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.