Couples and families come into my office locked into arguments that create defensiveness and emotional pain which is difficult to dispel.
In this instance, we only see and hear what the ‘other person’ is doing to contribute to the difficulty in this situation.
Many years ago, I recall a single mom who had a 9-year-old son.
She reported that her son was very disrespectful and argumentative and whenever an argument ensued, he would run to his room and hide under his bed.
She said that he would not listen to her. By the way, her son was in the room as we discussed this circumstance.
Instead of leaving her new "camcorder" (notice this is an old story) in the hot car, where it might be damaged or stolen, she brought it into the office.
In my office, her son was behaving like an angel. I suggested that she use the new "camcorder" to record his behavior considering his disparate actions at home and at the office so I could see what she was referring to.
The next week she came in very excited with this statement, “I got him.”
As we huddled around the small screen to watch the incident, an argument ensued, and he screamed and yelled and ran into his room and under the bed. She chased him, shouting louder than he was and using expletives she didn't want me to hear. She was presenting herself as an ‘out-of-control mom.’
After less than a moment, she asked if we could turn it off.
She was both enlightened and embarrassed because she was hearing a part of the conversation she had never heard before.
I often ask couples and families to record their conversations when they're having difficulty.
Then each person is to take the recording into a room by themselves and listen to the person they didn't hear during that conversation. Yes, they didn't hear their own voice.
After everyone has listened to the recording, it is then erased. It is not used to justify behavior or actions but to hear their own voice.
Occasionally someone will say, “Do you think I would say or act the same if I knew it was being recorded?”
I love it!
Whenever you can hear yourself in the conversation, it is extremely enlightening.
Listen to yourself and see what you can learn.
Watch for the blind spots.
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Blind Spots in Relationships
What I don't know I don't know about myself
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