Getting Your Point AcrossBy Dr. Margaret Paul
May 25, 2015
What happens in your relationships when you try to get your point across to someone who isn't open to your point of view?
One of the situations that often creates relationship conflict is when you become devoted to getting your point across.
Most of us love to be heard and understood. It feels great when someone important to us really understands things from our point of view.
Too often, however, we are trying to get our point across in order to have control over the other person. The thinking of the wounded self is, "If only I can get this person (my partner, friend, parent, child and so on) to understand this from my point of view, then he or she will change and do what I want them to do.
"What do you do when the other person out-talks you and you can't defend yourself? I am a soft spoken person and a thinker, and this is very frustrating to me because often, very emotional people raise their voices and won't give me a chance to explain my reasons. Then they write me off as complaining. Also, there are those that don't take my feelings seriously. How do I get across my point to them? Or should I even try?"
Ashley, you might want to explore what your intent is in trying to get your point across to them. What are you hoping for? Are you trying to get their approval or their agreement?
In the situations you are describing, it sounds like everyone is in their wounded self. They want you to hear them and you want them to hear you. It's likely that none of you are hearing yourselves or each other, or taking loving care of yourselves.
You ask if you should try. There is no point in trying when the other person is not open to hearing your point of view. We do not hear each other unless we are open and interested in hearing another's explanations and reasons. So it's a waste of time and energy to explain your reasons to people who are not open, and it's important for you to recognize that you are also not open when you are focused on explaining and trying to get your point across.
"My family of origin is both blaming and shaming, very opinionated without wanting to hear my take on things. Mostly I just shut up, but then get mad at myself for doing so. I feel like I can't do or say anything right around them. They do put up a good argument. With other people, I am okay. It's important to me that I have my own back and state my opinions with the family. What is your advice?"
Bonnie, the same things I said to Ashley apply to you. I understand you wanting to have your back with your family, but since they don't want to hear your take on things, having your back means compassionately accepting your helplessness over them and letting go of expecting them to hear your take on things.
I know it's hard to let go of being seen, heard and understood by people who are important to you, but part of being a loving adult means that you are in reality regarding whether or not someone is open to seeing, hearing and understanding you. The wounded self believes that if we say it enough times, or loud enough, or say it 'right', we will finally be heard, but this is a big false belief.
What would you do differently if you fully accepted that you have no control over whether another person is open to seeing, hearing and understanding your point of view? You would probably feel the grief of this disconnection, but you would also be more capable of focusing on taking loving care of yourself in the face of their being closed, rather than continuing to bang your head against their wall.
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