10 Steps to a Better Conversation

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Blamestorming definition, a discussion or meeting for the purpose of assigning blame. 

Blaming is one of those traps that couples can easily fall into that shuts down communication and is a frequent topic in marriage counseling. In todays show Ron and Lexie Lee, The Married Counselors, talk about why we blame, the consequences of blame and 10 Steps to having a better Conversation.

So when it comes to blame…

What do you get other than firing up negative emotion? Well, not much positive. When you stop the blame game you can get immediate and long-term benefits. In the short-term, you avoid those typical ugly tantrums, and prevent those nasty regrets.  In the long-term, you build a healthier relationship and improve self-responsibility.  Taking responsibility is a forward moving action that makes room for more creativity and solutions.

So what is going on when we blame our partner?

  1. Blaming triggers your partner’s past hurts from childhood anxiety, anger, and shame. So, why wouldn’t he or she react like a child? It can be common to revert back to the developmental stage we were in when the initial hurt occurred.
  1. Blaming reflects your own unrealistic expectations. Be careful that you are not expecting your partner to just meet your standard. These types of standards in a relationship work better when both parties contribute to the expectation and both agree that it is an acceptable expectation.
  1. Blaming comes out of your own emotional immaturity. Work on being able to accept responsibility for your actions and your part of the problem in order to mature in this area.
  1. It is only human to react with negative emotions when we feel threatened.  In most cases, of course, interactions with spouses are best described as ego-threatening.  Key fact: Remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference between life-threatening and ego-threatening.  Threatening is life-threatening. 

10 STEPS TO BETTER CONVERSATIONS

  1. Think before speaking. We respond in a knee-jerk fashion, mindlessly, and only later realize that maybe what we said wasn’t true and certainly wasn’t helpful.
  1. Keep conversation on adult/adult level. Avoid getting into a scenario where 1 partner is acting like a parent. Talk to your partner the same way that you would an adult friend.
  1. Focus on solving issues, not blaming. Remember     you’re on the same team—that is, you both would prefer it if both of you were happy rather than frustrated. Watch out for the tendency to just make a point. Scoring points against your partner means you are not acting like you are on the same team.
  1. Watch out for your own “Yes, but’s…” When you say, “Yes, but,” what you’re doing is ignoring the other person’s perspective and pushing your own. This is another way that we try to score points. Everyone wants to be heard and validated and when a “but” statement is included, your partner is less likely to feel validated.
  1. Separate the facts from the story in your head. Don’t build a case against your partner in your head. Watch that you are not trying to predict what is going to be said.
  1. Take a short time-out. If you do this, you need to follow 2 rules:

1.Communicate that you are taking a timeout. Don’t just leave.

2.Set time to come back to the discussion.

  1. Own Responsibility Your partner may be in the wrong, but you own the responsibility of your reaction to the wrong.
  2. Reflect on your patterns Become more self-aware and look for ways that you can grow in taking responsibility and fostering a solution-focused discussion.
  3. Have compassion. Recognize our common humanness and that we all make mistakes or fall short of expectations at times.
  4. Be open to feedback. Take any criticism to heart and evaluate whether you need to make changes.

What have you found to help stop the blame game and have better conversations?  We’d love to see your comments below.

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