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Three ways of communication that poison a couple, according to a psychologist

Some forms of communication between two partners are counterproductive and damaging to the relationship. Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

When it comes to romantic relationship dialogue, certain avenues should be avoided at the risk of straining the relationship. The psychologist reveals them and advises him to improve the dialogue.

As a couple, expressing disappointment without getting too emotional and prideful is an art that can sometimes be very difficult to master. in an article published on the website on May 23 Psychology today American clinical psychologist Jonice Webb, who specializes in couples and family therapy, offers her advice on communication in romantic relationships. He details the three main ways of communicating that prove counterproductive when you want to change your partner’s behavior, and offers tips for better dialogue as a couple.

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Passive-aggressive mode

Passive-aggressive behavior consists of expressing one’s displeasure in a reflexive way rather than expressing disagreement. According to Jonice Webb, this strategy hurts the couple because “it’s actually more like revenge than a genuine desire to communicate.”

The psychologist gives an example of a situation when one of the partners feels lonely from the other during a party. Instead of telling him directly, he will use the next opportunity that comes his way to get revenge and try to make her feel the same feelings of abandonment. “In that case, there will be little chance that a person will be able to establish a connection between his previous behavior and this new offense,” emphasizes the psychologist. And add: “trying to repair an injustice by another injustice will only damage the relationship over time.”

aggressiveness

For Jonis Webb, aggressive communication is often characterized by accusatory expressions and a combative tone. In the same situation as mentioned above, the colleague, irritated and upset that he was left out, does not hesitate to violently lecture the other in the evening. “These complaints are not only insulting,” says the psychologist, “they are also expressed at a very inopportune moment. The words, tone, and timing will make the accused less willing to work to fix the situation. Instead, he will feel hurt and potentially humiliated. It will then be very difficult for him to change his behavior to meet his partner’s needs. Thus, aggression leads to a hellish spiral rather than constructive dialogue.

Sarcasm

Sometimes it can be tempting to use sarcasm to randomly jab at your partner and hope you get a message across. In the example used by the psychologist, the partner will wait until the end of the evening to make an unpleasant comment to his girlfriend or companion. “I hope you had a good time, because personally I can’t say that much.” “He waits until it’s too late and it’s no longer possible for the other to change his behavior in the evening,” describes Jonis Webb. Besides, he does not express his feelings directly. In that case, cooperation will be difficult to find. “The opposite person will put himself in a defensive position and will not look for a solution,” he sums up.

Smarter strategies

As a couple to better manage their communication, the psychologist lists some important points that should not be ignored. First of all, he advises not to wait until after a disagreement is noticed to discuss it. “Expressing your needs early allows you to resolve the issue while it’s still possible,” advises Jonice Webb.

According to him, the tone and choice of speech should also imperatively express “non-accusatory and non-aggressive communication” so as not to shorten the dialogue. “Once one partner’s defensive reflexes kick in, they can no longer be asked to respond to the other’s needs and feelings,” she supports. Finally, the ideal is to ask questions. “It’s a great way to avoid blaming your partner and give them a chance to explain themselves,” she concludes.

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Source: Le Figaro

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