By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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"I - You" Statements. No, that's not a typo. I hear these a lot when I encourage partners to use "I statements" or to share how s/he is feeling. Here are examples of what to skip, and what to try:
I feel YOU are angry at me. I feel nervous. What are you feeling?
I feel like this is a . . . (these are thoughts vs. feelings) I feel misunderstood.
I think YOU aren't listening. I feel unheard.
YOU made me feel like I don't matter. I feel unimportant.
What's the difference; why does it matter?
There is nothing to argue with when we use an actual "I statement" because it just is how you feel in that moment. What, are you going to answer, ""No, you don't feel unheard,"? I hope not. In order for there to be a sticking point, there has to be a hook to get caught on (think Velcro). Velcro needs two perfectly matched pieces in order to stick. When you simply state your feeling, you are smooth.
No one wants to be told "You this" or "You that." So your partner is more likely to listen to you.
Of course the impulse to justify is often stronger than the desire to listen. So watch YOURSELF (not your partner) in this regard.
So, use I statements, and then give attunement (which is the only place for YOU statements).
You Hear: You Say:
I feel nervous. What are you feeling? Oh, you're nervous. I'm feeling agitated.
I'm feeling agitated. Oh, you're agitated. Will you tell me about that?
I feel misunderstood. You feel misunderstood. What is important
that you want me to understand?
Do you get the idea? It's slow, maybe you even think it's cheesy. However, it works. So experiment for yourself, and talk with your beloved about how it's going.