One of my latest posts was about effective communication https://pursueyou.org/2019/11/15/effective-communication/. But communicating effectively is a two way street. That means communicating effectively and listening effectively. Sometimes you can tell exactly what someone is really trying to say by listening effectively enough. Listening effectively can also pertain to someone’s actions.
This might sound contradictory to some, as in my post about effective communication I present information that pertains to assumptions, and in essence, part of that post explains to not make assumptions. However, these two factors are not one in the same in context and execution.
You cannot control how someone else reacts to you. The only thing that you can control is how you react to it. If someone finds offense in something you say, and they react out of past trauma, pain, negative self-talk, etc., you do not have to continue the dynamic. You have the power to cease that dynamic in how you respond to the other person’s triggered behavior. You have the choice to either take offense and get triggered by their triggering, or to understand where the reaction is coming from and respond accordingly.
This post is going to go hand-in-hand with the Effective Communication post, so if you have not read it, give it a quick read. I am going to refer to it.
In the meat example, after the wife gets triggered, the husband has the choice to either get triggered himself, and say “OH YEAH WELL HOW ABOUT YOU START MOWING THE LAWN THEN” etc. or calmly state, “I didn’t say that it was bad, and I think you are an excellent cook, I was just making an observation.” These things are not guaranteed to completely stop the dynamic, each person has their own accountability within themselves, but choosing to respond rather than react poses the highest chance that an angry, argumentative dynamic will cease. If each person in the situation is self aware and takes accountability for themselves, the dynamic will shift. In the example where the husband understands the root of the trigger and responds accordingly, he is “reading in between the lines” so to speak.
In my other examples, I talk about miscommunication. This is where effective listening is a little bit more difficult. You cannot force the other person to communicate effectively and state exactly what is on their mind. This is where, if you feel that a person may be trying to say something, but is having a hard time finding the words to express it, or is afraid to express it, you can ask the person questions. Rather than making accusatory statements about what they are trying to express, you can ask them, “Is what you are trying to say _________________?” When you ask it as a question versus an accusation, you are acknowledging that you are unsure and have questions regarding what the other person is saying, and you also acknowledge and respect the other person to speak on their own behalf. This prevents the other person from getting triggered from an accusatory statement being made about themselves.
Remember, you cannot control the other person, you can only control how you respond to it. Listen to understand, not reply. Also understand that, especially for miscommunication, it may also take some surrendering on your part, depending on their willingness to open up and what kinds of thought processes the other person is having regarding the situation. The one person you are always in control of is yourself.