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The Elephant in the Room

Is there an issue that you haven’t been able to talk about with others in your life?

Hi, everybody. It’s Jasmyne with Relate Family Therapy in Centennial, Colorado. What do you do when there’s an elephant in the room? People often ask me in session, “How do I deal with something that I know will affect my relationship and make it super uncomfortable for me when I know that maybe the person won’t react in the best way?” It can often eat at people, and really tear relationships apart and create avoidance, and make them feel like they don’t want to spend time together because they haven’t addressed this elephant in the room. When there comes a time where there’s maybe something you don’t want to address or something that really feels uncomfortable, before you bring it up, ask what the benefit will be for taking it on. In some relationships there are elephants that just really aren’t worth taking on. If you do, you may not get along or be able to talk to that person for a long time, or they might cut you off for whatever reason. Unfortunately, those things happen, and when you know that person might react that way, it might take a little bit of extra time or care in order to decide whether or not you want to address it. But, generally speaking, if there’s something that’s uncomfortable and you feel like you, ultimately, need to bring it up, deciding what means you want to do that by, and what you want to get out of the conversation with them in the end, and knowing that might not happen are the best ways to start. Taking on that elephant might mean saying upfront, “You know, I’m really uncomfortable with this, and I don’t want to talk to you because I know that you’re uncomfortable with it too, but I think it’s just something that we need to address. And, if we do, we might be able to improve our relationship (or whatever’s going on).” Take on that elephant in the room and see where it takes your relationship.
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