Communication as a Key to Connection

Communication is the key to healthy relationships.

Communication is the key to effective leadership.

Communication is the key to connection.

We all want connection, don’t we?

So I’m thinking a lot these days about the following “Midwest Mantras”

“Let go of the Poo”
“Be more like Pooh.” (the sweet bear)

And I’ll just add:
“Remember the good”
“Stay positive”
“Look ahead”
“Rinse and repeat.”

I’m coming to terms with the end of a 28-year relationship with my Beloved Husband.

I spent many months crying. Wailing on walks, sobbing on floors, choking on tears while driving (yikes!), raining boogers on my dogs until their fur was soaking wet and sticky, and collapsing on shoulders at doctors’ offices. Recently, I cried myself to sleep like a little kid.

I’m a former CEO and multiple business Founder. You’d think I could handle the end of a relationship.

Then I realized what the big bug up my butt was. What made me hound my Husband, send out mean newsletters, and act like a certified CRAZY person? I didn’t have a WHY.  

You know, the whole Simon Sinek thing.

I am a f-ing WILD woman when I don’t have my why!

WHY DID OUR RELATIONSHIP FAIL?

Communication. Communication with painful barbs and wires that cut and twisted and hurt. The feeling of being trapped in a situation that stung and resonated “unsafe.”

My Husband is a very smart person. He is not going to stay trapped and tangled for long. So he cut himself loose and forced me to as well. It was the “acceptance” phase that I wrote about in my last newsletter, which will burn with me in hell (I’m feeling like a bad, bad person for pushing ”send” on that one- more on that below).

First, let’s unpack the “communication puzzle”.

Outbound – Type
Feedback, and
Inbound – Listening

If it were that easy, we’d complete this puzzle in a second. Everyone would be happy in their relationships. We’d have world peace. Why is this so hard?

This puzzle is multi-dimensional and includes layers of complexity:

  • Verbal (written words), da doo doo da, da da da da
  • Verbal (spoken words), blah blah blah
  • Non verbal (energetics), buzzzzz
  • Nonverbal (body language), Talk to the hand, or HA!

This puzzle is important for all people in relationships to work on. It is essential for CEOs who act in many ways as the “ceremonial leaders” of their companies.

CEOs, C-suite folks, and all you leaders out there- listen up: This information is key to running your business.

But let’s talk more about me right now, because I’m the one with the broken heart. And I want to publicly take ownership for the following “mistakes” I made*:

  • Not getting the hype about communication type
  • Not shutting my pie hole
  • Not giving a hoot (so I could hear the woot woot)

*Mistakes are in quotes because many believe that there are no mistakes, only lessons. And I do believe that this is a quote from Robin Sharma.

1. WHAT’S THE HYPE ABOUT COMMUNICATION TYPE?

Specifically, ASYNCH communication can be tough.

ASYNCH (emails and texts) have no tone– you have no idea how someone will interpret your words.

SYNCH- a talk on the phone, a zoom call, BEST yet, an in-person meeting. You get tone, you can potentially read body language, and feel the energy.

My two cents if you have a relationship you care about: SYNCH up your communication.

Once you know this, you can do your best and communicate with your loved ones by showing up with love in the present moment (I’m practicing this skill every day!)

You can’t pull all the weight yourself, or communicate with people who refuse to:
1) show up at all,
2) show up and ruminate about the past (who said this? who did that? or
3) show up without love.

My mistake/failure was that I didn’t understand the communication type. I spent hours and days preparing audio files for my Husband that didn’t resonate (or he didn’t listen to). I held on to letters that he wrote me months ago that spoke of his undying love for me in the past.

And I hate to admit this because it came in the form of harsh advice from my mother. I was traveling abroad in the days before cell phones. I left my beloved dog (my fur baby, MacKenzie) in the care of multiple people, including my mother. I missed MacKenzie and worried about him during my trip. I excitedly called my mom from Kennedy airport when our plane landed and bubbled over when my mother answered.

Me: “Hi Mom! How’s MacKenzie!?”
Mother: Pause. “What are you talking about?”

Long. Silence.
Me. Heart stops. Breathing stops. WAAAAAAAAHHHH!

I don’t even remember what I said next because I was clearly out of my prefrontal cortex and working from my Amygdala (where I can be a real ASS– Amygdala Super Stimulated).

Yes, my mother had forgotten my dog who had been locked in the house for several days after the last caregiver left. I scrambled and found someone to come over right away. This was a paid dog sitter and started this crazy limiting belief “recording” in my head that said: “My family does not show up for me when I need help. I can only rely on paid help.”

But let’s not talk about that limiting belief just now. Let’s talk about what my mother said when I asked her about this event later. This event, even though it was over, became a trigger for me when my life as a “fur baby mom” morphed into a “human baby mom.” I don’t think I even knew it at the time, but I struggled with leaving the kids with my mom. I didn’t trust her. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it (the mistrust) was there, at a subconscious level.

Where does the “advice” come in from my mother?

When I finally asked her about leaving Mackenzie behind, my mother would not discuss the topic with me. When I brought it up, she said:

“What’s in the past, is in the past”.

Didn’t I just say above that this is a GOOD mindset when thinking about relationships? It is, but the relationship has to also feel safe.

2. SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE

In August of 2022, I had an NDE (Near Death Experience).

I “came back” and felt almost like a child unable to regulate her emotions. I felt a lot of anger over how things are in our society (the “system,” the “culture”?) and how it has played out in my own life as well as the broader society.

I was also in the middle of a bumpy ride through menopause. The icing on the cake of doom was an over-the-top stressful move involving toxic mold, arguments with my Husband over said mold, money, priorities, remediation, multiple moves, and not sleeping for weeks and months.

BOOM.

Maybe it was a “psychotic break.”

I’ve been evaluated by several MDs and a psychiatrist who told me I have: “A broken heart.”

I did receive “rejection” after “rejection” from my Husband, who had a change of heart after his previous love letters. Hmmmm… I wonder why???

After the NDE I was pretty volatile. I scared him.

Then we went our separate ways, and our protective parts took over. From a place of our protective parts working against each other, my Husband sent his (and I must admit, very thoughtful and heartfelt) rejection letters.

I went ballistic. I love this man to the moon and back. Please don’t abandon me.

I was a total ASS (Amygdala Seriously Simmering). My tears dried up and became bubbling anger, almost rage. I yelled and screamed. I said things I can’t take back.

The prescription may have best read: SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE

Is it too late?

That question leads to my next failure (not my final in any way shape or form, but for the purposes of this already long blog I’ll end with).

3. GIVE A HOOT, TO HEAR THE WOOT WOOT

Feedback weaves together the two people in the communication process.

In a vacuum without feedback, inbound communication sent at the wrong frequency will remain unseen/unheard. Issues and concepts won’t “resonate,” and communication efforts will not result in positive momentum.

Without momentum, the relationship between person A and person B is not sustainable. Yes, the partnership/symbiotic relationship/friendship/etc. will end.

Help your precious ones to tune into the station you’re at. Or, can you adjust where you’re at on the dial to break the static?

We’re all just light beings resonating at a frequency, right? Just kidding.

I am going to call feedback “Woot Woot”.

When I was a kid, there was a great ad campaign to clean up the planet: Give a hoot, don’t pollute.

Folks, please don’t pollute, and do clean up after yourselves. And know that having thoughtful, heartfelt FEEDBACK is part of an important equation for relationship peace and world peace while we’re at it.

My family was and is not used to me expressing emotion. My family of origin (mom, dad, sister) was more used to me being the tomboy and/or the “easy kid.” My nuclear family (Husband, daughter, son) was used to me suppressing my emotions/sweeping them under the rug. When things got difficult in our house, I often hid in the bathroom until the pain subsided.

Hiding my pain and stuffing down emotions IS NOT GIVING A HOOT!!!???

Whaaaaat??

Essentially, I became toxic from all those stuffed-down emotions. It’s just like polluting the planet and throwing garbage out the window. Gross!

I’ve lived in Latino cultures on and off throughout my life, from Chile as a baby to Spain in Highschool and college, Mexico during graduate school, and trips whenever I could take them.

Latinos don’t seem as afraid to express their emotions.

Aye, Carumba, the things my “mama” used to say. Every third word was “Coño.” I won’t get into what that means ¿Verdad?

No matter what language you speak or the culture you live in, it TAKES TWO to communicate.

My emotional outbursts were synched, but not appreciated or understood. My Husband did not like the emotional me, the “volatile” version.

After him not wanting to work it out, we retreated to our separate worlds.

This retreat left our previously common world (“US”) without protection. Without the “holding of it” energetically, our common world crumbled and dissolved.

Periodically our common world would revolve around the dogs we once shared.  (I have had Abby and Chewy since our initial separation in August). During dog-centered reunions, I made futile attempts to inject fun, connection, and romantic love into the limited synch time with my Husband.

It’s a New Year, and it’s finally time to move on to a new love of my life: ME.

While I’m really excited to get going on my 2023 intentions of STAY and PLAY, I do need to clean up my emotional slate.  That means:

1) grieving and accepting the loss of my relationship with my Husband of 28 years, which was a relationship based on the old “patriarch” model. As I grieve and accept, I contemplate the 12th step in the 12-step process:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to (alcoholics- in my case those who are or may suffer greatly from a hurtful/addicted relationship paradigm) and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

2) listening to my body for guidance (telling me it is time for me to rest and receive), and

3) finding a path forward toward happiness. 

Ultimately, I need to not and never abandon myself.  Does that ring true for you as well?

On my desk, I have this quote from a book someone recently lent me:

“When we see love as the will to nurture one’s own or another spiritual growth revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love in our life is the same. There is no special love exclusively reserved for romantic partners. Genuine love is the foundation of our engagement with ourselves, with family, with friends, with partners, and with everyone, we choose to love. While we will behave differently depending on the nature of a relationship, or have varying degrees of commitment, the values that inform our behavior, when rooted in a love affair, are always the same for any interaction.”

Both parties must show up in the present moment while also being brave. 

How will I communicate better with myself:

My new morning routine involves mirror work. This is a new type of exercise for me, and it has been transformative.

I believe that the current cultural relationship paradigm is broken. We are in a transition phase where self-care and self-love are going to be what saves many of us. 

As for the “patriarchal model of marriage,” — I hope to be part of a movement to take that old model down.

Let’s create a new model for generations to come. I want future relationships to involve more pleasure and less pain. 

Fewer expectations.  Better communication.

Little to no ASYCH disasters.

As for those “texts” and “emails” to your romantic partner, unless it is about logistics, STOP IT!

In 2023 let’s all communicate even better. It will take courage. 

Happy New Year

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