Let’s face it, we can all point out occasions when we desperately try to communicate our thoughts, feelings or emotions to our partner and get stone walled. Sometimes our partner just doesn’t seem to listen or presents as though they may not care. Most of the time these feelings are inaccurate and may only seem to present themselves as we become more frustrated.
Let’s look at another possibility as to why your partner begins to shut down. Some call them communication freezers. These freezers occur when it is something you may have said that really strikes a chord with your spouse. You may be thinking “oh of course that might be fault too”, the answer is yes.
Let’s look at some phrases that make good communication freezers, things like telling people what to do; “You must…” or “You cannot…” That is a good place to start. How about; threatening with “or else” implied “You had better…” or “If you don’t…” Is any of this sounding familiar?
Maybe this approach sounds familiar; Making suggestions or telling other people what they ought to do; “You should…” or “It’s your responsibility to…” If you find yourself choosing to use these phrases to help make your point you might find that THAT is the actual problem. Once you start throwing these ice daggers the communication will freeze.
We have all seen simple communication explode into argument once a few choice words are used. Here is a good one; how about making light of the problem by kidding, “Think about the positive side.” or “You think you’ve got problems!” Heck, even I am guilty of this one. A couple of areas that tend to manifest this way of communicating are Pride and close-mindedness.
Pride... Another type of listening barrier is our pride or ego. Most often, we let our pride or ego to take over the conversation. We think that we are already smart enough to even listen to other people; your spouse is not just “other people”. We think that we are better than other people that we have nothing more to learn from them. When we close ourselves off and stop listening to other people, we are doomed because we stop learning.
To eliminate this listening barrier, be more open-minded to listening and learn from other people. You may learn more things if you open yourself and listen. But be mindful of selective listening and words used. Remember that you don’t have to agree with everything, but it’s helpful if you at least consider listening.
Close-mindedness is intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas. When we think that we have all the answers, and that the things we know are always the right answers, then our mind will close to new ideas. It is possible that the area to start with is changing our speech, not using communication freezers.
People should notice that even they tune others out when being talked down to. But that never seems to translate over in their minds as a reason to watch what they say and how they say it. Again, consider the short phrases shared before. These words have tremendous power.
Not only does it not validate the other person’s viewpoint but it also increases the tension. You might be surprised by what happens afterwards. The person could end up angrier with you. In these cases the arguing has become more about a defense to your condescending tone than about what ever stared it to begin with.
So, despite popular belief, if your spouse as stopped listening, it just might be due to something YOU have said. Or perhaps even due to how YOU may have said it. At that point who would you say is to blame, I’ll leave that up for discussion between you and the spouse. Just watch for the communication freezers.