Over the years I have struggled with “Withdrawal and Avoidance” (4) in communication. This pattern ruled my life for many years, all in longing for acceptance, validation and fear of rejection. With the help of a therapist (and of course Jesus), this past year and half I am finally feeling a sense of victory. Learning to have the hard conversations, going at them head on is difficult but freeing. We all can use some help in learning to communicate more positively and losing these negative patterns.
Can you find yourself in any of the four NEGATIVE patterns of communication below? Be honest.
1- Escalation, what goes around comes around. Escalation occurs when partners respond back and forth negatively to each other, continually upping the ante so the conversation gets more and more hostile.
2- Invalidation, painful put-downs, a pattern in which one subtly or directly puts down the thoughts, feelings, or character of the other.
3- Negative Interpretation, when perception is worse than reality. Negative interpretations occur when one partner consistently believes that the motives of the other are more negative than is really the case. This can be a very destructive, negative pattern in a relationship. It makes any conflict or disagreement harder to deal with constructively.
4- Withdrawal and Avoidance – Hide and Seek – Withdrawal, can be as simple as getting up and leaving the room or as subtle as “ or “shutting down” during an argument. The withdrawer often tends to get quiet during an argument, look away, or agree quickly to a partner’s suggestion just to end the conversation.
Ask the Lord and someone you trust to help undo these negative patterns. I will share some helpful steps in my next post.