By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
How you talk to each other matters.
Faulty communication is a major relationship destroyer. Unfortunately, many people try to use communication like a magic wand to get them what they want. Couples often come into relationship counseling and describe their problems as poor communication. What they often mean is that one of them is not getting what they want. Getting what you want, as in getting your needs met, involves being persuasive, assertive or learning negotiating skills.
Good relationship communication is about growing and developing relationships. The way in which you talk and listen to other people either builds positive relationships or destroys the ones you have. Be careful that the way you’re communicating is not sabotaging your relationships. Avoid using the following communication tools if you want to maintain positive relationships.
Stonewalling prevents closeness.
Stonewall it is the art of not communicating. People use this technique often give others the cold shoulder. It’s almost impossible for humans to interact without communicating something. Giving someone the silent treatment neither improves that relationship nor the communication.
Blaming weakens your connection.
Blaming is one of the ways of communicating their results in a relationship where one person is above the other. Think about what it looks like when a parent is scolding a child. Often this is accompanied by finger-pointing and yelling. When adults resort to this method to communicate with other adults the effort to blame and shame the other person damages the relationship between them.
Placating reduces communication.
Placating is the way a little child might talk to an angry parent. You would hear them say, yes mommy; I’m so sorry mommy. Among adults placating takes the form of saying you will do things but never doing them.
Passive-aggressive behavior builds hostility.
The passive aggressive of the world spend their lives slamming doors and muttering under their breath. Rather than directly expressing their displeasure in an adult way they go to great lengths to display their anger. Seething with anger that they go out of their way to get even.
Saying you’re not OK harms your relationship.
Couples, where one person is constantly telling the other partner they are defective, are headed for disaster. No one likes to repeatedly hear that they are not okay. Constantly criticizing your partner for who they are, conveys the message that you don’t think they are capable of change. If you find yourself telling your partner that they are not okay, you need to ask yourself why you picked this partner in the first place. If your partner is struggling with an emotional problem or an addiction, encourage them to seek help. You also need to be willing to look at the ways in which you are contributing to this problem.
Saying I know better damages relationships.
They are your partner, not your child. Relationships, good ones, should be partnerships, not parent-child relationships. Successful relationships require listening to the other person’s point even when you don’t agree. Trying to act like your partner’s parent curtails communication and makes for an unhappy relationship.
Telling them having a child will fix your relationship.
Many troubled relationships make the mistake of believing that they just have a child everything will turn out okay. Having a child while in a shaky relationship can be catastrophic. You can break up with a partner, but you will forever be in a relationship with your child’s parent. Both pregnancy and the early years raising an infant can be extremely stressful. Don’t try to make your child the adult in the family.
Avoid quoting what your family and friends say.
A piece of fruit with a hole in the skin starts to rot. A cell with a broken membrane soon dies. Your relationship needs good boundaries, and you need to keep family and friends out of your disagreements. Resolving conflicts is not about proving who is right. Learn to discuss and resolve problems between the two of you. Stop quoting others who agree with you.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.