Thursday, May 06, 2010
The power of recognition to change toxic silence
Is this barren land the territory of your relationship?
"My husband and I can barely have a discussion about anything without us getting thoroughly annoyed with each other (subject matter can be anything from the most mundane to the most sophisticated) because we are both hurting and feeling unloved and unfufilled by the other....so there’s not much of an effort to really engage.
Neither of us is excited by the other person’s ideas or feelings anymore, it is really all logistics.
The bad communication, constant traveling, blame blame blame and hurt hurt hurt followed by loneliness loneliness loneliness all happened first and then you add that passive aggression that blocks any initiative to communicate and we end up living like two zombies together...."
The interesting point is that both feel unloved by the other....Reading some of Chloe Madanes' work, she mentions six human needs, of which love and connection is one very important and the other is recognition.
What if, (assuming that you have a bit of energy to apply to your relationship), you decide that you are fulfilling some of these needs in your partner? To break the cycle, perhaps to change the dynamics...whatever the motivation, it will be the equivalent of a guerrilla attack on the other....At the moment when he or she is waiting exactly nothing, you provide some recognition? It's shocking!
It doesn't need to be anything elaborate, enough to say "It's good that you filled the gas tank in the car, so I can use it now...." and leave it there. Find something real to appreciate, there is no need to invent any fake characteristic because it will received as a cruel irony.
Basically, see with other eyes: find some positive aspect, and mention it with no sarcasm or irony.
And wait. See the changes....there must be some softening of positions, or less anger in the air, or suddenly the silence becomes communication again.
We all have those needs...it's important to offer positive reinforcement of the truly good qualities of the other. Don't evaluate if the other deserves or not some praise, just do it. And see the dynamics change for good.