Communication is the foundation of all good relationships. And so, when there are communication problems where communication is compromised in some way, or the two people involved don’t have the proper skills to express themselves, it often results in fighting, animosity, and mild to moderate forms of abuse. But even if you don’t know exactly what to say, knowing how not to behave can go a long way. And in many cases, can be just as valuable.
Here are the eight most common communication problems in relationships….
- Not Listening to What’s Being Said
We’ve all had those moments where we’ve checked out of a conversation… It happens to the best of us. But if you make it a regular habit of not being present with your partner, you’ll not only be out of touch with what’s being shared, you’ll also never truly be in touch with their needs. And when you aren’t aware of what your partner’s core needs are, that’s when the relationship slowly begins to unravel. And often leads to resentment, which often leads to animosity or breakups.
- Reacting Instead of Responding
How often have you opened your mouth without thinking? You’ve heard something you don’t like, you’re inflamed, you’ve been triggered and immediately come back with something you wish you’d never said? When you’ve been emotionally triggered or you’ve found yourself in a confrontation, it can be hard to hold your tongue. But when you allow yourself to react instead of responding, it only serves to escalate the situation. It creates a back and forth until you’re so far from discussing anything that’s even remotely related, it’s simply become a shouting match to decide who will win with the force of personality.
- Trying to “Win the Discussion”
And to add another layer to the nature of ‘winning,’ entering into any form of discussion with the view of winning is an adolescent way of approaching life in general. If you have the need to always be right, it can become mentally exhausting for your partner. When you’re always making corrections and calling them out on things they’ve said, it might not always lead to arguments. But if left unchecked over time, it will suck all the joy out of your relationship. Remember, you’re meant to be in a partnership. You’re meant to support one another. You’re meant to find ways to lift each other up, not seize every opportunity to be the victor.
- Viewing Vulnerability as a Sign of Weakness
You don’t always need the outward appearance of being strong and resilient. It is ok to let down and just allow yourself to let it all out. Being vulnerable isn’t about garnering sympathy, it’s about being honest with yourself and where you’re at emotionally. Sometimes, things just aren’t great. And being able to admit that can not only be a huge weight off your shoulders,it can also show your partner you trust them enough to hold you in that state. As you surrender and allow them to hold space and be supportive of you in that moment. Being vulnerable is an exercise in trust, which also demonstrates to your partner they can also open up to you in the same way.
- Making Demands & Giving Ultimatums
No one likes to feel like they’re being put upon. And to make someone feel as though your love is conditional on them basically doing as they’re told, steps all over their boundaries in a massive way. It suppresses that person’s spirit and their ability to express themselves. But it also creates a power dynamic in which one side has all of the negotiating power. You can often see this occur in abusive relationships in which one half will try and control the other. All while trying to dress it up as them looking out for their partner’s best interests. But the reality of this situation is that it’s very much a control dynamic. One in which the person who is giving the ultimatums is driving the agenda.
- Automatically Assuming a Defensive Position
When you’re in a situation where you’re backed into a proverbial corner, who could blame someone for being defensive with a controlling partner? But in reality, it doesn’t always take a suppressive personality to bring out this type of behaviour. You can be so attached to your version of events or your truth, that you unknowingly create an ideology around those beliefs. And whenever they’re challenged, you’ll defend them at all costs. It doesn’t matter if there’s logic or reason that suggests otherwise. Being rooted in this defensive position can see even the most basic of conversations quickly escalate into arguments. But sometimes, it’s what isn’t said or how it’s said that cuts the deepest…
- Using Passive-Aggressive Tactics
If you’re withholding your feelings from your partner whatever they might be, either because you don’t like confrontation or feel intimidated. But you then go on to make subtle barbed comments about the issue you were contending after the fact, it creates a real air of animosity, which can and usually does come to head with full-scale arguments where the passive aggressor lets off all the steam they’ve been building up over days, weeks, or months. The fix for this is both easy to relate, but unfortunately difficult to execute for some. And that’s honesty. Being honest in the moment you’re having a discussion and finding a way to express yourself properly, taking responsibility for your emotions and expressing them in a constructive way that doesn’t shame, blame or guilt.
- Withdrawing From the Conversation & Shutting Down
Withdrawing is very subtly dysfunctional… And that means shutting down completely and giving your partner the cold silent treatment. None of the communication styles on this list are particularly helpful. But this one is particularly toxic when used with real malice. It’s another way of creating a power play in a relationship. For as long as you remain silent, it’s up to your other half to try their best to bring you back around – to say all the things you want to hear. But, have been unwilling to concede You’re essentially holding out, waiting for your partner to crack – if they ever do. Because in some instances, if the two people involved are stubborn enough, it can lead to long drawn silences that can go on for days and even weeks, which turns into a slow, uneasy truce in which nothing is truly resolved and the seeds of resentment are sown for a future confrontation.