“I Am Who I Am!” and Other Communication-Stoppers

| May 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

by Mrs. Freud

Almost certainly you have heard someone you love utter the above exclamation in frustration, maybe it was even you. We all have lines to hold prying people at bay. This is human. We don´t always have the peace of mind at that very moment to open up to be vulnerable, and to learn from a situation at hand by analyzing it and moving forward to a better and stronger place.

Communication is a big part of every close relationship. It works best when the communicators are open, willing, loving and not engaged in defensiveness, even when triggered by a subject or comment. That is the ideal. Sometimes, however, we are not our ideal selves; we get taken by surprise or are focused on something else. There are sentences that set an abrupt end to any meaningful conversation and give the clear signal that we are not interested in continuing the conversation at that moment.

Here are some of these sentences and words: “I am who I am,” is a signal of “I don´t want to discuss this, or look at this.” “Take it or leave it.” This leaves the other person no choice and shuts them out.

“I don´t know,” to a question about the persons inner motives, opinions or other personal angles puts an instant stop to any closeness. The message is “go no further, I warn you,” as well as “I don´t want to deal with it,” and “I don´t care to discuss this.”

“You …. never,” “… always,” “… constantly,” “… forever”…. are superlatives or extremes. Life is hardly ever this extreme and one sided. It is often used to stress a point. At the same time, it is so grossly exaggerated that the recipient often feels put down, unheard, pushed away and misjudged.

“It has always been that way,” is not a good reason to allow something to continue. People and situations change continuously. Not acknowledging the possibility of change is pushing the other away. Not wanting to deal with a situation, being afraid of change and unrealistic, as well as unaccepting about its certain occurrence is the message.

Now, any of these mentioned words and phrases may have a right place in some conversations. Unfortunately, they are overused and as often mis-used as above mentioned communication-stoppers.

Watch out for those phrases in the next few weeks and you will start to understand signals much better from your communication partners. When faced with a defensive line, it is good to acknowledge that it is okay if the other does not want to talk about this right now. But if it is an important agenda for you, ask when would be a good time to talk, and make it clear that you are willing to have him or her choose the time, but that you are firm on that it must happen sometime soon.

How can we react when a loved one gives us one of these “sudden-end statements”? Tune into the sentiment behind the words. Is your partner trying to be hurtful or just not good at dealing with a certain subject? Maybe he or she is simply stressed? Try rephrasing it until your partner can give you an answer that makes you feel connected. If you only get defensiveness, I suggest apologizing for prying and asking what you can do to make him or her feel better. A meaningful conversation has to have the right ambience and timing to be successful. Get more thought-provoking inputs by “liking” my Facebook page on www.Facebook.com/StarrCoaching.

Author Sabine Starr is a psychologist licensed in Vienna, Austria, currently living and working in Mission Hills. She has written numerous articles for professional psychology journals. For further information, visit www.starrcoaching.com and follow her blog at www.HealthwithTaste.blogspot.com; and a new social media offering is www.facebook.com/StarrCoaching.

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