No one is perfect, and there will likely be times when you or your partner succumb to using passive or aggressive communication. Notice when this happens, make amends and vow to make this the exception rather than the norm, and your relationship will grow!
What is your communication style? Generally, there are four common styles:
- Passive aggressive
Following on from last weeks post, it is important to recognise your primary communication style and that any combination of passive and aggressive communication styles can be detrimental to your relationship over time, as they result in lower levels of intimacy.
On the other end of the spectrum is the aggressive communicator, often blaming and making accusations, as well as making over-generalisations such as “You always put me down in front of our friends!” or “You never want to spend time with me!” This style is generally used when one person is feeling threatened or having negative thoughts/feelings; it often focuses on the negative characteristics of the person, rather than the situation. Any combination of the passive and aggressive communication styles can be detrimental to a relationship over time, as they result in lower levels of intimacy. If only one person is assertive and the other is passive or aggressive, the relationship may still suffer. The chart below shows that there is really only one “win-win” combination:
Consider your communication style and notice when you slip into dysfunctional patterns and turn your relationship towards win-win!
Source: The Couple Checkup Book ©2008
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