Here are a few more communication tips. If you haven’t read my other articles about this topic, please check them out.
- Don’t Yell, Scream or Call Names
- Be Specific – Avoid “You Never” or “You Always” statements
- Don’t Blame
- Remember – You Love Each Other!
Don’t yell, scream or call names. Just like blaming and threatening, acting this way shuts down effective communication and destroys trust. If you can’t hold it in, take a walk. Take a time out. If you need a break, communicate that. Say, “I need to stop talking or I’m going to say something that will make things worse/that I don’t mean.” And let the other person know that you’ll be back. If you’re the person being asked for a break, let the other person have their space. Don’t chase after them because you “have to” resolve things. This will only make it worse!
Don’t blame. Like I just said, own your stuff. Yes, the other person may be frustrating you but your anger belongs to you. ‘You make me so mad!’ may sound accurate, but a lot of the time your anger is due to unrealistic expectations, not due to the other person’s actions.
Never. Always. These are damaging and unfair words. How can you defend against a “You never” or “You always” attack? By being specific. If criticized or attacked like this, find something to agree with. ‘Yes, I was late today. I’m sorry about that. I’ll be on time tomorrow.’ Point out that making always and never statements aren’t fair or helpful. Ask the other person to be specific about your behavior that they are upset about rather than attacking you as a person.
Remember – this person loves you and isn’t trying to hurt you. If you keep this phrase in mind – “It’s not about me” – then you can listen with an open mind and not be defensive. If you know that the other person’s grouchy mood or silence has nothing to do with you, you’re free to ask, “Are you okay? Can I help?” Checking in with them in a loving way starts communication off positively. It’s a great opening. It’s a lot better than, “What’s your problem?” or “Don’t take your junk out on me!” When you’re open to receiving the information, if it actually is about you and your actions, you will be more open to receiving it and taking action.
Remember – you love them, too! Don’t lose your sense of perspective. One argument or a series of arguments doesn’t define your relationship. Just because you’re going through a difficult time does NOT mean it’s always going to be that way. Don’t fall prey to the negative thinking of ‘I don’t know if I can handle this’ or ‘What if it never gets any better?’ If you love them and you’re willing to fight for the relationship, you can work it out.
This article is not meant to provide clinical, therapeutic or legal advice. This is not a substitute for professional therapeutic help. If you’re in need of professional help, please contact me or a professional like me. This is offered as educational information only.