Friday, July 17, 2015

I-Statements

 How To Communicate

"We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice — that is, until we have stopped saying 'It got lost', and say, 'I lost it.' ” - Sydney J. Harris
Let's face the facts. Communicating is FREAKING hard. It can leave us feeling exposed, and being vulnerable is terrifying and uncomfortable.

Frankly, most of us were never taught how to communicate properly are often using the skills we learned as children from our parents...... who also didn't know how to communicate properly. :)

I-statement's are a helpful communication tool wrapped in pure golden magical goodness. They are statements or responses that refrain from saying "you" or "your" as much as possible. They force us to think about how we are really feeling.

I-Statements -

Dispute resolution conversation openers that can be used to communicate clearly and boldly about how we feel and how we want something to be, without putting the other person on the defensive. They are also used to acknowledge and take ownership of our own feelings.


You-Statements - 

Help fuel defensiveness and emotional resistance. In extreme cases our partner feels so emotionally unsafe that he or she just shuts down like a nuclear power plant during a meltdown. At that point our partner won't hear another word we're saying. No progress is possible until the emotional meltdown has been contained, the nuclear emergency is over, and our partner once again feels safe. (Attention wives: Remember, you did NOT create their emotional unsafety and it is not your job to make sure they feel better. Their method of shutting down started long before they met you.)

One thing to be alert about though are disguised I-Statements like “ I feel that…” or "I feel like…” that are expressed as judgement and are just hidden You-Statements --- “I feel that you are getting stubborn” or “I feel like you don’t spend any time with me”--- These have the same accusatory effect and do not help.



I-Statement Formula ( This is just a formula for using when your learning how to use I-statements and doesn't need to be used once you learn. For example I now generally prefer to first start out with "I really want connection. I'm scared and sad.." etc )


* When... (tell what caused the feeling)

* I feel... (Insert feeling word)

* I want... (tell what you want to happen instead).

"If an I-Statement contains You-Statements, it can be counterproductive and may not work efficiently in conflict situations. For example the formula: "I feel..., when you..., and I want you to..." This can put the receiver of the I-statement on the defensive and could come across as blaming."


Additional:

WHEN....

When I'm shouted at I....

When I'm sworn at I....

When I'm pushed around I....

When the towels are left on the floor I....

When I think I'm not being heard I....

When I'm lied to....

When the toys are left on the floor I....


I FEEL....

I feel unappreciated....

I feel very unsafe and scared....

I feel sad and lonely....

I get really anxious....

I get really scared....

I feel hurt and confused....


I WANT....

I want to...

I need....

I would like....

What I'd like to see happen is....

It would be nice if....









You-Statement Examples:

1."Why do you always lie? Do you even care about this marriage?"

2.“You’re always late!"

3.“You never do anything for me. You make me feel so ugly.”

4."Why didnt you go to the meeting? Your supposed to go to meetings, if you don't go you'll never get better. Why don't you care?"

5.“You didn’t clean up like you promised you would! Im so mad, all you care about is yourself!"

6.“You’re so forgetful. You always have an excuse”



I-Statement Examples:

1."When I am lied to it makes me feel unsafe and scared. I want to be in a marriage that is valued and cherished."

2."When I have to wait around it makes me feel I am not important. I really want to feel important."
OR if their lateness makes you late you can say, "When I am late, it makes me feel panicked and it throws my schedule off. I need to have a schedule because it helps me feel grounded and less stressed"

3.“When I never get compliments and affection I feel insecure. I just really want to feel beautiful and important and cherished"

4."Not going to meetings makes me feel extremely scared. I'm afraid that another relapse will happen and that I will be lied to again. I want a relationship where I feel safe and connected"

5.“When the house isn't clean it makes me feel frustrated and gives me cloudy thinking, and now I'm sad because I really was looking forward to relaxing in a nice clean house."

6.“When things I've said in conversations are forgotten, I feel unimportant, like I don't matter. I want to feel connected and attached and I want to feel like what I say matters"



**Note** Sometimes saying "you" cannot be avoided, and that's perfectly ok. Occasionally it is necessary in order to be clear and get our point across, like when you say "I love you" or "You are important to me" etc, OR for example even something like this i-Statement:

"When you get handsy and touch me like this ______, or you expect sex, it makes me feel like a piece of meat. It makes me feel like iiiii don't matter, like I am just an object to make YOU feel better, which makes me feel dirty and used and gross. I want to feel like my body is respected, valued, and loved. "





I-Statements are hard to do at first and they take alot of practice, but remember they are for YOU. I-Statements are not to change another person. Feel free to use whatever format you feel most comfortable with. There's no limit on how long or short they have to be (ha mine always tend to be very long), just as long as you refrain from saying "You" to the best of your ability. :)

Good luck!!




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