How Control Cuts Off Communication

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Are you really trying to communicate? Or are you trying to control your partner?

What do you really mean when you say, "We can't communicate?" The trick is understanding what you mean by the word "communicate."

All too often, when a partner says, "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, they may be saying, "If my partner only understood things through my eyes, he or she would 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 but 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? Stop Sabotaging Your Love Life!

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 may not have been so receptive. Or, your partner might tune you out if you were being a victim and complaining about someone or a situation, and pulling for sympathy rather than wanting real help.

How often do you communicate your feelings as a way of making your partner responsible for whether or not you feel okay? Does he or she have to change for you to feel lovable or worthy? 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, saying, "We can't communicate," I immediately know that, in one way or another, they are both trying to control each other rather than learn about themselves and each other. 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 learn 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. How To Talk To Men

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Margaret Paul

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Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
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