When talking to couples, or anyone for that matter, about communicating while disagreeing or arguing it is best to use “I” statements. “I” statements utilize the ownership of what you are feeling and makes no assumptions about what the other is thinking or feeling. An “I ” statement example would be something like “I feel angry when you interrupt me while I’m trying to make a point because I feel you are not listening to what I am saying”. or “I am disappointed when you do not do what you say your going to do because….”. The statement does not note anything about what you think about the other person, does not accuse the other person, does not attempt to belittle the other person. It should not be said in a raised voice or tone. It should be said as calmly as possible. If you need to take a deep breath before you say it, do that. If you need to take a walk before you say it, do that also. An ‘I” statement talks about how you are feeling about what just happened. No one can argue about what you feel. They can only argue about what you think. So keep it to feelings. Do not use “You make me feel…”, that is accusing the other and it will start an argument because it will make the other defensive. In an earlier blog about fair fighting, I mentioned the fact that the idea of a discussion about a disagreement is to try to settle things, not win. There should be no winners and losers when there is love between two people, or anyone for that matter. It should be about coming to an agreement about something that you both can live with, not win from the other person. Eventually the one who is winning all of the time will lose the other person, no one can feel that they are losing all of the time without feeling they are losing part of themselves in the balance. That gets old very quickly. These video’s will help you relax and give away whatever you ned to get rid of before you begin the conversation. Link to the video’s Enjoy!
I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist. View all posts by dtoomey2015