Be Direct with How You Feel: Make sure you say what you need to say. Janet had a tendency to beat around the bush whenever she tried to address issues with her brother, which resulted in bottling up her feelings and eventually losing her cool. Being more direct with her feelings from the start helped her avoid falling into similar patterns.
Own Your Own Perceptions: We all have theories about why a person says or does something that upsets us. It is important to own your own beliefs. For example, Janet learned to say “sometimes I think that you have to take responsibility for everything because you’re the oldest, and you don’t,” instead of,“you just want to take over and control everything.”
Give Feedback: Responding to the other person’s concern is just as important as stating your own. Janet learned she had to determine which response is needed. Does her brother want a response, or is he just looking for support?
Jump to Conclusions: Take time to understand what your partner is saying. Janet initially assumed that her brother was trying to take charge and be in control the way he always does, but when she heard him out, she realized that he was very fearful of the situation.
Respond Defensively: Janet learned in counseling to try to understand where her brother was coming from and to acknowledge his feelings, rather than trying to defend her point of view and explain why he is wrong.
“Throw in the kitchen sink”: Janet learned to stay focused on one complaint at a time, rather than bringing up old grievances and making them part of the current discussion.
Dealing with conflict and learning good communication skills can take time, effort, and commitment, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. As Janet changed her approach to communicating with her brother, she saw their relationship become stronger, and she was able to focus more at work and function better in her life.