I have clients who have one mode of communication; complaining. They spend their entire hour with me complaining and, from what I can tell, spend their entire time at home doing the same. For the first few weeks I let this play out and then I stopped it. After several minutes I stepped in and told them to realize what they were doing. They didn’t realize they were doing it. They didn’t realize the tone of their voices and they didn’t realize how cruel they were being.
It was amazing to me because I didn’t grow up around complaining people. We had to be kind and respectful. Harsh words were not allowed. We were like ‘Leave it to Beaver’. On the surface everything was perfect but underneath there was no authenticity or real communication. Everything festered, unsaid.
My point in these 2 examples is there needs to be mindfulness. People can yell at each other and complain how awful the other person is for decades and no one hears it anymore. It becomes white noise. And because of that it becomes irrelevant and toxic. The same goes for the perfect, never say anything bad, types. The silence is also inauthentic. It’s just 2 extremes.
Talk, don’t yell and don’t remain silent. Allow the other person to be themselves. Be accepting. Set your boundaries and when you become uncomfortable say something. But don’t make those boundaries too narrow. And before you do anything remember that this is the person you love, even if you’re not exactly feeling love in that moment. When you are being driven crazy by your partner ask yourself what that is triggering, what that is aggravating inside you that is your thing to work on.
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