HEARTBREAK WARFARE: a client plays for me an excerpt from a John Mayer song entitled: "Heartbreak Warfare".
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare.

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Just say so...

This is from someone who often describes her conflicts - both personal and business – as a war.     Other clients have described their struggles with their teenagers as a war.

War is a concept that from my cultural and religious upbringing was seen as a shortsighted approach to dispute resolution.  Historically, the Mennonites/Amish culture has not had its young men go to war, but rather, provide some community service to the country.  Children’s Services, my alternative to the Vietnam, is where my career begins.

Psychologically war is a notion that says, "If I don't win what I want, then we will both go down - and you can't have what you want.”   Or perhaps, “It will cost you so much you can't enjoy what you have won.”

The concept of war is about winning and losing; a concept that what one gains the other loses. The notion of winning and losing in relationship precludes any true intimacy.  Peaceful coexistence, yes.  Shared ventures or projects, yes.   An closeness or camaraderie, yes.   But true intimacy?  Not so much. 

When we see our relationships as a dualistic struggle, where one of us is the good guy and the other the victim, we are relying on the other to be more trusting than we are. More vulnerable and exposed than we are.
Sports evolved as a way providing young man a safe outlet for war-games through friendly competition. While sports give us rules for the field of play, a relationship war, I'm afraid, has no rules, no defined boundaries, and no clear winners –  only “degrees of losing”.  

Next time you are caught up in a ‘relationship war’, ask yourself,  
-          Is there another way I can see this? 
-          What is my greatest fear now?
-          In a single sentence, what is it that I am wanting now. 

Then, communicate that to your partner.   Just say so.

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