How Couples Can Open The Flow Of Communication
Are you looking to improve communication with your partner?
Often, when there is a disconnect with its share of resentment, animosity and hurt feelings, it feels impossible to start talking again and even if there is talking, how will the outcome be any different than what lead to the estrangement in the first place. Both of you feel alone and hopeless. This is a terrible place to be. This is what brings most couples to my office for couples therapy.
One of the issues is that each party dwells on how they were misunderstood, wronged or hurt by their partner and there is very little willingness or ability to look at what is their contribution to what is going on. Most communications start with “you” rather then “I”. This is the first step to trying to open the communication differently.
Another suggestion is to really try to use empathy, meaning putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. What might be going on with him or her? And if you don’t know, try to start the conversation by asking them to tell you. Then really listen with an open heart and try to see things from their perspective, not yours. When you hear what they have to say, do not try to explain yourself. That is defensive, makes them feel invalidated. Instead, try to zero in on the emotion that is driving them. Chances are, they are upset, hurt, etc. Very likely, you are feeling some of the same feelings.
One of the dynamics I see in almost all first and second sessions with couples is that while one partner is telling their story, the other one is rolling their eyes or shaking their head. Sometimes they are interrupting, or can’t wait to say their piece. How can this help the flow of communication?
One of the main reasons for disruption of communication is that we all are very concerned with what we feel and what we have to say and not enough about our partner’s feelings and concerns. That is the key to love, caring about what is ailing them!