Three Unhealthy Communication Styles to Avoid
Healthy Communication is one of the keys to healthy relationships, whether intimate or social. In fact, many of our conflicts and stress come about due to poor communication between ourselves and those with whom we associate. While communication involves speaking and listening, we also must pay close attention to our attitude when we are involved in the communication process, if we aim to be effective. Three of the attitudes that can negatively affect our relationships include, taking a blaming approach, delaying communication until we explode, and giving others the silent treatment.
Blaming The Other Person
If you approach a discussion with another person from a blaming perspective, the chances of settling the dispute/issue will decrease; this is simply because we all tend to get on the defensive side when we feel as if someone is blaming us for something.
For example, if someone did something that offended you, rather than saying how you feel about what the person did, a blamer accuses the person of making him/her feel what he/she is feeling. Instead of telling the person, “ You make me feel hurt,” or whatever your feeling is, a healthy alternative might be to say, “I feel hurt because of what you did,” (making sure to name the behavior that they exhibited). What this none blaming approach does is that it takes out the blame and at the same time acknowledges your feelings without causing the other person to get in a defensive mode. In the end, a person who is less defensive will feel more inclined to listen to what you have to say, than one who is accused.
The same non-blaming approach goes for settling disputes in social settings. For example, as a person settling a workplace issue, it is best to approach the issue objectively rather than displaying a judgmental attitude: we are able to settle conflicts best when the middle person deals with the issue objectively or free of bias or blame.
Keeping Your Feelings Bottled-in Until You Explode
Then, there is the person who tries to avoid conflict by keeping it all inside. The one who explodes is often the person who almost or always feels as if he/she is on the receiving end of unacceptable treatment. Oftentimes, this person feels unappreciated in the relationship and instead of speaking up this person remains silent.
This person may tell him/herself that he/she can handle the situation and that being silent is better than speaking out and risking the chance of a full-blown argument or even worse. Instead of communicating his/her feelings with the other person, the exploder keeps tolerating whatever comes his or her way. Regardless of the spectrum the exploder falls on, there is always the build-up of emotions, which could include anger and frustration. Eventually, this person opens up, and everything this person kept bottled up inside erupts like a volcano and the sight is never pretty. A person in this situation may say and do things out of their normal character, simply because they have allowed the pressure to build over a long period before saying a word.
Waiting until one has had enough to communicate is never a healthy option. Keeping these feelings of pain, despair, frustration, and anger inside can lead to severe stress, self-harm or harming others, and ultimately diseases including high blood pressure, Diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses, and other diseases.
Instead, of remaining silent, this person should try to address problems when the issue arises, promptly. A healthy way is to voice your feelings in a way that encourages the person you are having the issue with, to communicate. Use the strategies discussed in the blamer’s section above to help you communicate with each other from an “I am feeling” perspective rather than blaming the other person.
Click here to check out this article I found on the subject of communication for more insight on healthy ways of commuincating.
Giving The Other Person The Silent Treatment
Of all these behaviors, my worst is the silent treatment. A person who uses silent treatment is almost like the person who explodes except that in the case of the exploder, the person may pretend all is well. When someone gives you the silent treatment, you know fully well the person is upset with you and the fact that the person ignores you might cause you emotional turmoil. Whether it is an intimate or social relationship, it is never healthy to give another person the silent treatment. If you must, take time to sort your thoughts and address the issue rather than shy away from it.
The silent treatment is never a good option for two people in an intimate relationship, at least, not if you want a future with the person whom you are subjecting to this behavior. The silent treatment can sever the emotional bond between two people. In some cases, a person who does not get his/her emotional needs met in the relationship may turn to another person who is willing to listen to them; this may lead to unfaithfulness as the person gets his/her needs met outside of the relationship.
I am a firm believer that if someone cares for you they would not cause you to suffer by giving you the silent treatment, blaming, and or exploding. Instead, a caring partner or person in general, engages in healthy communication, seeks to clarify, and discusses issues so that those involved in the issue do not suffer unnecessary pain.
The more silent treatment or other attitudes in communicating are practiced is the less likely that the relationship will last. We often shy away from arguing but a healthy argument is better than resorting to the unhealthy communication styles discussed here, any day.