New Leaf Resources

Angie's "Under Construction"

We are constantly changing and growing. We learn new things everyday whether from ourselves or from the relationships and families we are involved in. We can become stronger, healthier and happier by the way we treat others, view ourselves and experience the world around us.

This column by Associate Marriage & Family Therapist Angie Cerniglia explores the fascinating world of relationships and the multiple parts of ourselves. We are beautifully and wonderfully made and since God is never really finished molding us, we are therefore, always, Under Construction.


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The Mind Reading Game

March 12, 2015
By Angie Cerniglia, MA, AMFT, LPC

When we are children, we some time dream of having super powers–super strength, the ability to fly, invisibility, and (of course) the power to read minds. When we become adults in a relationship, mind reading is no longer a mystical superpower; it is a “requirement.” No matter how long you’ve been dating or married, after a period of time learning each other takes a back seat to the expectation that our partner know exactly what we are thinking or feeling. We become a contestant on, the mind reading game.

The mind reading game is played in multiple ways, the most frequent of which is the classic phrase, “you should just know.” When first dating we cannot learn enough about our partner and share enough about ourselves. Finishing each other’s sentences is nothing less than adorable, every new fact is intriguing, and every new commonality is just confirmation of how much you belong together.

After a period of time, the new facts run out, the stories begin to be told a second or third time, and we finish sentences only because we think we know what’s coming. By default, this must mean that we know everything there is to know about our partner, and they must know everything there is to know about us. So, if we are upset, our partner should just know what is wrong with us, and we should just know what is wrong with them! If only that were true.

While we may know our partners’ favorite foods, their allergies, and how they take their coffee we cannot necessarily know exactly how they are feeling–not without some help from them. Allowing our partner to share how they feel (without assuming we know) is one of the most loving things we can do. It not only means we care, but that we care enough to really listen, and shows we understand our partner is growing and changing as an individual. In reverse, sharing with our partner how we are feeling, or why we are upset, can do nothing but lead to a more productive discussion, and avoid a frustrating game of 20 questions.

While we may have become talented at the mind reading game, when we realize there is no real winner and we withdraw ourselves from the competition, we open ourselves up to a new way of showing our partner we care, and a quicker way of having our relationship needs met. So while we may not have super strength, be able to fly, or even read minds, we can love our partner in a way no one else can, and that is a pretty great super power.