Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard." | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Mountain View Online |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."

Uploaded: Apr 17, 2019
A discussion can quickly escalate into an argument when one partner (or both) don't know that your partner heard what you were saying, either literally, or an underlying meaning. Experiment with taking a deep breath and saying a phrase similar to: "There is something you want me to know and understand that I'm not getting yet. Can you help me understand what that is?"

When you respond (vs. react) you are turning down the volume dial, and turning up the effort to understand intent instead of impact. What does this mean? Whatever you say or do has meaning based on your own life experience, some of which is shared with your partner, and many years worth from before you ever met him or her. Your words and actions are filtered through your partner's years of experience and land with an impact that is often not your intent. (At times, I've seen clients intentionally lob a verbal hand-grenade knowing exactly the damage it will cause. This is different than what I'm talking about here.)

In other words, you each are wearing shaded glasses and filter everything through them. Your experiences do not make your view "right," they are simply what is familiar to you and therefore seem normal. To create a secure attachment; to be self-aware and standing on your own two feet AND inter-dependent with your partner (knowing you can count on him or her, i.e., having four feet in the relationship, not three) you need to understand each others' normal: the intention of the communication.

Three key things:

Slow down
Breathe
Ask questions/be curious
Work to listen and understand what your partner wants you to know

Remember, if things get heated and your heart rate is 90 or more, take a 20 minute break while you physiologically have time to calm down, and then come back for further discussion. But do state you're taking a timeout, and do come back!
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Comments

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Rabbi Feldman, a resident of Atherton,
on Apr 20, 2019 at 9:47 am

Rabbi Feldman is a registered user.

It's not so much WHAT you are saying, but rather HOW you are saying it.

I suspect that we are conveying the same point here.

Like a good (or bad) joke...it's all in the timing & delivery.

shalom,
RF


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