Communication is an important aspect of all relationships. Couples that have healthy relationships communicate love and respect to each other. Effective communication requires not only listening and empathy skills but also the ability to express thoughts and feelings without criticism or attack of the partner. Feeling safe to express emotions and thought are therefore primary to good communication. If you are afraid of being hurt or rejected for your emotions or thoughts you will be reluctant to communicate. Good communication doesn’t mean that you won’t have any conflict, it involves how honestly you express your thoughts, ideas, and feelings to others, especially in what you say and how you say it.
Start with good will: Not everyone thinks or behaves in the same way about the same situation. Rather than patronizing, scolding, or criticizing use the opportunity to share how different or alike you are with your partner.
Own your stuff: Don’t make your triggering a reason to blame someone else. Take responsibility for your own reactions and feelings
Use “I” messages: Let the other person know that you are having a feeling about a behavior rather than them.
Admit the truth: Rather than having to be totally right, be forthcoming about what may be true about what the other person is saying.
Ask what your partner needs: Under every hurt or frustration is an unmet need. Find out directly what it is so that it can be addressed.
Don’t take it personally: Most triggers are the result of some past pain that gets reminded in our hurt psyche. Sharing this unresolved past with your partner removes blame and increases understanding about how you “work”.
Express the opportunity: We are all in relationship to be supported and feel connected. Use your communication as a way to get your needs met and to be understood,especially if you have some unresolved issues that only a trusted partner can hear and help heal.
Don’t wait for your challenges to become overwhelming or destructive. Seek and get help NOW!
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