“They just don't listen!…”

What to do when the person won't listen

I was chatting with a client the other day who was several years divorced and happily re-married, yet still under the prospect of court action over custody of his son.

“she is now saying I can’t have any access, not even take him on holiday to EuroDisney next year, something I had been planning for 18 months”

My client and I explored what might be going on in his ex’s perception of the world. Given my client now has an appreciation of the principles behind how we create our experience, he knows that we are always creating our reality subjectively via thought in each moment and therefore her reality is separate from his, what we call ‘separate realities’.

Once he had reflected (without his judgement and frustration), two new things occurred to him about her reality.

Firstly, that she may be experiencing insecure thinking about losing her son to him. Secondly, that she might be concerned about her financial position, and that her maintenance payments may reduce if she had her son less of the time. Both things he could solve easily if he was given the chance to relate to her.

I asked him if they were to have a more ‘connected’ conversation where they could discuss it at a more human level with understanding, listening and compassion (as opposed to lawyer letters or curt emails), would it make a difference? He expressed how he would love nothing more than to get into that space with her, and have some higher quality connection and communication where their respective separate realities were understood, respected, and their son became the focus. However, he said:

‘there is no chance of that, I have tried, and now I would not want to have a conversation without someone else being there because she twists everything’.

Now, this might sound familiar to you, that one party in the relationship, won’t budge, and refuses to have a proper conversation so the other party gives up on trying to communicate. Whereas it might look to most people that the ‘won’t budge/listen’ party is in the wrong here, actually as the ‘given up’ party there is something else we can explore.

As human beings we are capable of creating ‘invisible lids’

In the work we do, we call something an ‘invisible lid’ – where someone can’t see that their thoughts have created a lid on their ability to get fresh perspective and resourcefulness. Often, when this happens, it looks as though the'issue' is an external reality instead of a thought creation of the mind in that moment . It is normal and natural for us to do that, it is just how the human mind works, however it also natural for us to have realisations - a realisation is the phenomena whereby thought (however solid, real and true it looks) dissolves and we see a new perception. So, my client having ‘given up’ on his ex ever being able to get into a high quality of mind, is an example of an invisible lid.

What can you do about it?

I am sure many of you can relate to the ‘because (s)he won’t budge, there is no point’ mindset. So you give up.

However, we need to insightfully recognise that any human has the capacity to shift their perceptions, even people who haven’t done so on a subject for many years. Now, you might be thinking, 'this is about someone else’s invisible lid not mine’ or 'I can shift mine when she shifts hers' and it feels like chicken and egg.

We cannot directly enable a shift in someone else, that is not part of the function of the system (thought doesn’t work like that!) however the thing we can do, is look within ourselves to our own level of Quality of Mind and how we are ‘turning up’ and therefore creating our experience of the situation. Whether we are aware of it or not, how we do that can affect someone else. It is often quite subtle, unexplainable and even bizarre in how that works! In that a shift in your relationship to something can shift someone’s else.

There are no guarantees here, and no magic buttons, but the worse that can happen is you get more freedom and well-being on the subject, the best - that the other party also starts to melt their invisible lid as well.