"I" Statements that are Actually "You" Statements | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

"I" Statements that are Actually "You" Statements

Uploaded: Nov 16, 2013
No, that's not a typo. I hear these a lot when I encourage partners to use "I statements" or to share how s/he is feeling. Here are examples of what to skip, and what to try:

Skip:
I feel YOU are angry at me.
I feel like this is a . . . (these are thoughts vs. feelings)
I think YOU aren't listening.
YOU made me feel like I don't matter.

Try:
I feel nervous. What are you feeling?
I feel misunderstood.
I feel unheard.
I feel unimportant.

What's the difference; why does it matter?

There is nothing to argue with when we use an actual "I statement" because it just is how we feel in that moment. What, are you going to answer, "No, you don't feel unheard,"? I hope not. In order for there to be a sticking point, there has to be a hook to get caught on (think Velcro). Velcro needs two matched pieces in order to stick. When you simply state your feeling, you are a smooth surface.

No one wants to be told "You this" or "You that." So your partner is more likely to listen to you.

Of course your impulse to justify is often stronger than your desire to listen. Check in with yourself (not your partner) in this regard.

So, use I statements, and then reflect back what you heard (which is the only place for YOU statements).
You hear: I feel nervous. What are you feeling?
You Say: Oh, you're nervous. I'm feeling agitated.
You hear: I'm feeling agitated.
You Say: Oh, you're agitated. Will you tell me about that?
You hear: I feel misunderstood.
You Say: You feel misunderstood. What is important that you want me
to understand?

Do you get the idea? It's slow, maybe you even think it's cheesy. However, it works. So experiment for yourself, and let me know how it goes.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post
Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Coronavirus Food Safety Update + New! Insider Tips
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 5,175 views

Singapore's oldest cafe was about to open in Palo Alto. Then, the coronavirus hit.
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 4,209 views

A Pragmatic Approach to A Trillion Trees
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 4,099 views

Repairing a Disagreement with your Beloved & “Physical” vs. “Social” Distancing
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 2,768 views

The University of California’s flexible policies during COVID-19
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 6 comments | 2,686 views

 

DEADLINE EXTENDED

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details