We got off to a great start yesterday uncovering some common mis-beliefs in communication. Today we'll discuss 3 more communication myths individuals and couples believe that can create confusion and dysfunction in relationships.
Myth #3: “If my partner and I can just make more time to talk about our problems, it will solve all of our relationship issues”
Reality: There are several reasons why this statement isn’t true. First of all, though increasing communication in a relationship is imperative, it isn’t the only thing that is needed in order to improve the relationship. More of unhealthy communication only makes matters worse. If each individual isn’t aware of the unhealthy ways they are communicating with each other, it can become a circular pattern of never-ending conflict and pain. Secondly, how we communicate is more significant than how much- the amount of time spent talking isn’t nearly as important to the relationship as the quality of how people communicate. We call this the “process”—or how the communication feels. Does it feel disconnected? Blaming? Are you both interrupting each other? Are the words saying “yes”, but all other non-verbal cues are saying “no”? Are both individuals sharing equally, or is one person talking, and the other person is silent? Is one person becoming defensive and reactive, or making excuses? Does one person share how they are feeling, then the other person retreats and distances? Are both people screaming at the top of their lungs and neither person is hearing the other? These are common patterns of dysfunctional communication that we frequently work on with clients in therapy sessions. Most often, the manner in which people communicate is much more important than the content and quantity.
Myth #4: “Couples with healthy communication rarely fight”
Reality: Couples with healthy communication fight, but they fight fair! They are interested in the other person’s point of view, they genuinely want to know how the other person is feeling (even if it’s not what they want to hear), and they understand that healthy conflict is a crucial part of gaining deeper intimacy in the relationship.
Myth #5: “People with good communication skills are able to settle arguments where they can agree with each other”
Reality: Because people with healthy communication also have a good understanding of what they need, and how they feel, they are able to work with each other to arrive at a place of compromise—even if that means they ‘agree to disagree’. Healthy relationships mean working towards a place where each person feels like the situation is win/win, which sometimes means that they don’t agree, but each person feels that they are respected for their own point of view.
Hopefully if you notice yourself believing these above myths, you can start increasing positive communication and creating more closeness between you and others.
Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counselingat Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.