Undefended Communication in Relationships

Communication where no one needs to be defensive or to be made wrong. Learn the skills for a healthy relationship.

Video Transcript
Hello, my name is Sevin Philips. I’m here to talk about a way of being in a relationship where nobody needs to defend themselves and nobody needs to be made wrong for anything, but it’s a really open relationship where you get to have an experience, have a feeling. You can feel hurt by your partner and you can bring it to each other without defending it, deflecting it, pushing it away.

Oftentimes I think in relationships when somebody has been hurt and “you hurt me when…” and the person tells their partner and the other person goes, “I only did that because you do this.” Or it wasn’t like that or “I only meant this by that,” or there’s some way of explaining it. There are all kinds of ways in which we don’t actually receive what person is saying and they have a right to have that experience, whether you did anything wrong or not.

It’s not about whether you did anything wrong. What matters most is the person is having a feeling and they’re hurt through the one you love. So the first thing that I recommend is that if you’re hurt and you want to share this with your partner, don’t come at them pointing fingers but come in a very vulnerable way, first of all.

On the receiving side, when somebody comes with an experience I want everyone to first consider the fact they might have taken a part in it. “Hey, I get hurt when I come home and you do this to me and it’s been happening a lot lately.” What I want to hear from the other person when they hear that is, “Wow, I had no idea. Let me think about that. Maybe I have been in a bad mood. Maybe I have been treating you poorly; I don’t know. Let me think about that.”

What’s so powerful about that is you’re considering the fact that it might be true. How respectful is that? How loving is that? How would that feel if somebody did that for you? It feels pretty amazing.

First of all, you’re not telling the person that they’re wrong for having that experience; and second, you’re humble enough to consider that you may have taken part in some sort of painful behavior, some sort of consequence that your partner is receiving on the other end. This kind of open teamwork environment is a very healing, amazing place to have a relationship.
Just because you’re considering whether or not you did something to somebody doesn’t mean you’re saying that it’s your fault. I think many times people think that someone is making it their fault, and by even considering it, they’re agreeing that maybe I did something wrong, so we’re into this whole “what I did” or “what I didn’t do.” The thing that I’m talking about here in a relationship is just being open to the fact that you may have done something intentional or not. It doesn’t matter whether you intended it, just to be aware that you may be affecting somebody in a way that’s painful and examining it.

If both people can do this it’s a very safe place to be in a relationship. Things get healed really quickly and then you don’t get involved in this continuing to hurt one another and dismissing the fact that it’s happening.

I hope this helps. Have a conversation with your partner if you’d like to create something like this in your relationship. Go ahead and try it out. Thanks.