Speaking ones truth in the relationships you care about

One of the most difficult relationship skills to master is speaking what is true for us in a conscious, intentional way.  This seems to be particularly true for many women.  I find it interesting that women who are articulate and self aware when we are speaking privately often have a very difficult time expressing the same feelings and thoughts in a powerful way once their partners are present.  We human beings are oh so complex and there are of course many reasons why it may be difficult for us to express what is real for us effectively.  Perhaps we fear rejection, or believe that it is not ok for us to want things – that it is selfish to ask to have our needs met.  Perhaps we feel helpless or hopeless and decide before we even speak that nothing will change and so we “pull our punches” and speak in a whiny, indirect or otherwise ineffectual way.  Or perhaps we feel shame that we should even have needs and desires at all.  Whatever the reason, when we fail to express ourselves clearly we not only reduce the chance that we will get our needs met, we also do our partners a disservice by not giving them a chance to succeed.  If you find that you often feel that no one is listening to you or taking you seriously this may be part of the problem.  I am so intrigued by how common this phenomenon is that I have decided to use it as the focus of the first of this year’s “Understanding the Self in Relationship” Women’s retreats.  If you are intrigued there’s more information about the upcoming September 8th retreat in the Workshop Section of the Relationshipgarden web page.

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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