Your boss passes you up for a promotion you know you deserve, in favor of the jerky dude in the cubicle across from you. You get nailed with an extra fee because you didn’t get a notice that they mailed to your old address that you couldn’t possibly update. You lose your job because they moved the factory out of the country. We are faced with unfair circumstances all the time in our lives, unfortunately. And what’s been known for a while is that unfairness trickles down. In other words, when we are treated unfairly, we move into what’s called “General Negative Reciprocity” we treat innocent others, including our loved ones, unfairly in return.
It’s not something that’s conscious and cognitive. We don’t think “wow, that was so unfair, so now I’m going to be mean to my boo.” It’s totally at the level of our old lizard-brains, we can’t control it. You may remember times when you flew into a rage at your partner at some little thing that happened after you’d had an unfair experience. Or you start stewing over some things that didn’t ever bother you in the past.
We can’t control what happens in our brains when we are treated unfairly, but we can interrupt “General Negative Reciprocity,” and not pass it on. A new study suggests that when we can regulate our emotions, which in Conscious Girlfriend speech would be to be able to tolerate and befriend our feelings, we can interrupt this process. Basically, like when a conflict arises in your relationship, and you can use SCORE to heal the conflict, you can use SCORE when you get triggered by unfair events.
In general, getting cozy with our feelings (that is, familiar and friendly) and being able to communicate our feelings without blame or criticism are all key qualities that allow for a happy, healthy relationship. So the unfairness of the world doesn’t have to impinge on the deep, comfy intimacy of your relationship.