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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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What other ways can I communicate?

Resolved Question:

What other ways can I communicate?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for requesting my assistance! I will work on your answer and get back to you as soon as I can.


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

In a situation such as a divorce, it is always difficult to know what the right way is to communicate. Some divorces can be hostile, so saying anything can be misinterpreted. Each person is looking to make the other look bad. They also want to make the other person feel bad. Revenge for the hurt of the divorce is primary to these couples and communicate is a battle.

Some divorces go smoothly and the couple can get along at a friendly level. When they try to move beneath that level however, that is when they cannot communicate and the relationship falls apart. These couples can get along enough to mostly agree on arrangements and keep themselves civil.

In your case, you are trying to work with your soon to be ex and remain civil. That requires you to keep your feelings to yourself in order to protect yourself. It is a difficult line to walk.

However, you can communicate more without putting yourself at risk. Decide where you would like your boundaries to be when talking to your spouse. Is talking about going out with your friends ok? Or does that cause your spouse to try to start an argument? Decide in each category (friends, your family, work) what boundary you feel is safe then limit yourself to that boundary.

It is always best to decide what your goal is in any communication situation. What is the point of your conversation? What outcome are you looking for? Also, prepare for any type of reaction. How you respond makes a difference in how you are perceived.

Remember to make eye contact, be firm in what you need, be prepared for any hostile reaction (so it doesn't catch you off guard), and keep to the point of the conversation.

With some people, trusting is easier. You can tell them something personal and they keep it to themselves. They do not judge or make you feel bad. With others, you may not be able to share as much. Deciding whom to trust with what is part of communicating well.

Communicating with others includes many facets. For example, being a good listener is important. When you listen to others you accomplish two things. You make the other person feel important and you gather information about how the other person communicates and what they need. It also helps you know how to respond.

If you have the opportunity, rehearse what you want to say to someone. Practice in your mind (or in front of a mirror) what vital points you want to get across. Then pay attention to the tone of your voice. Is is neutral, passive, authoritative, friendly? How you come across is how others form their opinion of you.

Also, remember your body language. It is easy to pick up and people usually notice it, even if they do it unconsciously. Body language includes facial expressions, body positioning and hand gestures. When you feel safe with someone for example, your body language will reflect that. You will face the person, your gestures will be open and not cover your body and your facial expressions will display happiness or look relaxed.

Communicating well becomes easier with practice. Take your time and think about how you want to come across to others. Then work on your communication at home. The more you learn, the easier it will be. Here are some resources to help:

The Healthy Divorce: Keys to Ending Your Marriage While Preserving Your Emotional Well-Being by Lois Gold

People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts by Robert Bolton

The Messages Workbook: Powerful Strategies for Effective Communication at Work and Home by ***** *****, Ph.D. Paleg. Kim and Patrick Fanning

Let me know if I can help any further,


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