I thought I’d share this wonderful essay from one of my favorite psychotherapy bloggers, Ginger Sullivan. Which are you more inclined to do, talk or spew? For the sake of your relationships, aim for the former.
Learning to Talk
Do you spew or talk? There is a difference. A big difference. And, it will make a telltale difference in your relationship.
A spewer does not internally metabolize feelings before expression. He or she vomits them into public air. Feelings spill out in reactions through grunts, vibes, tone and movement. Think f-bombs. The “look.” Rolled eyes. Fast, jerky actions. Once this energy is released, he or she feels great. Clean, clear, next. But, those within ear shot have just been slimed. That puddle of emotional spew has been absorbed and ingested by everyone around. Makes you want take a shower to remove the toxicity.
Do us a favor, people. Process your own feelings before expressing them with words. That is what adults do. Realize that you are having micro-physical sensations in your body cavity. Identify what the feeling is and the possible trigger (you may not know immediately and that is fine). And then, decide when and where and with whom to put those feelings into words. Why? Because you can be known. You can connect. You can ask for what you need and possibly get it met. We call this living relationally. Doing authentically you while being – and staying – in relationship.
And what about ranting? Yes, there can be a place for that. Sometimes, we all need to throw a temper tantrum to release frustration. But, do the generous listener a favor. Warn them ahead of time that you need to vent. Ask them if they are willing to listen. Give them a moment to put up his/her boundaries as to protect themselves from your green slime. Tell them if you just need them to listen or if you’d like them to help problem-solve.
I’m sorry to bring bad news. But your days of emotional spewing without consequence to your relationship are over. They sadly ended when you were about five. Save the green slime for the Ghostbusters. You got words to use and relationships to whom you need to be accountable.
Until next time, peace.