On 9 March 2021 the comedian Jennifer Saunders spoke about her long marriage to Adrian Edmondson saying “”We are masters of keep it in, get over it, move on”. (see link below).
As a counsellor and psychotherapist, this is not something I’d usually recommend although it certainly seems to work for Jennifer. However, she does go onto say that she often talks to her co-star, Dawn French, who, I quote, “helps me sort out my feelings about things and people’.
But, for a lot of people, talking about their feelings within relationships (whether that’s with a partner, family member or friend) is necessary so that resentments don’t build up and so that they can interact in a healthy way.
So, how to go about creating this emotional intimacy?
First of all, think about what or who has disappointed you, how it’s impacted on you and how you feel. It’s alright to say that you’re not sure about how you feel, that you’re confused and have mixed emotions.
If you’re struggling with talking about deep topics, ask yourself why this is. Maybe it taps into fears of being abandoned or rejected but if one person consistently avoids deeper subjects, anger can escalate or, the other extreme, one person shuts down their underlying emotions to try to keep the peace.
But, it’s the deep emotions that often keep a meaningful connection and it also stops ongoing negative patterns where communication is concerned.
So, how to start the conversation? Well, first of all, don’t say “we need to talk” which can make the other person feel like a five-year old, but instead say “I need to talk”. That shows that you know what you’re going to say is subjective. Following on from that, speak ‘adult to adult’ rather than parent to child. If you feel that you’re getting into a parental role with the other person, who will feel as if they’re being ‘told off’, make a conscious effort to get back to a place where you’re communicating as equals.
Remember, the person you’re interacting doesn’t exist to satisfy your every emotional need. Although your feelings are important, the other person has a right to feel differently and have their own feelings. Sometimes, ultimately you may have to agree to differ, even if that’s very frustrating.
Be patient with each other – differences often mean that you’re both experiencing things differently.
Lastly, don’t underestimate non-verbal communication. A light touch on the arm or a kiss on the cheek shows the other person that ultimately you’re thinking of them in a kind and loving way.
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#anger #relationships #self-esteem #sexuality #social anxiety