We cannot grow as husbands, wives, partners and children, when we are not supported, and encouraged, to become independent and responsible individuals. We cannot grow in someone else’s pre-existing desires and expectations. Unfortunately, for most of us, we were not raised by truly unselfish parents. We are often raised by parents who have the best of intentions to love, support and guide us, driven by their own fears, anxieties and shortcomings. We are so spectacularly human, wanting to protect those we love from heartache and disappointment.
The truth is we cannot protect each other from life. What we can do is to love, support, and encourage each other. Healthy, and emotionally aware communication, becomes an essential element of personal growth, and self-awareness. Healthy communication is direct, immediate, clear, and a good foundation for learning to be assertive when communicating our needs, and facilitating the process of setting personal boundaries. Healthy communication is dependent on fact, belief, emotion and need. Let’s consider an example:
Facts: I must leave home at 8am in the morning, to get to work on time. When I left this morning, there was barely enough fuel in the car, to get me to the nearest petrol station. Having to stop and fill up the car with fuel, made me late for work, as I got caught up in the morning traffic.
Belief: I believe, all family members who make use of the car, needs to make sure there is enough fuel in the car, to get to their individual destinations.
Emotions: The experience this morning left me feeling frustrated, angry and uncared for.
Needs: I need to leave for work in the morning, knowing I don’t have to worry about stopping for fuel, and feel anxious, about getting to work on time.
Healthy communication involves the facts, our beliefs, emotional experiences and needs. When we seek emotional support, and are offered only an intellectual problem-solving response, or we seek concrete and factual information, and are only offered an emotional response, we are bound to experience considerable communication difficulties.
These communication difficulties can result in endless arguments, denials and contradictions. Our emotions can become trampled and discarded, leaving us wounded as partners, and our children to repeat the cycle all over again. Therefore, emotional growth and healthy communication within a family unit, are essential elements for successful relationships in the family unit.
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Copyright Sandra Bowden