On Today’s show we will examine how technology is ruining your relationship- how people are spending too much time with their phones and not each other.
We’re going to talk about phones and relationships and most importantly, how to improve them.
There are many clubs in the world. In a world with many self unaware people, here is a club that you wouldn’t want to belong to– the -100 club with a special section reserved for people with narcissism. Learn about narcissism and how it effects others. Also on the show, a special communication technique called “And Stop”
Let’s watch this clip to see how couples often have conflict:
The “rabbit season/duck season” argument occurs often among couples. They go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, usually with someone getting “blown up”. This ping pong match features lots of conflict which go nowhere. Just like rabbit and duck season, nothing is solved, there is no resolution of the conflict, and there are no negotiations. Things just go boom!
What is the cost of that boom? More conflict, less communication, holding grudges and resentment, less intimacy, and further distance between partners– a loud boom indeed for a relationship! The ironic part of this conflict is that many of the topics in the argument are pretty worthless! It is conflict for the sake of conflict and conflict in order to win. Please pause from reading this and think about the last five fights that you and your partner have had……
How many of these involved “big ticket items”—addiction, mental illness, infidelity, domestic violence?
How many of these involved a misunderstanding/misperception of who was going to do what /when?
If you have big ticket item fights you should be attending regular couples and individual therapy –Schedule that now.
If you are having the “rabbit season/ duck season” fights—explain to YOURSELF why you are doing this. Please do not rationalize, justify and blame your partner for HIS/HER actions. Please ask yourself……Why are I doing this? What is MY part in the fight? What is MY ISSUE that keeps coming up? Why do I want to engage in this conflict? –Do you want to know? (Do you need to know?)
YOU have the power to change YOUR behavior! If you do that, you can change the relationship! (If you change one part of a relationship, that changes other parts of the relationship — a lengthy conversation for another time.)
At this point, you may be feeling defensive and wondering why YOU have to do all the work? What about your partner? Shouldn’t s/he be doing some of this SELF examination? You may want your partner to do this, but is your partner open to this inquiry? If s/he is willing, communicate your desire for him/her to change in a loving, soft, gentle way. No need for another boom. If your partner is not open to change, then you have two choices—keep having booms over small ticket items or change YOURSELF. Start with the questions from the previous paragraph. Identify that issue. Work on making it better. Since you are looking at yourself, ask the hard question—is there any truth to what my partner is saying about me? . If I’m accused of being loud and obnoxious and insensitive, is there truth in that? If so, how can I change that? Can I be warmer, more caring, and more empathic? Can I be a better listener? Do I have to win every round of every fight? (You don’t)
If you work on changing yourself, then something magical is going to happen—you will feel better. You will feel better about the world, you will feel better about your partner, and you will feel better about the relationship. You will see how worthless the “rabbit season/duck season” argument is and how it is much better to appreciate the positives that your partner brings to the table, not his/her deficiencies. You can also acknowledge those positives, and validate his/her behaviors that you appreciate (instead of criticizing your partner repeatedly)
What do you have to lose? — Many pointless hours of frustration, stress, agita
People can talk about the day; “how was your day?”
They can address feelings as part of that day; “I was really angry at my boss today…”
They can share more personally; “The reason I was angry at my boss is he had that smug look on his face like my dad did”.
They can share their deepest darkest feelings “that look, that smugness, I wanted to slap it off of him, like how my dad slapped me, how he beat me, how he embarrassed me in front of my friends, all with that look”
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#008000″ class=”” size=””]in order to have intimacy you have to be vulnerable[/pullquote]
To go from superficial to intimate requires a loving, trusting relationship. It requires that the listener listen and be able to hear what’s being said. The listener needs to be nonjudgmental and be unconditional. The speaker has to know that what they are saying is safe. They have to know that it will be heard and not used against them in a future fight. If he or she is able to take the risk they will have the intimacy and closeness that is necessary in a good healthy, stable relationship.
This is really risky and it is WAY easier to have superficial, a little off the top relationships. It is even easier to tell people what they want to hear, and take no risks at all. In this video from Grammy Award winner Tracy Bonham, she tells the mother what she wants to hear:
In this conversation between mother and daughter, the daughter gives all of the right answers. She tells her mom, how great she is doing, how “everything’s fine” . She is able to be authentic and personal with the audience as she tells us all of he pain. It is only at the end of the song when she says “I miss you I love you” is she communicating in a genuine way.
We ultimately get to chose the quality of our relationships. Do we want the mother -daughter relationship in “Mother Mother” or do we want something else? If we want something else, then it requires healthy risk taking. It requires having the communication skills to handle the storms that may occur–the misperceptions, the arguments, the conflicts. It requires speaking in ways that our partners can hear. It requires the hardest skill of all, listening.
If we listen and we trust, our relationships can grow. They can grow deeper, and become more meaningful. Meaningful interpersonal relationships are what we need to be good people, to have a good quality of life, and have inner peace. It starts with the risk.
Too much information running through my brain Too much information driving me insane
Have you seen these posts on your social media? At home depot At target Eating at bagel shop At bank Showering
Did you recognize some of those posts as yours? Have you asked yourself why we need to tell people where we are, and what we are doing?
If celebrities posted like we do about where they are , this would be exciting– Scarlett Johansson is at the dry cleaners.- drop off or pick up?. Tom Hanks is at Cluck U Chicken—wondering what he ordered? Bill Wilson just went to the Denville AA meeting(I’d pay to see that since he died in 1971). I haven’t seen TMZ follow me to the dry cleaners—(shirts, pants an occasional sport jacket if you really wanted to know).
It seems that the social media phenomenon is creating a group of people who want to be the next reality stars– the next Duck Dynasty, the next Kardashians or worse the next Ice Road Truckers, or Moonshiners? These reality “stars” tells us that anybody can get on a television show in spite of how little talent they have. The dumbing and numbing of society!
We’ve even lowered our standards of fame—it used to be 15 minutes, now 15 seconds will suffice! 140 characters of twitter gold and the entire universe can know your immediate thoughts on ARod, the NSA, Snow, the NFL or Obamacare. But do we really care? And what’s the impact of all of this connection on our real interpersonal connections. If I’m wired to the universe do I miss out on right here right now, in the moment, living?
Sherry Turkle, a Harvard psychologist, is a prolific writer about social media and society. She conducted a Ted Talk entitled “Connected But Alone” in 2012. Her points in this talk are worth paying attention to:
It’s amazing to me that we are creating a society of non-interpersonal communicators who are happy to tell us about all of their low intimacy behaviors. If we do not have personal, intimate conversations with others, then we lack depth as people. It’s a new year and time to make some changes happen, so the next time you want to tweet or Facebook or text someone, how about using some old school technology—TALK.