2005-05-20 / Columnists

The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

While some of us have difficulty controlling bad tempers, others choose to withdraw and stay away from people with whom we feel uncomfortable.

It may feel easier to withdraw than to confront someone and say “Don’t do that again.” 

We keep away from someone, like a clam, and then that person may or may not understand or realize what is going on inside you. 

We may feel we are protecting ourselves by avoiding contact, but it may be strange to the other person who cannot figure out why this has occurred. 

If it is someone important in your life, it might be a good idea to tell the other individual that “You hurt me.”  It might be helpful to say “Stop it.” 

If the person hears what you said and then makes changes in behavior or tries to make amends, then you know that the individual is trying. 

If, on the other hand, your words are ignored, then again you can see where this individual is coming from. 

Everyone sees things differently so you cannot expect others to understand why you act the way you do. I have a friend who thinks that no one can hear her when she has a problem, unless she yells at the person. She thinks if she just says her piece, no one will change. 

She believes that you have to scream to be heard enough to catch the other’s attention. 

If someone yells at me, I feel that the other person has no respect for me, and I will tune out what she says. In this case, my friend’s intent cannot get carried out with me because of how I interpret the situation.

We must look at who we are talking to and how the message will be received. 

There doesn’t have to be only one approach for all people. 

It is much better to firmly state what

the problem is or how you feel, and then wait to see how the other responds.

At least a form of communication will be started where each can question the other. 

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