Is Your Trading Creating Conflict Between You and Your Partner?
Allen looked quizzically at the charts on his monitors. For the fourth time today, he had been stopped out and he had only taken five trades. But he smiled to himself despite the four losses because he knew that he had traded this entire session "as" a winner (meaning that he had planned every trade, had traded every plan and he had followed all of his rules – explicitly). He knew that he had achieved a private victory today as he also realized that it was critically important to approach his trading one day and one trade at a time. He had learned that trading requires 100% of his attention in order to focus intently on what matters most in the trade, and that to do that, he had to remain in the moment, for the moment, fully available, fully present and in the "now" of the trade while resonating with objective reality. He felt good about his effort and knew that as long as he created consistency in mastering the trading process (continually building his skill levels, documenting his mechanical data and internal data, and following through with his commitments), that he would build greater capacity for strength and endurance in the trade.
But there was a fly in the ointment. Carol, his wife and as well her family, chided Allen for doing what they thought was gambling and took every opportunity to tell him so; especially when he had small losses like today. Additionally, Carol felt that he was not only wasting his time, but she felt angry as she considered that the money Allen used to trade with could be better applied to other family needs and investments. Allen felt dismayed by Carol's lack of support and frequent hostility and dreaded the arguments that ensued, which disrupted their otherwise happy relationship. He wanted to keep the peace, but he also really loved trading and believed in his ability to succeed.
If you are experiencing similar discord in your relationship due to a misalignment of attitudes about your trading, or if your issue is related more to the negative comments of family and/or friends due to their disapproval, then that is a different concern, but it requires the same response. It is time to have an open and honest dialogue about the issue and you must be willing to listen. Here are some ways to approach this conversation. These points, in part, come from my friend Stanley Wachs, Ph.D., a communications consultant. Let's review Allen's options:
1. Allen should make an appointment to meet with Carol and anyone else in the family who disparages his trading. In this face-to-face meeting, he should look her in the eye and say, "I need to talk with you about a difficult issue." Then he should pause briefly. Wachs points out that these initial words are important. "He is not saying he wants to 'chat' with her; he is not saying that Carol or anyone else is a difficult person, or suggesting that she is only interested in herself; he is not saying he is angry. He is simply saying he needs to talk with her about a difficult issue."
2. After this initial statement, Allen should "say what he sees." This step includes stating in a factual way what he has observed. For example, "You have not asked me to show you what my trading entails and you have called my trading 'gambling.' Additionally, you have looked away and walked away when I have attempted to bring this up in the past. This affects my ability to communicate positively with you." Allen should again pause briefly after this statement. Wachs notes that it's important to be forthright in describing both the behavior and the impact of the behavior. "Don't be judgmental or offer an opinion about why she looked away or walked away." State your observations, but don't assign motivations to the behavior you have observed.
3. The next step is for Allen to acknowledge his role in the situation or his reservations about the topic. For example, "I didn't bring this up before because I thought the situation would change," or "I held back from speaking to you sooner because I was new to trading."