December 5, 2019
December 5, 2019

Stories We Tell Ourselves

Communication is destroyed by the stories we tell ourselves.
Your Spouse arrives home late. Before the partner has a chance to explain why, the wife/husband tells him/herself a story that the reason for the lateness is an affair. A huge fight ensues.

Each individual insists s/he knows what the other person is thinking and refuses to accept the real story. Frequently this accelerates into fowl language and name calling. It accelerates from hurt emotions to acting as if they are enemies.

Below is a possible example of the stories we tell ourselves:
Both genders are employed in most families today.
The house is cleaned before wife leaves. The husband who works from his home and watches the kids becomes the house-mom. The wife returns and notices that the sink is full of dirty dishes.
The story she tells herself is that he is not a team worker. She feels dismissed. She becomes incensed and feels she is carrying a larger burden than her partner. Her accusations create anger in the male. Her story creates huge discord.

Instead she needs to examine her story and think about the facts.
1. Her husband is also working,
2. plus with dealing with the continual mess the children make.
3. The husband needs to keep the kids quiet while he is on the phone with Business.
4. Her husband feels frazzled and overwhelmed.
5. The wife is belittling him.

If the wife will stop and think and perhaps say "I guess you had a difficult day today and have been unable to get to wash the dishes." The man at that point will agree and then hopefully he will think to ask about her day. Then she can let him know that she had an equally harrowing day. It will be a conversation, not a fight over who worked harder. (We can reverse this situation and assume it is the wife who is being belittled.)

Gender differences are not visually apparent such as the differences in the Brain limbic system. Women's emotional system (limbic system) is the size of a fist. Mens limbic system is the size of a pea.

The way that the limbic system expresses itself in women is by considering past, present and future experiences to come to a conclusion. Women do this ad infinitum.

Women reiterate past experiences. On Facebook the other day a women's bathroom door was announced by the word BLAH, BLAH,BLAH written over the entire door. No man would ever enter that door by mistake!
Men gets lost as to what the issue is when women bring in multiple past examples to illustrate their point. Men only notice the emotion and most withdraw from it because they do not know how to handle the situation. The issue in each of these cases is lost. The same information is perceived and understood differently by each gender.

Good communication skills utilize the below suggestions, but they are useless if one insists on hearing only their own individual story instead of keeping an open mind.

Active listening needs to be employed by the male; which will calm the female down so that she will feel heard.

Active listening is a skill that puts oneself in the shoes of another and relates to the emotions of the other. Check other articles that I have authored on that.

The stories that one tells oneself often create the emotional barrage that will not cease until the story and the affective response are heard with verbal empathetic responses.

However, women also need to learn the skill of formulating an issue in a way that a male can comprehend it. Behavior Feeling Effect is the way to resolve these issues. The woman is to delineate an issue clearly and concisely in one or two sentences. It should comprise of the current vocabulary and behavior of the mate. Her feelings would be expressed without sarcasm or judgements, but state "I feel -- (frustrated, upset, disgusted, etc.)" and the effect should be the consequences of the present or future.

Active listening and Behavior, Feeling Effect skills are not easily learned. Check my past articles for more information on them.