One of the most difficult things I have encountered with working with couples is ... getting the couple to respect a person's right to speak. It is every one's right to speak freely. It has been since the signing of the Declaration of Independence ... yet it is the most violated right between two people in a relationship.
In several blogs I have encouraged conversation with a partner to address any conflictual issues. Easier said than done... I know at times, especially when the other party repeatedly dominates the conversation. Having someone interrupt you while you're speaking has to be one of the MOST insensitive, intrusive, and demeaning acts in a couple. Especially during a heated discussion. Unfortunately, It is one of the most accepted acts of communication among friends, family and couples.When I inquire of people who continue to interrupt people when they speak, I get a variety of explanations.,
- "I had something to say, and I needed to get it out."
- "I couldn't wait till she was finished, she can go on forever."
- "She had nothing important to say anyway."
All of which have been said by both partner in a relationship. However, when asking the person who was interrupted, as to how they felt about being interrupted. Their focus went from the topic of the discussion, to self processing feelings of disrespect, anger, frustrations and annoyance. Now... I will be the first to admit in the heat of an argument, cutting me off sends major messages to me about how the person values my opinion and possibly me. So I could really empathise with them about being cut off in mid conversation.
Usually for me when I get cut off like that, it's a wrap for the conversation. So I can imagine for the many people who get cut off... they are doing the same. Thus, you can see that one of my biggest jobs in mediating a conversation with a couple, is allowing each partner their opportunity to speak. Helping the other partner to understand the damage they are doing in interrupting their partner's point is a handful as well.
So readers, I'm going to leave you with this pearl. If you want to convey to your partner that you truly care, respect and love them, then SHUT UP... Let them speak. You'll find that you can say more, with less.