***WARNING: This technique is extremely effective, so read this other post first: What to Do Before You Get to the Truth.***
Years ago, a therapist taught me this technique to get to the truth:
- First wait until both of you are calm and somewhat stationary.
- Ask him about the event in question.
- When he tells you what happened, calmly repeat what you heard him say.
- Then he’ll usually tell you more, especially if there’s nothing to hide. But if he doesn’t, just say, “Then what happened?”
- Repeat the cycle.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
- If he seems overly-tense during this process, either address his nervousness by saying something like, “You seem a little nervous. Did something else happen?”
- If he still seems nervous, you can say, “If there is more to the story, would it help for me to make a commitment that I won’t freak out… that whatever you say we will work through?”
IF HE OPENS UP WITH DIFFICULT INFORMATION:
- Do you best to not freak out. Just continue the cycle above, repeating and asking for more, at least until you’ve heard enough for now.
WHEN YOU’RE READY FOR MORE OF THE STORY:
- Bring it up later with something like: “I noticed last time we talked about ___. I can’t help but wonder if there was more to the story. Again, I commit to you that I won’t freak out… we’ll get through whatever you have to tell me.”
WHEN YOU’VE HEARD ENOUGH FOR NOW
- If he has told you something difficult to hear, again you have to do your best to not freak out.
- Thank him for his honesty, and carry on calmly.
- Later, contact someone safe to process through the information. (If you don’t have a someone to turn to with this issue or need specific guidance, contact me here.)
WHY THIS TENDS TO WORK:
This works because
most people want to tell the truth.
But they first want to know you’re going to handle it well.