“We don’t communicate well!”
“We never talk.”
These are statements made in couples counseling that are fairly common. So the first question that has to be answered is: What is communication?
Many people don’t think about the fact that EVERYTHING one does communicates something. We think of communication as talking but the look on ones face, ignoring someone, body language, and the tone of voice can speak louder than words.
If someone asks me a question and I take longer than usual to respond, it can be interpreted by the other person as me not hearing what was said, me ignoring what was said and farther, being hostile to what was said. I may be thinking about how to respond, be confused about what was said and trying to sort it out, I may by nature be more deliberate in my responses or indeed be ignoring the request.
It is helpful to go back to the last time you had a conflict that felt like miscommunications. Were you angry, disgusted or had you lost patience with that person? If so, in subtle (and maybe not so subtle) ways, you may have let them know of your feelings without telling them so you were both dealing with hidden messages. Think in your mind an alternative way that you could have communicated. Something like “I am really losing patience and I feel like you made a commitment to complete this and I don’t know what to do about it” instead of “When are you going to do this?” in an angry tone. This invites problem solving, you own your feelings, your not accusing the other of perceived motivations or emotions and there are no hidden messages.
If you work on this, over time your skills will get better. Have patience. It takes a while to get good at fully communicating in a way that encourages solutions. Have patience on your partner and give each other HUGE credit for trying and getting better.
More next week on “Communication for Couples”. Pam Kennel
Following are the signs and symptoms of depression according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A person may have some or all of the symptoms and experience varying degrees of the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms include:
One of my go-to sayings in my counseling practice is “Anger: a vital sourse of energy, motivation and positive change in the world (Colin Ross)”. I use it to help remind myself and my clients to use their anger for their benefit and to reinforce the position that there is nothing wrong with having emotions, anger included. It is the ability to use our emotions as an asset that is important. Emotions give us the first hint of that something is different or needs changing. Anger can tell us that that there is something unjust. Of course not always. It can signal us to re-evaluate our own interpretations as sometimes the emotions are from old lingering values. Or it could be a protective emotion too, protecting us from more vulnerable feelings such as hurt or fear.
When you get angry, it is helpful to allow the feeling to come, without looking for blame, observe what the trigger was, decide what you want to change, others treatment of you or your own response to the situation. You can then ask rationally for help in changing the situation if that is possible. If not, accepting that some things will not change and decide if you live with that.
I recommend this book for those trying to get greater satisfaction out of their relationships, be they friends, family, or your partner in life. Though this book is aimed at primary relationships, I find it helpful in all relationships.
We all have other people in our lives and times without a primary relationship. The knowledge imparted in this book can help give direction and motivation to maintaining those other relationships even when your preoccupied. The book helps give direction to deepening casual friendships and the reality of the limits of others without giving them up.
Of course, this book is very helpful and inspiring to that illusive goal of deep intimacy and yet it is more. It can motivate one to learn about our own needs, to ask for what we need and become curious of our loved ones needs.
The book is organized as ever deepening levels of intimacy with the 7th level something to strive for even in small snippets of reality. I have observed couples that would meet a very high levels of intimacy in some areas while others subjects are taboo or so conflictual, they stay on the surface. That being said, all levels described have their value. We each provide for each other in various capacities. Even within a relationship, the intimacy level can vary from day to day.
Read this book, have it be your guiding light and not a source of comparison to what one “should” be doing and take it slow. Real intimacy can take a lifetime. Pam
Check out the Denver Public Library for “Events for Teens”.