Let's Talk: the Last of our Five Part Series on Better Communication
"I have never told anyone this before..."
"I've always wondered if it was my fault."
"I didn't think it was a big deal."
"I wasn't sure anyone would believe me."
"I was ashamed..."
"I was embarrassed..."
"I can't imagine anyone finding out about this..."
It may or may not surprise you to know how often I hear these words uttered in my office. Men, women, children, adults. Age and gender don't seem to matter. Over and over again I hear the quiet and painful stories of abuse, bullying, name-calling, molesting and more. Secrets people thought they would carry with them to the grave. Things long-buried, semi-forgotten, hidden in the shadows. But then -- for no explained reason -- these memories intrude upon their lives in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, nausea, fear. Events that cause them to hide from others, numbing their pain, or worse, lash out at ourselves or someone else.
A lot of people think they can handle it, that it's not a big deal, that they can work through it, or have worked already through it. They don't want to burden people that love them. They don't think others will understand. They wonder if it was their fault.
This is not a political post, and I'm not offering opinions about the recent developments in the Christine Blasey Ford testimony, except to say that our inability to talk about terrible things creates enormous personal and societal problems. I can't help but think how much pain and suffering could be avoided if our culture allowed us to talk about problems when they happen -- not decades later. I wonder what our world would be like if girls and women and boys and men could speak up when they are abused or mistreated. If people could be empowered with the tools to care for themselves and others in a timely and healing way.
For a society that is wired and connected and inundated with loads of information, we sure do a terrible job at talking with others about the things that matter deeply to us.
One way you can do this is to be intentional about creating an atmosphere of communication with the people you care about.
Put the phone down. Use current events, television shows and books as springboards for deeper conversations. Be spontaneous as well as scheduled. Carve out time for just being together and put it on your calendar as you would any other important event. Talk over shared activities. Build a fire. Keep board games in the family room. Ask open-ended questions. Good communication takes time -- be intentional about investing this time in your loved ones.
At Generations Counseling, we want to support you in your efforts to connect with the important people in your life. To help move all of us toward more talking, more listening, and more helping, we are launching a new event called Second Tuesdays. Beginning November 13, on the second Tuesday of each month, we will host a discussion on events that are important to our mental health and our local community. Our goal is to give people in schools, workplaces and families the tools and information they need to have important conversations.
Our first topic is Family & Politics: Tips for Surviving the Holidays in a Hostile Climate. Yikes, I know. It's a tough one. But we need to talk about it. We will be offering tips and strategies for navigating relationships with people we may love, but don't agree with. We share ideas for learning to communicate more thoughtfully, more helpfully, more respectfully, and hopefully help avoid some of the family drama that always seems to accompany the holidays.
This is a free event, open to the public. We would love to have you join us.
P.S. To sum up all the info in our communication series, we've created a free download.
To get yours, click here.
Need more? If you are feeling stuck and need some outside help in managing your communication, emotions, or relationships, our team at Generations Counseling is available! Give us a call at 317-743-8202 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org today.