February 22, 2011
February 22, 2011
In my second marriage, I unwittingly brought my perceptions from the first encounter. My first husband would refuse to talk to me for days on end when he was angry. Therefore, when my second husband was not communicating with me, I assumed that he was punishing me for something that he felt I had done. I confronted him with that view and he was amazed. His answer was,” I am not talking, because I have nothing to say.” This is the stage in which most couples have a communication breakdown. It is difficult to realign emotions of rejection to the new information. However, I accepted his viewpoint and then worked with my husband on the new issue of what we could discuss.
This situation is analogous of what frequently transpires in all relationships-whether between husband and wife or parents and children or friends. A statement which is misinterpreted by the listener based on some past experience, such as: the husband states that he wonders why his wife does not wear a certain outfit when she is with him. The wife hears it as: you are accusing me of trying to please someone else. The female becomes angry. When the male tries to explain that he only meant that he liked her in that special outfit, she rejects his explanation.
The analogy is the same as the first example excepting that the wife denies his explanation on every account and begins an angry tirade based on her emotional reaction. At this point, trust is lost by both parties. The wife feels wounded and will not be consoled. The husband is wounded because he meant to communicate a good remark, and instead is accused of the opposite.
Wounded people do not settle disagreements very well, because they do not reasonably approach the problem. What needs to be done is to back up to the explanation and explore what is meant. A large majority of men do not perceive how a woman’s mind works coupled with poor communication skills it creates an explosive deteriorating situation.
Check my articles on communication such as Active Listening and Behavior Feeling Effect messages. These are skills that Thomas Gordon puts forth in his book, “Parent Effectiveness Training”. Do not be put off that the communication skill is targeted as-between a parent and child. The skills are non-judgemental factual reports that sort conflict with whomever one is in disagreement. Using these skills will help negotiate through the assortment of bruised emotions.