STEP 2 : THE ANTI-THWART
Let’s assume the worst. Even when you empathize , they still refuse to talk . This frequently happens , especially if they are boiling. What can you do ? It is quite simple. You zap them with the anti-Thwart.
Here’s how it works. Briefly agree that this isn’t a good time for them to talk. Emphasize that you feel some communication is needed and suggest that you can talk things over later, when they are more in the mood. That’s all you have to do.
THE ANTI-THWARTING DO’S AND DON’T
- Don’t insist they talk to you right now. They have a right to be alone. Respect that right.. You’ll only lose by trying to control them.
- Don’t thwart them by saying,” Okay, then I won’t talk to you, either .” In this case , you are buying into the rejection.
- Don’t blame yourself or judge what you’re doing by the other person’s haughty and childish rejections. They’re refusing to talk. It’s a reflection on them, not on you.
- Don’t get judgmental. Although they are behaving in a hostile and immature way, keep your eye on your two goals – empathy and a postponement of the discussion.
- Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated by insisting they talk right now, because you will give them the gratification they crave. They want you to feel upset so they can switch the spotlight onto your irritation . Keep your cool. Don’t get sucked into their trap.
- Do empathize with their reasons for being unwilling to talk things over. They may think you are overly critical or judgmental they may think you are not a sympathetic listener; they may be feeling ashamed or embarrassed about something they did; or they may be clamming up because they feel it’s inappropriate to express angry feelings. Ask them about these possibilities in a gentle , nonjudgmental way. This will frequently open them right up.
- Do postpone the discussion if they still refuse to talk. Emphasize the importance of discussing things later, and give them permission to back off temporarily. This prevents a polarization . If they continue to thwart you later on , simply empathize and postpone again.
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