SIGNS OF TOXIC COMMUNICATION

With healthy and productive communication, you and your partner can build a solid relationship that can withstand practically anything and bring you joy and fulfillment. Without healthy communication, you and your partner will be both unfulfilled and miserable. Following are communication patterns that are harming your relationship. You or your partner or both of you could be using these. Awareness is the first step, so as you read over these, note which ones either of you uses in your relationship.

Love Recon SIGNS OF TOXIC COMMUNICATION body

  1. Criticism and Contempt. Typical statements are: “You never listen.” “You just don’t get it.” There is name-calling, eye-rolling, and disrespect for the other person. Disgust is the primary emotion expressed. A relationship that has deteriorated to this point is seriously close to the end if things don’t change.

 

  1. Changing the Subject. “Well, I remember the time that you….” This is an attempt to change the conversation for personal benefit or to gain an advantage.

 

  1. Being Sarcastic or Jabbing. Sarcasm can be condescending. “Wow, you’re a real genius!” “Life is good… you should get one.” “Cancel my subscription because I don’t need your issues.” “What’s wrong? Can’t you take a joke?” A little sarcasm or jabbing with jokes goes a long way. The truth of how one feels or what one thinks is thinly masked by the so-called “humor.”

 

  1. Labels are for bottles, not people! It is hurtful and non-productive to make statements about your partner, such as, “You’re selfish, forgetful, emotional, controlling, etc.”

 

  1. Threats. Threats can be spoken or implied. They can be used to make unreasonable demands and are a way to neutralize the other’s opinions or feelings. A threat is a manipulation based on the other person’s fear. Ultimatums are usually given as well.

 

  1. Nitpicking/Changing Expectations. “You missed a spot.” “Who cares anyway?”  “You shouldn’t have spent so much time on that.”

 

  1. This is an attempt to make you feel bad about yourself.
  2. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” This can be an attempt to use your past wounds or trauma against you. It can be bragging about one’s self, especially in the areas of the other person’s brokenness. “Well, at least one of us had a normal childhood.”

 

  1. Superlatives and Blanket Statements. “I’ll never forgive you.” “You always…”  “You never…” The other person’s feelings and perspectives are not given consideration.

 

  1. Making Assumptions. This is assuming that the other person should know things or should be able to figure it out on their own. While this may be true some of the time, usually, it only serves to increase misunderstanding and disconnection. They can’t read your mind, so they can’t meet your needs. And if they can’t meet your needs, you begin to feel resentment. The resentment builds, and you become unwilling to meet their needs. Don’t assume!

 

  1. Not Being Vulnerable. Not keeping your guard up opens the door to the emotional intimacy you can build with your spouse instead of keeping things at a surface level. Opening yourself up can seem scary and uncomfortable, but the reward is trust and a level of closeness essential for a robust and healthy connection.

 

  1. Making Judgments. “You’re wrong!” “That would never work.” Shooting down your partner’s point is judgmental and counter-productive. Even if you disagree with or don’t understand, withhold judgment, especially until you have validated (valued) them and considered their idea. Then you can respectfully disagree – unless, of course, you have realized that their idea was a great one!

 

  1. This is when one partner projects their behavior onto the other. “You’re too needy” when they are the one being clingy. “You’re a liar” when they are the one who is lying. Blame shifting occurs when they have difficulty taking responsibility for their problems or relationship problems and blame the other person.

 

  1. Lack of Validation. Validation is not agreement. Validation means, “I value you – your thoughts, feelings, your perspective.” To validate someone, in part, means, “I hear you. I see you. You are important to me.” Each partner may communicate validation in phrases like: “I understand why you feel that way.”  “You make a valid point.” “ Thank you for sharing that with me. It helps me gain perspective.”

 

  1. Using the Silent Treatment. This is sometimes called “stonewalling.” One person shuts down and refuses to talk to the other. This is not using the “time out” relationship tool. It is an attempt to punish the other person or make a point through silence. All communication stops or is only one-sided. Nothing is ever solved or resolved through stonewalling.

 

  1. When one of you talks to someone other than your spouse about your problems with your spouse, you create an unhealthy relationship “triangle.” This is especially true if you speak to someone else before you talk with your spouse. This breaches confidence and erodes your spouse’s trust in you.

A healthy triangulation would be to talk with a marriage therapist or relationship coach about what you and your spouse can do to develop healthy communication and interaction in your relationship.   Love Recon seminars and Recon Coaching can help. It’s what we do! 


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