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.
Passive-aggressive communicators will often behave passively to a person’s face, but display aggression when that person is not around. On the surface the communicator’s goal is to avoid conflict (like passive communicators), but they will often convey anger or seek vengeance later.
An example of this would be a stay-at-home-dad who feels resentful of his spouse for always working late and not helping out with any of the housework. Instead of actually talking to his partner about his feelings, he complains to his parents and brothers that she is underachieving as a wife and mother; meanwhile, his wife has no idea that there is any issue at all!
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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