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Can someone answer a question for me?
December 28, 2000
3:06 pm
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lll
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I try so hard but I have the hardest time communicating with my girlfriend. It is as if no matter what I say she does not listen to me. How in the world can I get points across to her without making her mad or upset? We have such a communication problem. I guess what I need is a response from a female or a male who understands. How can I point out something without feeling the "wrath" from her? An example, although a trite one at best, is that she has a cell phone that runs her about $120 a month. All she has to do is get another plan for $50 a month and still keep all the same coverage plans. Instead, she won't listen and then complains to me about it and gets upset when I suggest an alternative route. What gives? This is just an example. This response trickles down into our relationship, politics, religion, and so on. What can I do?

December 28, 2000
4:07 pm
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lewis
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Tell her how u feel when this happens within yor conversations. Be open, don't hide your feelings about it. She might not even be aware that her response is causing you any concern.
Communicate that bit more, try to find out why she does respond this way, maybe its the 'control' issue?

Good luck

December 28, 2000
6:35 pm
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Molly
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Tell her if you don't like your suggestions, to quit asking for it. Could it be your tonality? Who does it remind her of, did she have a person in her past that you remind her of, often when we get up set, it is not at something in the present, but in the past that triggers a reaction. Maybe she feels small again, are you a strong personality?

December 28, 2000
8:46 pm
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janes
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Step back and look at her outlook on life in general...is the galss half empty or half full.

If she really isn't listiening to you... and tends to be a negetive person you may want just back off and when she complains...simply respond with..."maybe you should compare plans.

Her complaints are her problems to deal with...

dont buy into her problems.

December 29, 2000
9:32 am
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lll
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I really appreciate the responses. She is an extremely controlling person. When we met she wasn't like this at all. She says that since we've been together for so long that she feels comfortable acting like her usual controlling self. I have a strong personality as well and this creates problems. However, I compromise but she doesn't. It always, always has to be her way no matter what. She'll even do something that she knows is total wrong just to do it her own way. I've been wondering if counseling would help the both of us but I'm not sure.

December 29, 2000
9:42 am
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janes
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Counseling may help you but she has to want change to change.

You know you don't have to be female to be in an emotionally abusive relationship. And you don't have to be weak to be abused.

You do sound intelligent. Don't make this a legal relationship just yet. If she will do stupid stuff just to do things her way I wouldn't walk away..I'd run away. That controlling attitude can turn to spiteful over night.

December 29, 2000
10:22 am
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lll
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Janes,

What you said makes totally perfect sense. She grew up in an abusive home and was married to an abuser as well. To my knowledge, this type of behavior is cyclical. Deep down I do think I need to leave but I love her too much. I keep telling myself that I can make it better. From what I understand, if I could get her into counseling then there might be a chance, but I don't know if I'm spining my wheels or what. What you said really makes me sad, but I think you are right. Should I stick it out and try the counseling or leave?

December 29, 2000
12:12 pm
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Cici
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Hi there,

I completely understnad where you're coming from. I was abused as well, and my latent anger at my father for not intervening when my mother was abusive greatly effects my relationship with my fiance.

But I realized the problem, even before my fiance did. I suppose the situation is different since I am in psychology anyway, and I had the resources available to me to understand myself and I observed the detrimental effect my behavior had on our relationship. I really wanted to change, to stop the cycle of abusiveness that was controlling my behavior. I realized that by reacting to the memory of my abuse, I was still letting the abuse control me. In a way, I was abusing myself.

I still have problems, but since my fiance have a very open relationship in terms of communication, we are working through it together. I told him what behaviors triggered my reactions, he reminds me of that when I get angry.

December 29, 2000
1:05 pm
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eve
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Hi III,

unlike everybody else I will not confirm for you that everything is your girlfriends fault and there is nothing that you can do except change her or leave her - changing an other person is not going to happen. And blaming behaviours on past abuse might help you understand, but it might also help you to confirm that it is all her fault anyway and you can't do anything better. I think you can do things better - whith communication everybody can :-). It is you who feels irritated. And you can change yourself and how you respond to those commnication problems. One answer can be: I won't take this - I'll leave. Another answer could be to try and understand what it's all about, and improve your listening and communication skills, and then just wait and see what happens.

One of the ideas that helped me whith understanding communication breakdowns was a communication model that I learned at a rhetoric training. The trainer painted a face on the board, but it had four ears and four mouths. And she said: every message comes out of our mouth whith four meanings and it can be heard in four ways.
1) Statement about Facts. 2) Statement about the Personal relationship. 3) Statement about the Speaker 4) Appeal to the other person.

So I'll try and dissect some of what you might have said and what she might have heard:

Maybe you said: "The other plan will be cheaper for you"
Your meanings: 1) Less money to give 2) I try to help you 3)Perhaps I know better than you 4) look, you can save money this way
She might have understood: 1) I spend more money than necessary 2)+ 3) he thinks he knows better than I, he thinks I'm doing it wrong 4) Stop doing everything wrong.
Well, if she is not overly self confident then that is going to throw her into a struggle for self defence, and propably you won't know what hit you. Note: you really wanted to help, but there was no ear of her to hear this. But you could just have said: how can I help you. This kind of communication and understanding can be trained, but old habits die hard. Will you give it a try?

Take care, eve

December 29, 2000
1:38 pm
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lll
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Cici & Eve,

I appreciate the responses. As to what you said, Eve, I have thought about how I could communicate in different ways. We DEFINITELY have a communication problem. She probably sees arguements as my fault and I do the same to her. We are both use to controling our given environment.

I don't have a problem backing down if she can prove to me that her way is better. However, she won't even let the communication begin. She is use to being around people that can't think for themselves. I'm use to being around very intellegent, resourceful individuals. I was taught to view a situation from every angle possible and she has tunnel vision. It is amazing how I can have a calm arguement with a friend, but any type of dissagreement with her leads to anger and sulking.

At times, I think she makes ignorant decisions with her thoughts and actions. These are a few examples: (1)last night we argued over whether or not a February b-day was an early or late b-day. She thought it was late b/c she associated it with school tenure. I would imagine that everyone else would start with January to make that decision. I calmly explained it to no avail. (2)the other day we argued over whether or not men and women are different. I think they are equal, but they are different. She thought they were not different at all. I stated that both do things better than the other, yet they are equal. She thought I was insane. If we are the same then why do we have different names, body parts, and so on.

I know this is trite but this is what happened with our arguement. I'm going to try to use the model that you listed above, Eve. I'm also setting us up for counseling. I think her and my relationship has a little abuse towards me and very poor communication from both. I appreciate everyone's responses, and if anyone else can think of anything, please post a reply.

December 29, 2000
6:14 pm
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Molly
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I don't know how much time you have invested in this relationship, and I understand that you are not married. I don't have a clue how old you are, but maybe this is not the relationship for you? She sounds like there is history, and she is set in her ways and that you are both hard headed. Unless you have a very profound and skilled counselor, good luck. I don't know what the initial attraction was, but if it was the chemistry, be prepared for much much more of the same, and life doesn't have to be that way. Would you pick this woman to be a business partner? It does not sound like you can discuss the weather with out a disagreement, and as the passion continues to dwindle, it will be much more difficult to agree on goals, budgets, decorating, finances, etc. Get the picture. Maybe you love her and maybe she loves you but it takes a heck of a lot more than LOOOOOOOOve to keep a committed relationship healthy. Not blaming her or you, maybe it is just not a match. I discovered this fact after 12 years of hell, with bliss sprinkled in there, and really got it after a 18 month seperation after a combined 10 or so counselors, and seminars, and my education over the years. Only because of our history, and some personal growth on both our parts have we almost come to terms with the fact that we are really both very different, and acceptance. But I wouldn't wish this path to my worst enemy. God forbid you should find her pregnant, and you get to deal with child rearing with this woman, whom I get you want to change. Change does not happen, some modifacations yes, but true change in basic personality takes so much work and time, I wonder if it is in your best interest to wait and see. Just something for you to think about. Life is not a dress rehursal.

December 29, 2000
6:51 pm
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lll

I'm practicing what is for me unnatural brevity. I sincerely hope it's helpful. It's all I can add to what's already been said before.

You and your friend interacting: Cognition< ->Cognition. Result: Harmonious relationship.

You and your girl friend interacting: emotion< ->emotion. Result: Whammmm!!!

Question: Where do the red hot emotions come from? It's a good starting point.

December 30, 2000
5:41 pm
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lewis
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I agree with molly
life is too short
you've got some big thinking to do
good luck

December 30, 2000
5:48 pm
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Tae Qt
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A really wise person told me once.... with people in life you always have two options, if you know them really well and want them in your life.. first option, you can choose to accept them fully and completely for what they are and how they respond to life/ communication/ stress- when people are set in their ways it is most likely they are not going to change- or second, you can choose to not accept it if you find it upsetting and disturbing and not something that you are comfortable with, have them in your life- just not so intimately???!!!!????

December 30, 2000
9:11 pm
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R2D2
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Ya know, I just don't see these situations you mentioned as "arguements". Do they end with you and your girlfriend actually angry with each other? The discussions about the February birthday and male and female like/dislike, sound like good "discussions". Aren't you both allowed to have your own opinions? You say you wouldn't mind backing down if she could prove to you that her way is best, sometimes it takes maturity and time to test someone else's view for yourself. Sometimes it takes a response of "hmmm, you may be right....I'll have to think about it."

You say she is used to people who can't think for themselves, and you are around intelligent people. Whoa.
Sounds like there is a something underlying with you that just seems to surface in your "arguements". Are you just tired of her in other ways and use the inability to agree in your discussions as the prime reason for your frustration?

I don't mean to sound harsh, might take some deep soul-searching to answer honestly, .........just a thought.

December 31, 2000
12:52 am
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Kim1370
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You sound just like my husband. I think you might be having the same problem we used to have sometimes. He got very upset when I would disagree with him about anything (we had arguments over movie quotes!) We finally realized it was based on both of our insecurities. It seems like everyone bases their ego on their strenghts they have been most praised for in their life. He had always been praised for his intelligence, so when I questioned his reasoning, he saw it as a challenge to his ego. I based my ego on being intelligent, too, so I saw his response as a challenge to my ego. We got upset over some really stupid things until we realized what was going on. I think I know what was happening with your girlfriend with the phone plan; I would have had the same reaction. "He thinks I'm so stupid I can't pick a plan! All he does is critize everything I do! I'm sick of it, I'm going to reject everything he says!!" I'm sure you never meant any insult, but to her it may have been the equivalent of a slap in the face. It hurts when you think the guy you love is attacking you.
We have finally learned a solution to our problem; the wise old saying "the winner of the p--sing contest is always the biggest weenie" Being right is not as important as being together; let her win. When she says something you don't agree with, smile broadly and say "thats great, honey!" and think whatever you want to think. When my husband tells me something I feel is really dumb, or gives me advice I think would be insulting to a middle-schooler, I smile, announce in my happiest voice "That's a great idea!" and do what I intended to do originally (as long as its something that doesn't affect him. I'll actually listen if my actions will matter to him) We don't have any problems like that anymore, and we can laugh at the old stupid battles we wasted our time on. Does it really matter in the grand scope of things when the bday falls in February?

January 2, 2001
7:03 pm
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lll
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I just got back in town, and I am pleased to have received everyone's input.

Molly & Lewis, sometimes I wonder if you are right. I don't know if her and my relationship can work. We've both put in sooooooo much time and effort, though. After this weekend I realize that I'm going to have to change and bend to make it work, if it can work at all.

Tez, I think the emotions surface from issues involving her past. We interact fine until potential disagreements arise. When this happens, we DON'T interact and this is the problem. I want to talk and make it better and she won't. Not can't......won't. It's hard to solve disagreements w/o communication.

TaeQt, you just wrote what I've come to realize this past week. You're exactly right, and I guess it just comes down to whether or not I can accept her the way she is and live with it.

R2D2, you are indeed clever. There have been many issues in the past. She would do things her way, they would then get fouled up, I'd have to fix or deal with them, & I would have to listen to her complain about it all the while. The b-day thing would normally be a discussion or I would ignore it, but now they are fights. Maybe it is the principle of the thing now. If I can't even get my point across on little disagreements, how will I ever manage with larger issues? Right now, I NEVER get anything across.........NEVER.
Oh, I try, but to no avail.

Kim1370, I would reaaly like to pick your brain. Would you really have reacted the same way she did about the phone plan? I would love to hear you speak more in depth about that. Hopefully it could give me more of an understanding. It is funny that you mentioned the phone plan b/c I just found out 2 days ago that she just got another one last month. She didn't even tell me. Her mother accidently told me. It took her nearly 5 months and probably throwing away $300-$400 dollars (guessing) to finally switch, and I find it extremely interesting that I had not mentioned it for about 3 weeks b/c I had given up. You made a great point about the intellegence idea. I do feel offended on rare occassions, but I usually feel that I'm talking to an unintellegent person that thinks they know it all. I don't care if I'm wrong b/c that is how you learn, but I hate it when someone is stubborn w/o any analization or clarification. Do you and your husband have calm debates over issues? We don't, and I think that is the problem.

I really appreciate the help and would love to hear more if anyone would like to post their reply.

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