The Worst Thing About Ineffective Communication

If you see yourself or your partner in these examples, it’s likely that neither of you learned effective communication skills growing up. As a therapist specializing in childhood emotional neglect, I’ve observed that many couples’ communication is heavily influenced by their upbringing.

Some families openly and directly address emotions and are comfortable discussing problems. Others are deeply uncomfortable or entirely oblivious to their members’ feelings. Emotionally neglectful families fail to teach their children essential emotional communication skills required for a happy marriage.

If you or your partner were raised in an emotionally neglectful family, there’s a high chance your marriage suffers from a lack of communication skills. This can be frustrating and divisive, but there’s another lesser-known negative result: your messages, feelings, and needs go unheard, and thus, unfulfilled.

Good Communication Skills Examples

Consider the same scenario where Mark feels hurt and angry because Beth disregarded him at a party, even after he requested her to stay with him since he was unfamiliar with the crowd.

  1. At the party, Mark gently places his hand on Beth’s shoulder and whispers in her ear, “Don’t forget, I don’t know anyone here. Please remember to stay with me.”
  2. As they drive home, Mark calmly asks, “Beth, I thought we agreed to stick together at the party tonight. What happened?”

In the first instance, Mark’s communication is spot-on. He conveys his needs to Beth while still at the party, giving her the chance to rectify the situation. His approach is non-confrontational, as he merely reminds her. This way, he not only assumes she isn’t deliberately ignoring him but also encourages her to address the issue.

In the second example, although Beth cannot fix the problem during the party, Mark still communicates in a non-accusatory and non-aggressive manner.

Posing questions is an excellent method for avoiding blame and allowing your partner to explain their actions. It also fosters open discussion rather than inciting an angry or defensive reaction. Remember, “the moment your partner’s defenses are up, you lose their capacity to attend to your feelings or needs.”

The Greatest Benefit of Effective Communication

Effective communication skills offer numerous advantages. They facilitate honesty within the relationship and continuously deepen your understanding of one another—even after 20 years together.

As with poor communication skills, there’s another crucial aspect that most people overlook: when you express yourself appropriately, your partner is more likely to listen, increasing the chances of getting your wants and needs met.

If you or your partner were raised in an emotionally neglectful family and didn’t have the opportunity to learn effective communication skills, it’s essential to know that it’s never too late. As long as you’re willing to learn, you can acquire these skills and even pass them on to your children.

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