a life in perfect balance

rebecca chapman  - relationship whisperer

Do you get called “Pinchy?”

I recently moved from a big city to a really small country town in Queensland Australia and my house is about 5 minutes from a beach. Chances are, when I've written this  that that's where I am. Feet in the sand, staring at the ocean and working out whether or not I want to go in. Strange thing here is that the water is really warm - like a bath. To be honest - it can feel a bit creepy on your skin. So - I don't always go in.
I'll have food on my clothes for absolute sure and my care factor about that is a big ZERO.



I’m starting to think it’s a week where I’m being far more controversial than I ever ever am.

I just be feeling “pinchy” – that’s my partner’s term when I’m not as easygoing as I normally am. Just maybe I may pick fights.

Anyways – my last email was about how I thought the first Top Gun was better than Maverick.  There I said it.  But I’m guessing that I’m so old that a lot of people watching Maverick haven’t actually seen Top Gun at the movies…just at home on DVD or streamed.  Seeing it at the movies when it first came out was amazing – and I thought the cast was more charismatic.  

Anyways – today’s topic of contention is Active Listening.

It’s a psychological term that means that when one person says something in a conversation – the other person rephrases it, and repeats it back to the other person.


I have to fess up here and say that some of it is because of my past.  When I was 15 (in the 80’s just when this became popular) my mother was doing some relationship counselling course and every single thing that came out of my mouth was repeated back to me.  But with a fake tone of understanding.

Me;  “I want to stay out later.”
Her:  “I hear that you want to stay out later and you think we are being unreasonable.”
Me: “You ARE being unreasonable.”
Her: “I hear that you believe you think we are being unreasonable.  I also sense hostility towards me.”
Me: (In my head) – “Of course, I’m f$$king hostile about a curfew of 7:30 pm (yep) – but I’m totally pissed off that you are repeating everything back to me and behaving like a stupid therapist when I need a mother.”

When she started using it on every single person she met I wanted to sink into the ground and become a hobbit.

“I hear that you don’t want mashed potatoes for dinner.”
“I hear that you do not have any velour tops at your store.”
“I hear that you want me to pay 17cents for my item.”
“I hear that you need more toilet paper to wipe your bum.”

Seriously – I’m cringing as I write this.

In a relationship it might sound like this:

A: I get angry when I cook dinner and you come home late from work.
B: Did I understand correctly that you get angry when you prepared dinner but I arrive home late from work?

Are you with me yet?

In a study by Gottman Research Centre, they found that those who practised active listening weren’t able to diminish their problems. Only a small group managed to practice with success but relapsed after a year.

That’s because the conversation becomes intellectual, stilted and clinical.

I can repeat back Polish to my partner without understanding a word of it.

Empathy – is a whole different thing from understanding or repeating back words.

In his lab, Gottman found that happy couples don’t practice traditional active listening.

As you can imagine – I’m with Gottman.

Instead, they make use of a lot of “positive affect”.

For example, when an issue arises, they show affection like gentle physical touch or holding the other person’s hand. Other than just paraphrasing, they show genuine empathy by acknowledging the other’s feelings and truly apologizing if they felt they did wrong.

You need to find out the best way to show empathy to your partner.  And it changes for every single person. 

This is a skill. But so easy to learn once the right conversations are had.

Let’s throw active listening into the trash and find out the best way you can both feel heard and supported.

Are you scared to voice what you want and need in case you get rejected?

Does the thought of having this conversation make your tummy drop to the floor?

If you’ve tried many things to help your relationships that simply haven’t worked…I can help.

But most importantly, if you’ve been feeling the pull to have me by your side as your mentor, and you’re ready for deep support as you find your answer to “should I stay or should I go”…click below to book your first session.

We’ll use an intuitive and solution-based method to get you sorted.

I can’t wait to be your wingman.

Chat tomorrow

P.S.  I hear you saying that you think that the new Top Gun Maverick is great and just as good as the original. ;P
Rebecca Chapman - A Life in Perfect Balance
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