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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Experienced in counseling all age persons on relationship issues.
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What is the difference between reacting and discussing things

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What is the difference between reacting and discussing things calmly with your partner? Can you give me some examples?
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

When a person reacts to a situation, it is one-way communication and can be destructive. The person gives an emotional response which may be a behavior or may be words said with an emotional tone (angry, sad). The person may say, in an angry voice: "Why did you spend all that money on clothes. You are so selfish and only think of yourself. I am so mad I cannot think." and then, walks away.

In a discussion, the conversation is two-way with give-and-take. A person may say, in a calm voice, "Honey, I am upset that you spent that money on clothes because we can't afford it right now. How can we problem-solve this together so that you can buy clothes AND I won't get so mad." A discussion involves one person beginning with an "I-statement" = I feel ____ when you _____ and I would like to discuss this with you. Another strategy is called speaker/listener technique used when discussions are difficult:

I hope this is what you are looking for.
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