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Many times there is a breakdown in communication and a purposeful lack of understanding because we are so busy thinking about our next argument that we don’t LISTEN to what the other person is saying.

What does this have to do with the title Talk TO me – not AT me? Well – they walk hand in hand with each other. Let me explain.

There are times when you are going to have a verbal disagreement with someone. Many times the “fight” becomes unfair because instead of dealing with the real issue, you’re busy slinging hash, name calling, bringing up old history, or laying blame. It’s a method of deferment – and it’s dirty pool.

Effective listening requires shutting your mouth and not talking over the other person. It also means you need to actively LISTEN to what the other party is saying. You do NOT have to agree with that they’re saying but at least you are letting them express themselves. This also means stop thinking about a rebuttal before they’re finished speaking because if you do that then you may only be hearing half of what they’re saying.

I would challenge all of you to really think about how you speak to others (or how others speak to you) when you are in a verbal repartee. Note the difference in the following examples:

  1. “I do not like how you’re talking to me” vs. “You’re an asshole.”
  2. “I don’t understand what you mean” vs. “You’re always so vague!”
  3. “I feel like I’m always doing all the work” vs. “You don’t do sh** around here.”

Recently I showed displeasure when my husband kept leaving his beer & soda cans strewn throughout the house.
“I feel like I can’t keep up between working from home and cleaning up after you and the pets.”
His reply, “Oh, like you don’t make a mess?”

I wanted to throw something at him! So I tried again.

“I’m just trying to say that I would like a little help around here.”
With much fanfare and dripping sarcasm he walks over to the recycling bag, “Look, HONEY. I’m putting my can in the bag.”

— except he didn’t drain and rinse it first (which he sees me doing all the time).

Passive-Aggression anyone?

From there I usually shut up or call him an asshole.

The point that I’m trying to get through is this – when having a discussion with someone, do your best to omit the words “YOU” because it’s like a big, verbal, poking finger. Instead implement the words “ME, MY, and I” to express YOUR feelings. Keep your ears open to see if they are speaking TO you or AT you too.

As for my husband? Well, he’s a work in progress but he’s getting better. He just needs a little more practice.

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One night, my husband and I were talking about impossible decisions.  And this is one which we vehemently disagree.  I’m curious to see how you all respond.  Note:  This is not to undermine a very real situation but perhaps to open a dialogue with those you love who need to know exactly how you feel and how you would react.

Here is the situation:

There is a young couple very much in love. Great communication, great sex, best friends…

She is quite healthy. Hardly sick a day in her life. She is also very pregnant and about to give birth to a child who, for the entire pregnancy, is also very healthy. All seems to go well with delivery… until it doesn’t go well.

Mother is bleeding out. Only one will survive. The doctors approach the husband with the impossible choice:

a) save the mama or b) save the baby

CHOOSE OR THEY BOTH DIE

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