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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Premarital and Couples: "I - You" Statements

Uploaded: Feb 12, 2021
"I - You" Statements. No, that's not a typo. I hear these a lot when I encourage partners to use "I statements" or to share how s/he is feeling. Here are examples of what to skip, and what to try:

Skip:                                                                                                                        Try:

I feel YOU are angry at me.                               I feel nervous. What are you feeling?

I feel like this is a . . . (these are thoughts vs. feelings)             I feel misunderstood.

I think YOU aren't listening.                                                                     I feel unheard.

YOU made me feel like I don't matter.                                             I feel unimportant.

What's the difference; why does it matter?

There is nothing to argue with when we use an actual "I statement" because it just is how you feel in that moment. What, are you going to answer, ""No, you don't feel unheard,"? I hope not. In order for there to be a sticking point, there has to be a hook to get caught on (think Velcro). Velcro needs two perfectly matched pieces in order to stick. When you simply state your feeling, you are smooth.

No one wants to be told "You this" or "You that." So your partner is more likely to listen to you.

Of course the impulse to justify is often stronger than the desire to listen. So watch YOURSELF (not your partner) in this regard.

So, use I statements, and then give attunement (which is the only place for YOU statements).

You Hear:                                                                                                       You Say:

I feel nervous. What are you feeling?          Oh, you're nervous. I'm feeling agitated.

I'm feeling agitated.                          Oh, you're agitated. Will you tell me about that?

I feel misunderstood.                              You feel misunderstood. What is important

                                                                   that you want me to understand?

Do you get the idea? It's slow, maybe you even think it's cheesy. However, it works. So experiment for yourself, and talk with your beloved about how it's going.
Democracy.
What is it worth to you?

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