Communication in relationships requires ongoing work, trial and error, and openness. As communication is typically defined as the transfer of information from one to another, it is imperative to consider the style in which that information is being transferred.  Communication styles differ from one person to another, but can be mutually understood with honesty and compromise. A healthy communication style can lead to a healthier and stronger relationship, bound by trust.  Trust is cultivated through effective and transparent communication.  It is important to note that communication comes in both verbal and nonverbal forms. Facial expressions and body language are modes of communication as well.  Open body posture communicates that one is listening and attentive. Arms folded communicates that one is closed off and defensive.  It is imperative to keep in mind what signal you send with your face and body when aiming to communicate effectively and respectfully with your partner. Communicating clearly from the start of any relationship, sets positive expectations and sparks security in the relationship.

There are 5 main communication styles: assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, submissive, and manipulative.

The Assertive Communication:

The assertive communication style is the healthiest form of communication we can use.  It is a healthy balance between not being overly aggressive while not delving into being too passive.  However, we tend to utilize this form of communication the least. An assertive communication style is one embedded in high self-esteem and healthy boundaries. It strays from utilization of manipulation and is rooted in the confidence to speak one’s mind, remain unwavering in one’s point, and respecting the opinions of others. People with an assertive communication style are able to accept compliments, express their emotions, state what they need from others with acceptance of possible rejection, and declare their concerns without being hurtful towards others.

The Aggressive Communication:

The aggressive communication style is unproductive for both the speaker and the listener. This communication style is centralized on selfishness. Someone with an aggressive communication style believes their feelings and right to speak are more important than hearing from someone else. The overall message of someone with an aggressive communication style gets lost because it gets consumed by the desire to be better than or above the other person.  People with aggressive communication styles are concerned with winning an argument, not with respectfully delivering their point to others. People with an aggressive communication style are commonly categorized as being bullies, frightening, loud, hostile, and terrorizing.

The Passive-aggressive Communication:

The passive-aggressive communication style showcases people who are passive on the surface, but are actually indirectly expressing their anger and frustration. Those who utilize a passive-aggressive communication style typically share the sentiment of powerlessness. By communicating in a way that undermines the object of their resentment and anger indirectly, people who practice a passive-aggressive communication style tend to self-sabotage.  By using sarcasm, they are rarely taken seriously.  People with this communication style often fall to gossiping and rumor-starting as a way to connect with others, but this ultimately results in them feeling increased loneliness.

The Submissive Communication:

The submissive communication style is concerned primarily with avoiding conflict at all costs and appeasing others. People who engage in a submissive communication style maintain the belief that what others have to say is more important and takes priority over what they have to offer or contribute. People with submissive communication styles struggle with accepting responsibility, expressing their emotions, and accepting compliments.

The Manipulative Communication:

The manipulative communication style is calculating and controlling. It focuses on delivering an underlying and hidden message without another person’s awareness. People who engage in the manipulative communication style often want other people to feel sorry or badly for them by using guilt as a gateway. The manipulative communication style is indirect and leaves people wondering what the actual message was.

It is difficult to know how to respond to each communication style, but it is helpful to recognize which style resonates with you most.  Through understanding how you communicate, you can manage your expectations of how others perceive you, deliver your message in a manner that you wish for it to be received, and have greater awareness of how others read you.

All relationships require work, be they job-related, family, friends, partners, or children. The way we communicate with a child is not the same way we communicate with an employer. We have to adjust and adapt our communication style to be sure it can be appropriately digested by the person receiving it.

Research shows that the following characteristics fuel the most effective communication: empathy, descriptiveness, equality, solution-oriented frameworks, and straightforwardness.  Incorporate some of these characteristics into your communication style and take note of the differences and progress made in your relationships.

Accessing help:

Before the situation gets worse everyone should get immediate help. Depending on the severity of the condition people should find a way to deal with it. It is not too late yet. The psychotherapist would engage you in talk therapy and help you restore a sense of harmony and mental stability. And the address of getting help from any professional is Seeking Shalom. Seeking Shalom has trained and experienced therapists. Seeking Shalom works with children, adolescents and adults. It offers you two contexts to help you If you are having trouble communicating with others and would like someone to walk beside you through this difficult time, Seeking Shalom welcomes you. As trained and empathic professionals, we share the desire to be your stepping stone to better living. You can engage in weekly individual/family therapy or in a twelve week group setting where you get to interact with persons like yourself and together learn helpful strategies and techniques to deal with the problem. To pursue any of these options you can contact us via telephone at 212-655-9605. We would be happy to help you on this journey to healthier living. We thank you for your courage in taking the first step towards letting go of what was and inching towards what could be.

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