"I" Statements that are Actually "You" Statements | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Mountain View Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

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)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

"I" Statements that are Actually "You" Statements

Uploaded: Apr 23, 2021
No, that's not a typo. I hear these a lot when I encourage partners to use "I statements" or to share how s/he is feeling. Here are examples of what to skip, and what to try:

Skip:
I feel YOU are angry at me.
I feel like this is a . . . (these are thoughts vs. feelings)
I think YOU aren't listening.
YOU made me feel like I don't matter.

Try:
I feel nervous. What are you feeling?
I feel misunderstood.
I feel unheard.
I feel unimportant.

What's the difference; why does it matter?

There is nothing to argue with when you use an actual "I statement" because it just is how you feel in that moment. What, are you going to answer, "No, you don't feel unheard,"? I hope not. In order for there to be a sticking point, there has to be a hook to get caught on (think Velcro). Velcro needs a rough and smooth pair in order to stick. When you simply state your feeling, you are a smooth surface.

No one wants to be told "You this" or "You that." So your partner is more likely to listen to you.

Of course one's impulse to justify is often stronger than our desire to listen. Check in with yourself (not your partner) in this regard.

So, use I statements, and then reflect back what you heard (which is the only place for YOU statements).
You hear: I feel nervous. What are you feeling?
You Say: Oh, you're nervous. I'm feeling agitated.
You hear: I'm feeling agitated.
You Say: Oh, you're agitated. Will you tell me about that?
You hear: I feel misunderstood.
You Say: You feel misunderstood. What is important that you want me
to understand?

Do you get the idea? It's slow, maybe you even think it's cheesy. However, it works. So experiment for yourself, and let me know how it goes.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by THOMAS D COLEMAN, a resident of Castlewood,
on Apr 27, 2021 at 11:03 am

THOMAS D COLEMAN is a registered user.

Thanks for the useful, practical how-to article on better relating to others. We can all do better and sometimes simple straightforward techniques as you propose are worth their weight in gold.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 27, 2021 at 7:25 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

You're welcome, Thomas.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by esea, a resident of another community,
on Apr 28, 2021 at 5:37 pm

esea is a registered user.

I fully agree with the comments the writer made about a person using I messages when they are expressing their feelings to another person. The other side of the coin is that it is very important we quiet our minds, when we are listening to the speaker. We need to take a deep breath, and let intruding thoughts fade away so we can be in the moment with the speaker. We should try to be truly interested in learning more from the other person about their views. And we need to be willing to explore the possibility that another person's views are as valid as ours, without necessarily totally giving up on our own perspective. Jack Hamilton - Cupertino


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 28, 2021 at 6:44 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Well said, Jack. Thank you for posting.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by McMadilyn, a resident of Diablo,
on Apr 29, 2021 at 4:45 am

McMadilyn is a registered user.

Thank you Chandrama, for sharing this post with us. This is how we should express our feelings towards others or show our sympathy, empathy for someone's feelings. Your writing inspires me. By the way, I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on marriage counseling during this pandemic situation since there is an increased tendency to break up relationships even marriage!


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox.

North Ventura Planning Area Alternatives
By Steve Levy | 3 comments | 2,575 views

Why does it take Palo Alto so long to get things done?
By Diana Diamond | 11 comments | 1,911 views

Town & Country welcomes SF's Wildseed, a 100% plant-based eatery
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 1,621 views

"VoiceMale"
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,558 views