Barriers to Communicating: Like Getting Blood from a Stone
We have all experienced people who don’t want to communicate. We might say that getting information from them is like trying to get blood from a stone. Interestingly, this expression reflects the position of the person trying to get the other person to communicate. However, what’s it like being on the other end of an expression like this?
Blood from a stone
This expression focuses on the person who wants to communicate with someone who they find difficult to communicate with. It refers to their difficulty in getting the other person to respond, and, taking it literally, paints a picture of someone who is stony and unreachable. If we reflect on it, it’s quite a negative imagery and also conveys a sense that withholding communication is somehow bloody-minded and selfish.
But consider it from the perspective of person who is asked to open up and communicate. Again, taken literally, the person who’s asking you to open up is then asking for your blood. If you’re the sort of person doesn’t communicate readily, the idea of someone wanting something so precious as your blood from you is of course something that you going to resist. The best way to resist that? To become stony and unreachable.
The expectation of communication
Also embedded within this expression is the tacit expectation that people should communicate if someone wants them to. Put this way, it's almost like the person requesting communication then has a right to receive it. It doesn’t really reflect the reality that some people don’t want to communicate all time or even that communicating is entirely voluntary.
Maybe you feel like you’re a quiet, introspective shy person living in a world of uncomprehending and demanding extroverts. If so, counselling can help you find your feet because it honours and preserves your right to withhold. It's only through your increased strength that you will feel enough comfort and safety to communicate what you want to communicate on your terms.
I am interesting in your comments.
Now, read about how to stay at it when things are going well.