Closed-minded communication in couples or work dyads shut off teamwork and trust. It doesn’t have to be that way. When a talk partner says, “I don’t want to go there!” … you don’t have to go there either. Why go to extremes? Extreme either/or communication or You must agree with me or you’ll be punished isn’t useful when emotions run wild.
EXTREME COMMUNICATION MOVES THAT MISLEAD
Extremism in the form of threats and outlandish requests are meant to make you back off from expecting accountability and measuring promised results. Here are some ways strong-willed negative talkers get you off track:
1. PUNISHING that takes away time, attention, a good mood, or simple respect, sends the message that you’re bad and deserving of punishment. Example: “Well, if that’s how you’re going to be, then I don’t see how we can work this out.”
2. DRILLING occurs when you’re subjected to a series of penetrating questions that confuse the point you are trying to make. Example: “Wouldn’t you feel the same way if you were in my shoes?”
3. An act of DEFIANCE takes place when a counter-attack confronts a personal weakness in need of correction. Example: “Why can’t you let go of the past, for gosh sakes?!”
4. Seeds of DISSENTION are sown in the relationship field instead of seeds of trust and love. Example: “What’s that got to do with anything? You just don’t understand my side of the story.”
5. POWER ON CONTROL is employed when urgent emergencies or emotional psychodrama take the focus off uniting in agreement about prioritizing problem resolution. Example: “I’m too busy and stressed out to deal with all your stuff right now.”
6. HIDDEN AGENDAS are sneaky ways to exert control at the expense of a positive relationship. Example: “You wanted me to take charge of the money because we agreed you weren’t doing such a good job with it.”
7. When THE OTHER SHOE DROPS, promises to you are not kept, detracting from relationship predictability and stability. Example: “I know I told you I would be home at a certain time, but I got tied up, and I don’t have any control over that.”
9. FEARING leaves a gaping hole in logic — fear in the driver’s seat of your life — fearing loss so much, that in an attempt to control it, you actually bring loss to your life. Example: “I know you’re going to leave me if I speak up too forcefully.”
10. A TIME GAP results when one talk partner insists on living in a brighter past or future, thereby avoiding the present. Example: “I promise I’ll do better and get to it tomorrow.”
11. The RULE BREAKER exudes arrogance saying, “I’m set apart from the ordinary rules you mortals must follow.” Example: “Hey, I never said I was perfect, and rules were made to be broken.”
I don’t want to go there is a strange form of self- and relationship-detachment fueled by fear. I guess we don’t want to risk getting hurt that way, eh?
I DON’T WANT TO GO THERE…I DON’T WANT TO GO INTO THE SWAMP OF MY EMOTIONS
What does I don’t want to go there really mean? It typically implies this logic lapse:
I don’t want to go deeper into my emotions, because I will get lost in that swamp, and be eaten by bugs and worse, and never find my way out, and my bleached white sun dried bones will be found decades later by scientists, SO I don’t want to talk about it…I don’t want to go there…I don’t want to deal with this right now…I don’t have the energy or stamina to talk about it anymore…if you love and respect me you will leave me alone…NOW….Do as I say, not as I do.
I’ve always wanted to write like Dave Barry and sell like Steven King!
WITHOUT GOOD COMMUNICATION THERE IS A LEADERSHIP VACUUM
Without good communication, there is a love and leadership vacuum. If you aren’t the authority of your life, if you aren’t in the driver’s seat of your life, then who is? If you’re not in charge of the communication during emotionally stormy times, then who is? Going ahead slowly will save your skin every single time when you’re lost in an emotional swamp and the alligators are hungry.
THE SLIPPERY ROAD OF EMOTIONAL COMMUNICATION
Talking to someone at the same rank or level as you, such as a peer, is tricky. Talking to someone one level above or below you, such as a boss or child, is doubly tricky. Talking to anyone about anything when one of you is emotionally charged up, is almost impossible. Haven’t you noticed? Things go into a tailspin quicker than you can hide under your desk, when the fissionable material of fearful emotions and cold logic slam together.
WHO IS COMMUNICATIONS PSYCHOLOGIST DENNIS E. O’GRADY, PSY.D.
Dennis O’Grady is an effective relationship communication coach, communication keynote speaker and workshop leader who delivers individual and couples coaching, executive coaching, and corporate training which actually improves communication fast, from top to bottom. Dennis is the original developer of the powerful Talk to Me© effective communication system. You can experience the benefits of his communication system directly by interacting with the 12 dimensions of the 2 communicator types (and switch among the 4 talk lanes when one is closed) in his book by the same title…. Talk to Me: Communication Moves To Get Along with Anyone is available at www.drogrady.com and Amazon.