Most of the people I have worked with came from families that did not have an established process or method of safely disagreeing with each other and finding resolution. 
Over the years I have found that listening is rare and when a client tells me that they have never felt heard before it is a compliment and also sad. The experience of feeling heard and accepted is extremely healing and begs the question, “Why don’t we listen?” 
Having the experience of being heard and accepted by a stranger can be deeply satisfying and when you are heard and understood by one who hurt you it can be transformative. 
We rarely listen to understand, we listen to respond, correct, deny, deflect, invalidate or to be right but not to understand. When I began working with families, often with two or three generations in the room, the absence of listening, understanding and resolution became obvious. 
Emotions are often treated as weak and are to be crushed rather than learned from. Children are often sent to their rooms if they are going to cry or they will be given something to cry about. 
If your parents can’t deal with their emotions it is unlikely that yours will be considered in any other way. When two people become partners and they are from different backgrounds, the biggest difference is going to be in how they deal with upsets. 
Do emotions get expressed? Loudly? Suppressed? Is it okay to be upset and work through it? Is it uncouth to raise your voice? Is it dangerous and scary when voices get raised? Is it time to walk away? 
One reason to not listen that I have run into many times is the idea that if I understand you, I will have to agree with you. And I’m not going to give in. Understanding does not necessarily mean you agree, however it does give a basis to find agreement and the possibility of even better solutions. 
Look for Part Two coming soon! 
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