How can you use journaling to heal difficult relationships?
Can this tool even be used successfully?
It can be used to address unforgiveness especially in past relationships where there have been things left unsaid, grievances which have just been left unresolved. Writing unsent letters are perfect for getting all that needs to be said in a safe way. No one interrupts your train of thought and you can write exactly what you feel.
This is helpful when the other person is not in your life due to distance or no longer alive.
But what about difficult relationships with people you either live with or have daily contact. Can unsent letters help heal the misunderstandings, the miscommunications, the pain and hurt that these create?
Of course, the technique works in the same way. You get to say what you want without interruptions and you finally get to explain what it is you want them to understand.
But, what if what you want is not just getting your point across? What if what you want is validation for who you are, what you are about and a deeper understanding.
Communication is a vital part of us being human. Even without words we find ways to communicate our needs, through body language, facial expressions etc. Animals communicate with each other, through their unique body language and calls. As I am writing this now I can hear a crow, with its unique croaky call. It isn’t just random, it means something to other crows may be even to other birds and animals.
Without communication there would be chaos, imagine if there were no road signs or traffic lights, or train timetables. These are all forms of communication. We need to have a basic understanding of what is being conveyed so that we can move along in life.
Why is human communication so difficult? Oh we can talk, we can sign, we can write and gesture and especially in our 21st century life, we can text, video chat, etc. but why is there so much miscommunication and misunderstanding?
Can you imagine what will happen if two dogs miss the signals from each other? There seems to be a protocol, when two dogs meet. They sniff each other and allow this so that they can read information about each other. If this process is allowed then depending what is presented there is a flow of energy information which the dogs respect. One dog may be more assertive the other submissive and their posture will show this. Fights usually happen for reasons involving fear, hunger, protection or territorial. But signals are given off clearly to warn the other first of all.
Do we give these signals too? Yes of course. We use our body language in the same way. Is this what is being picked up first and affecting the other’s response? Is there more to do with the energy of the other that affects our responses too?
There is also the case of perception. We see things as we are or as we have experienced the world. It is interesting to realise that we are all living in our own little realities and our brain has to decipher what is being sent to it through our senses. It is no easy feat as there are so many other distractions, of noise pollution, past experiences stored as memories, fixed habits that have been hard wired in our brains and also the question of genetics.
It is amazing that we actually understand anything that is being said to us at all. It is like we are these little universes maneuvering within a vast cosmos with our own agendas, understandings and protocols. We learn the general ones from young but what is right for me may not be right for you.
Yet, like animals we have a genetic blueprint where we are basically programmed to seek out other people for our protection and love. Humans are born dependent where our needs must be met by our caregivers. If our little signals are missed by them then we suffer. We cry for a reason as babies, we are either hungry, thirsty, hot or cold or need a hug. What if our crying is seen as a nuisance? what if our mother is suffering depression, or our father is tired and mostly at work so doesn’t know the different types of crying. What if we are not cared for because we are orphans, abused or unwanted?
Whereas an animal is born with a genetic blueprint to get up and run soon after birth. To stay close to its parent and learn from its parent’s actions. Humans learn through nurture, care and love. The communication a baby receives in the form of care, nourishment and love is how they are set for life.
Words are important but they are not what sets us for good or bad communication. Words let others know what we need as we grow. Our adults can give us what we need or withhold it. Our adults can show interest in what we are saying or ignore us. Our adults can praise us or criticise us. These are are stored in our brains, in our cells, in our soul.
We can communicate in the world, but what we understand is what is inside us. We are a product of what we have experienced, what we feel and what we think we are meant to be.
Even counsellors who learn active listening and practice this with their clients are still coming from their own understanding and experiences. But have learned skills which may not come naturally, like non-judgment, empathy, open – mindedness. They still have to reflect on their understanding and have supervision to clear any misunderstandings or discomfort they feel.
So, back to the question, can we use journaling to heal miscommunications with difficult relationships?
Yes, by addressing your inner child. You need to heal the child that is confused, feels unloved and misunderstood. You can write a letter to your little 4 year old self, or even younger and you can give him/her the love, understanding you feel you never received. You can be your own adult now. You can give that child the time,the validation and love you feel you never received.
After the writing, reflect on what you have written. Can you see why you may react in a particular way when you are not listened to, or understood? Write down what comes up. if nothing comes don’t worry. You may need to do this a couple of times over a period of time.
You can leave that for a day or two and then write one to your caregivers.
Write to their 4 year old self. They are coming from a place of miscommunication too. You can be their adult, give them the understanding and love that they may not have had. You can thank them for their traits that you deem as positive and passed on to you. You can even forgive them for not knowing any different.Again write a reflection on your writing and see what comes up.
But this is not addressing the miscommunication with the difficult person in question who may not be the caregivers.
No, it doesn’t seem so does it?
Leave it for a day or two and write an unsent letter to the person you are having miscommunications with. How do you feel about them now? Reflect in your writing about any little bits of awareness.
If you like to know anymore about writing to heal, please get in touch. I can help you through the process of writing to heal whether it is relationships, depression or dealing with an illness.
#depression, #relationships, #writing, #healing, #inner child, #forgiveness