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Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Household Hint

I was once privileged (ahem) to sit in on a lecture being given to some of the counselors and therapist assigned to work with the delinquent young women in our community. The speaker, being a psychotic…er, psychologist herself, informed the audience that if an accusation arose during the course of an argument that communication was no longer possible and all dialog should be terminated. Perhaps having read this you’re thinking now what I thought then. “Now that’s brilliant! Why on earth would you end communication with someone who has just gone out on a limb to expose her suspicion and fear to you? That’ll sure teach her better than to be open and honest with you in the future!” As it turns out this poor lady was “confused” and believed that trying to force a person to believe what you wish is the same thing as trying to communicate with them. Perhaps you know some who believe this as well? This thinking results in reinforcing, if not provoking, the belief that the only way to convince a person is to manipulate them. It teaches that you can never simply give needed information and hope others will respond with the same. No, they will only take what you give and leave you in the dark and what’s worse they will likely use the information you’ve given them against you. Wouldn't you agree that is psychotic? Ah well, moving on.

An accusation can reveal many things about the person who makes it. A person who is prone to voice their fear in the form of an accusation most often reveals what it is they are attempting, or have done, themselves. Quite often it is precisely what they are attempting to do to you at that moment!

We all have the tendency to believe that everyone perceives the world in the same way that we do. Having this expectation we assume that given the same information we should all react in the same way. For example, if you accept the belief of the speaker above then you will come to expect that no one shares their true thoughts and feelings and that words are only a tool to be used to control the thinking of others. You must then reject the possibility that anything being said to you is the truth and you will always find a hidden agenda in the communication of others no matter how forthcoming that person may be! On the other hand if you are an open and honest person you likely believe everything you are told. Granted it is more preferable to be open and honest but it is naïve at best and irresponsible to believe everything you are told! In both cases above the consequence is an irrational belief based on an invalid presupposition and these beliefs are often revealed in the form of an accusation.

So what can you do once an accusation is made? Obviously the first thing should always be to examine the evidence to see if the accusation is valid. You may well be dealing with a forthcoming person who has offered you some valuable insight on yourself or another. If the accusation is obviously false then our normal tendency is to try to build a defense and this is probably the worst thing we could do. That effort only keeps the focus on the accused and does not provide any understanding to the accuser. A better approach might be to try and determine why they have interpreted the evidence as they have and to offer a full explanation, if possible, for each item as it is presented. This method should lead to understanding, which is one of the primary ingredients for developing a trusting relationship.

6 Comments:

Blogger jel said...

no thought, just a hello! ;)

2/17/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Did you post this because I called you "wise"?? :)

I agree with the advice you present and I will try to apply it. I oft repeat to my kids when they tell me, in alarm, the actions of some of their classmates - "You can be be angry or you can be loving - what's your choice?" Of course they don't understand the opposing terms judgemental and compassionate, but that is what I am trying to teach. And the very best way to teach that is to allow them to apply it to me. GULP!

I've been feeling a little judgemental AND defensive lately - both sides of this blade. I'm trying, Bro!

2/17/2008 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Your hello is always welcome here Janice! ;-)

Missy a revent event with my eldest spawned this article. ;-)

Sounds like your little ones have a great teacher!

I do sympathize with you concerning judgmentalism. It's such an easy trap to fall in. :-(

2/19/2008 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

revent event? Hmmm... I think I meant, "recent" event. ;-)

2/19/2008 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Penless Thoughts said...

Some people are totally closed minded and totally defensive. What a terrible, sad state to be trapped in. They need our prayers.
Susan

2/20/2008 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

So true and Amen Ms. Susan! These need our love and prayer most of all. (I'm afraid that sometimes I'm one of "these". Shhhh!) ;-)

2/22/2008 03:42:00 AM  

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