How to Communicate

"How does this go from discussion to fight?" Dr. Phil asks David and Claudia.

"It's the difference between intent and execution," Claudia says. "I have an intent in mind, he has an intent in mind, and the execution doesn't happen, and so in order to intervene, I don't want to treat him like a child, but I want to negotiate with him. How can we set ourselves up for success so that it doesn't turn into a skirmish, and we both feel bad about it?"

Dr. Phil's previous guest, Roseshel, said she sometimes has to yell and scream just to get her husband's attention. Claudia says she doesn't do that anymore. "I prime to listen. I say, ‘I'm going to talk to you about this. Are you ready?' And then we review it, and we agree whatever is going to happen will happen and if it doesn't, we go back and repair it," she says.

"So, what's the experience like for you?" Dr. Phil asks David.

"Well, I relate to the being nagged issue quite a bit, but I know what ADD is. I was in my 50s when I was diagnosed," he says. "The hard thing, even as I practice this today, is that I have more than 50, 60 years of history of habits behind me that I find myself reverting to, even though I know better. Once she stopped with being so aggressive with trying to help me do things and to keep my mind organized, I responded much better to the soft approach. The general persuasive and soft talks that she has with me to help me focus and organize my thoughts makes a remarkable difference."

 

[AD]Dr. Phil points out that David just answered Claudia's question. "You asked how do we communicate without a skirmish, and he just gave a very articulate answer. I don't know that we can improve on that. Dr. Hallowell, what do you think?"

"No, that's excellent. Often, the wife's reply would be, ‘How can I be soft when you're making such a mess all the time?' You're so right. Using a bigger whip doesn't work," he says.

Roseshel says she often starts with a soft voice, but when she gets no response, it can escalate.

"That's when you need a professional," Dr. Hallowell says.