“You do not have the right to force me to talk about something!” he yelled at her, trying to create distance.
She replied that he did not have the right to be silent about it. That it was her right to talk if she needed to talk just like it was his right to be silent if he needed to not talk about it. She said neither need trumped the other.
They turned to me to be the referee and I declined to be the referee.
I suggested they talk about not talking about it and they talk about talking about it. In the process of talking about it, it may become clear what path to follow next. There is no black and white on these things, as in most things in life.
If you’ve read my blog, you likely know that I suggested they use the skill called “validation.” This is how you
communicate to the other person that you get where they are coming from and you acknowledge their right to a different point of view. It beats demanding that the person do it just like you do it. Yes, you can validate when you do not agree with the person.
I have to ask myself the question, “why would you want to talk about something with someone who so clearly does not want to engage in conversation with you?” What would you gain from hearing yourself speak and having that person ignore you? If he is telling you that he doesn’t believe in your process, doesn’t want to do it and doesn’t see it doing any good, don’t you clearly see what is going to happen next? It is a lose-lose, the worst possible outcome. Postpone the conversation for another time or have the conversation with a counselor/mediator to help you with it if it is one of those conversations that cannot be avoided.
I’ve heard so many men say, “Talking about it only makes it worse.” Yes, this is true for some subjects for people who have not developed their communication skills. If both people have decent communication skills, talking about it can make things better, they can agree to disagree and sometimes they can resolve things. If one or both do not have the ability, then talking about it is not a great idea.
Thank you for the comments on the previous two blogs. Yes, it comes off as inauthentic or a strategy. It comes off as wimpy or ungrounded instead of nice and genuine. Most people said they felt uncomfortable with this type of interaction, even if they could not articulate why.
I appreciate the comments!