Dina Milum PhD
Life Coach


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Improving Communication Within Your Relationships

Posted on December 26, 2016 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (2)

 

Hello Friends,

I am starting a series of Blogs regarding improving communication with your relationship with your partner and other relationships. I have been a family and couples counselor for over 20 years. Throughout the years, I have developed techniques that have been quite efficacious for improving relationships. I will begin with a few tips here and will continue to add to more throughout the next couple of weeks. I am also going to offer some fun facts regarding intimacy and affection. First of all, I will begin with the basics; the stuff that we should already know but forget to implement when emotions are running high. I will review the information below that I usually share with my clients during their first session. I will base it toward couples although; these tips can be successful for any relationship. For simplicity, I have used examples that are husband and wife teams, this is not to exclude partners and same sex couples.

ASSUMPTIONS

We all get in trouble when we assume that our partner is thinking, feeling or behaving a certain way and we misconstrue what is really going on with them. This can create animosity hence a beginning of an argument. An example would be, let's say a husband has prepared a dinner and the wife comes home a little late. He has had a rough day at work and is thinking about what has ensued. The wife comes in and she sees that he is frustrated. The first thing that comes in mind for her is that he is mad at her coming in late. She begins by behaving defensively. Then the argument begins. Another example would be if one partner was abused emotionally or otherwise from a former relationship. He or she may assume that their new partner is going to do the same by examining their behavior. This can also create misunderstandings although we need to ensure that we are not being mistreated of course.

EMPATHY

One great way to avoid misinterpreting our partners is to use empathy. If you have noticed, when we ask someone "what's wrong/", they will inevitably say "nothing" and maybe in a frustrating tone. Or, if you asked "how are you doing?” They may say something like "good". But this may not be accurate. Using empathy means labeling what you think they are feeling. For example "It looks like you had a bad day", or "you seem sad, frustrated" You do not need to be completely accurate because typically they will correct you and tell you what their actually feeling. Using empathy, you have a much better chance of getting to a real conversation. Empathy helps with allowing the other person to feel like they are being "heard". It is not phony unless you do not mean to understand what is going on with the other person..

"I" STATEMENTS VERSES "YOU" STATMENTS

This is big! “You” statements typically creates animosity and for your partner to feel like they are backed up into a corner. An example of a “You” statement would be (because I like food so much) let’s say the wife is at home making dinner this time; a special dinner that he did not know about. The husband has come home late and did not call to let her know that he was going to be late. He arrives and she says “YOU don’t care about me! YOU didn’t even bother to call! YOU don’t love me!” (Dramatic, I know). Then, he on the defense feels backed up into corner, then he states something like “I didn’t know, YOU were late last week. I could not call because I was driving! What the heck?” You know where this is going. Now let’s visit “I” statements; Let us use the same scenario. She is pretty upset because she planned a time sensitive meal. She is frustrated and upset. When he comes in the door, she says “I have feeling hurt and frustrated because you are late and did not call me to let me know.” The outcome would come out much differently. She could following it up by, “next time could you pull of the road and give me a quick call?”

The formula is “I feel _____________________ because __________________________. Next time let’s ___________________”.

Note: This takes much practice. I have messed up with this many times. It is difficult to keep up when the emotions are high. Please do not get frustrated if you don’t get it right away. 

 

 


Free Online Consultation

Posted on December 20, 2016 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Hello, I am starting a blog site in order to offer free counseling consultation. I thoroughly enjoy helping people improve their lives . I specialize in counseling others for depression, anxiety, communication among family members and couples as well as many other difficulties. I have been in the field for over 25 years. You can also feel free to email me or call me as well. :)


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