People don’t realize how much power and control they have over adverse situations simply by communicating in a way that neutralizes conflict. We aren’t taught communication skills in school. We learn from our parents. We learn from our friends. And we learn from every person with whom we interact.
But if the people with whom we interact teach us by using inappropriate and angry communication, we don’t learn much in the way of good communication, communication that moves a discussion forward so that everyone is heard, and no one exacerbates an argument.
Good communication starts with the words we choose and the tone of voice we use. It is supported by the intention to neutralize toxic communication by changing the dynamic of the person who might be using aggressive and threatening communication in a divorce. It’s never okay to speak to someone in an untoward way, but this may be the only way the aggressor knows. So it is up to the other person to take a breath, wait a bit before responding, and respond in a neutral, nonthreatening manner.
Here are some tips to get you started on your path to being a Communication Guru:
- Never use the personal pronoun “you”. Better to use first or third person pronouns “we” or “it”. “You” puts people on the defensive. “We” or “it” provides a neutral place from which to speak.
- Never defend yourself if you receive an aggressive or bullying communication., or lash out in return. Instead, address the core issue in a way that allows you to maintain your separate thinking and independence.
- Don’t become indignant if you are being spoken to inappropriately. Don’t allow it, but don’t mirror what was said to you. You can ask that a different tone bemused to speak to you, or, you can ignore the untoward comments, and simply respond with a difference of opinion.
- Wait 24 hours before responding to communication that purposely tries to be hurtful. You are not required to respond as soon as you receive it, even though your emotions may be set off. Time neutralizes the offensive remarks, and keeps the perpetrator off kilter. It’s not normal to let an angry comment go without comment because people are prone to be sucked into a battle that doesn’t have to be.
- Read Bill Eddy books on communication with high conflict individuals. He’s a master at this and has a formula that absolutely works.
Make it your goal to remain calm in the face of tension and turmoil. Think ahead of how to respond to people in your life who can be mean and rile you up. Take pride in being able to remain unflustered nd in control of when and how you respond or initiate communication in a situation that embodies conflict.
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