Desired Outcomes

This came into my mind as I was driving to work this morning on my 70 mile commute!

In every conversation, email exchange, whatever we have an implicit Desired Outcome!  Mostly the outcome is not something we give much thought about.  After all asking a loved one what they’d like for dinner, or to go out shopping is a discussion where the person will either say Yes or No or a suggestion and the Desired Outcome is not going to have a huge emotional reaction or impact.

But when there is tension or a deeply important issue to be discussed then I think it’s worth thinking through what one’s Desired Outcome is before embarking on the process!

When my brother, H, suddenly announced that he felt that the 3 of us sharing my rental costs was no longer ‘fair’ his Desired Outcome was for me to agree.  When I didn’t he continued to stick to his Desired Outcome through thick and thin. So he bullied and pushed and pushed, dragging in my other brother for support.  Not for one moment throughout the exchange of numerous emails did he once consider or suggest a compromise.  I did but got no response.  So in the end I bowed out, giving him his Desired Outcome!

But has he really got the right Desired Outcome?  He has achieved his need for Control (by bullying).  But has he met his basic Human Needs at the highest level possible?

  1. Certainty
    Well he’s got Certainty – but perhaps at a rather low level as he’s achieved it by Control
  2. Uncertainty/Variety
    Not really.  There’s no variety in this unless he considers he has varied our Legal Agreement by his controlling tactics
  3. Love/Connection
    There was no love in any of this.  In fact an underlying theme throughout his emails was unless you do as I want I won’t give you love.  So it appears his love is conditional on me falling in with his Desired Outcome and control.  My other brother waded in with statements on Charity and Cordiality so not much love there either!
  4. Significance
    Well they both got Significance in that they can pat themselves on the back for making me agree.  But surely that’s Significance via Control and so achieved at rather a low level.
  5. Growth
    Did either of them experience Growth in this exchange, as in Growth within themselves.  Maybe they do feel good about themselves.  I can’t answer for them.  In fact as far as I can see the only person who experienced real Growth in this exchange was me as I put Love above the Agreement and bowed out because Love is my top Value and Need
  6. Contribution
    Have either of them contributed to enhancing our feelings for each other??  Or, more to the point My feelings for Them!

So what have I learnt and gained?  From my point of view all I now know is that for both of them their Love is, at the moment, conditional on me falling in with them, their points of view and their wishes. Actually this has been quite liberating as I now know their ground rules.  For years I’ve sought H’s approval!  Now I don’t have to because I now know his approval is totally reliant on playing by his rules without any consideration for anyone else!.  Unless he achieves exactly what he wants then he withdraws love. 

So they have their Desired Outcome – in that I have bowed to their demands which saves them each a maximum of £4k over the next year but, and it’s a big BUT, at what cost?

We all agreed just after Dad died that we needed to remain friends and keep affection and love as a focus!  For now they appear to have both lost sight of that.  They have won their Desired Outcome but the cost could be greater than they realise.  I will continue to love them both but I don’t have much desire to seek either of them out and spend a huge amount of time in their presence.  Why would I want to subject myself to such a lack of Respect and Love for me.  Also they’ve broken my Trust.  I trusted them to stick to our Agreement which we all signed in good faith.  They then both demanded that we broke that Agreement.  So how on earth can I trust them?

So, dear reader, my point is before running headlong for what one can think is a Desired Outcome stop and work out what the implications and side-effects of achieving it will bring. And if the Outcome isn’t driven primarily by Love then maybe, just maybe it’s worth tweaking it or opting for something different!

It’s just a thought!  What do you think?

Who’d have thought!

Who’d have thought when I started this blog back in 2010 that almost 2 years on I’d be writing about all this stuff and pontificating on!!!

Well the great thing about this blog is it continues to grow!  Here I can test out my theories and get feedback and views and so learn!

I’ve gained a wonderful circle of readers some of whom comment to virtually every post.  I’ve lost some readers.  Some who commented all the time in the past and who now rarely appear.  Maybe they have issues going on in their lives which have taken them away, maybe they no longer feel drawn to my drivel!!

I’ve gained new readers, who now, for some inexplicable reason, find my blog fascinating!!

What I’ve learned recently, and I think finally understood, is we all have Needs.  Yes I know doh!  What’s new Caroline?

My top need is to be loved!  But, I think, I became over dependent on the need for Love.  To such a point that I would do almost anything to get it.  I was (and at moments still am) over needy for Love.(This is the problem that still occasionally attacks me at night and still runs around in the recesses of my mind  every day.  Which means I think about Alex way too often – ie ‘n’ x 10 per day!).  I lived in fear of not getting it.  Result I didn’t get it and the biggest ‘ouch’ moment of my life.

Amongst the many things I’ve learnt through my life coaching experience is to focus on other aspects of my life and so put my need for love in better perspective.

Clearly no two people are the same.  We all have different needs and need them to be met in different ways. But what happens when, like me, one need becomes too ‘needy’ if you follow me!  If it becomes so obsessive that we set a rule for the Need to be met that is almost impossible for anyone to actually succeed in meeting it?

By focusing on one need then maybe we create a tunnel vision and so fail to see what’s going on around us and also fail to see and understand the needs of those close to us.  Because everyone’s needs need to be respected!

I had a very interesting conversation at a dinner party last night where I ended up discussing needs, values and rules and how important they are, with two other women .  We all got caught up in the moment discussing “giving and getting” and what the difference is.  I watched and listened and embarked on a quiet, surreptitious bit of coaching!!  And no one minded!  In fact we all had a good time and both wished me luck with my new venture!

The Black Umbrella syndrome

I’ve learned a great deal through my Life Coaching experience.  Things I didn’t even know I needed to know! So the experience has been enlightening in so many ways!  I do feel far better equipped to deal with a future relationship than if I’d just ‘got over’ the breakdown of my marriage and then – hopefully – found a new one.  Now I know what my needs are!

Stephen (LC) writes a great deal about this aspect of relationships.  Meeting each other’s needs is critical.  The problem I had in the beginning of my coaching experience was I didn’t really have a clue as to what my needs were.

Working this out took time.  What they truly are, rather than what I thought they might be.  Finding out what my needs were from a solid position of being the real me and not from a position of fear where I was trying to be someone I thought Alex wanted me to be.

I can now see that fears can appear when our needs aren’t met but I’m not convinced that it is truly possible to work out what our real needs are when in a ‘fear state’ – too easy to get them wrong!

So if it took me such a long time what about everyone else – does everyone else know?. Because for a relationship to buzz and be passionate I agree with Stephen you each have to meet the other’s needs all the time (or as near to it as you can get!).  And if your partner is not voicing their needs or – doesn’t truly know what they are – then you can both bash on day by day thinking you’re doing everything right for your relationship when actually you’re not because neither of you has clearly stated what you each need from the other.  And actually meeting each other’s needs is fun!!

So why the title of this post?

Well one Christmas many years ago my mother announced that amongst other things, she needed a new umbrella.  My younger brother said he would get her one.  Confident on the ability of her stylish daughter-in-law to choose something lovely and not wishing to be over prescriptive on what umbrella she’d like she said no more.

My mother’s favourite colour was red.  My mother NEVER wore anything black – ever – Brown Yes, Black No! (it really didn’t suit her – at all and she hated it – we all knew that!)

My mother’s old, broken umbrella was a telescopic one – easy to carry in a bag or her favourite shopping basket.

On Christmas morning my mother was given a very ordinary, long handled, BLACK umbrella! (a colour that said daughter-in-law loved!!)

She said nothing at the time but later told me how hurt she felt at what she saw as the lack of effort and thought that had gone into choosing the present.

Actually she saw the funny side of it in the end and it became a joke between a few select friends and members of the family every time one of us was given an unwanted  Christmas present – with questions like “How many black umbrellas did you get this year?”

So I now realise that I was probably getting too many “black umbrellas” on a day by day basis, and not enough “red ones” to be truly happy all the time,  in my marriage.  And I didn’t tell him as I didn’t know I had to.  As for Alex?   I don’t think he knew what colour he wanted – he certainly never told me.

I wish we’d discussed “umbrellas” before it was too late!  I wonder if my older brother and his wife have ever done so?