Can you imagine picturing your partner as the enemy? You act differently if you see your partner as the enemy and when you see them as the enemy, you miss the shared humanity. You don’t take certain “Weapons” off the table if the story in your head is that they are your enemy.
Consider looking at your partner from different eyes- repeat this to yourself before you meet with your partner, “Misperception is the enemy. Our enemy is never the other person, our enemy is the wrong perception and suffering.”
Put yourself in a peaceful mindset and visualize yourself saying the following. Really put yourself there and feel the feelings, “My dear friend, I know that you have suffered quite a lot in the past. I’m sorry did not understand your suffering, and I have contributed to it by my way of reacting to what you have said and done.
I don’t want you to suffer. I don’t want to destroy you.
I really want you to be happy because I know that if you are happy, I’ll have a chance to be happy, too.
I know you have a lot of perceptions and ideas about me. You must’ve thought of me as evil, as a monster.
I’m sorry because I didn’t understand your suffering, I wasn’t able to help you, and I have made the situation worse.
I’m deeply sorry.
I don’t want this to continue. If you care to talk to me, if you care to tell me what is in your heart, what were the unskillful things that I have done to you, I promise that I will do my best to help you and in the future refrain from doing and saying the things that make you and you suffer.”
If you were honest and you say it with all your heart and you’re motivated by the desire to help, then the other person will open up and tell you what is in her heart.
As Adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh by Don Boice