Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Flourishing Relationships - The Mind Reading Trap

When we are in a close relationship with someone, it is inevitable that at some stage we are going to have a disagreement.

Some disagreements can be healthy and a source of learning, but some are not helpful unless they are handled with care.

One of the traps that we often fall into is that of "Mind Reading".

When emotions run high, we do not always think rationally and communication breaks down. 

  • "If you loved me you would know what I am feeling".
  • "If you loved me you would know what I want".

Sound familiar? Both of these statements are suggesting that if you loved this person you would automatically be able to read their mind and know what they are feeling.Or, you would know what they want without them telling you. 

When you think about it, this sort of reaction is ludicrous as we as human beings do not have the ability to read someone's mind, no matter how much you love them.

If you find yourself in this situation, leave it for a while and cool off.

Once both of you have calmed down, gently start to ask some questions to get the information that you need to resolve the issue. Tips for questions:

  • Ask for specifics. 
  • Start your questions with Who,What, When, How, Where
  • Ignore the urge to ask "Why". "Why" will generally not give you quality information.
  • Acknowledge that your partner is upset by saying something like " I understand that you are upset ........."
  • Be open and listen.
Work on improving your communication with each other and then the "mind reading trap" will go away as you no longer fall into it.

Hilary Thompson
The Out and About Therapist
Facilitator at Flourishing Relationships Retreats 

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