Have any of you tried using "I messages" instead of "you messages" when communicating with your ADD Partner / Spouse?
A "you message" would be : You really need to learn clean up after yourself because you are a slob .
An "I message would" be: I feel like I have to do a lot of cleaning and It would really help me you would pick up your dirty socks.
10-10-04, 01:18 PM
I have been trying to change the way that I tell my ADD husband things. In stead of it sounding like I am accusing him of things, I have been trying to say things like " I feel this way when you do .........". Doing it this way has cut down on a lot of arguements.
Absolutely. It works great. There are still arguments, but they tend to work out is a more constructive way.
10-13-04, 01:03 PM
I need to work on this. It's hard to change my communication methods when I'm upset, or when I'm distracted with something. I need to post a note on the fridge... :)
Okay, I know this is an older thread, but I wanted to jump in here.
For months now I have been working on using more "I" statements with my ADD boyfriend. I try to phrase things as respectfully and gently as possible, using statements like the example above, "I feel like I have to do a lot of cleaning and It would really help me you would pick up your dirty socks."
The result has been very frustrating and I am confused! I wonder if I'm not communicating properly. He responds with anger saying things like, "you, you, you, it's all about you - your needs, what you want, what would help *you*".
He says that he feels bombarded by my needs.
I really don't say things like this often (You know, things like "I feel like I have to do a lot of cleaning and It would really help me you would pick up your dirty socks.") Maybe I'll ask for something like that once or twice per week, as things come up. It's a frustrating dynamic. I'm not sure what I can do differently.
12-31-04, 02:47 AM
I googled "I statements" to see if I could get you some more information about this. It is an effective communication tool, but, like any other tool, one needs to learn how to use it. One of these articles suggested practicing "I" statements to yourself for a week before trying them out in a real-life scenario.
This method seems deceptively simple, but, it really takes a lot of self-awareness to "own" the problem and refrain from demanding change or trying to control others. (i'm speaking from personal experience!)
Here is a quick break down of the "I" statement formula from Victory Over Violence (http://www.vov.com/exercises/istatement.html). Think about who owns the problem (whose problem is it?)
If I am bothered, that is my problem
If you are bothered, that is your problem
If we care about each other's feelings, or if the other may be prompted into action that affects both, it is our problem
Describe "I" statements as being made up of three parts:
because ... (the focus is on my feelings).
So, according to this format, a more effective "I" statement is, "When you leave your dirty socks on the floor I feel annoyed because then I have to pick them up myself." or keep it short and sweet, "I feel annoyed when you leave your dirty socks on the floor."
This next article is a pretty long and, to be honest, I skimmed it, but, it looks like it's very in depth and if you want more information this looks like a good place to start. "I" messages for expressing feelings. Accepting responsibility for your feelings. (http://mentalhelp.net/psyhelp/chap13/chap13g.htm)
Darla, I hope this has helped clarify this communication tool a bit. I have found in my own relationship that if I view an issue my husband has as "his", or he views a problem as "mine" -- then we both lose. Our relationship runs most smoothly when we "care enough about each others feelings" to work together to find some common ground.
I think it's great to look to what you can change about the way you can communicate more effectively. You seem very determined to give 110% to your relationship. I can understand how frustrating it must be to seemingly get so little back. It seems though that you are learning a lot about yourself and that's sure to pay off in the long run!