How to Communicate Effectively in a Relationship

Are you on the receiving or giving side of the following communication styles ……?

Critical – verbally attacking partner’s personality, behaviour, character.

Contemptuous – deeper than criticism. Attacking partner’s self worth, self confidence with intent to hurt.

Defensiveness – trying to reverse blame, victimising yourself.

Stonewalling – withdrawing as a way of avoiding difficult situations or demonstrating disapproval. 

Therapy can help adjust unhelpful communication patterns and think more about:

  • Expressing yourself using ‘I’ statements and clarifying what you want and need without criticism.
  • Avoiding mixed messages.
  • Appreciating your partner’s good qualities. 
  • Taking responsibility for your part in any conflict and apologising when in the wrong.
  •  Taking a break, self soothing, calming and paying attention to ‘timing’ of difficult conversations. Being conscious of the difference between this and avoidance.
  •  Reducing over reactions when anxious or upset. 
  • Holding on to a clear sense of self and tolerating discomfort.