Manuela has a good relationship with her daughter Paula. They are both funny, curious and enjoy doing things together. Things became more complicated after the separation, not just due to the issue of time management. Paula notices that Manuela has less time for her, and, aged 12 she’s also starting to experience her first teenage mood swings. Sometimes they both explode. Paula gets angry, screams and criticises her mother. Although Manuela knows Paula’s behaviour is due to her current stage of development, she sometimes feels hurt and screams back. This hostile environment can last days and exhausts them both. What hurts most is that it’s getting harder to talk to each other, and every time these explosions happen, they get harder to forgive.
Manuela writes to me, and after discussing a potential intervention using emotional intelligence approach, we decide to get together, all three of us. The idea is to focus on physical and emotional balance that will allow us to avoid entering the conflict arena, and to recover the body’s ability to communicate with authenticity.
After three months, they have both found their own way to communicate what they want and need. These conversations can sometimes be uncomfortable, but they are nothing like their earlier, violent fights. They definitely learnt to improve their communication skills.
How did we achieve this?
We started with physical flexibility and mobility, so not to get stuck.
We took time to breathe in different ways. It helps to open communication skills.
It was also important to move to music, as it turns to be a moment of shared joy.
We used our voices as an expression of how we communicate and how we react to the way in which the other person communicates
And then we set the intention: what do we want to change?
Regardless of what had happened during the week, they both agreed to share a moment of peace and rest together. This was important to bring peace at home.
We met up once a week. Although Manuela kept me regularly updated, we didn’t need to go into the details of the conflict. What she shared was clearly improved communication.
The aim was to achieve a shared hour, outside the usual routines, when they could both say whatever they liked.
We added in a few writing exercises for a few days, writing good wishes or mutual thanks for each other. They also put together a jigsaw of a photo of them both together, and in time they re-discovered their personal qualities.
They both learned through enjoyment, without any pressure or outside expectations, which confirmed once again that the body has a very direct way of communicating and that a lot depends on our attitude. Being attentive to our body language shows us where to go. It guides us and gives us a lot of confidence when it comes to understanding beyond words. This attention exercise improves our emotional intelligence.