What Keeps Us From Hearing Each Other is the Fear That We Will Not be Right

Wed, 09/29/2010 - 14:07
Submitted by Anonymous

Most of the couples that come to see me say they have communications difficulties. I usually say, "your communication is fine, it's just that you don't like what you hear."

I am not being glib. Communication means that two people are hearing what the other is saying and acknowledging it, just that. It does not mean that they agree or even that they totally understand, just that they have focused and heard what is being said by the other. This is really important. If one partner says, "he does not listen to me," that could mean many things. It usually means "he doesn't agree with me," or "he won't do what I want him to do."

This situation is very different from what the couple believes is the problem.

Communication experts and authors suggest long lists of skills to help "communicate better." I think its a deeper problem. I don't think you can hear what the other is saying unless the fog of defensiveness, fear of criticism and need to be in control is worked on first. What keeps us from hearing each other is a terrific fear that we will not be right, and more importantly, we will lose our position in the relationship if we "give in."

In order to have a reasonably healthy and balanced relationship, we need to acknowledge that we are not perfect (even tho we say this all the time, it takes time to act like it) and that the partner we selected has perspectives to share. We have to be secure in the belief that we will not be rendered stupid or of no value, if we hear the other opinion, and there may even be a possibility to change our minds and learn something new.

There are those times, too, when our differences will outweigh the flexibility to change our minds. But that's fine. The only time there is a real problem that can threaten and undermine an entire marriage is when we close our minds, minimize and ignore the other person and stop relating - Relationship, me in relation to you, my thinking in relation to yours. It's not just about me and protecting my precious view of reality.

If you are not communicating well, build some self esteem, take a seat and listen. If it's too difficult, and too much of the past has gotten in the way, well, we can work on that.

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insightful

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 13:19

This has to be one of the most well written and insightful things I've ever read on the subject of communication. Anyone can try to word things more perfectly so not to offend, but if the other person doesn't want to hear it and is scared of the 'hidden meaning' or is more concerned with unsaid 'implications' than the feelings of the other person then it all goes to waste. People need to feel the empathy and they have to want to understand for the sake of their partner. Even if  someone steps out of their deeply guarded position for a moment, showing me they want to understand, it makes me feel much better. In one argument that came to mind I felt like my partner became focused on a 'logic' side issue of my concern, when I was trying to express how my feelings had been hurt. He was like a bulldog and he wouldn't let go of that one thing, somehow trying to prove that I couldn't be feeling pain because it wasn't logical. I laid myself out with all my insecurities to help him understand, completely vulnerable, but that didn't move him. He remained unaffected while reducing me to a babbling mess, but at least he didn't have to hear anything he didn't want to.Undecided Sometimes I think people get used to thinking disagreements are just big endurance contests and that there is a winner and a loser, but it just creates two very unhappy losers.

In most cases couples not

Fri, 10/07/2016 - 09:04

In most cases couples not only like what they hear but also quite often do not think what they are saying and how it will be perceived by a soul mate. You described problems people experience exactly: defensiveness, fear of criticism and need to be in control (or hold everything under control). Personally I do not know how to stop this everlasting battle "who is in chief" in the relationships. Nevertheless, I will do my essay now and reflect about it there.

True

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 06:54

[= 14px]If you are not communicating well, build some self esteem, take a seat and listen. If it's too difficult, and too much of the past has gotten in the way, well, we can work on that - very nice words, I will show it my girlfriend[/]

[= 14px]There are those

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 11:19

[= 14px]There are those times, too, when our differences will outweigh the flexibility to change our minds. But that's fine. The only time there is a real problem that can threaten and undermine an entire marriage is when we close our minds, minimize and ignore the other person and stop relating - Relationship, me in relation to you, my thinking in relation to yours. It's not just about me and protecting my precious view of reality.[/]

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