Are you facing struggles in your relationships with your friends and loved ones? Do you feel like the other person does not understand you or never listens to you? Are you having a hard time communicating with other people in general? The main reason couples struggle in their relationships is because of poor communication. Many couples, and people in any other relationships, have a hard time communicating in an effective way. Most likely, it is not always the “other” person that is in the wrong but you yourself as well. It can be hard to acknowledge that, because that means we have to give in and agree with the other person but always being right is not what this is about at all. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that lead to poor communication.
- Truth– You insist that you are “right” and that the other person is “wrong”.
- Blame– You say that the problem is the other person’s fault.
- Martyrdom– You claim that you are the innocent victim.
- Put-down– You imply that the other person is a loser because he or she “always” or “never” does certain things.
- Hopelessness– You give up and insist that there is no point in trying.
- Demandingness– You say you are entitled to better treatment but you refuse to ask for what you want in a direct, straightforward way.
- Denial– You insist that you don’t feel angry, hurt, or sad when you really do.
- Passive Aggression– You pout or withdraw or say nothing. You may storm out of the room or slam doors.
- Self-blame – Instead of dealing with the problem, you act as if you’re an awful, terrible person.
- Helping– Instead of hearing how depressed, hurt, or angry the other person feels, you try to “solve the problem” or “help” him or her.
- Sarcasm– Your words or tone of voice convey tension or hostility that you aren’t openly acknowledging.
- Scapegoating– You suggest that the other person has “a problem” and that you’re sane, happy, and uninvolved in the conflict.
- Defensiveness– You refuse to admit any wrongdoing or imperfection.
- Counterattack– Instead of acknowledging how the other person feels, you respond to their criticism by criticizing them.
- Diversion– Instead of dealing with how you both feel in the here–and-now, you list grievances about past injustice.
As you can see, there are lots of factors that need to be considered when trying to communicate the right way. Being aware of these factors can help you tremendously in improving all of your relationships. Keep in mind that communication is a two way street. For communication to be effective, you will both have to be aware of the factors that lead to good communication. The most important thing is to keep patient and remember to speak and treat the other person with love, the way we want to be treated as well.
The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns