Are you a tiger or a turtle? Let me explain.
Imago Relationship Therapy looks at the behavior of individuals in a conflict through watching “The Turtle and Tiger Dance.” When individuals enter a conflict, they act one of two ways. “Tigers” get aggressive. They take their claws out and pounce at the other person. The “turtle” retreats to its shell. They try not to ruffle any feathers or exacerbate the conflict further. In fact, many turtles prefer to stay silent until the conflict is over (or appears to be over).
So… are you a tiger or a turtle? How about your spouse?
When two tigers are together, they tend to have some pretty intense and volatile fights. But at least the issue is addressed and taken care of sooner rather than later.
Two turtles, on the other hand, may avoid a conflict and let different issues build up until there is enough discomfort to have a discussion. But at least the heat of passion doesn’t lead one partner to say something that they will later regret.
Tigers and turtles? This can be a hard relationship to balance when conflicts arise. Tigers and turtles give off a completely different energy when trying to come to a resolution.
The timing of these conflicts is also completely different for tigers and turtles. Tigers want resolutions now, while turtles tend to need time to think through their feelings, what has been said, and what can be done to move forward.
Neither one of these methods is better than the other. They should be looked at separately, but as equally valid and understandable ways to handle conflict. And despite the differences in tigers and turtles, there are ways for both parties to resolve a conflict in a way that appeals to their personality and preferred behaviors.
How Imago Helps Both Tigers and Turtles
So, we’ve identified ourselves and our partners as tigers or turtles. We have this knowledge, and we know what behaviors can be expected during a conflict. How do we use this knowledge to have an effective conversation with our partner about conflicts that leads to a lasting growth and understanding?
This is where Imago comes in.
Imago Relationship Therapy helps couples who deal with conflicts differently create a plan for conflict resolution. This includes giving each partner the tools for identifying “tiger” and “turtle” behaviors, as well as the skills to discuss issues in a way that appeals to your partner’s method of conflict resolution.
Imago’s ultimate goal is to help couples like you unlock the key to finding “couple’s answers” to your questions and issues.
If you are interested in learning more about Imago Relationship Therapy, how to navigate a conflict with a “tiger” or a “turtle,” contact a Houston relationship counselor who is certified in Imago Relationship Therapy.