Guess What?

  • Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC
  • Series: August 2015, Volume 22, Issue 2
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Guess What?

By Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT


There is a kind of guessing game that exists in many relationships. The guessing game is based on dishonesty and fear. It looks like this:

If I tell you how I feel, you seem to respond with anger, attack me, or withhold from me. I am afraid of your anger, so I cant tell you my feelings. I live a lie.

If I tell you how I feel, you seem to respond by feeling hurt. I cant stand how I feel when you are hurt, so I cant tell you. I live a lie.

If one has to prepare for an attack for being honest about their feelings, they will distance rather than draw close. Read Ephesians 4:25-32. This passage touches on the need for putting away this destructive quality of both positions. These positions keep people guessing as to what is the truth in you. Paul defines this relating style as “lying, corrupt, and grieving the Holy Spirit.”

We need to get comfortable with the risk of confiding our true thoughts and feelings AND listen with understanding and empathy. It is destructive to the relationships to withhold, attack, or distance from the person opposite you.

Here is what may help:

  • Stop lying to the person.
  • Hold off defensiveness, assuming there is something legitimate the other is going after.
  • If unresolved, call a truce at the end of the day for the sake of getting rest.
  • Do not under-mind the person by running to talk to everyone else about things first.
  • Identify and practice saying what you want to say with respect for the other person and for you own struggle.
  • Do not nurture or hang onto resentment.

The focus of our attention is given to honoring the presence of the Holy Spirit by not causing grief to Him. Allow His presence to influence your thinking and responses. Your cooperation with the leading of God’s Word and Spirit will guarantee distancing between bitterness and you…not your loved one.

Adapted from “Guess What?, Spina, M.S., LMFT, Brenda, Loosening the Noose, 2011


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