Tag Archives: communicate

How to Communicate Anger Without Blame

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Have you ever wanted to tell someone how mad you are? Instead you keep your anger to yourself so you don’t start a fight. The only problem is your anger is bubbling over to pop them in the face, even if you don’t express it directly!

Speaking up usually back fires when it’s disguised with blame and pressure. So how do you express your anger and frustration without contributing to more conflict and tension? Learn to speak up for yourself without blaming.

How To Communicate Anger Without Blaming:

To me, speaking up means sharing your thoughts, position, and/or vote. It may also mean defining what you are going to do or not do.

Speaking up doesn’t mean telling the other person what you think about them. This is called blaming. And when you deliver blame, watch for the other person to defend themselves with more blame or eventual retreat.

Here are my thoughts on how to communicate with someone about your anger instead of with your anger:

1. Own Your Thoughts/Feelings Completely – Most conflict starts with one person pressing/blaming the other for something they are feeling. If you truly own your perspective/feelings, then you will be able to tell someone without pressuring them to change. You will be able to tell them about yourself/your thoughts even if they don’t agree with you.

2. Restrain Your Initial Reaction – You may need to find a way to restrain the first feeling that pops into your head. If you are feeling stressed, most of us will use “fighting words” and blame the other. Find ways to slow your reactions, so you can think through how you present your ideas.

3. Define Yourself Without Pressure on Other – If you are speaking up in an attempt to get the other person to change, then he (or she) will sense your pressure. Maybe he will welcome the shape up, but then you will be responsible for “helping” him change (reminding, etc.) Or, he may get irritated with the pressure and “fight” back. Two people pressing on each other to change equals more conflict.

4. Be Open to Hearing Other – You don’t have to like the other’s position, but it’s great to respect it. If you aren’t pressing on the other to change, then it’s easier for him (or her) to speak up. You may learn something new about yourself and your loved one. New choices can be discovered that you couldn’t see before.

Discover New Choices by Speaking Up for Yourself …

Here is a classic example of an argument many couples have had more than once. Yet the wife in this example decides to try something different. That is, to simply tell her spouse about herself instead of trying to change him.

Wife: “I worry that you expect me to do everything.”

Husband: “I always thought you didn’t trust me to do anything.”

Wife: “I feel like I’m bothering you and get tired of asking you to participate.”

Husband: “I don’t mind doing my part. But each time I go to do something for the family, you have already done it.”

Wife: (Light bulb goes on in her head. She instantly sees how she is apart of the problem she is complaining about. She’s so fast and busy that she leaves little room for her spouse to jump in. Can she slow down and take charge less? And ultimately can she do less even if he doesn’t do more?)

Wife: “This is hilarious. So the more I do, the more you don’t do. And the more you don’t do, the more I pick up. Let’s not change a thing, and enjoy the circle we’ve created…”

On the outside, it looks like this heated discussion is going in circles and going nowhere. But for the person who spoke up, she now has a new way to think about the problem.

Remember the goal in speaking up for yourself is to represent yourself well. Although tempting, it’s not to get the other to change by using your anger to put pressure on them.

It’s not as important to express your anger as it is to learn how to communicate with someone about your anger. What do you think?

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Photo: “Love is Weird” by Alex Bellink

Meaningful Communication in a Disconnected World

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We have more ways to connect, yet we are more disconnected than ever. Advancing technology rapidly multiplies our ways to “reach out and touch someone.” But more ways to connect doesn’t translate into more personal communication.

How many of your social media “friends” do you know well enough to have a deep conversation on Facebook? We may be more socially networked than ever before, but I don’t think these mediums are where personal connections are made.

I think we have lost our way in the vast sea of ways to communicate. We focus more on convenience, speed, and quantity. Yet we are missing out on quality. I am not anti-technology. I love a quickie text but nothing compares to face-to-face time with my best buds or loved ones.

Would you like to have more meaningful interactions with your loved one? Spend less energy looking for more avenues to communicate. Instead focus more energy on how you communicate and what you talk about.

Self-Check Your Personal Communication Skills:

Use these questions to check in with yourself. Let your awareness be your guide as you grow yourself in order to grow your connections.

  • Do you share more personal information through texting/emailing/social media than face-to-face?
  • Do you do most of the talking?
  • Do you share every feeling you have?
  • Do you keep most things to yourself because you are cautious to share personal information?
  • Do you share more about what others are doing than you do about yourself?
  • Do you give unsolicited advice?
  • Do you pressure others to talk or look you in the eye?

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, then your communication style may be a barrier to more intimate interactions. You can grow your connections by changing how and what you talk about.

Grow Personal and Meaningful Communication:

While each of us may define personal communication differently, I think these tips will help you navigate the sea of communication possibilities.

1. Connect One-on-One: It’s hard to communicate personally in a large group of people, even at family gatherings. Our attention floats from one person to another but never settles on any person. So our most personal communication occurs when we have private, one-on-one time with our significant other. Think about how you can clear space in order to have one-on-one time with your spouse.

2. Be Face-to-Face: There are many ways to communicate one-on-one that use technology. Interact face-to-face at least as much as you do with technology. When you rely heavily on texting or typing to communicate, it’s easier to say things without thinking. Seeing each others face or hearing each others voice is much more intimate than reading their words.

3. Share Yourself: Think about the topics you share with your spouse. Do you talk mostly about running the house or your annoying coworker? While communication about tasks is vital to co-leading a household, it doesn’t do much for intimacy. Expand what you share to include something personal about yourself. Tell your spouse about you – how your day impacts you, what you appreciate, what excites or stresses you.

4. Listen with Open Curiosity: Balance telling with listening. But listen without pressuring the other to talk. Instead be curious and respectful. Well intended pressure quickly builds a wall instead of a bridge to communication. And remember that not all communication is verbal. Sometimes the best way to listen is to be attentive and completely present.

Grow your connection by growing your own intimacy. When you work on your part, you build a bridge for more intimate and meaningful interactions with your loved one.

What can you do today to give more personal communication to your loved one?

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Want more ideas, inspiration, and resources for growing confidence and connections? Follow me on Twitter @marcipayne

Photo credit: “Iced Tea” by Ed Yourdon

The Greatest Gifts of Love

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A handwritten “Thank You” from my 4 year old son in his newly found writing. Sweet words from my daughter telling me, “I’ll love you forever.” And, my husband’s presence in a bustling house, playing with kids, and helping with dinner.

Each of these gifts of love makes my heart warm and full. It literally melts my heart like a fountain of overflowing chocolate.

I don’t always hear these precious gifts, but I am becoming a keen observer of love gifts, spoken and unspoken. In doing so, I am looking for more positives than negatives in my life. What about you?

Are you open to hearing love in many forms? Or do you communicate love yet feel like no one is listening?

We can all give and receive love. It’s part of what makes us human. But, we may communicate love in different ways, making it hard to hear it clearly.

You can easily learn 5 ways that we communicate love, and start giving love in your mate’s preferred “language” today. Your preferred “love language” is simply the way you prefer to give and receive love. In other words, it’s how you hear love the best.

Chapman’s 5 Love Languages:

The concept of Love Languages was developed by the bestselling author, Gary Chapman. He’s found 5 universal categories that we use to communicate love.

1. Words of Affirmation: Verbal expressions of love, gratitude, and appreciation.

2. Quality Time: Spending time together with shared interests, great conversation, or beautiful scenery.

3. Physical Touch: Any loving touch from snuggles, spooning, hand holding, back rubs, to sex.

4. Acts of Service: Doing something for your significant other like errands, chores, or repairs.

5. Gifts: Store bought or homemade gifts from necessity to fun.

Giving Gifts of Love Gently:

I think it’s great to have so many ways to communicate love. But I don’t think people like to be hit over the head with expressions of love. I prefer the subtle, even unintended, yet appreciated expressions of love. That is, gifts of love without conditions, pressure, or expectations.

So if you feel inspired to share your love language with your mate, do so without pressure or critique. Instead share what you most appreciate about them. For instance, “I love it when you/we  ________________.” Telling your mate without pressure is another way to communicate love.

There is no right or wrong way to show love. Mr. Chapman states that we each have a primary way of hearing and receiving love, but I have found that I’m open too many ways. I love hearing my language, but I also appreciate the ways my family speaks love in their own way.

Learning and speaking your mate’s “love language” is one of many ways to be emotionally intimate with your mate. We also share love by sharing our lives and our struggles. Give a complete gift package when you give gifts of love!

How do you best hear love? What ways does your mate feel most loved by you?

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Photo Credit: “Valentine’s Hot Chocolate Lovers” by UggGirl/UggBoy