Simplistically Compassionate – How compassionate communication can help in fragile relating styles.

Monday, September 12th, 2011, Written by Peonita

Most couples bring unresolved, negative past experiences to a new relationship such as fear, uncertainty and emotional distress.  With these experiences guiding the relationship, it is difficult for one or both parties to believe that they can depend on each other when in need of emotional support.

When one party in the relationship has been disappointed by the lack of emotional availability of the other, the individual in the relationship that is in need of emotional support might respond by acts of desperation to get the other person’s attention.  They might also respond by using acts of avoidance.  An act of desperation can look like an ultimatum, or consciously or unconsciously creating a situation where one might appear to be helpless or needy.  With acts of avoidance, the other person might create situations where they are always busy; therefore, they spend very little time together, or the person might be present physically but not present emotionally.

Unfortunately, neither one of these attempts usually work.  The act of desperation usually pushes the other person further away and the act of avoidance usually places additional tension and feelings of loneliness in the relationship.

Sometimes the answer for a deeper connection is simply knowing what you need from your partner and verbally communicating those needs.  I’m sure that one might be thinking if the person’s relating style is fragile then they can’t possibly know how to articulate what they need.  That could be possible.  However, it can start with something as small as saying how you feel.  I know you might be thinking that sounds too simplistic to be the answer.  However, research has shown that most couples do not know how to confront or how to negotiate to positively resolve the issue at hand.  We also cannot connect with the person we are currently in a relationship with because we are using the same unsuccessful communication tactics that we have used in previous unsuccessful relationships.  Because we lack the insight in how to resolve the issue at hand, most couples end up in a power struggle that spills over into other areas of the relationship.  Simply put, we do not know how to compassionately communicate with the people we love.

Compassionate Communication

I use the term compassionate because the person who is communicating must care enough about themselves to be honest and they must care enough about the other person not to be offensive in their word choices.  Also, they must be compassionate about the success of the relationship.  What does Compassionate Communication look like:  Validation and mutual respect.  Meaning,  using statements that validate you; always state how the behavior makes you feel and never assume that your spouse or partner knows what you feel or that they have ill intentions.  Always allow the hearer of your statement and/or feelings to respond while seeking a point of emotional connection after the statement and the response have been made.  Compassionate communication strengthens the connection between the couple and it builds a trusting anticipation of future dialogue.  This style of communication will help the couple build a passionate, trusting and successful style of relating that can lead to a deeper emotional connection where both parties feel supported and understood.

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