I can’t tell you how often I see people afraid of talking to their most favorite and close people. And to be totally honest, I have this fear at times as well. So, we had a disagreement, it didn’t go well, and now a few days have passed and things seem a little better, but… Do I bring it up, do I let it go, do I hold it until the next argument? We have all of these questions all of the time.
The best response I can give and the one that I see work every day in my practice and every day when I use it in my life is… HONESTY. Being honest doesn’t mean you have to be mean. Being honest doesn’t mean you are being mean, and most importantly, being honest doesn’t mean that you have to rehash the fight. When you are honest, and not mean, you can speak from a place within your heart. You can, now that you are out of the height of the emotion, talk about how YOU felt by the experience. Most of the time, the other person wont realize that your perception is what it is. Why is this? Because we all see things from a different view point.
Let me use an analogy: When you are on a football field, the game looks very different if you are defensive linebacker, and even the quarterback. But imagine if your view of the game was the press box? So in a fight, you may be the linebacker, your partner may be the QB, and your kids or the strangers that were around you during the argument were the announcers in the box. So, point being, we all see the experience from our own lense. It doesn’t make it right or wrong it makes it OURS.
So… before you go into the conversation about what upset you, begin with this “I am not asking you to change your opinion or to agree with me, but am asking that you understand that my view and perspective was a different one.” This may or may have to be tweaked depending on your audience, but for the most part let them know going into that you are not interested in fighting again, but that your feelings are important and need to be validated.
Lastly, and most importantly, you must hear your partner, you must listen to their experience/view. You must be able to tell them, “I understand what you are say, you are telling me abc, qrs, xyz, is that right?” Take the time to understand them. Take the time to ask questions, seek information and you shall receive it.
*Note, there comes a point in many relationships where communicating with one another does not go well no matter what we try. It is at this point, that I strongly recommend setting up a “mediator” therapy session, you are not going to therapy per say, but you are asking for a 3rd party to come in and help you while you talk to get you both out of a place of defensiveness and anger and into a place of love and openness.
Talking with love,