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Communication Problem


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Old 28th July 2008, 9:26 AM   #1
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Communication Problem

My partner and I are having trouble communicating to each other. The negative thing always seem the easiest to get out because it happens when we're angry... but how can we put the love, trust and spark back into the relationship? I am able to express myself to her but she is having a hard time doing the same. I am trying to help her but I have no luck. She shuts down when I try constructive criticism. I need help helping her communicate to me.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 28th July 2008, 10:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by donnist View Post
I am able to express myself to her but she is having a hard time doing the same. I am trying to help her but I have no luck. She shuts down when I try constructive criticism. I need help helping her communicate to me.
Can you give an example of your communication style when you're giving constructive criticism? Or describe a recent conversation where you felt your partner shut down on you?

Here are some basic tips on communicating during disagreements:
  • Allow the other person's feelings to come out. Do not discount the other person's feelings by saying, You shouldn't feel that way, or that isn't rational.

  • Show the other person that you really heard what she said. Paraphrase what she said. (I.e.: When you said _____ I think you mean _______. It makes me feel _________. ) Listen for the feelings of hurt. Ask the other person for clarification.

  • Take turns talking. No monologues. You should be able to make your point in less than a minute or two. Any longer turns into a lecture and the other person will shut down. If you've been talking for several minutes its time to conclude the thought and ask her thoughts on it.

  • Stick to the topic. Do not bring in other sore issues. Agree to discuss the pertinent topic only by saying, We are discussing______, not ________ Watch for ways you get off the track. Keep coming back to the issue under discussion.

  • Take out blame statements. No problem is ever solved by telling the other person how bad they are. It causes the person to revert back to their behavior and feelings they had as a little child when their parents scolded them. It either renders them helpless or makes them more angry. Name calling, criticism and blaming only perpetuate the problem. Stick to how the person actions affected you, while verbalizing your belief that your partner is a good person. Actions can be modified. Stick to discussing their actions, not your partners character flaws.

  • Don't use techniques that turn up the heat and move you both away from problem solving. Blaming, name calling, sarcasm, threatening, and foul language decrease intimacy. These ways of communicating cut down on the possibility of your getting what you want out of the argument.

  • Don't use sarcasm. It creates distraction that moves the argument away from the issue at hand.

  • Some women become compliant in arguments. They do not carry the topic through to closure but give up because feelings of helplessness and what's the use creep in.

  • Schedule breathing breaks. During this time do not think of the argument and what you want to say. Think of being calm and relaxed. Say to yourself I respect my partner and his or her opinions. I respect myself and my opinions. When you start to become confused or upset, breathe deeply from your diaphragm to release tension and stay calm.

  • Watch your need to be right and win. Explain to the other person what you want but be ready to compromise. Stand firm only on those decisions which compromise your integrity as a person.

  • Most Important: Offer compromises. You can't win if you destroy the relationship. Tell the other person what you will give up if they give up something of value to them. Keep the negotiation open.

  • Observe your patterns of coping with conflict. What bad habits do you have while arguing. Do you become compliant, use blame or withdraw. Observe if you go for the jugular vein of the other person in attempts to get your way. Note times you are willing to attack your partner's vulnerable areas and make the conscious choice to stop doing this. If you slip, tell your partner: "I found myself doing _____". Commit to breaking the dysfunctional pattern on your side, stick to the positive ways of communicating. Keep coming back to the topic. Bring conflict back to the expressing of feelings level and willingness to negotiate.
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