Listen to the conversation here.
Peretz: Welcome to a new conversation with Chanie and Peretz. Today we’re going to continue on the series that we began three episodes ago about conversation and discuss a third part of what it is that creates a conversation. And that is to name the thing. The first two were ‘let it land’ and ‘tell me more’. And now we’re onto the third, which is perhaps the most vital and allows a conversation to go deeper and to take it to the next level is naming the thing.
Chanie: They’re all vital. They all are hard, but this one is almost the purpose because when you invite someone to tell me more, we’re inviting the ‘naming the thing’, which is very difficult to do. And what we mean by the thing. Imagine it’s this balloon that’s quite inflated because it has this dynamic that’s between the two people or between the group of people that has been present that nobody wants to talk about. So in a family there’s family dynamics or friend dynamics, or between a couple habits that have just brought them to a place that they don’t know how to change or change out of the habits. And so it’s this ever-present balloon that is taking up so much space, but both are afraid to name this dynamic.
Peretz: It’s also blocking the view to each other, using that metaphor. And instead they have to sort of (pause) and I’m moving away from the microphone, move away. And therefore they’re losing out on this clear communication and connection, and to use another metaphor, it could sometimes be like a brick that is hanging over your back and just pulling you away.
Chanie: It’s a personal… you carry this on your own, meaning it’s not necessarily a shared dynamic, but you’ve been hesitant to share. So for example, to just to bring this down, we have known a family for quite a long time and we adore them and we adore spending time with them. And then recently some shifts in their family have happened, dynamics that made us hesitate to spend time with them. It wasn’t as enjoyable there wasn’t this closeness, wondering how it would affect our children. And we pulled away, sadly, because we weren’t sure how to navigate this new space of not wanting to spend as much time with them.
Peretz: And they sensed it, but when we had conversations with them, it wasn’t able to come forward.
Chanie: What wasn’t able?
Peretz: We weren’t able to share what it is. Either we were scared, uncertain, or we weren’t feeling that it would be received because sometimes when you name the thing of what it is that is in the dynamics, it can shatter the conversation. It could just bring it to an end. It’s seen as an attack. But there has to be the right setting to name the thing. And in this case, the moment occurred that we felt that it would be received.
Chanie: But before you say the moment occurred, let’s stay in the space of our hesitation. You mentioned two, you mentioned we were afraid because we thought maybe this would be the end. If we would tell them, actually we’re hesitant to share time with you –
Peretz: And the reason why we’re hesitant.
Chanie: And explain why, it would end it. And so we were afraid, we were sad, we didn’t want this.
Peretz: We preferred it on life support rather than being dead.
Chanie: Right. And the second reason you mentioned it we were feeling that the occasional time we would talk, it was just trying to gloss over what is right there in front of us. So we didn’t think it would land anywhere. And those are very common reasons why people are afraid to share both what will happen to this relationship when I say the thing that I’ve never said before, and I really, really want to say it but the other person just doesn’t seem to be inviting it.
Peretz: Right, and there have been instances where we have had conversations with people close to us in conversation, and we’ve named the thing, what is going on over here. And the relationship, as a result, deteriorated. It almost disappeared.
Chanie: And perhaps we shared it too aggressively slash passionately. The timing was off or the person themselves does not want to hear it. And they prefer to retreat instead of staying there.
Peretz: Or they prefer the superficial relationship and weren’t willing or interested in taking it deeper.
Chanie: Right, which we consider less than before now, because now that the thing was named, but the other person doesn’t want to stay there and explore that, and then mature the relationship, then it almost declines in quality.
Peretz: Right. But going back to the one, the relationship where we did eventually name the thing, and we had a conversation and shared why we are hesitant to have the relationship and why we’re hesitant to spend time. And were very detailed in describing what the issue is. And the second party received it well, absorbed it, and that took away the balloon, creating the space where we could see each other and hear each other. It took away that weight that was preventing us from going forward into the relationship. It didn’t take away the issue. The issues, the problems still remained, but we’re now able to navigate our relationship,
Chanie: Exploring together what it might look like to have a new kind of time together, a new kind of relationship holding this change of dynamic in this family. Because we both want it. And it’s still in exploratory form. And I also want to share with our listeners, this wasn’t over three days. This was over months when we stayed in that, “Oh, hey, how are you doing? Great. Everything’s fine. Great.” You know, “Have a good Shabbat” or “Speak to you again.” And we always left those conversations feeling that our stomachs were a little tighter, feeling a little emptier, mourning, perhaps what possibly this might mean. But moving forward we now have held each other’s honesty and depth. You know, they held our hesitation of wanting to spend time and we’re holding the change of that dynamic, which is impacting us. So this is new but it has a depth that didn’t exist before because it’s inviting a maturing, authenticity, honoring the dirty dynamics, the messy dynamics that have impacted our relationship.
Peretz: Yeah. I just want to add, that also in our relationship with you and I, a lot of what has taken it, deepened it, over the two decades is our ‘naming the thing’ to each other. And it’s not pleasant. It’s not pretty. It’s difficult. But it has allowed us to dive deeper into our individual dynamics and into our relationship with each other. Not naming the thing, leaving it superficial, deteriorates the relationship because new dynamics are always coming forward. And when we observe relationships where they don’t name the thing, in other words, when they don’t speak openly and honestly and courageously.
Chanie: About what it is, what is that balloon? What is that brick? And in fact it will never go away. In fact, the balloon will continue to inflate and pop, and the brick will become heavier and heavier and your back will literally stoop under it. And so it does decline the relationship. You cannot have a vibrant, healthy, sustainable relationship without addressing this balloon. Many choose to, but it’s a glossing over of the relationship or inviting a lot of distractions, whether it’s children, whether it’s events –
Peretz: Career –
Peretz: Community, friends.
Chanie: Yeah. Those are all wonderful things. And they also can be distractions of the core relationship.
Peretz: Right. And one more thought, is that a conversation that names the thing should not assume, or should not consider, finding a solution to that thing.
Chanie: We still invite back the ‘let it land’. We still invite back the ‘tell me more’. It’s this never ending kind of spiral, not cycle, you like the word spiral, an upward spiral, right?
Chanie: Or a, yes –
Peretz: Or an inner spiral.
Chanie: Or a continuing deepening spiral. Do you want to give an example of something that happened between us? Of naming the thing?
Peretz: Oh gosh. Uh… (exhales for long and laughs).
Chanie: It’s hard.
Peretz: It’s hard to think of one right now off the top of my head, because it happens often, I would say.
Chanie: But we’ve learned to name it more casually.
Peretz: Casually. I would say, you would name some things that I would do. Think of an example… off the top of my head nothing comes to me in the moment, but I’ll say this: in the past, when you say something to me and name the thing, which I want to credit you, you’re good at –
Chanie: Sometimes too good (laughs).
Peretz: I would immediately put up a wall of resistance, a defense, and I would fight back, and I would dismiss it. Now when you name the thing to me, I absorb it ‘cause I know there’s something there. And I let it land. And sometimes I move into it and respond to it. And sometimes I am quiet about it.
Chanie: But your wall has gone down.
Peretz: My wall has gone down.
Chanie: So for example, a lot of the home dynamics of making sure the kids have clothes that fit them (laughs) and they have nutritious snacks in their lunchbox and the programming for the students. A lot of, most of the details of that fall on me, which is a whole other conversation of do we let that fall deliberately? Is it subconscious? And it took me a while to learn what it is that I’m experiencing which would come out in a frustrated, tired, moody way at the end of the day, until I began to understand the thing is that I’m maybe sometimes overwhelmed, but also I don’t want to do these things. I want to read. I want to add content to my life. I want to have conversations with people. I don’t want to plan, you know, lunchboxes or colored tablecloths of the program, for example, and learning how to name it for me was an exercise too. And as the listener, you learning how to absorb it –
Chanie: And understand it’s, I’m frustrated not because I don’t like you –
Peretz: You’re not frustrated at me.
Chanie: It’s not you, it’s what I’m experiencing
Peretz: And what you’re wanting, and being able for me to absorb that, seeing it as what you’re wanting and where you’re needing invites me, or my response is to participate in these daily routines in the home lovingly and happily, with a joy that I’m not only taking care of certain needs or chores in the house, I’m also contributing to your wellbeing, which creates a deeper connection.
Chanie: And it has happened vice-versa as well.
Chanie: So let’s end here for naming the thing, and in the following week, we’re going to continue to explore how to. How to –
Peretz: Let it land.
Chanie: Let it land, tell me more, and name the thing. There’s some skills or steps that could be introduced and learned.
Peretz: Thank you and have a wonderful day.