Hi and thanks for taking the time to read this. I am assuming that you are an interested party in the area of recovery generally, either an addictive personality yourself, or wanting help for a loved one. Today I want to take the idea of direct and indirect communication a step further. First a quick review.
In the first post we looked at the idea of communication generally and how we can make a useful distinction between direct and indirect forms of communication. Secondly we looked at how it is important whenever we spot ourselves communicating indirectly to ‘own’ our own feelings and ‘truths’. If you have not seen these posts I urge you to read them and understand them before reading on here.
Today I want to help you to process what you owned in the last step, and once again, it is a simple process. Like every thing else I teach on this blog it is the discipline and commitment to practice that is the most effective part of the principles. So, let’s get to it!
Let’s take a typical example of an addictive experience in early recovery, it really doesn’t matter what type of addiction you have suffered from. you are at work and having a busy day when, somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind, an alarm bell goes off. it is so faint! You really have to be committed to hear it and recognise it because you are so trained to ignore it (minimise, denial). So you take the correct action and take five to spend some time looking at what set it off. Now seated with a coffee and a few minutes to think about things you become aware (let yourself know) that you have got into trouble with your feelings. So how are you feeling? Resentful! Why? Because of what a colleague has been doing, in fact he has been doing it all day! Good! So now we know, time to own it (Please see the process on the previous blog entries). Once we have owned it, we now need to process it and this is what today’s message is about.
So how do we process it? It is all about locating the indirect communication and then translating it into direct communication. First take your resentment statement “I am resentful at Jim, because he keeps talking over me and this affects my professional esteem“. Now ask yourself what you want to say to Jim (this part may be unprintable), don’t hold back! You will not need to say this to anyone so be honest! Okay, that bad huh! Now you nee to realise that you have already said this. Oh yes, you said it alright, but you said it without saying it! It was a certain tone in your voice or the way you shut the office door a little too firmly. The problem is that when we communicate like this there are several problems. The first is that they never get it! That’s right! No one ever gets indirect communication! But the second reason is more important, because you communicated indirectly, you still did not process the feeling, and it’s still with you. We need to do more.
We now need to translate that in to direct communication using this guideline. It should be polite, assertive and authentic. It can take the form of a question or a statement. The important thing is to not lose the authentic part of the message! So, “Jim, stop talking over me, your driving me crazy!!!! is translated as either “Jim, I really need everyone to hear what I want to say so could you wait till I finish please”? Or “Jim, when you start talking in the middle of my sentence, it makes me feel like you don’t respect me”.
If you want to know what the really authentic part of the message is, look in the ‘reaction’ part of what you felt. It may be anger or embarrassment. Remember, to process it fully you must include the authentic part of the message.
Now, I am not suggesting that you start communicating directly with everyone straight away! It takes practice to get it right so first of all, just practice processing, this will keep you much healthier by itself, and when you feel more confident that your direct communication passes all the tests, try it out!
Well, that’s all for today, leave any comments for me and I will answer them. Good communicating!