When your lover or partner is complaining to you, you have two choices: you can do the usual defending dance, trying to show them why what they're saying is not true, why they're being unfair or wrong and proclaim your innocence. This is a big mistake. The moment you begin defending your position, you have surrendered your balls (or ovaries), your personal power, to them. You have joined their dance of negativity and sunk to their level of competing and defending.
A much more positive and powerful thing to do is 'not defend'. Just wait. Hold the space. Look at the person in the eyes and, while allowing them to be a complaining child, uphold your image of them as a responsible, powerful, wise being.
If you don't automatically join the defence dance, which can take some practice, then their complaint demons have nothing to fight against and with nothing feeding the conflict, the process can naturally transform into the expression of their real feelings.
It might drive this person mad at first that you refuse to join them down there in the darkness, but before long they will return to their own presence and to you for support with the real feelings that are arising, not the complaint that's trying to avoid those feelings.
Intimacy waits patiently for presence.
With a friend or lover, throughout the day, try and trick each other into defending. Try things like ‘why did you leave that in such a mess?’ and any criticism or accusation that begins ‘you always...’ or ‘you never....’ See if you can throw each other into auto-defense, denying or proclaiming innocence, for a full day. Bringing awareness to this knee-jerk self-defense blurting is advanced ninja stuff. To stalk your auto-reactions and bust them when they trick you into smallness is like tying a bell to the ankle of an insidious demon. You begin to hear it coming early. Please write below the knee jerk auto-react you are most easily suckered by - for me today SLQWNESS! Ugh I wanted to explode....you?
Both Creative and Intimacy weekend workshops at http://www.jamiecatto.com/