- “It’s my perception that….”
- Check your perceptions by asking your partner about himself, or herself.
- Go straight to where it hurts.
But how do I communicate where it hurts?
Use this format: “I was about to shut you out emotionally / blame / judge you for / make you wrong for / accuse you of _________, but in reality, I was just feeling ___________ (fill in the blank: nervous / insecure / frustrated with my own self / scared / inferior / not enough / pressure on myself / hypersensitive / perfectionist / concerned I’d fail to meet your needs / like a failure).
*Resist using words like “tired” or “hungry” or “busy.” We may indeed be tired or hungry, but we don’t make someone wrong because we are tired or hungry.
*Also, resist using words that have blame or assumption lurking beneath the surface – sentences like, “Well, I was feeling accused!” Or “Yeah, well I was feeling disrespected!”
*Finally, resist using vague words to describe our current state. For example, “I was feeling disconnected.” “I was just in my head.” Be specific with your partner. This is called intimacy.
- Never ever tell each other ABOUT each other. Examples: “You did that ‘cuz you were…” | “You don’t want to do this…” | “You don’t like that…” | “You’re just trying to…” | “You were feeling like….” | “That’s not how your personality is, your personality is….”
- Never ever: Blame. Accuse. Criticize. Or other forms of making the other wrong.
- Never ever attempt communicating while you’re feeling angry or reactive. No matter how much your partner may urge you to communicate, if you’re feeling angry, call a time out.
*Before calling a time out, reassure your partner with some form of genuine affirmation, be it a genuine kiss, a genuine hug, or genuine words of affirmation like “I’m not abandoning you, I’m in love with you, and I need a time out, just for now.”
*After calling a time out, never ever abandon the conversation altogether, or stuff it down, but instead always, always resume the conversation (once the anger has passed).