Broken Radar
By: Kathy
December 11, 2011
Are you constantly scanning the environment trying to figure out what your partner is feeling?  Do you and your partner seem to be “reading” each other all the time?  Do you react to what you “read” rather than checking with your partner to see if your reading is accurate?  It could be that your radar is broken, and you don’t even know it!
This is a frequent dilemma for people in a relationship.  One person is picking up signals that the other person is feeling something.  That other person denies those feelings.   Which is it?  Can one’s radar be that far off the mark?  Or is the other person not being true to themselves, denying they feel the way they do (but they aren’t very good at hiding it?  In truth, it’s probably both!
Our radar was programmed in our childhoods.  For most of us, it was programmed improperly when we were told our feelings, perceptions and beliefs weren’t correct.  ‘Dad really loves you (even though he just whipped you with a belt).’  ‘Stop crying!’  ‘Oh, you shouldn’t feel that way!’  When abuse occurs and the other parent minimizes it or when we express a feeling and it is ridiculed or we are told we shouldn’t feel a certain way, it sends a confusing message to a child that tells them not to trust their own internal radar that is telling them something is wrong.  This then carries into adulthood and comes back to haunt us in our relationships!
When our radar is broken, we question how we feel.  Our antennas are fully extended and we are tuned in at all times looking for a signal that something is wrong.  That makes us extra sensitive or hyper vigilant.  Your hearing is heightened, your eyes are aware of every movement.  If your mother was angry and volatile while you were growing up, you’re radar is tuned into the channel of anger.  If your father cut-off from you abruptly as a child, you are tuned into the channel of cut-off, and so on.  So when your partner does something that registers the tiniest bit on your radar, you react as if it were true.  And because your feelings were not validated as a child, when your partner denies the feelings you are sensing, you don’t trust what they are telling you.  This makes life very difficult for your partner – and is no picnic for you either!
It is time to re-program your radar!  Acknowledge that you are overly sensitive to certain things and check your feeling with your partner before you react. This sounds simple enough, right?  Well, it requires help from your partner.  The really complicated piece of this puzzle is that in truth, we DO partner up with someone who fits what we know from our childhood.  So it IS likely that what your radar is picking up is somewhat accurate!  The fix?  Your partner has to learn to be honest about how they feel.  They are most likely minimizing their feelings for the same reason that you are being overly sensitive.  They are reacting based on what their radar is telling them, just like you did!
The only way out of that cycle of craziness is a cocktail of Honesty and Acceptance.  When we realize that we (and our radar) are both broken, we can begin to question ourselves and the circumstances before we react.  When we can trust our partner to offer us the truth instead of hiding or minimizing their feelings, we can begin to have an open and honest relationship and finally get the love and acceptance we have been seeking our entire lives.