Relationships and Bad Communication

Couples often ask me what helps to make a successful relationship? There is of course no definitive answer as there are many things that contribute to a happy relationship. However, I do always emphasise the importance of good communication. It is so easy to fall into bad habits. Below are some characteristics of bad communication which you can check if you are guilty of …… it is never too late to do things differently.

Characteristics of Bad Communication

1.    Truth : you insist that you are RIGHT and the other person is WRONG

2.    Blame: you say that the problem is the other person’s fault.

3.    Martyrdom: you claim you are an innocent victim

4.    Put down: you imply the other person is ‘ no good’ because he / she ‘always’ or ‘never’ does certain things.

5.    Hopelessness: you give up and insist there is no point in trying

6.    Demandingness: you say you are entitled to better treatment but you refuse to ask for what you want in a direct , straightforward way. You expect the other person to mind read.

7.    Denial: you insist you don’t feel angry, hurt or sad when you really do.

8.    Passive Aggressive: you sulk or withdraw. You say nothing and storm off or leave the room.

9.    Self blame: instead of dealing with the problem you act as a victim. As though you are an awful person. Poor me.

10.   Helping: instead of hearing how depressed, hurt or angry the other person feels, you try and ‘ solve the problem’ or ‘ help’ him or her.

11.  Sarcasm: your words or tone of voice convey tension or hostility which you aren’t openly acknowledging.

12.  Scapegoating: you suggest that the other person has a ‘problem’ and that you are ok and uninvolved or not responsible in any way for the conflict.

13. Defensiveness: you refuse to admit any wrong doing or imperfection.

14. Counterattack: instead of acknowledging how the other person feels, you respond to their criticism by criticising them.

15. Diversion: instead of dealing with how you both feel in the here and now, you list grievances about past injustices.

Instead of arguing and getting defensive you can express your feelings with ‘ I feel’ statements. This is very simple you just start your sentence with ‘ I feel’ ………. And add a word that describes how you are feeling eg: sad, angry, hurt, annoyed, worried, frustrated and so on.

‘I feel’ statements are in sharp contrast to ‘ YOU’ statements like YOU make me annoyed, angry, upset etc. The YOU statements sound critical, blaming and judgemental. They will always trigger a negative response from your partner.

 Examples of negative feelings are: I feel angry, I feel criticised, I feel put down, I feel frustrated, I feel misunderstood

Examples of vulnerable feelings are: I feel sad, I feel rejected, I feel hurt, I feel unloved, I feel disappointed, I feel ignored, I feel attacked, I feel inadequate.

Avoid getting into who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ this serves NO purpose !!!

Try to use empathy and understand the other persons feeling, put yourself in their shoes.

Leave a Comment