10 Commandments of Clean Communication

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Experiencing communication blockage in your relationship? You might not be using clean communication. Follow these basic guidelines for cleaner communication:

  1. Avoid using judgmental words.  Avoid using words that convey to your partner that he/she is flawed. Examples: “childish, uncooperative, thoughtless.” These words do not belong in a caring relationship.
  2. Avoid using global labels.  A global label is a generalized disapproval of your partner’s identity. Examples: he or she is “stupid, selfish, lazy, useless.” These labels attack your partner’s person instead of his/her behavior. They convey that your partner is “always” bad. Use of these labels results in a loss of trust and a loss of closeness.
  3. Avoid “you” messages of blame and accusation.  Examples: “You always make us late; you never ask what I want; you never offer to help with chores.” The true meaning behind these “you” messages is: “I’m in pain, and you did it to me.” They also convey the message: “You were bad and wrong for doing this to me.” Instead use “I” messages which show no direct accusation or blaming of your partner. For example: “I feel sad about missing the evening with you when you come home late; I feel tired and irritated when I put the groceries away alone.”
  4. Avoid bringing up the past.  When communicating with your partner, especially while angry, try to stay in the present moment and deal with the current issue. Bringing up past events tends to build up a case against your partner compiling evidence to prove his/her faults. Example: “You did the same thing to me last week, and the week before.” This statement sends the message: “You’ve always had this flaw, and it’s not getting any better.”
  5. Avoid using negative comparisons.  Clean communication is about helping, not hurting your partner. It is meant to resolve conflict by not rejecting your partner. Negative comparisons only seek to punish and attack your partner.
  6. Avoid using threats.  Example: “If you leave this house right now, don’t expect me to be here when you get back.” This sends the message that your partner is bad and you are going to punish him/her. The deliberate intention to hurt is tremendously destructive to your relationship.
  7. Describe your  feelings rather than attack with them.  Using clarifying words to describe your feelings will help your partner to hear and understand you. Statements like: “I am sad, or I am feeling hurt,” are clear ways to express your feelings to your partner. Be mindful of your tone of voice when describing your feelings. Using sarcasm, threatening, or raising your voice can be perceived as an attack on your partner.
  8. Keep your body language open and receptive.  Believe it or not your body language can actually depict whether or not you are open and willing to communicate. Crossing your arms, pinched lips or a tight jaw, or looking away in a disgusted manner are all signs that you do not want to communicate. To portray openness, keep good eye contact, nod or acknowledge while listening, relax your face, uncross your arms, and if you are sitting lean slightly forward.
  9. Use whole messages.  Whole messages consist of observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs or wants. “You’re spending too much time at work” is not an appropriate way to express thoughts in a whole message, because it turns your opinion into  an absolute truth. “I am sensing that the balance is off; I think you need to spend more time at home.” This statement shows that the speaker takes responsibility for his/her own opinion and does not try to make it absolute.
  10. Use clear messages.  A woman who sarcastically says to her partner at the dinner table, “You’re talkative as usual,” may pretend her statement is a simple observation, but the observation is contaminated with judging thoughts, feelings, and needs. A more accurate statement would be clear and whole: “I notice you’re pretty quiet tonight (observation). It makes me think you’re not interested in me (thought), and I feel hurt and a little angry (feeling). I’d really like you to talk with me more (need).”

Are you using clean communication? Let us know if this helped by commenting below.

McKay, M., Fanning, P. & Paleg, K. (2006). Couple skills: Making your relationship work. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Visit our website to learn more about how a counselor can help: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

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Letting Go of Resentment

resentful  Are you willing to let go of resentment so you can have more fulfilling relationships?

Believe it or not, one of many simple ways to let go of resentment is choosing to love rather than to hate. That’s right! LOVE! Its the opposite of hate, anger, or fear. Ever heard the phrase “killing ’em with kindness?” Well, that phrase can go a long way.

Think of it like this, if you send love (positivity) toward someone instead of hate (negativity), you actually begin to break down pieces of their wall allowing them to return positivity to you. In other words, by sending love someone’s way, that love comes back to you. It works the same way with hate. If you send hate someone’s way, that hate comes back to you.

What goes around comes back around.

Schedule some time during your day to think loving thoughts about a person you resent. Hint: think of the things that you liked about that person to begin with. Use that time to wish them well and ask for blessings to go their way.

Now I know this is easier said than done, but it can be done. It will feel weird for a little while, maybe for a week, a month, a year or so, but eventually you will begin noticing peace and love where there once was hatred and resentment. You will even begin to mean it. By doing this small, yet simple, exercise you will rebuild your relationships and they will become more fulfilling.

Will you try to let go of your resentment starting today?

 

Read more here: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-powerful-tips-to-reduce-resentment-and-feel-happier/

Visit our website today to learn more about how a counselor can help you to deal with feelings of resentment: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Signs of Verbal Abuse

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How do you know if you are in a verbally abusive relationship?

Another name for verbal abuse is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is defined as a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Imagine a situation where a person yells at you, calls you names, and embarrasses you in front of others. That is emotional abuse. It depletes your self-esteem, and can often make you feel like you are crazy.

In the beginning stages of a relationship, the “courting stage,” it is really hard to identify signs of emotional abuse. Things are really good at that period. However, experts say one red flag is a person’s desire to get serious too soon. This is known as an attempt at control masked as romantic love.

Telltale signs of emotional abuse you can look for in your relationship:

  1. You feel worse after disagreements
  2. He calls his ex “crazy” for her allegations
  3. You don’t feel free to spend time with the people and pursuits you love
  4. You feel like you’re dating Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  5. He threatens to kill himself, you, your child, or the pet if you leave

Emotional abuse is common (1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence). It happens to males too. If you have experienced emotional abuse, it is important to realize it was not your fault. You can get out, and you can get help.

What are some signs of emotional abuse that you can think of?

 

To read the full article: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2013/10/03/the-telltale-signs-of-verbal-abuse?page=2

Visit our website today: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Or call now to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled counselors: (813) 244-1251

Being Friends With Your Spouse

Are you feeling unhappy in your current marriage/relationship? Are you constantly arguing with your partner? Well, the solution might be easier than you think. Why not try being friends?

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There had to be a time when you were friends; and somehow that friendship is now lost. The closer you became as a couple, the more you began to focus on making the relationship work, and you lost sight of what really matters. Think about it for a moment. Do you treat your friends the same way you treat your partner? Sure you are more physically intimate with your partner, but that is no reason you can’t be friends too.

How can you become friends again? Here are 7 qualities that are present in a healthy friendship:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Sensitivity
  3. Humor
  4. Honesty
  5. Listening
  6. Support
  7. Generosity

When is the last time you noticed any of these qualities in your relationship?

 

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Readers’ Poll: Counseling at the Pediatrician’s Office?

A recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of the Health Sciences found that, for children who have behavioral issues, utilizing in-office counseling not only improved behavior, but there was less parental stress, and more overall satisfaction. The study showed that of the total participants, the half that received counseling in the pediatrician’s office actually had greater improvements in behavior than the half that were referred to outside counselors. The children in this study had behavioral problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety. They were 8-years-old on average, and two-thirds were boys.

Having this service is definitely a convenience. Additionally, receiving mental health services in a pediatrics setting provides less of a stigma for children and their parents about counseling. However, mental health services are not typically offered at most pediatricians’ offices.

Do you think Pediatricians should consider using mental health services in their offices? Why, or why not?

 

To read more, follow the link: http://ijpr.org/post/kids-benefit-counseling-pediatricians-office

Visit our website today: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com