationship.com