There are many divorces, and therefore there are also many psychological injuries. With each passing decade there are more and more breakups as well as pain. The question is does this phenomenon have to increase? Can’t we impact to hold it back? You’ll get to know in this article.
The really meaningful field, the field in which vast majority of society make huge mistakes, is mutual communication. There are three cases:
- incomprehensible, unclear communication;
- communication oriented to depreciation;
- lack of communication
Incomprehensible, unclear communication
Unclear communication occurs when we use general phrases which actually say nothing. It means that your communique isn’t understandable for other person, because it doesn’t reflect what you really mean, and it’s not concrete. I heard many times “What a mess!” – an classical example when a wife’s coming home, and she’s seeing that her spouse hasn’t cleaned their house although the wife had asked for it before. Not only “What a mess!”-expression doesn’t help in anything, but that type of expression also makes partner (or someone else) mad (or inert). Consequently usually they both start picking on each other, and the whole discussion ends by outburst, and in effect they hurt each other with words such as for example: “Not your business, stop picking on me! Leave me alone!”, and their problem still is unsolved.
Couples (and people at all) often don’t say what they really mean. We assume that other people will guess somehow. In the mentioned situation the wife rather means “I’m feeling irritation when I’m coming home and I’m seeing dirty clothes on the floor and crumbs on the desk. I’m worried because one of us can trip over the stuff which are on the floor, and I’m afraid that you or me will break own arm or leg. I need you and me to be safe. And I’d like us to maintain order in our house, because I don’t want my friends to gossip me (for example). Besides, I feel better when it’s clean.”
Of course, such long utterance rather won’t make somebody do what you want, if so far you used to yell shorty “It’s such a mess! Clean up, right now!” – shouted out in a blaze of anger. Commands take less time, but they only get bond weaken. And yells induce fear. And commands don’t say about your emotions, needs nor ideas for ending quarrel. Commend isn’t form of respect. In order to your partner (or someone else) feel respected, they need to be sure that your attitude is: „I’d like you to spend more time with me because I miss you”, “What do you think about it?”, “I understand that you can’t do this today”, “Could you do this for me?”. They just need to be sure that you have peaceful approach and that you give them possibility to decide for themselves and that you care about what they really think.
Communication oriented to depreciation
The second issue is communication oriented to depreciation. Depreciation is form which attacks somebody. Depreciation is humiliating, shouting and slandering other people. Using this form people often use such name-callings as stupid, nincompoop, idiot, jerk, dunderhead, failure etc. “You’re an failure!” – such words define person in painful, unpleasant way by insults. This is a way to undermine partner’s sense of self-worth.
Let’s say that your husband hasn’t cope with peer pressure and from time to time he drinks alcohol. “You’re coming back home being drunk again! You always must drink guzzle with your stupid mates. I’m sick of you! You’re such a stinker…” it’s one of the worst which he can hear from his wife after boozing. Such yells don’t support at all. I don’t favor drinking alcohol, I want to draw your attention to what we actually communicate if we vociferate similarly like in the above quotation. Such words sends second person that:
- he is stinker (not a person who is stinking right now, but stinker)
- his the closest person thinks he has stupid friends
- he is drunk AGAIN when he’s coming back home (So he can be drunk out of the house? Or maybe he shouldn’t come back then? Or he shouldn’t show up when he’s drunk?)
- He ALWAYS drink with his friends
- His wife’s sick of him
Moreover, the mentioned quotation makes average Joe understand that:
- His wife doesn’t support him
- He’s not like she thinks that he should be
- He sucks
- She doesn’t understand him (nor even tries to understand)
- Something is wrong with him
- She has rule to treat him like that
- He deserves such treatment
- He is a bad person
Can you feel or see how much these subliminal messages are sad, painful, discouraging and humiliating? It makes guy keep on behaving like that.
How you feel when you have that beliefs about yourself?
His woman didn’t give him space for any change. She only confirms him in his belief that he sucks. It isn’t right way to inspire her husband to stop drinking and cope better. This is a good way to deepen his inner difficulties. This is a way of rejection, leaving him alone, maybe it’s a first stage of alcoholism, when he needs help. Or maybe he feels unloved? Maybe he’s unappreciated, and he’s feeling helpless, and in addition his wife doesn’t give him at least a few supportive words? Perhaps he needs psychotherapy and somebody who will believe in him, instead of humiliating him…
I better add that you’re not responsibility for somebody’s difficulties with themselves. Simultaneously also, you impact to get worse someone’s state by yelling and humiliating them. You break that person, leading to weak their condition. And harm is always harm.
Lack of communication
What’s to tell? Lack of communication is just lack of communication, though not entirely. Because as it happens, it’s not impossible to not communicate. Even when we don’t say anything, our body, posture, gestures, smell, appearance tell something about us. Even keeping quiet is telling. But let’s assume for a moment that lack of communication is just not speaking with spouse, fiancée, fiancé, boyfriend or girlfriend. Okay, there’s silent treatment, and what next? Of course, such silent days lead to nowhere, couple’s problem still exists. There’s no agreement, because there’s no talk. However, it’s rather better than telling depreciating things.
So, in that case, what the wife could say to her spouse when he will sober up? We know how it sounds in negative, demeaning way, but what she could send in constructive way? What she really means?
If not depreciation, then what?
‘Honey, I am worried that something will happen to you when you’re drunk. Besides, our kids need father, I can’t manage kids, cooking and cleaning the house without your help. I love you, I don’t have bad intentions. I noticed that you drink more lately – do you have any troubles? Is something bothering you? You can tell me, I want to help you.’
Imagine that somebody would tell you something like that. What you feel? What you think? Wonder before you read on.
In words such as above there’s no aggression or hate, so you don’t have to defend yourself by yells and hostility. After hearing such words there’s more chance to your partner open up and talk with you more honestly and more calmly. Because:
U don’t have to defend yourself, when nobody attacks.
Such communique sends husband (or somebody else) that:
- “Somebody worries that something wrong can happen to me”
- “My wife brought to my attention to my behavior – maybe I do something wrong, in fact?”
- “I have children who need caring”
- “My spouse needs me in home. She doesn’t cope alone”
- “I am loved”
Moreover, such words make him understand that his wife communicates him (on the subliminal level):
- “I am interested in you, I care about you”
- “You are safe, and I’m safe for you. You don’t have to be afraid of me”
- “I want to help you”
- “You are important”
- “I am for you”
- “You have kids”, “You are a father”
- “We need you at home”
- “I see that something is wrong and I want your good”
- “You’re human, so I treat you with kindness”
- “I love you”
Can you see how much information we send in a few sentences?
It’s about treat your spouse as partner, as person and not as an object which is obliged to do whatever you want. Second person is always person who also has own life, values and feelings, and they also need respect and your sensitiveness and delicacy.
More tips you’ll find here in third subhed.
What else better know?
- Keep in mind that one honest talk won’t work. It’s not something magical which will make everything great. Change the method of communication helps step by step to live better with spouse, if you both work over it and talk more honest. It’s a process, it takes time for new form to start working.
- In all this matter, don’t forget about your partner’s perspective. So it can’t be that you expect him to clean, be nice for you, make concessions, when you give nothing. Then it wouldn’t be partnership. You want them to be gentle for you? Be gentle for them. If you want to be heard, hear them. I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships will help you to understand much more better your partner and you’ll see that listening to their needs isn’t anything complicated. Instead, it’s something available and needed to keeping healthy relationship and preventing divorce.
- It’s normal that sometimes we feel like we want to raise our voices, scoff, blame and fight again, because most of us were raising in environments where people were communicating in such depreciating way. So let yourself feel each emotion, simultaneously try to not do what that feeling wants if it could harm somebody. Obviously it’s not easy. This is other way than before, and we need time to pave a new way.
As you noticed, it turns out that you have the big impact on how your relationship works now and how it will look in the future. It’s up to you both, because relationship involves both.
Good communication isn’t guarantee of durability of relationship, but it let you know where you stand, what you both feel and need. So you can more understand why your partner behave the way they do. As people we kinda go crazy, when we don’t know what’s going on and why others act so strange. But when we open ourselves up to dialog, we start to understand them, they don’t seem to be so odd anymore.
You already know that three mentioned tactics don’t work. Let’s sum what we all tried many times with no effect:
1) not speaking plainly what we mean
2) communicating full of mocking, disrespectful attitudes; it’s more like complaining with contempt than attempting to make situation better
3) communicating nothing
In above cases there’s no chance for honest dialog nor reaching to something good. Those methods don’t work. So what other way we can try? Briefly:
- Tell shortly about your emotions and needs. Do it peacefully, without judging, blaming, accusing, fighting etc.
- Hear your partner. Let them tell you how they feel, what they need and think.
- More tips you’ll find in Communication in Marriage: How to Communicate with Your Spouse Without Fighting. This e-book absorbs me, and pays attention to key things in couple’s interactions. We can see that the authors understand what they write.
Want more about communication? Get into other post.
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