Many people struggle to communicate in a healthy aspect to and with their partner. Some even feel when they are speaking it automatically means they are communicating with their partner.
Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.
While communicating we are not only speaking with our mouth, we also communicate 93% with our bodies which is outside what we are saying. For example, the direction you look in while speaking plays a part in whether you are telling the truth or not. The direction you point your body in tells how much you are into that person or the conversation. If your arms are folded across one another or not speaks to how open you are.
We hear it all the time, communication is key, so why do we have such a hard time doing this?
I believe this is due to there being so many definitions of what it means to truly communicate with another person. And because not many people look for the body language clues to see if the conversation resonates with their partner, we tend to speak at each other instead of knowing how to really engage in healthy communication. Since, we have such a hard time knowing what it means to really communicate, it is easier to fall into these common communication traps.
What are the communication traps and how can you avoid them?
Here are the seven communication traps you need to avoid. These 7 will ruin, destroy and tear down your relationship.
- Criticizing your partner by making angry demands
The first one is criticizing your partner and then making angry demands. For example you may say, “If you do not tell your mama to stay out of our business then we are not going to have sex anymore.” I know. This is a strong example but the point is, you start to criticize what their family member is doing, in this case your partner’s mom, then you bring up the angry demand, which is you two will not have sex. In this case you are using sex as a weapon, which is a no-no. Do not use sex as a weapon. Avoid this relationship destroyer and communication trap.
- Having all night discussions.
The second thing is more geared towards my ladies because generally women have a tendency to speak about the relationship until a result or solution has been agreed upon. So, the second communication trap is that you are trying to have all night discussions. You two had an issue. For instance, he left the house and did not tell you or he decided to change plans in the middle of his original plans and did not inform you he was going to stay out with the guys longer than he originally stated. All of a sudden, he comes home but it is much later than you expected. While waiting for him you were getting irritated and annoyed. He gets in and now you want to have this long, drawn out talk about his time difference and plans changing. Now, I am not saying the talking is bad, but there is no need to have an all night discussion because after a while he is no longer listening and your attempts to get him to see his error will be in vain. Cut the all-night discussions out. Have a talk about his time management and not informing you of the change. I am telling you, after a certain period of time, your spouse is no longer listening to you. Only thing they hear is wah wah wah, furthermore he is waiting for you to shut up.
Do not do that to yourself. Do not do it to your spouse. Think about the things you actually want to say before the conversation. Write them down, and then talk about those items on your list. This ensures you are not having all night discussions and you are still both voicing what you need.
- Needing to be always right
The third communication trap is needing to be right all the time. Nobody is right all the time. Nobody! It is very unattractive when you come off as a person who needs to be right about everything. What this really shows is you have low self-esteem. You also come off as a person that needs everybody to know that they are the smartest person in the room. So, don’t set yourself up as a person that has to be right about everything because that can be a total turnoff. Avoid this communication trap. Do not be a know-it-all. Do not need to be right about everything. Because you are not.
- Power struggles
Tip four, power struggles. Power struggles are quite funny. Not ha-ha funny but they are funny in a sense because the more you fight to control things, the less control you have. Noone likes to be controlled. During the power struggle stage, this is usually one of the hardest and trying times within a relationship. If you two can make it out of these times then you can conquer anything together. Many people also use power struggles as a way to hold onto their own individuality. This becoming one has a lot of people scared that they will lose who they are but what they are really fighting to keep is them not change their core beliefs, values and ideals as well as that free feeling to do whatever they want without having to answer to anyone.
- Holding grudges.
Communication trap 5, holding grudges. When you hold onto grudges, you are holding onto something that happened to you previously. Whenever you two get into an argument, you see this as the perfect opportunity to bring that very thing up, yet again. By doing this over and over again, your partner stops feeling emotionally close to you. What happens is the imaginary line of where the distance stops and starts, widens. Holding grudges creates distance: Physical Distance, Spiritual Distance and Emotional Distance. As you continue to hold onto your grudge the resentment builds up, which is why you have unnecessary outbursts, all because you never got all the small stuff out in the open as it was occurring or after it occurred and you had time to calm down. By the time you have the outburst, your spouse has no clue what is going on and why he is the target. All of these unnecessary steps happen when you decide to hold in and not voice the problem as soon as it happened or soon after.
Whenever you hold things in and a grudge forms, you are hurting yourself. Literally, your body has a visceral reaction to the grudges because it is trying to cope with all the anger you have within you. This may be why you have body aches and pains. You do not realize it is from holding all of that negativity inside of your body. Why experience this when all you have to do is wait until you have calmed down, then go and share your feelings to your partner. When you are open about your feelings you feel lighter and are more welcoming to your relationship and your partner. You feel heard and understood.
- Guilt trip
Tip six, guilt trip. Are you holding your partner in a state of being guilty all the time? Guilty about everything even though they are probably not even doing anything. Your partner may feel, after a while of being accused, he might as well go do X since he is already being blamed for it.
For example, cheating. Maybe your spouse cheated on you before and you decided to take him back. Due to you never healing from this transgression, your insecurities often present themselves. Now, you constantly accuse him of cheating. You hold this against him, even though you verbally stated that you forgave him, you really did not. Since you never forgave him for cheating on you now you make him out to feel guilty and ashamed every chance you get.
Every time he leaves the house he has to check in with you 50 million times, in order to keep your insecurities at bay. What you are unaware of is you are slowly eating away at your relationship one moment and accusation at a time. Your insecurities need to be laid to bed by addressing what the root cause of why you are so scared of being cheated on? Have you two gotten the help you need to understand why the cheating occurred in the first place? How often do you openly discuss why the transgression occurred?
When you say you forgive someone these cannot be empty words for the moment. Was it all just for show? How will you address your insecurities so you can start to rebuild your relationship and life as a couple?
- Falling for diversions instead of focusing on the original issue.
Tip seven, falling for diversions. Instead of focusing on the original issue, specifically during your fight, one of you does something to divert the attention away from a solution to the original problem. Instead of laying the original issue to bed, now there is a secondary fire that needs to be put out. For example, you and your partner are on a road trip. One of you wants the radio on and the other one wants the quiet. Out of nowhere you two begin to argue about who wins this one. In the midst of this argument, one of you begins cursing at the other person. This is where the diversion happens.
Instead of addressing the issue with the radio and the quiet, you two now have to address the secondary issue, the cursing, before you can move back to the original issue. When you start cursing at your partner, not only are you being disrespectful but this diversion does not help you get closer to your goal of compromising regarding the quiet and the radio.
Do not allow these divisions to creep in and leave you both feeling as though, there is no hope. Plenty of arguments stem from something just as small and stupid.
Need help with avoiding these communication traps, being more playful in your relationship or finding ways to connect deeply with your spouse? Let’s chat. I can help. Book your FREE Coaching Conversation today!
All the best,
Life & Relationship Strategist