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DEF: Communication is the process of passing info & understanding from one person to another – which includes any behavior that results in an exchange of meaning.
• It’s the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another.
• It is a bridge of meaning, involving a systematic & continuous process of telling, listening & understanding.
ACoA Communication (comm)
IF we are being appropriate – we will comm. differently in different situations. So –
➤ the way we verbally play while watching a game together is not how we behave in a religious setting
➤ what we eventually confide in a good friend is much greater than what we let out at first
➤ things we tell our mate aren’t usually things we tell co-workers
➤ things we say at work may not be appropriate for our children to hear. (Posts: Relationship Continuum)
It’s sad that many of us say we yearn for emotional connection & yet adamantly push it away – spending much of our time —> gossiping with, monologuing / pontificating at, or chit-chatting about trivial or pointless topics.
🚩While these are used by most people as a type of social glue or social currency – it is also typical of what passes for communication in alcoholic & other narcissistic households. Nothing ‘real’ is ever spoken of – how people feel or think, what drives their behavior, what their true Self motivation might be…..
So – at the other extreme are the emotionally starving ACoAs who desperately want to be heard. They’ll take any opportunity to “go deep”, as in spilling TMI to whoever will listen. This kind of sharing is necessary BUT belongs in 12-Step meetings, therapy & a daily diary. The alternative is to not talk at all.
In fact, many ACoAs are notoriously reluctant (refusing) to make light conversation, meaning : the ‘normal’ sharing of mutually interesting but not earth-shattering experiences tastes & opinions. Actually it’s the WIC who has no socially appropriate boundaries.
Careless over-sharing is a mistake – there is a time & place for the ‘heavy’ stuff. We way we want to be accepted, but then act inappropriately. Keeping things light in many situations makes us much more approachable & likable!
It’s true that healthy relationships – whether private or public – are based on some degree of Emotional honesty. And at the deepest level is the realm of Spiritual communion – with oneself, others, nature & Higher Power. (4 Qs to Ask Yourself Every Day).
However, as powerful & precious as the Emotional & Spiritual levels are, they’re too intense & raw to sit with for too long, at any one time.
1. If our tendency is to get heavy too fast with another person – we need to learn boundaries – with our Inner Child! It’s not appropriate to assume someone is a ‘friend’ & jump into telling our deepest thoughts & emotions (suffering, complaints…..), which is almost always about our S-H & dysfunctional family history.
2. In general, most people are simply not equipped emotionally to go ‘deep’ at all, & it’s not fair to spring such comm. on someone without their consent, or on those we know can not handle it. It’s disrespectful to others (our narcissism) to inflict our intensity on them. (from C. Gilkey)
NOTE: Small talk is appropriate – from time to time – to keep things on the surface when with acquaintances, or with people we know have very little depth. It is also not a substitute for
meaningful conversation with ’emotional peers’, no matter their age or level of self-awareness.
We need to learn that we are in fact fundamentally like everyone else – we share the same needs & desires, & even many times similar experiences. It counteracts our suspicion & isolation.
We also need a break from our own emotional intensity, which will help to balance us. And we may even learn something new!
NEXT: Comm. Categories #2