“They never talk to me”, is the most common complaint I hear from codependents about their marriage partner.
I find this especially sad, because this person rarely sees how deep and tragic their wound.
This subject is so sad, I can hardly bear writing about it. How many children are left lonely with no one they really feel they can talk to? A huge problem in our time-poor, addicted society at large.
The Codependent’s Gap With Conversation Skills
Codependence begins with a child taking care of a self-centred (and usually drug-addicted or alcoholic) parent. Let’s consider what conversation this child (was it you?) was subjected to.
Their mum (or dad) may have sat home drinking (or taking other drugs), feeling rejected or abandoned by their spouse, while the child was used as little more than a dumping ground for this parent’s selfish mind states and self-indulgent monologues.
Many times this parent may have accused the child of not talking to them (just like the absent spouse) when really it was the parent who was leaving no real possibility for genuine conversation.
The child was probably also told how ‘special’ and important they were. For being themselves?
No—you guessed it—they were special for taking care of their parent and listening to them complain.
What level of conversation skills does a codependent learn (or fail to learn) from this experience?
- To look for people they can dump their problems on?
- To expect attention and sympathy when in their worst mind states?
- That blaming and complaining is a normal conversation?
- That it requires being drunk, stoned, or otherwise intoxicated to really open up?
It amazes me the amount of time and money people will put into their appearance, while never considering, what comes out of their mouth is really what gives their relationships life and depth.
If you wish your partner talked to you more, I wonder if there are skills you are lacking that might help?
Narcissists are Experts at Dodging!
Narcissistic individuals have usually learned poor conversation skills growing up too, generally more in the realm of knowing how to lie to get away from an emotionally demanding parent. “Yeah sure mum, I cleaned my room . . . you are the best, I will see you later.”
This, while their codependent sister or brother sat at home ‘taking care’ of mum (or dad) because dad (or mum) isn’t home (again) or has left permanently.
Do you begin to see how this pattern plays out in families over-and-over again?
In this series, I am going to tackle the enormous gap left in the lives of people who grew up in this type of dysfunctional home.
How many hours each week do you spend on your appearance? Do you work out at the gym? Visit the hairdressers? Buy clothes? Put creams and potions on your face, nails and lashes?
I wonder, is there just one of these routines you might swap for working on having better conversation skills?
I personally have a wound in this area and so addressing this gap in myself took time and courage. My conversation skills are still a work in progress, but together I know we can help each other stay on track.
As always I have collected the best research and information I can find on this subject and today want to leave you with these challenges to get started . . .
Better Conversation Intro – Exercises to get you started. Please make sure you are logged in.
In Part 1 of this series, I will share some simple and super easy to use techniques (you can begin using right away) that will draw people out in conversation and get them to quickly connect with you on a deeper and more intimate level.
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