We meet with many couples and see many styles of communication. Our goal is to help each couple building a stronger foundation and speak the same "language". However, couples come in with their own poor styles of communication that we try to help them stop. This week we want to highlight some communication mistakes we commonly see that destroy relationships.
1. Name Calling
Unfortunately, calling a loved one a name is common "dirty fighting" technique used in communication. However, it destroys relationships. Calling someone a name, other than their birth name, disrespects the humanness of each of us and does not result in anything positive. It is in the relationship's best interest to agree that name calling is a line each person will not cross in order to maintain the integrity of the relationship.
2. All or Nothing Language
If we are speaking in all-or-nothing language, we are speaking in extremes. It leaves no room for the gray areas of life and can push the people we're communicating with into a corner where they feel stuck or powerless against us in a conversation. Using language such as "You're never supportive of me" or "I can never please you" are examples of all-or-nothing language.
It's probably not realistically true that your significant other is NEVER supportive. They may not be supportive at that moment in time, but most likely have been supportive at other times throughout your relationship. At the same time, it is an extreme statement to say "I can never please you". Again, there are probably times when you can please them. They might be upset in this instance, but it does not mean they are unpleased in ALL instances.
Blaming as a conversational technique can be extremely dangerous and damaging in relationships. If I have a blaming response to my significant other, this means I very rarely take accountability for my part in the breakdown of communication or take accountability for my mistakes or accidents. What happens in turn is that I blame my partner which means they feel shamed and get the message that the bad things that happen in our relationship are their fault. Rarely will it be one person's fault. Each person needs to do a self-scan and ask themselves "What am I doing to contribute to the breakdown of our communication?" Once we're aware of what we're doing, we need to admit it, apologize and do differently.
I hope you're getting a good idea of some communication styles that can distance, destroy and interfere in relationships. We'll be discussing this topic all week. Thanks for reading!
Written by: Tamara McCord MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at 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.