Circuits can be opened or closed. Although it seems backwards in a way, a closed circuit is the one that is considered complete and functional. There’s a complete connection — a continuous loop, powered by a battery. It would be really cool if the open circuit is the one that worked. That way, it would parallel the idea of open communication. But consider this…
Maybe communication is better when it is “closed.” Let’s define “closed” as focused and intentional. All parties expressing, but staying focused on the need at hand…not bringing up skeletons from the past or terrifying visions of the future or taking blame or projecting fault, etc. The communication is powered by the issue at hand without overload and without the wires getting bent from the pull of any of the parties losing focus of the issue because of pride or fear or defensiveness.
I educate my younger clients about communication with a large rubber band. Effective communication is represented by a circle. When the rubber band gets “tugged” one way or the other, the rubber band begins to change shape and form sides. With my older clients, I address the dysfunctional triangle of communication and focus on how to change the communication back to a circle. A circuit.
Sometimes we get too focused on our roles in a relationship and we forget about actually communicating. We want someone to read our mind and nonverbals, or maybe we want to be able detect those same things in others so we don’t have to try to form a new understanding — or, “worse”, experience confrontation or disagreement. Or maybe we get to a certain point and the issue is left open because it may seem too painful to continue. Now, here we are with an open circuit — not functional and not complete.
Counseling can really benefit this part of the relationship because you have a neutral party pointing out where the bends and overloads in the circuit are happening. The “overload” is too much other stuff being brought in. The “bends” can be thought of as faulty thoughts or beliefs — influenced by a number of factors. The point is to improve communication, not take sides — since the “sides” are actually hampering the flow. No blame, no judgment, just observations. We discuss tools that help us insulate against shock (since shock is usually a part of circuit work). Let’s define “insulate” as something like boundaries.
Maybe you have a triangle (or rectangle or hexagon or octagon!)? Let’s start addressing the issues and learn how to be real about what’s going on, what’s needed, and some options. We can work together to smooth out the bends, decrease the painful shocks, and get connected!!