‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’
All successful relationships rely on good communication and when communication breaks down, so do relationships. When people try to communicate what they are feeling or try to say what they think is wrong, it often ‘presses buttons’ for the other person and before you know what’s happening, the conversation degenerates into, “You always…!” and “You never…!” and both are shouting at each other without any hope of resolving the issue.
When we begin forming relationships, nearly all our relationships, we tend to take what ‘the other’ says, at face value. We don’t have much sense of ‘the other’s’ past experiences, likes and dislikes and have everything to learn about them, and they about us. As the relationship develops, so trust develops and it becomes possible to talk about more-difficult areas and perhaps to share some of our feelings about past and present concerns. We begin to build up an increasingly complex picture of each other, based on these sharing and on our own past experiences of relationships. Generally, there are some ‘taboo’ areas – subjects that one or both people feel uncomfortable talking about and these tend to be avoided in general conversation but may be brought up in private or when they can be talked about safely.
As the relationship deepens, each has a sense of how far they can ‘push’ the other before they will respond negatively, either by withdrawing (passive-aggressive) or by becoming overly angry. Likewise, each develops a sense of what they need to do to make things right again, to restore the balance or ‘equilibrium’ in the relationship.
Unfortunately, most of us make mistakes in our dealings with ‘the other’, usually because we have made assumptions about ‘the other’ that are wrong or inaccurate, or because we are expecting ‘the other’ to respond/behave like people we have been close to in the past. Sometimes these are just simple disagreements about how things should be done because we naturally have had different ‘training’ during childhood.
We need to stop communicating from the past. So much of our miscommunication arises from past experience and the mistaken conclusions that we draw from it. This is “you always … you never…” territory and past and present resentments spill into and poison all conversation and dealings with everything. It is so important to try to communicate from the present, where what we say can be taken at face value, as we did at the beginning of the relationship. Good counseling help is available to move communication back to the present, where people can have confidence that they can resolve their issues in a mature way. A fresh start!
Mr. Marar has over 30 years of experience in helping couples, families, and individuals to get the best out of their lives. Mr. Marar works with clients to enable them to empower themselves, he offers them the support and tools they need to work through issues or problems and to enable them to cope with whatever life throws at them.