Hurt People… Hurt People
Our pride and our psychological defenses prevent us from speaking about what we are really feeling and thinking. When people get scared or hurt adrenaline kicks in and strategies of fight or flight are considered such as those behaviors in the red listed on the right side of the figure.
Because adrenaline makes us defensive the first words often spoken are hostile, controlling, punishing, blaming,defensively explaining, judging, resentful, withdrawn or dishonest things are said. Withdrawing and dishonest behaviors are ‘flight’ behaviors. Judging and resentful words are ‘distancing’ and thus fleeing behaviors also.
People just don’t easily share their more vulnerable feelings of need, desire, fear or pain.
Explaining is also a defensive behavior, when done before addressing the other person’s disturbance or needs. How often have you been frustrated because someone you are expressing something important, keeps defending and explaining? But, they still haven’t said, “What they did, How it affected you, & What they’ll do about it.”
This is just St. Francis of Assisi’s wonderful concept,
Seek first to understand others, before seeking to be understood.
Of course, we prefer that this would be the sequence of how others deal with our upsets. The sequence in which the other first engages our thoughts, feelings and needs. Since that’s what we would prefer then perhaps we can train ourselves to more quickly see what our vulnerable feelings are. Then, we’ll want to wait until we’ve addressed the other person’s needs, before expressing our thoughts, feelings and needs. That subject will be in my next blog post called, “Sweeping My Side Of The Street – What’s My Part In This Conflict?”
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Loving couples argue too!