Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Confession

I used to be the poorest of poor communicators. I would sit and stew.  This would turn into an anger that scared me. 

I came from a home where we didn’t talk about our problems. We hid them, hoping no one would notice, fooling even ourselves.  Thankfully as my family grew our communication grew too. 

I married a good communicator.  He calls me out on my communication challenges. This is indeed one of the reasons I married him.  I’m convinced he married me for the entertainment value, but that’s another post. 

As I age, I’m continually convinced that the art of communication is the key to life. If we communicate honestly with ourselves, our partners, friends, kiddos, co-workers etc., we’ll live a more content life.  The most important though is how we communicate with ourselves, as all roads lead from there. 

I don’t always succeed in my communication but I know failing to communicate will help No One and hurt everyone. 

Do you have an interpersonal confession to share? 

14 comments:

  1. I struggle here. I'm a bottler. I don't like to burden others with my issues, or to stir the pot. I tend to hold it all in until I blow a freakin' gasket and everyone's all "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?" I'm working on it. I wasn't blessed with that voice. Thankfully, my husband is the opposite. We balance each other, and I'm trying to embrace a little of that vice that comes so naturally to him.

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  2. I find it amazing that you came from home that didn't communicate well, as you communicate so well in your blog! I communicate fairly well, I think, but sometimes I think I "take too much" to avoid upsetting the boat, you know?

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  3. I think in general most people are not good communicators. I'm glad your husband has helped you...and as Kelley said you do communicate quite well on your blog!

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  4. I wish my husband would communicate with me. He comes from a culture where you swallow your problems and silently deal with them. I like to talk. Talk before, during and after the issues arrive. We're steadily finding common ground, though, through a lot of patient times!

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  5. Jamie (previous comment)...I'm in the same boat. I'm a talker...hubby not so much.

    How are you steadily finding common ground? Do share!

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  6. At the risk of hijacking our darling host's blog I'll answer you Andrea! Ha ha.

    I noticed that when my husband doesn't respond I go manic. My insides get squirmy, my heart rate doubles and my chest gets tight. This usually ends up with me exploding at him in tears or shouting - sometimes both. I begame the martyr, the scapegoat, the nagging wife and the neglected puppy in my pleadings with him to make me feel better. This never got me anywhere.

    Once I told him exactly what happened to me physically it seemed like something clicked. He realized how different we truly are and so did I. We would NEVER see things eye to eye but that doesn't mean we couldn't try to level off the emotions.

    We spoke about how my anxiety levels are off the charts on a normal basis, let alone under stressful circumstances. He explained how he just wants to take a walk that never ends to forget about the argument. (i.e. running away from the problem.) I told him I didn't want to feel jittery and helpless when he wouldn't speak with me. So he suggested I sit down and breathe. I suggested he go jump off the roof.

    So we sat down and I waited for his words to come. I stopped pelting him with, "give me feedback!" and "SAY SOMETHING!" and waited.

    It was horrible the first time. I found myself vomiting words if the silence grew longer than thirty to fifty seconds or so. But when I allowed the space for him, he took advantage of it. It was like by shutting up I was throwing him an invitation he actually wanted to use. He just wanted the time to say the words he needed to say.

    I like to think of it as him needing a few minutes to hand-pick the best words of the bunch- just for me. Because he loves me. In return I keep my voice level and omit the word "you." unless necessary. I try to never start out sentences with "you" in arguments. I hate it when he starts sentences with "you" at me so why should I do it to him?

    So that isn't even the tip of the iceburg but I hope it helps. And hey, you know where to find me for more!

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  7. Goodness, where do I start ;)

    In my family of origin, we would REACT rather than RESPOND. It remains a struggle for me to step back and think about what I want to stay rather than just blurting out the first thing that comes into my head. Fortunately, my husband came from a much less volatile situation, so he teaches me every day how to think before I speak.

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  8. TV...clearly a great post. Thanks for opening up so much communication about communication.

    For me, the trick seems to be finding the right time to talk with my hubby. At the bottom of the 9th with the score tied is not it. Playing legos with our son...also not it.

    We both need to be 100% focused on the conversation and not distracted. That's tough to do these days...especially with kids, jobs, crackberries and all the other distractions!

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  9. Excellent post TV! You are right about communication being so important in all areas in life. The key word is honesty. That is wonderful that you married someone who is great with talking and who has helped you to open up and make these skills better. I hope you are doing great my friend! Have a good day!

    Mama Hen

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  10. I have a hard time relaxing around other people. I can only truly rejuvenate and re-energize by being alone. Blessedly alone. I do love people, though, so it is a contradiction. I just have a limit. And, others tell me that I am so open, out-going, that I "put it all out there" in person. But, really, my alone time is favorite.

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  11. I will forever be working on my communication skills. I grew up in a home where emotions were rarely discussed, until I became a young adult. Because of the challenges we faced living with 2 brothers with special needs, my family just forged ahead. My counseling and yoga background have helped me tremendously in identifying my emotions, experiencing them (instead of blocking, rationalizing, and feeling guilty), and (at least attempting to) move on being a bit wiser and calmer.

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  12. I smiled reading your post. Very recently I truly felt I was not communicating effectively with a specific person. I really struggled with what I could do differently. Finally as I discussed my concern with a few select others, they all smiled and told me it wasn't me, it was the other person and that they too had tried many thing, all without success. I won't quit trying, but I really felt better knowing that others had also had communication issues with this one individual.

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  13. Wow TV- I find it hard to believe you came from a home that didn't communicate with each other. Clearly you communicate well on your blog! You're right, the art of communication is the key to life.

    I grew up bottling up my feelings; my hubby came from a home that didn't talk about their problems. Over the years he and I have hashed out a lot of stuff and we're more ready to bring up things with each other. Now, to work on when's the best time to do it is another story :) Thanks for opening up an excellent topic!

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  14. I could not agree more with you in regards to communication. I LOVE communication and would honestly be a communication therapist if I could because I observe relationships that are avoiding the simplest discusions that would help them so much if they worked them out. I can't think of a confession other than I really need to get my hair touched up as it looks awful! hehe

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