A psychological technique my mom taught me when I was a teenager saved my marriage — here’s how

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Jersey Griggs is a writer specializing in lifestyle topics, who lives on the coast of Maine with her husband and their rescue dog.
When Griggs was growing up, her mother, a clinical psychologist, would use a conflict-resolution technique called mirroring to make her children feel heard.
Mirroring is the act of mimicking those around us, establishing a rapport between the people communicating.
When Griggs and her husband found themselves in a silly argument, she suggested mirroring — and it allowed them to finally understand each other.
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Growing up, I didn’t always take my mother’s advice. But since my mom also happened to be Martha Lauber, a clinical psychologist in private practice on Chicago’s North Shore, she invariably had advice to give.

Which is exactly how mirroring, a technique often employed by therapists, came into my life. During my turbulent teenage years, mirroring was a well-practiced conflict-resolution method in our household.

Also known as limbic synchrony, mirroring is the act of mimicking those around us. An ingrained social behavior that typically yields positive results, mirroring can help to establish a rapport between humans, with research finding that it improves interpersonal skills in children.

When Harville Hendrix began marketing mirroring as a beneficial technique for dialoguing couples, it became more utilized by therapists. In his book “The Couples Companion: Meditations and Exercises for Getting the Love You Want,” Hendrix writes, “Mirroring is simply a matter of carefully repeating back what was said for verification, and repeating the process until we get it right.”

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With two teenage daughters and many surly mornings, my mother wisely employed mirroring as a way to make her children feel heard. During a time in my life when I often felt misunderstood, listening to my mother reflect my feelings helped to defuse my anger. And when my sister and I fought, mirroring each other paved the way to a mutual understanding.

“Mirroring is the best way for two people to resolve conflict,” my mom would say, as I rolled my eyes in typical teenage fashion.

It wasn’t until I was in a long-term partnership that I discovered she had been right all along.

Married for five years — and together for much longer — my husband and I are well matched. We make each other laugh, we enjoy the same activities, and we love each other very much. Despite all of this, we are far from perfect. Every relationship has its ups and downs, and during a recent down point, it seemed we were fighting way too often.

One evening, a minor dispute morphed into a full-fledged argument. The initial disagreement — which was unbelievably stupid — was blown out of proportion. An hour into our altercation, with no truce in sight, my mom’s voice echoed in my head. Try mirroring, the voice said. It’s the only way to resolve an argument.

Sitting on the couch opposite my husband, I explained how mirroring worked. Taking turns, each of us would speak in clear sentences, sharing our feelings. The other would …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life

      

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