Relationship Conflict

The Three Layers of Ineffective Communication. How They Drain The Loving Connection From Your Relationship

In my work with couples, I’ve found ineffective communication gets stacked up in layers and feeds an ongoing conflict loop. I’ll tease these apart into understandable layers and then share some REALISTIC things you can do to break out of this cycle. I think it is important to understand the different layers of conflict to resolve conflicts. Okay, here we go…

Take a moment to think back to any conflict, issue, or problem you had with your partner. Did communication between the two of you play a major role either as the contributing cause of the problem or the inability to resolve it? I bet it did.

If your partner communicated in harsh ways, I’m guessing you felt hurt, anger, or fear because you wanted to be spoken to in a more respectful way. Perhaps you then responded to this with anger or shut down.

If you have communicated in harsh ways, afterward, you might have felt disappointed, guilty or even go into self-blame. You get upset at yourself for saying things you regretted. Your partner either responds to this with anger or shuts down.

So the WAY you communicate with each other in conflict is one layer of the conflict itself!

Whether it’s you or your partner that spoke harshly, whatever issues or problems you were discussing will not get resolved at all or will not get resolved in a way that both can feel good about. That’s the second layer.

When you can’t effectively resolve conflict, resentments started to build up seep into many interactions. A layer of feeling hopeless and powerless that things will change emerges, which can come out sideways in the form of blaming anger, or a deep resignation that this is your lot in life. This third layer adds to the pile of existing problems.

Add these three layers up and do the relationship math:

Having issues or conflicts in a relationship plus

not being able to communicate about them effectively plus

feeling powerless to change them or hopeless that they will change, equals

zero chance of your having a rich and fulfilling relationship.

What I’m describing to you here could happen quickly where couples lock horns early in the relationship, or it could happen slowly, imperceptibly over many years with one small resentment at a time. Whether fast or slow, I hope you can see that ongoing ineffective communication keeps you from getting what you truly want…and that is just not sustainable.

Why? Because this layered effect can happen with any one or all of the important issues below and be a constant source of ongoing resentment.

    • Money Issues (how much is made and spent, who spends it on what)
    • Sexual Differences (frequency, ways to satisfy, decreases in sexual desire or drive, and infidelity)
    • Communication (not enough, the way it is done)
    • Time Spent Together (amount of time, quality of time, who to spend it with)
    • Intimacy Issues (emotional intimacy, availability differences)
    • Lack of Commitment (follow-through with agreements)
    • Children and Step Children Issues (how to raise)
    • Unequal Need Fulfillment (one partner getting all their needs met at the expense of their partner)
    • Jealousy and Control Issues (insecurities)
    • Household Chores (who does what, fairness)
    • Families and In-laws (conflicts, personalities, etc)

Can you imagine feeling powerless or hopeless to be heard or understood with any of the issues above? Believe me, it just isn’t workable. Obviously, ineffective communication can wreak havoc in many areas of a relationship.

So what do we do?

Well, I’ve developed an 8-week course that will transform the communication in your relationship where you’ll be able to resolve conflicts and stay connected. There are some case studies of how the course can impact the issues listed above here.

Whether you take advantage of the Compassionate Communication Course I offer or not, I truly wish that you take these to heart and support yourself in doing something different.

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