- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships
When communicating about how you feel doesn't work
Graphic by G. T. Randolph
Standing up for yourself against any sort of abuse or being shamed will trigger protest in the potential opponent. It takes awareness to be able to respond in kind words, such as: "I am sorry my words made you feel this way." It is far more likely that the person will continue this line of argument: "That's weak, just be strong! What? You cannot take criticism? That is not even ciriticism; that is a fact. You are too vulnerable."
There is no single response that will work in all cases. However here are just a few guidelines that may assist you in such situations.
1. First, as stated above, it is useless to expect a person who is programmed from childhood to have a sudden change of opinion to coincide with yours. If you've learnt recently that some comments are indeed detrimental and that there is nothing actually wrong with you, others in your environment might think differently.
2. Know this: the one who is judging you is probably reacting the same way to his / her own "weaknesses" .
3. Do you really want to argue with an insane mind?
4. What you're going to do next depends strongly on your opponent's state of self-awareness. In an extreme situation, when your voice is not being heard, you will probably have to let it go.
When there is an opportunity to converse, you can use typical conciliatory sentences drawn from a course in assertiveness, such as: "I have the right to feel the way I do; you have a right to not acknowledge my feelings. You will do what you want, but at least you know now how I feel in your presence." At this point there will be some sort of reaction from the other side. If not, then there is probably nothing you can do, but let it go, as well as to give time to the other party to rethink.
5. Being consequent. It is not the end. If a challenging communication is between members of family, close friends, you will have another encounter. You follow the above steps as mentioned, and see where this person is now in thought and frame of mind. You may need to repeat your assertion a few times, as all humans respond well to conditioning. If one behavior is rewarded, it will be repeated. If someone can get away with hurting you and keep doing that for years, it is too easy to predict what will happened next. This is why it is far easier to learn a new behavior than unlearn bad, deeply rooted habits.
I hope this is helpful. I will welcome a feedback from you!