Is your partner a sulker or a screamer? Often couples come in with two extremes of communication difficulties; silent stalemates, or screaming arguments that never get resolved. Other times it's that one person wants to talk (sometimes all night!) and the other just wants more 'alone time'. Lack of effective communication leads to one or both partners feeling angry, rejected, or just plain distant.
Do you or your partner
Not talk for days on end
Only seem to communicate by arguing
Argue over the same thing without resolution
Feel you have nothing to say to each other anymore
Get more cranky with the kids when you are angry at each other
Refuse sex or with hold affection
Continually bring up issues from the past?
Would you like to learn...
How to talk about sensitive topics without getting into an argument
How to argue without it going on for days
How to talk to each other and actually hear what each other is saying
How to avoid pushing each others buttons
How to reconnect with each other on a deeper level
How to see a brighter future together
Good communication doesn't happen naturally for everyone. Resentment and feelings of injustice can really play into poor communication. Often our communication issues go way back. What we leant in our past relationships and the patterns of our current ones can all interfere with effective communication.
Power plays flare up as each partner tries to 'have the last word' by either withdrawing (not talking, cold shouldering, withholding sex and or affection) or acting out (sarcastic remarks, slamming doors, spending too much, going out and getting wasted). Either way everyone suffers, especially the kids if they get in the line of fire.
Some tips on good communication
Look at your partner - who wants to listen to someone who isn't talking 'to' them?
Be a conversational distance apart. If you really want to have an argument - yell at them from the other side of the room, everybody loves that right?
Don't ham up what you are going to say, just say it.- Amping up to a touchy topic is just going to raise the other's hackles sooner.
Say it straight but nice. Grown ups are direct and authentic, they don't play games with words or avoid the real issue.
When it's said and done, drop it. If you have said your bit and you know the other has heard it and there is nothing more to say then its done.
Nothing good come's from going over and over the same problems. Be aware that all couples will have 'perpetual problems', issues with no known solution.
Use 'I' statements. Starting with "you never do ..." or "You always ...." is going to put the other on the defensive. Whereas "I feel x,y,z, when you.." is taking some ownership of the issue.
Don't use the bed for arguing, it's for sex and sleeping.
There is a lot more to what you are communicating than you will never be aware of. It's not just what you say but the way you say it, what you do with your face, your body and where it hits inside your partner. Things can happen in a moment that go right to the part of our brain that registers attack. This is how arguments can flare up in seconds, woosh -it's all on, and afterwards you don't really know what happened. If you and your partner are forever lighting fires you can't put out then couples therapy can help. Clarissa can identify unhelpful communication patterns and help you see what you are doing to upset each that you may not even be aware of. Once you have a greater understanding of why you do and say the things you do you have greater choice over whether you continue. From there you can learn new ways of communicating that will reduce stress and conflict in the relationship. These are take-home skills that you can use to create a better relationship now and in the future.