How many times have you found yourself having a conversation with your partner and you just didn't feel heard? The kind of conversation where you feel like everything you say is going right past your partner and he or she is not really hearing what you're trying to convey? When this happens, it's really difficult to get your point across and it can be a very frustrating experience -- for both of you. So... why does this happen?
Chances are that one (or both) of you are having a reaction to something that's being discussed in the conversation. What I mean by a reaction, is that all of a sudden, something emotionally upsetting happens, and then it becomes difficult to concentrate on anything else. And that's when your emotions take over. At this point, we often feel threatened and have a "fight or flight" response, so that we either act verbally aggressively, or withdraw and try and avoid the conversation. When this happens, finding a logical, satisfying resolution to the conversation can be difficult, if not outright impossible.
Sometimes it's more important to understand why a conversation is so difficult, as it is to try and resolve the conflict. This takes empathy and trying to understand what is going on with your partner and why your communication is not getting through. Often, this is because of something that really has very little to do with the current situation, but has triggered a past hurt and caused an emotional reaction that has taken over the current situation.
At those times when you feel that you just can't get through to your partner -- that everything you say is being challenged or argued with, perhaps it would be in both of your best interests to take a break from the discussion. To realize that a cooling off period could be in order, and that you can return to the discussion when things have emotionally calmed down. This will allow both of you to let the emotional reactions subside, so that you can once again return to the conversation and hopefully find a satisfactory resolution to the situation.
David Schwartz, M.S., LMFT
David brings a wealth of life experience to his therapy practice. In addition to his therapy training, David has been a self-motivated entrepreneur for over 20 years, as well as working as a producer in the television industry.
David Schwartz, MS., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist # 87261 -
2239 Townsgate Road, Suite # 107, Westlake Village, CA 91361, and 19634 Ventura Blvd., Suite # 303, Tarzana, CA 91356