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Turning Off Your Filter
  • We all learn various communication habits early on in life. Communication patterns emerge based on our upbringing, culture, and a myriad of other experiences we encounter. Due to these factors, certain responses to situations can be “programmed” without actually being analyzed to see if the reaction is fair and accurate for the present situation. I call this a listening filter. This occurs when something someone says to you goes through a kind of preconceived filter before actually getting to you. When this happens a host of different problems can materialize. First, you typically aren’t hearing what your partner is actually saying because your filter is misconstruing the context. Second, your response may not actually indicate what “you” are trying to say or feel.
  • There are a host of these kinds of filters that typically stem from certain fears such as, “If they do X, they must not love me” or “getting upset with me means they are unhappy and might leave me” and so on.
  • Let me give you a condensed example. Let’s say in a past relationship (or even one you’ve just seen or been exposed to, like a parental relationship) one partner frequently leaves the other in order to pursue self-interests. This causes a strain on the relationship because the other partner starts to feel lonely and unimportant. This leads to arguments and upsets and eventually this relationship ends.
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