What Are The Devastating Effect of Communication Withholds?
And What Do We Do About Them?
The longer you live, the more you will hopefully realize that your relationships are your most precious resource. Most of the time, people treat their relationships like a throw away can of beer. They’re unaware of the actions and patterns that damage their relationships, often beyond repair and they’re equally oblivious to the readily available resources that will nurture and support their relationships allowing them to thrive. The saddest part of this is that it often impacts the most important relationships in your life and the people you love most deeply.
My aim here is to awaken you to one of the most damaging patterns in all relationships. I’m going to focus on the devastating effect of communication withholds and what to do about them. A withhold is something that needs to be expressed but is not communicated. It is withheld. There are countless “reasons” why people don’t communicate what’s going on for them but regardless of the specifics, the underlying issue is fear.
Communicating your truth, especially your feelings, can be scary. A typical thought process might be: What if… she becomes angry at me? What if… he rejects me and leaves me? What if… my boss gets angry and fires me. The list of reasons for not communicating or sharing your experiences—thoughts and feelings, are numerous.
Most of the time it feels much safer to let things slide by and not “rock the boat”. You might rationalize the situation, saying to yourself something like, “it’s not that big a deal”. While one single instance may not be a big deal, the continued pattern of withholding over time can build up and indeed become a very big deal.
The most important awareness to gain about withholds is how damaging they are even when they seem insignificant. When you don’t communicate your truth with someone important to you, the consequence almost always will be some form of “distancing” with that person.
Let’s say you borrow money from someone and you’re unable to pay them back when you had planned to to so. You’re embarrased and now dreading telling them about your circumstances. You’re even more scared about them asking you about it and having to tell them you don’t have the money.
So what’s the most natural consequence of this situation? There’s a good possibility you’ll start to avoid this person. You might not call them or see them with the same level of frequency you usually do or you might steer your conversation away from finances. In short, you will likely “tiptoe around the tulips” and not realize the “price” you’re paying for not telling the truth and resolving the matter openly. Sometimes the resolution of the issue can be simple and relatively painless yet the inclination to withhold is still often very strong.
Not realizing the downside of withholding, you will tend to continue the withholding pattern even to the point of damaging the trust level with the person. The most obvious and extreme case of communication withholding is marital infidelity. The reason is pretty obvious: there is so much at stake. Yet, when the truth does come out in the open, what does the person on the other side usually say? Something like “what hurts me the most (beyond your unfaithfulness) was your continued hiding the truth from me”.
It definitely takes courage to tell the truth about sensitive matters. There are two keys to harnessing the inner strength and courage to express your truth and feelings. One is being clear about the downside of withholding it AND the second is learning HOW withholds can be communicated in a safe, effective and mutually empowering manner.
Fortunately, a method exists for communicating withholds that does all this and more. What makes this method so powerful is the “safe container” it provides for your communication. I can virtually guarantee that using this method will clear the air and bring you and the other person much closer together. It will make it much easier to resolve even long standing issues and help the two of you to resolve differences and different approaches or viewpoints.
So how can you get your hands on this powerful Withhold Exercise? Glad you asked! It is available when you schedule a complimentary Discovery Session.
I look forward to assisting you in transforming all your relationships! Please post your comments below.