Expressing and Owning Feelings
Using a NAME Statement to
Express and Own Your Feelings
All of us have annoying habits and we occasionally do things that upset our partners even if we don’t mean to upset them. What do you do if you have a concern with a behavior or action of someone you have a relationship with? Please answer the following questions.
- Do you and/or your partner get angry and resentful and feel unappreciated?
- Do you and/or your partner call names and continue to go round and round without accomplishing anything?
- Do you and/or your partner withdraw and ignore each other in hopes that the other one will know what
you’re angry and upset about?
- Do you feel like a volcano inside getting ready to erupt because of unexpressed feelings and thoughts?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions there is a better solution to addressing those annoying behaviors or habits. You can express your feelings and concerns without blaming, calling names or assassinating your partner’s character.
First ask yourself “What do I want to accomplish in this conversation?” If you don’t really care about your relationship or care if you get to a constructive resolution then continue your past negative habits.
If on the other hand you do care for your relationship and want to keep the relationship on track and moving in a positive direction then use a NAME statement to address the behavior. The NAME statement shows respect for your partner and is very specific. This kind of communication puts the emphasis on what you see and what you feel, not on blame toward your partner. The NAME statement is explained below:
N – name the specific behavior that you find annoying
A – announce the specific setting … time & place the behavior occurred
M – mention your reaction & the feeling it arouses in you
E – explain and own your feelings
Example without a NAME statement: “You’re such a slob. You always throw your clothes on the floor and never pick them up.”
Rephrased with a NAME statement: ” When you throw your clothes on the floor after you come home from work and don’t pick them up, I feel frustrated and I feel unappreciated for keeping the house neat.”
Example without a NAME statement: “You never pay any attention to me. All you do is watch TV and ignore me.”
Rephrased with a NAME statement: “When you watch TV during dinner I feel left out and lonely. I feel ignored and I feel you don’t enjoy my company anymore.”
The NAME Statement can also be used to give positive feedback to your partner.
Example: “When you hugged and kissed me after you came in the door from work today, I felt loved and happy.” Or “When you suggested we go out to dinner tonight after you came home from work, I felt appreciated and loved.”
If you start taking responsibility for your own feelings and reactions and stop pointing the finger, calling names or blaming your partner for your feelings you will be a happier person. Your self-esteem will improve and your relationship will improve. Also using a NAME statement to give positive feedback to your partner will bring more satisfaction to yourself and your relationship.
Recent research confirms that how a conversation is started determines how it will end. If you start by pointing the finger (“You…”) or in any other negative way, it will end negatively. If you choose to start positively (Using a NAME statement and a soft tone of voice, for example.), you are much more likely to have a positive conversation and a satisfactory outcome.