The easiest way to explain what precisely I'm asking is by quoting an email (minor edits) written to me by a well-meaning person with whom I was discussing a relationships issue. To help ensure that I managed to fully convey how I was feeling (very important to me to be fully understood/not misunderstood), I preferred using emails to communicate, so that I could fully process my feelings and make sure the full picture is conveyed; with oral communication I found you often end up not being able to ‘finish the thought’, especially with more complex feelings, or to express all the feelings which can come bubbling up. Here's what they wrote:
I want to draw your attention to a little point that perhaps will help you to understand why some people may find the communication with you difficult: You gave a number of good reasons for you preference for using the email... I understand that you feel that this is the only way how to make your point clear but perhaps this is part of the problem – people in therapy and in relations in general accept that it is impossible to pass over to the other side all the depth of how I think and feel and we have to live with it somehow.
After all you have been through, it may seem to you that by raising such a small issue I am picking on you but I think that it is important that you realise that with all your gentleness, which is extraordinary indeed, you are coming across as rather powerful and insistent person which naturally may draw some unnecessary counter reaction and opposition from the other side. It could be that accepting the limits of what you can express rather than driving your point with an absolute clarity will achieve better results. I am making this point because in our meetings your wife was saying several times that your form of communication doesn’t work with her; so perhaps it is the time for trying something new?
For a little more context, we're talking about something which everyone would agree is very hard to go through, this therapist understands and agrees. His issue is that I would typically make a list of 6 bullet points going through six emotions I had about the subject, with reasons and justifications for these feelings from my point of view, and the odd example of something which happened to back things up. I accept most people wouldn't do this, as you can tell I'm a very methodical and logical person, but this is how I've always worked, never having imagined that striving for clarity makes me seem inappropriately insistent and is therefore counter-productive.
This example relates to emails to my marriage counsellor, who was a little thrown by my methodical approach. I get the impression most clients don't do this. However there are other examples of the same thing from other areas, which although not as important to me, are worth mentioning as I'm comfortable to give more details to clarify my point. For example when my landlord initially refused to fix my garden fence, saying it was my fault for not maintaining the ivy, I emailed back with 4 reasons it can't have been my fault: it fell down only a few months after I moved in, when the ivy was already overgrown; the fence on the other side which had no ivy also fell down; the fences were very old; the wood was rotten through, so it wasn't due to the excessive weight of the ivy. Both then and now all the reasons are good ones, that's not the issue. The issue is generally does striving for clarity reduce impact by making you seem like a nutter (like my wife thought at the time, she's not so methodical).
The question isn't specifically about the counsellor/wife, but general. Say you worked in a bank and a client had a legitimate grievance, how would you react if the client spelled out 5 different failings on the part of the bank which led to the issue. Or if you were a journalist, a list of 7 criticisms of a piece you wrote. I'm talking about where all the points made are fair reasonable criticisms. Would you feel he was out to attack you, or just insistently trying to get his way, due to the large number of points and the methodical approach. And therefore it would have been better to just make one or two points.
Do you agree with his point, and if so what would you say is the balance to aim for between clarity and not being insistent - or even better, is there a way of making your feelings clear without compromising on the clarity yet without seeming insistent?