Notice How You Listen To Your Addicted Loved One
Listening is highly underrated when it comes to the impact it has on our relationships. In fact, the way you listen to your addicted loved one has the power to change how you respond to them and how that response works to empower and support their ability to make wise choices. Here are three ways of listening and how each affects a different experience of relating. Each represents a movement from minimal listening, to genuine interest to listening for depth or wisdom.
Listening from Preconception
Examples of this are listening from judgment, assumption or expectation. You are coming to listening with pre-formed ideas of what is true often based on past experience. You have an opinion about what should happen, how the conversation should go and what’s true about the person or situation. Preconception makes it impossible for you to truly hear what the other person is saying because your attention is consumed by the prepared thoughts of your mind. The impact this has on the person being listened to can be any of the following: a feeling of resistance, a blocking of the communication, a sense of being unheard, withdrawing or getting defensive.
Listening from Curiosity
This is listening with real interest. You want to hear what the other person has to say because you value them, their thoughts and experience. You want to understand their process, what their internal experience is, maybe how they make decisions, etc. “What makes them tick?” It is listening from a place of anticipation about what your will learn. The person being listened to experiences a feeling of being seen, acknowledged, validated. It encourages honesty, openness and connection. There is a mutual respect and ease that is transmitted between listener and the person sharing.
Listening from Depth
To listen in this way requires being connected to a deeper part of your-self. Some call it your intuition or your sense of knowing. It is being less interested in the content of what your loved one is saying and more to what they aren’t saying. Sometimes it is listening for the tone of their voice or having a felt sense of what they are trying to convey beyond their words. Another way of saying this would be listening from your heart. Your heart more than any other organ can notice subtleties and nuances present in another’s communication or when wisdom or truth is present. In this form of listening your loved one feels met and received for who they truly are beyond their addiction. It acknowledges them as whole and capable of change. This is the kind of listening that heals.
The way you listen is one of the most important aspects of how you relate to your loved one. So, take some time to become aware of how you listen. Get a friend or partner to practice or experiment with these styles of listening. Notice how you feel with each encounter. This will give you a direct experience of the impact of your listening and will be a motivator for making any adjustments. The result will be an improvement in the quality of your relationship with your addicted loved one and will add another dimension to your wise caring.
If you want to learn more about Deep Listening and the Wise Caring approach, please go to the contact page and sign up for a free 30 minute consultation.