Category: <span>Communication</span>

shallow focus photography of keychains

Are You Ready To Communicate Your Feelings?

Communicating your feelings to your partner is sometimes easier said than done. A lot of times we struggle to find the words to really express ourselves, especially in a way that will be well received by our partners.

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, what should be Huxtable moments on the couch turn out like an episode of your favorite notorious reality TV Show. Communication difficulties are actually the number one reason couples divorce in the United States. According to one study, 67.5% of marriages that ended did so mainly because of communication problems.

Common Communication Pitfalls: 

  • Blaming your partner or criticizing them 
  • Being defensive when your partner shares their feelings 
  • Calling your partner names/labeling your partner negatively 
  • Giving the silent treatment – refusing to respond to your partner’s bids to communicate  
  • Interrupting or cutting your partner off
  • Shutting down and withdrawing emotionally and verbally. Giving the silent treatment. 

Difficulties with communication can lead to increased arguments/conflict, lack of trust, feelings of insecurity, emotional distancing, and overall stagnation and unhappiness in a relationship. Communication is a skill that is essential to a happy and healthy partnership and may take some practice.

Five Ways to Communicate Your Feelings In Relationships: 

five ways to communicate your feelings in relationships. Couples therapy. Take breaks. Use I statemets
  • Say What You Need – Think of what you need to resolve how you are feeling. What brought up the feelings in the first place? What needs attention, or what could your partner be missing? Our partners can’t read our minds and can misread behaviors. A way to reduce the tension is to begin to say what you need. That might sound like: I get really worried and scared if I don’t hear from you when you’re running late. Can you give me a call or text if you’re running late?
  • Use “I” Statements – “I” statements are a great way to express how you feel to your partner and avoid common pitfalls. Using “you” statements can quickly be taken as blaming and tends to raise the temperature of conflict. An example of this is, “I feel sad when we don’t spend time together” vs. “you never spend time with me” can you see the difference?
  • Label your feelings – Give words to how you feel. It is helpful for your partner to hear and know your exact emotions instead of going silent or communicating with passive-aggressive actions.  

Are You Ready To Communicate Your Feelings?

  • Take A Break – If conversations get difficult, it can be helpful to take a break and do something to self-soothe or calm the intensity of your emotions. To slow down the pace of the conflict, use an “I” statement and express your need for a break positively. That might sound like: I think I’m starting to get overwhelmed. Can you give me 20 minutes to calm down before we continue? Always revisit the conversation when you are calmer instead of ignoring or avoiding the issue. 

Relationships need healthy challenges that allow partners to grow together. Be patient with yourself and your partner, try a skill like validation and avoid those common communication pitfalls described above. As you improve your communication style, both in how you express yourself and respond to how others express themselves to you, you will see growth in your relationships. 

Think you might need some more practice in this area? Join us on 4.11.22 at 6 PM EST for a FREE Couples Workshop on Communication.  Our community deserves more skills, and we are here to facilitate it. Register in advance here 👈🏾

Article by Alyssa Heavens a Marriage and Family Associate at Kensho Psychotherapy Services. Piece edited by Supervisor and Mental Health Consultant, Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

beloved african american couple cuddling and smiling on couch

The Power of Feeling Understood

We’ve all been there. Having a disagreement or argument with our partner and afterward wondering, “Why couldn’t she see where I was coming from?” or “Why couldn’t he agree that how I felt makes sense?”. These questions indicate our natural desire for validation.

Validation is recognizing or accepting that someone’s emotions, thoughts, or opinions have worth. In other words, being validated gives us a sense of being seen, heard, and understood.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here. https://amandafludd.com/affiliate-disclosure/

Even the most self-confident people, at one point of their lives, felt like outsiders or felt like they weren’t being heard or seen or witnessed in some way

Steve Carell

Validation is essential to have in all relationships, and in romantic relationships, it can make a tremendous difference when it comes to communication in a relationship. Couples will naturally disagree and or argue. One partner validating the other is one way to ease tension, build trust, and support getting to a solution in the smoothest way possible.

What Does Validation Look Like?

Validation is not simply agreeing with whatever your partner says. Many people think it is just agreeing with the other person and often share that feels like giving away your power or losing your voice (especially if you know they are wrong!). Most of us come into conversations in the defensive, but that stance takes away our power to see the other person’s point of view, and that point of view is where resolutions lie. Without question coming off defensive and listening can feel unnatural and almost painful at first, but eventually, you’ll see the benefits and get why it’s worth it.

Validation may look or sound like this, “I can see why this upset you” or “It makes sense why you felt that way. I see your point of view [reflect back what you think that is] and ask, do I have that right?”.

ways to validate your partner. Use empathy and communicate your needs clearly

To be clear, validation is not just saying repeating back the words; it should include some of these critical components:

  • Empathy – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine how you would feel if you had their experience. You can emotionally stay connected to your partner even through conflict with empathy. It also helps you respond with sincerity as you authentically acknowledge your partner’s perspective. 
  • Acceptance – Who doesn’t want to feel accepted? Acceptance from a partner means that they accept you for who you are and the feelings and perspectives that come with you even if they disagree with it at that moment. Acceptance also means being okay with having differing opinions. Not every disagreement will end with a complete agreement in the end. 

Validation is powerful because it allows for understanding even in the face of disagreements.

  • Active Listening & Understanding – You have to pay attention without your phone in your hand, emails at the desk, or concern for the kids. Being attentive to your partner’s ideas and feelings is a great way to validate. Actively listening to your partner means removing all distractions and focusing entirely on the conversation to develop understanding. This includes asking clarifying questions and summarizing/reflecting on what your partner says.

Related blog: How to practice being aware of your emotions

Why Does Validation Work?

Free couples workshop. You will learn how to speak and listen to your partner and validate your partner.
Join the free Workshop here

We all want to be understood and not get into conflict. Everyone wants to feel heard instead of ignored, minimized, or dismissed. So keep that in mind when you get into your next conversation.

Validation allows people to feel heard, so they don’t have to cling so tightly to their position. It is that simple, and it’s one of the reasons why so many conflicts go on so long and escalate to ridiculous proportions- we didn’t acknowledge the other person’s concerns.

Using the components of validation can help you better acknowledge your partner and help you move through conflict. Honestly, it’s a skill that can help in multiple settings, including at work, as parents, and even with your friends. It’s not always easy to remain in control of our feelings, but it gets better with practice.

If you feel like you and your partner would benefit from more practice, join our free upcoming communication workshop on 4.11.22 at 6PM EST by registering here.

Remember, validation does not mean that you agree with everything your partner says; validation is about making sure your partner does not feel alone in their experience.

NEW Special Offer Banner (Gluten Free Box)

Alyssa Heavens is an associate at Kensho Psychotherapy Services specializing in Marriage and Family Counseling. Piece edited by Supervisor and Mental Health Consultant, Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

Affiliate Disclosure: We independently review everything we recommend and suggest what may be helpful to you. Take a look, but do your own research before purchasing. If you do buy through our links, we sometimes earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

anxious, communication

What Anxious Attachment Looks Like in Relationships

Attachment styles are based on a theory that your early connections in childhood with your caregivers directly impact how you approach relationships today. If we – as children – believe that our needs cannot and won’t be met by those closest to us, we are likely to exhibit attachment issues throughout our lives. 

big family in kitchen and man feeding baby in feeding chair
Photo by Vanessa Loring on Pexels.com

It’s an intriguing psychological framework to make sense of why you behave the way you do in intimate relationships and even at work. Yes, attachment patterns can impact our daily lives beyond our family.

A lack of attunement or connection between parent and child can contribute to anxious attachments in adulthood, which is the focus of this blog. Anxiety is one of the most common experiences, with  1 in 13 people worldwide experiencing anxiety, including children. Those who tend to be more anxious and worry extensively about relationships are probably engaged in an anxious attachment style.

Anxious Attachment Style

People with this attachment style are often insecure in their relationships, with a high need for reassurance from their partners to know that they are still wanted or loved. 

This style of attachment can also show up as:

· Overthinking and analyzing what others say or do 

· Negative view of themselves and anxious or stressed out about how others perceive them 

· Overinvested in relationships (at work and outside of that)

· Worry that you are “too much” or need alot from others

· Strong fear of rejection and evaluation 

· Sensitivity to abandonment or being left out

· Trouble working independently and a heavy dependence on their partner or team to finish tasks

· Often feel underappreciated or dissatisfied 

The Power of Anxious Thinking

Our thoughts (in this cause anxious thoughts and overthinking), can impact how we feel and respond. We often don’t realize this dynamic is quickly happening in our minds. 

Anxious thoughts

Where do I go from here?

If you recognize these issues in yourself or someone you love, the good news is attachment styles can change with time, effort and support. Self-development starts with awareness and approaching yourself with self-compassion and not criticism. 

Some tips to continue to strengthen how you show up in relationships: 

  • Continue to look for patterns of responding or shutting down. Write them down. Being mindful of them will make it easier to shift how you respond. 
  • Work on it with your partner
  • Realize that past experiences do not have to hold you emotionally hostage
  • Develop new ways of communicating and asking for what you need. The more you can express what you need, like saying I need regular reassurance, the more empowered you can feel

Psychotherapist, Coach for Women

Amanda Fludd,LCSW-R is a licensed Psychotherapist, Corporate Trainer, and Mindset Coach to support the mind of the woman behind the business. In all avenues of life we have to learn to navigate fear and get to the root of our anxiety.

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission to fund our tea-drinking habits if you use these links to make a purchase. We only recommend products, tools, and services that we think would be beneficial to our audience.  

A Child's Love Language

The Five Love Languages: Kids Edition!

A Child's Love Language
Do You Know Your Child’s Love Language?

Discussions around the five love languages have become a staple in the marriage and dating world. Love languages are ways of expressing and receiving love that can help couples better understand how to communicate with their partners. The idea around love languages is that it is essential to learn your partner’s love language and show them love in that way (and vice versa!). This means, if someone feels the most loved by spending quality time with their partner, their partner will make a great effort to prioritize that alone time with them.

What people may not know is that love languages can be applied to their children. Just like adults, children have their own personalities and ways in which they express and feel love. Today let’s discuss how the five love languages can be applied to parent-child relationships and how parents can match them.

The Love Languages and How to Meet Your Child’s Needs

Physical Touch – If your child loves cuddles, hugs, and holding hands, this may be their love language! Physical touch is an important way for some children to feel connected and receive attention from their parents. Physical touch can include kisses, holding hands, back rubs, special handshakes, or high fives. Some children want to feel close to their parents to feel loved. 

It’s beneficial to use this or other love languages when your child is experiencing difficult emotions like sadness, anger, grief, pain, or confusion.  

Children Affirmations
Affirming Your Child is An Act of Love

Words of Affirmation – Some children thrive from hearing their parents affirm and acknowledge how much they love them and are proud of their achievements. You can verbally tell your child, “Mommy loves you!” or “You did so well on your test; I’m so proud of all the work you put in to study.” Additionally, you can leave handwritten notes to your child as an extra special touch. 

Gifts – Have you ever seen your child’s face light up when they receive a gift and squeal while saying, “this is just what I wanted. You love me!” Has your child ever seemingly randomly given you a special gift or drawing? Giving and receiving gifts maybe your child’s love language. 

The significance of the gift is less about size or monetary value but rather about the meaningfulness of the gift and knowing their parent is thinking of them.

You may be thinking, which kid doesn’t like gifts?!

Very true! However, a child with this love language will have a much stronger reaction to receiving gifts than other children would.

Quality Time – This love language is indicative of your child wanting to spend uninterrupted time with you and bask in your attention. If you see that your child wants to be near you and seeks out more togetherness time, this may 

be their love language. It is incredibly beneficial to children’s overall development to have quality time and attention with their parents.

You can spend time together watching their favorite show, playing their favorite game (even if you are clueless about what is happening) or preparing a meal together, getting outside for a walk, or spend time reading stories before bed or talking about your life stories for the too grown teenage crowd.  

Acts of Service – If this is your child’s love language, they may ask for help doing things like tying their shoes, organizing their rooms, or putting together winter kits for strangers. It may seem like a simple request, but they still need your support. These selfless or engaging acts may indicate that an act of service will help them know how supportive you are.

No matter what your child’s love language is, it is crucial to take the time to learn it and express your love through their language versus your own. For example, if you thrive off physical touch but your child always pulls away, try respecting that boundary, and looking for ways to connect with them in their own love language. Of course, because they are children, there may need to be limits set on the languages. After all, you may not always be able to offer them exactly what they want at every moment. Parenting is all about balance and flexibility!

For guidance on how to nurture your family relationships or support your child’s emotional wellbeing, you can inquire about family or individual therapy here.

 

Written by Alyssa Heavens, MFT Intern and edited by Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor & Mental Health Consultant 

We Need To Talk: Gossip, Slander, and the Biased Water Cooler

Unless you are a woman you have NO idea what it’s like to be a woman building an empire and navigating the workplace! Don’t worry, we got you. Our talented list of panelists from the recent Protecting Your Mental Health in the Workplace Summit joined me to break it down. The first topic we unravelled with the help of author and therapist Kendra Hathaway,  was Gossip, Slander, and Toxic Relationships in the workplace. When the word, “toxic” is defined the words most commonly associated with it are: harmful, poisonous, destructive, and venomous just to name a few.  Although not only women experience these obstacles in the workplace we certainly seem to be well-versed in it. How many times have you been at work and overheard one employee complaining about the next? You have those that are loud about it and don’t care who knows what they are saying, and then you have others that are more hush hush about it and you may see them whispering as if you don’t exist. 

One thing that is true about both types is that the gossip spreaders are usually looking for attention or are trying to hide some type of pain. (There is another theory or possibility that we will consider in just a moment.) So now that we know what the problem is, let’s discuss how we can cope with such working conditions and figure out a solution. It is important that you pay attention to how you feel in situations, noticing if any negative thoughts and feelings come up for you, that’s a sign this is probably a toxic situation. This is a part of you protecting your mental health. If you stumble upon a co-worker being messy or you’re involved in a conversation that suddenly becomes demeaning or unproductive, walk away. Dismiss yourself, choose not to be involved. If you need to, take a moment to regroup and rid yourself of their negative energy. It’s ok to separate yourself from what is no longer serving you. If you feel strongly enough about the issue, confront the gossiper at a later time when you can engage in a calm conversation sharing your thoughts on gossiping about another coworker and be honest about how uncomfortable it made you feel. We have to take a stand for mistreatment in whatever form it shows up, including toxic communication, abuse, harassment, gender bias and racism in the spaces we exist in.   

Subtle manifestations of discrimination may significantly impact the everyday lives of women, the compiling effect of which may result in hostile work environments and distressed internal emotional states

Next, we unpacked Gender Bias in the Workplace. In the previous paragraph we discussed potential options as to why some employees behave the way they do and we mentioned that there could be another valid theory. Our next panelist reminded us to think about the beliefs that have been built into us. From birth people project their views and opinions of how girls are different than boys. A baby girl is rumored to cry less than a baby boy. Says who? As girls grow older we are taught not to speak or dress a certain way, what sport is lady-like, what toys we should play with and the list goes on. By the time we enter the workforce, we have so many rules inside our heads that we begin to doubt our abilities in our work space. Internally we are replaying all of the things we were told we should be as women, and unbeknown to us, our subconscious is keeping us tethered to the expectations of gender bias and we begin to acquiesce before our thinking brain kicks in with a conscious response. When you are presented with an idea or a situation and feel that hesitation, or fear, check in with your thoughts- “is this something you were told that you will not be able to accomplish? Do you believe the voices in your head?” Now take note of your response to others, particularly other women. Ms. Araika-Zawadhafsa Mkulo, Psychologist, shifted our awareness of our relationship to other women- “are we subconsciously sabotaging our fellow women co-workers based on biased views that were projected on us? Are we even conscious that we are doing so?” I want to encourage you to pause through your day and tune in to your relationship to yourself and others at work. 

Ask yourself what are you accepting in our own roles or in those around us that need to end? As Araika shared, be open to unlearn. What micro step can you take in this moment to shift that experience in the workplace? 

We have the unique opportunity in this day and time to change the narrative.

Notice the story you tell yourself. Where does it come from?

We live in a time where it is ok to speak up for yourself as a woman and ask for what you need. We no longer have to stand behind a man and wait to be spoken to in order to have a voice. Take risks, do things that scare you in order to advance in your career. Don’t allow yourself to feel as though you cannot be a wife, mother, and successful career woman. Those ideas are false and do not serve you. Ignore the Imposter Syndrome that makes you believe that you do not belong in places that you have earned your right to be in.

What have you been taught to be? Agreeable, beautiful, quiet, the parent, the responsible one? Is it showing up in your career and just isn’t working towards your success anymore? Let’s dive in together and get the work done together. That is the benefit to partnering with a women’s mindset coach to collaborate on healing and unlearning. We can have difficult conversations, model new expectations, challenge core beliefs, make core shifts, and become the best version of you. Sometimes you need that little nudge in the right direction to unleash your confidence, get clear on what you want to do with your life and implement strategies that work, as women and the organizations that support them. Are you ready to shift the narrative?

 

Amanda Fludd, Psychotherapist, Corporate Trainer and Women in Business Mindset Coach is here for your Mental Health needs. Sometimes you just need that professional nudge in the right direction to implement strategies that work.

extreme close up photo of frightened eyes

5 Actionable Steps to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Fear is a powerful emotion that we all experience in our lives, and it is something that can be very challenging to deal …

shallow focus photography of keychains

Are You Ready To Communicate Your Feelings?

Communicating your feelings to your partner is sometimes easier said than done. A lot of times we struggle to find the words …

20 Encouraging Quotes From Phenomenal Women of Color

Being authentic is not easy, especially for women. They have to break norms and find the courage to walk the path less traveled …