Someone told me that roots of communication obstacles came from our families of origin. I agree that environment plays a gigantic role in how people communicate. It’s also possible to retrain ourselves to expand positive communication. Sometimes it’s just about silence.
Take tonight, when my husband and I don’t agree on watching a film. He brings up something like how I get to pick the films, and I launch into defending how I try to find films he’ll like when I do choose. He’ll say something like, “Can we just move on?” in a way that makes me want to argue with him. I find myself justifying myself, and tonight ended in us not watching a movie together, more like ‘forget the whole thing.’
I can’t continually justify, explain or defend the fact that we like different types of movies. It’s not the end of the world.
Tomorrow’s Father’s Day, and he might have expectations about whether or not my spirit is generous, even though he’s not my dad. I have purchased a gift and card out of respect for him, but the movie business makes me feel like running away and leaving him to watch the US OPEN and enjoy the stress free world of no wife around. Even on a good day I wouldn’t want to watch the US OPEN. It’s the last thing I’d ever want to do in my life, and never bothers me that he’s into it.
Tonight, I’m about running away from negative communication. I have the flight part of ‘flight or fight’ as usual behavior.
I could easily blame my communication on my childhood, but that’s getting old. I’m looking for less blame and judgment and more silence.
Silence isn’t bad, and I could certainly keep my mouth shut more often. Not for being submissive, but for more personal integrity. I don’t have to run and hide because we see a situation differently. Maybe he’s being unreasonable, maybe I am. It’s likely a two-way street.
So, do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy? My old controlling communication style would escalate this movie dialogue into a pain, but not this time. No pain required to disagree. It’s uncomfortable, yes. Will I survive? Yes.
Today’s intention is to choose how his comments affect me. I can see his remarks as ego driven ‘testy’ and passive aggressive toward me, or I can lighten up and keep to my own business. So what if he doesn’t want the movie choice? Regardless of how many times I pick a movie or not, how important is it?
Backing off is today’s new strategy, and I don’t do it well. This blog comes because I’m practicing a new tool, silence and personal autonomy.
We aren’t going to have a blissful Saturday night, but at least it didn’t escalate into a hellish unnecessary argument coming from two control freaks who each want our way, and don’t know how to communicate.