This week, Imagine Hope is honoring Halloween by discussing the different ways that (real) fear can have a negative impact on our lives.
How does fear potentially impact our family system?
Teri and Tamara did an excellent job of describing the Family Hero and the Scapegoat in our families. I want to discuss with you the role in the family that typically gets "lost", The Lost Child. The Lost Child is usually shy and quiet. They prefer solitude and often have fantasy lives as children.
As we continue to discuss Addictions this week, it is important to identify Relationship Addictions. We see this a lot at Imagine Hope. Again, it is one of the Addictions that is hard to recognize if you don't understand what it is. It is "acceptable". You've heard people say, and there was even a song written about it, "They are just addicted to love". This can actually happen.
This week we're trying to help couples prevent heartache by naming the mistakes we see most often in our office. Yesterday we discussed sweeping things under the rug, expecting a one-hour session to make everything better, & keeping work life separate from home life. Today we build on these common mistakes:
Fighting about too many things at once. It’s hard to follow a disagreement when you’re fighting about this, that, & the kitchen sink.
There’s nothing more relaxing in the Fall then wrapping up in cozy blanket by a warm fire and reading a good book. I’ll be honest, because I have been studying communication now for about 27 years, I really don’t “enjoy” reading books about it. This isn’t to say I don’t still have a lot to learn. I just mean a book on communication isn’t one I would choose with my blanket and fire time. However, recently I attended a conference and heard Sheila Heen speak. She is an amazing communicator and puts things in such a logical format. I had to get her updated book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Sheila shares authorship of this book with Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton of The Harvard Negotiation Project.)
This book can be helpful for any relationship from marriages to the highest level of the cooperate world. It reminds us how important it is to not go into conversations with the stance of proving what you say is correct. Instead, it offers us the suggestion of having a “learning stance”. This gives us the perspective of learning what the other person is trying to say or convey rather than just trying to get our point across. The book reminds us to notice what is going on with us when we are communicating, and to try to understand the other person’s story. They give great examples that show how a conversation can deescalate quickly when people are unarmed by a different approach.
Sometimes it can feel like we are living in a world where everyone is talking, no one is listening, and everyone feels they are right. This book challenges us to listen and helps us communicate so we can be heard. It also helps us see how sometimes we are both right, if we can see each other’s perspective and have empathy for one another.
I hope you enjoy this book. Not only that, if you’re struggling with communication in any relationship that is important to you, I hope the principles in this book can change how you begin to communicate.
If you’re interested in hearing an interview with Sheila Heen, follow this link.
Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful week!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. Her areas of expertise include infidelity recovery, faith-based counseling, anxiety and depression, as well as addictions counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.
Teri, Tammy, and Natalie have all shared some great tips so far to making our communication better. Here are a few more to add to your "relationship toolbox":
Remember that communication breakdowns aren't always personal. Many times the issue at hand is linked to some deep rooted unresolved issues. Try to empathize with your partner as they are trying to heal from a painful past.
Are you starting to understand that healthy communication is achievable? It is how you handle it that is important! Have you tried any of the tips so far? Here are 5 more to help:
Remember this isn't a competition. Having a win/lose mentality will only hurt your relationship and break down the connection and intimacy you have with your partner. This mind set actually creates two losers, not just one. There is no room for comments like, "I told you so" in healthy communication.
As Teri mentioned yesterday, disagreements can be healthy, as long as it's done in a respectful way. Healthy conflict can be one of the ways you and another person grow closer. It's natural for people to disappoint us in our lives, but how we handle it is key. Continue to follow tips for healthier communication steps this week, and you'll find yourself more successful at tackling difficult conversations.
All relationships have conflict at some point. Many couples try to avoid it mostly because they don’t know how to make fighting work “for” their relationship. Conflict within communication can be a good thing if done correctly. It allows each person to be honest with themselves and their partner about their opinions and desires. This week Imagine Hope wants you make your communication better.
Hopefully you are learning ways to handle anger this week. A reminder that anger is normal, it's how you handle it that is negative or positive. We changed gears in yesterday's blog- focusing on how we can handle someone's anger in a relationship. This is a continuation of that.
It is amazing how a calming, listening ear can calm an angry soul. Sometimes when my kids are very angry I will encourage them to tell me what is going on (after some time to cool down and get it out of course!)
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that we all experience. It becomes unhealthy when we bottle it, don’t fight fair, and use it to manipulate. Here are some additional tips to help you deal with anger-in a HEALTHY way:
Like Tamara mentioned yesterday, carefronting is a healthy formula to address issues and frustrations experienced by couples.
Anger is normal. We all feel it from time to time. We shouldn't see anger as "bad" or try to avoid getting angry. However, HOW we show our anger and process it can be what gets us in trouble.
This week we are sharing tips to help deal with your anger in healthy ways.
Have Some Fighting Rules
Getting angry during a fight is common, but sometimes unhealthy expression of anger can cause a fight to get intense.
Freedom #5: To take risks in one's own behalf instead of choosing to be only "secure" and not rocking the boat. We have all probably been in a situation where we've had something bothering us, but have been too afraid to bring it up or make a change because of how this confrontation might effect things.
Freedom #4: To Ask for What One Wants Instead of Always Waiting For Permission Many people struggle with telling people what they really want or need. They are afraid they will appear "needy" or not strong. Usually when someone grows up in a family where their needs were secondary or they were punished (emotionally or physically) for having needs, they grow up thinking they shouldn't (there's that word again!) have any needs.
Freedom #3: To Feel What One Feels and not what one “ought” to feel. It has happened to all of us. We are in a situation where we are “should” feel happy or sad, but really we feel something completely different. The reality is that there is no “should” when it comes to feelings. We spend a lot of time and energy denying what we truly feel or hiding our true feelings from others. Hiding or not accepting our true feelings can lead to shame or self-doubt.
Freedom #2: To Say What One Feels and Thinks Instead of What One Should Feel and Think There's that "Should" word again. Whenever you use the word "Should", you're placing judgement on something/yourself. "I Should feel this way" I Should think this way".....basically you're trying to talk yourself into CHANGING your feelings.