Couples who are having relationship difficulties engage in a process I call, "Pressing the Play Button." Unable to navigate their problems by interacting in a healthy way, they tend to "unravel" in their communications. Both parties may react to the most insignificant of issues and take off down their slippery slope.What makes the process of unhealthy communications more perplexing is that neither partner seems to understand what set them off as their conflict picks up momentum.
Words are uttered in the course of the conflict that causes great emotional hurt and disappointment. As the partners engage in hurting each other, they may either ramp up by becoming aggressive or shut down and avoid further confrontation.Apologizing may come later. But, it is too late. The damage has been done and the resentment builds with each passing moment.
One partner may want to "fix" the damage by prematurely asking for forgiveness or acting overly pleasing, but a stifling silence may hover over the relationship indefinitely.Why does the emotional wreckage occur and how can it be stopped? Couples who follow a dysfunctional pattern of communicating may need outside help. They need a third party, such as the clergy or a counselor to help sort out the dynamics of their interpersonal pain.Some factors that negatively effect promoting positive couples' communications are:.? Unresolved family-of-origin issues and current situational stressors.
These factors may be exacerbating a couples' ability to communicate in a healthy manner.? Rigidly forcing one's notion of the "right" way of viewing issues, rather than sharing feelings to be mutually explored can foster relationship conflict.? Making value judgments regarding your partner's opinions rather than accepting ideas from a "different" perspective is harmful.
? Using sarcasm, manipulation, and withholding affection are dangerous tactics.? Speaking for your artner rather than taking responsibility for your own feelings keeps conflict alive.? Clubbing your partner with insults, name-calling and resurrecting ancient history can do a great deal of harm.? Splitting loyalties by putting the needs of other family members ahead of your partner is a set-up for on-going conflict.Trust, commitment and respect are the cornerstones of a relationship. Without these qualities, effective communications between partners will be difficult and the relationship will not move forward.
Couples need to learn how to promote understanding. This entails respecting and valuing the free flow a partners' opinions and ideas. In order to promote understanding, couples must learn to let go of their selfish need to hide behind their own perspective and work on viewing the world through the eyes of their significant other. As M. Scott Peck said in The Road Less Traveled, love is a commitment to the spiritual and psychological well-being of our cherished partner. Learn to turn off the "play button" by making a pact with your partner that you will work on listening, valuing, and appreciating one another no matter how small or large the conflicts may be..James P. Krehbiel is an author, contributing writer, and cognitive behavioral therapist.
Sample chapters of his book, Stepping Out of the Bubble: Reflections on the Pilgrimage of Counseling Therapy are available at http://www.booklocker.com/pdf/2242s.pdf He can be reached at http://www.krehbielcounseling.com.
By: James Krehbiel