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🔓 Cracking the Communication Code with 4 Questions 🔓

Updated: Jun 13

Communication sounds simple, right? Just talk and listen. 


But for many couples, that’s where things get completely stuck.


When communication breaks down, it can feel like you're hitting a brick wall, leaving you frustrated and hopeless. 


Reflective listening can be incredibly helpful, making sure each partner feels heard and understood. 


But let’s face it, reflective listening is rarely enough, especially for neurodiverse couples. 


To break through your communication walls, you need to dig deeper and ask yourself some though-provoking questions.


Here are four crucial questions to continually ask yourself:


1. 🤔 How have I been complicit in creating the communication patterns that I say I don’t want?


There's a difference between being “complicit” and being “responsible”. Complicit means you're playing a part, even unintentionally, in creating the situations you claim to dislike. You might be doing things you say you don’t want, but in some way, these actions serve you. 


Do you know what this might be? Think about it.


Are you trying to protect yourself in some way?


Having a hidden agenda can create chaos in our communication, making it difficult to break free from negative cycles. 


2. 🗣️ What am I not saying that needs to be said? 🗣️


Do you hold back important feelings and thoughts because you fear your partner's reaction?


One way to reduce this fear is by using a "soft start"—actually asking permission to say something that may be hard to hear. 


Ask your partner to listen and promise not to respond for at least an hour. 


Sometimes, even when it feels safe talk, it may still be really hard to figure out what you want to say. This is especially true for our neurodiverse partners who may not be “tuned in” to themselves. 


Meanwhile, allistic partners may be so worried about keeping everyone else happy that you’ve lost track of your own needs. 


Taking the time to deeply reflect on what is truly important to you can change your world. It can help you feel like you matter. 


3. 👂 What am I saying that’s not being heard? 👂


Ever feel like you’re talking, but your partner isn’t listening? 


First, focus on how you are saying what you're saying. 


Are you speaking calmly and clearly, or are your words dripping with frustration and hopelessness? 


Work on soothing yourself enough so you’re not in a triggered state of mind and body.


Instead of pointing out what they’re doing wrong, try focusing on your own feelings and experiences.


Expressing your internal thoughts can lower defenses and open your partner to really hear you. 


4. 🧏 What’s being said that I’m not hearing? 🧏


Listening is a gift. It means setting aside your own agenda for a moment to truly enter the other person’s world. 


Take some time to reflect on everything your partner is trying to tell you. 


Is there a deeper message beneath all the words they are saying?


Does a complaint about dishes in the sink really mean that your partner feels overwhelmed at the end of the day and needs someone to notice all the work that gets done? 


By staying curious about what is being said, even if you disagree, you show respect and validation for your partner’s feelings and thoughts, breathing new life into the relationship.


📝 Start the Deeper Work of Communication 📝


The deeper work of a couple's communication begins with you and a piece of paper (or keypad!) Here’s an exercise to get started:


1. Answer these four questions honestly: 

Take some time alone to reflect on each question. Write down your answers thoughtfully and thoroughly.


2. Share your answers with your partner: 

Set aside a quiet time to discuss your reflections. Make sure to carefully listen to each other. Say back what you are hearing but don’t respond. Save that for later. 


3. Get expert help: 

Breaking through years of stuck communication is tough to do alone. To work through challenges, consider seeing one of our neuro-informed clinicians. They can provide expert guidance and support on this journey.


For more transformative insights and neuro-informed support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you navigate and strengthen your relationship. 



Until next time,

 

Harry

Dr. Harry Motro, LMFT, Clinical Director

Founder Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center


 

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