We Can’t Communicate

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What are couples really meaning when they say, “We can’t communicate”?

The issue with understanding what this means is what they mean by “communicate.”

All too often, when a partner states, “We can’t communicate,” what he or she means is “I can’t get my partner to listen to me and understand things from my point of view.” And underneath this is, “If my partner only understood things through my eyes, he or she would then change and do things my way.”

So what partners often mean when they say, “We can’t communicate,” is “I want to control my partner and he or she won’t listen.”

Think about the last time you tried to communicate with your partner. Now, be honest with yourself – why did you want to communicate?

The chances are that if what you wanted to communicate about was an interesting or funny situation that happened to you, or about your own learning and growth with no agenda for your partner to change, your partner was more than willing to listen. But if you wanted to communicate about your feelings of unhappiness about something your partner did or was doing, your partner was not so receptive. Or your partner might tune you out if you were being a victim and complaining about someone or a situation and wanting sympathy rather than real help.

Too often, communicating your “feelings” is a way of making your partner responsible for your feelings. He or she has to change for you to feel okay, or do something to take responsibility for your feelings. When this is the case, your partner might be less than enthusiastic about communicating, because his or her experience is that you are using your feelings as a form of blame and control. No one likes to be at the other end of that.

When couples consult with me and state “We can’t communicate,” I immediately know that, in one way or another, they are both trying to control each other rather than learn. What they really mean is that they can’t communicate about problems because one or both are not open to learning about themselves and the other. One or both are trying to get the other to change rather than learn about how they are each creating their own problems or the problem between them and what loving actions they each need to take.

Many couples, at the beginning of their relationship, say, “We can talk to each other for hours.” Yet later in the relationship they “can’t communicate.” This is because at the beginning of the relationship they were not making the other person responsible for their feelings. They were sharing themselves and listening to the other to LEARN about each other.

Yet, within a short time of moving into a committed relationship, they stop learning and start controlling. Instead of giving and sharing, they are now trying to get something from each other. They get stuck in a system where they each want control over getting what they want from the other person – understanding, acceptance, time, attention, approval, affection, sex. As soon as they start to try to have control over getting what they want, they are likely to get into power struggles, as one or both resist being controlled, or one continually gives in and then feels used and resentful.

When each partner learns how to take responsibility for their own feelings, lets go of trying to control the other, and moves into an intent to learn about themselves and each other, they regain their ability to communicate.  They don’t even need to “learn how to communicate”! Good communication is natural when the intent of the communication is to learn rather than to control.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Are you are ready to discover real love and intimacy? Learn Inner Bonding now! Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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