Miscommunication en Masse
The gun control debate that is coming back out of hibernation as a result of last week’s tragedy is an interesting case in point from the perspective of a couples therapist. So much of the trouble I encounter in the therapy room is due to partners addressing the issue on their own mind instead of the issue on the other’s mind. John is angry about Marsha’s spending habits; Marsha feels unloved; and neither one is speaking to the problem that the other sees.
Of course, there are those who oppose gun control because they believe some of the laws being pushed will actually lead to more violence. There are those who support some gun laws without suggesting that trying to outlaw guns in general is a good idea. But those voices, unfortunately, are the quiet ones. Instead of meaningful dialogue between sincere people who want to make the world a better place, we have large-scale shouting matches between extremists on both sides.
If John could speak to Marsha’s fears and Marsha could address John’s financial concerns, they would likely see a lot of progress. That’s often an important part of the work I do with couples. Now if only I could get the pro- and anti-gun control groups in a room together…