Why Does What We Mean Come Out So Horribly Wrong When We Say It?

I had a client speaking about how he wished to let his wife know how afraid he is of the sense of disconnection he was experiencing with her,and how it went terribly wrong.  It made me think of this scene from Dumb And Dumber. Here, you see Lloyd imagining what he wants to say to the woman of his dreams, and when he is face to face with her, it comes out dreadfully wrong. We have all experienced this, and usually with people who mean quite a bit to us. Why? Well, we are vulnerable. We are expressing deep needs, wants and desires, the need for connection and attachment, and we are not sure how the other person will receive it. Will they make fun of us? Dismiss us? Laugh? Sneer? Call us “too needy”? So, we choke. It comes out terribly, full of blame and criticism, and a fight ensues. How do we change this? Start with “I” statements – do not blame the other person. For example, “I have been missing our time together,” not, “You never spend time with me.” Talk about how you feel and think, what your perspective is, AND ask for what you need. Risk yourself and turn to your loved one.  This is called turning towards each other. They usually do care about your feelings and what your needs are, and probably have no idea you feel this way. If they laugh at you, dismiss you, or demean you, it is time for therapy. Enjoy this scene from Dumb And Dumber.