Life Coach Love Tip: Embrace Different Communication Styles | Kelly Rudolph | YourTango

Conflicts are normal, but different communication styles can make fights worse!

Source: Life Coach Love Tip: Embrace Different Communication Styles | Kelly Rudolph | YourTango

In families, friendships, and relationships of every sort, disagreements and conflicts are bound to occur (even when those relationships are healthy). The workplace and family environments in particular can be hotbeds for strife as power dynamics in those spaces often position others to make choices that affect you without your input. Although well-handled conflict can teach us a lot (how to gain a new perspective or boundaries about what we’d like to avoid), how well someone manages the rift in the moment (by talking it through or refusing to talk at all) has serious ramifications for all involved.

As a life coach, I often hear stories of people struggling to relate with loved ones, co-workers, etc. — anyone who communicates differently than they do. My first step to help clients keep their valued relationships healthy is providing them with this basic breakdown about how each person in the conflict might perceive things:

The Talk-It-Out Person:

Are you a talk-it-out person? If so, you may feel the need to clear the air or maybe to apologize or perhaps you simply want to feel heard and acknowledged. To you, stuffing feelings is a recipe for disaster and you know a healthy conversation can create an even stronger bond. It’s highly frustrating to want to communicate with someone who completely shuts you out and opts for the silent treatment rather than a respectful discussion.

You may wonder what you did wrong or why the other person is being so “mean” about it. When someone like you is given the silent treatment, even small conflicts can escalate because while the other person isn’t having a conversation about the problem, your brain is!  Your mind torments you, creating possible scenarios that assume what the other person must be thinking or what you did wrong to make them clam-up. You may talk to friends about the situation to get their opinion (because you genuinely need to talk to someone). And whether your friend agrees with you or not, the conflict grows bigger simply because of the thoughts and emotional energy swirling around inside you without resolution.

You probably feel hurt or disregarded. You may fear the negative impact the conflict will have on your relationship as a whole. After all, how can you keep your family or relationship happy if there’s an elephant in the room that’s not being acknowledged? The silent treatment is damaging to you because it infiltrates your self-confidence (one of three components of self-esteem). When you begin to doubt your relationship with a family member, partner or coworker, you begin to doubt yourself whether you realize it or not.

The silent treatment causing you to think and feel worse about yourself feels like mental andemotional abuse. But that person who cares about or loves you may not mean to hurt you at all. He or she may think by avoiding a big conversation and just letting it go, you can both move on. They see dwelling on the situation as more damaging. As a result, the conflict feels like a pebble to one person and a boulder to another, but the relationship will suffer without resolution.

As the talk-it-out person, you may feel disengaged and hurt by their silent reaction to conflict, fear grows around the possibility of future conflicts going the same way and you find yourself walking on eggshells around that person. How can that be healthy?

The Silent Treatment Person:

Are you the person who clams up and just wants to let it go during a conflict? You may feel it’s not worth the energy to discuss the disagreement at hand and you certainly don’t want to make matters worse by continuing to disagree. Maybe you had a bad experience in the past where talking it out inspired a breakup or long-standing rift. That would cause anyone to be a little gun-shy when a similar situation rears its head, especially with someone you care about. To you, it just seems like a no-brainer to let bygones be bygones and move on, doesn’t it?

You have no intention of hurting the other person with your silence, and you may simply need some time to think things through before talking about the problem. Some personality types require time to process situations before opening up. Minds like yours want to get it right before they speak up, and you can’t do that if you’re flying by the seat of your pants in a volatile conversation. Not all people get their needs met the same way, but we do all need to have those needs met eventually.

The fact that the person you disagreed with is pressuring you to talk is just making it worse. You wish they would stop and give you some space. Now things escalate and you feel even more uncomfortable about an impending discussion because the small disagreement has now blown up into some huge, emotionally charged event. This can’t turn out well, you think to yourself. Now what do you do?

You feel pushed to do something uncomfortable, and you wonder why someone who cares about you would ask that of you. You begin to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re doing this communication thing all wrong.

Get On The Same Page 

We started with a disagreement between two people who react in opposite ways and as a result, we now have a big, emotionally charged situation where both people are feeling disconnected, hurt, fearful, pressured, disrespected, angry, invalidated, and, well, you get the picture. What’s the solution? Here are three important communication tools that I find work best (it’s always smart to have tools in your communication toolbox before you need them). Use these tips to help broker a happy medium for discussing conflict in a way that honors both of your communication styles. Don’t worry, getting on the same page and communicating effectively is much easier than you think:

  1. Recognize Each Other’s Communication Style: A simple knowledge of personality types helps you more easily identify where the other person is coming from. Once you understand their type, suddenly all of the communication conflicts you’ve ever had with them will make much more sense, like finding the piece that completes a puzzle. A solid understanding of all the various personality types (and their communication styles) is extremely beneficial to all of your relationships and is vital in career and business. Here’s a free, one-page download that will make you relationship savvy in this department in no time.
  2. Journal/Notepad: Practice journaling your feelings for 4-5 minutes whenever you feel tense, frustrated or any other negative emotion. Regularly taking this brief break to process what’s coming up for you can change your entire mood, life and relationships if you let it. Writing out what you’re feeling, what you think caused it and what, if anything, you can do about it is remarkably clarifying. (Yell into your pillow if it helps but get those emotions out or they will cause physical illness.) Now you have your feelings sorted out and solutions for a healthy discussion. No need to ramble and certainly no need for destructive drama.
  3. Healthy Communication Technique: Using the correct words in the correct order when discussing conflict will get your point across in a supportive, loving manner, and if that doesn’t feel right, you’re not ready for the discussion yet. Here’s what to say: “When we were __________ and you (did or said) __________, I felt ___________. Did you mean for me to feel _________ ?” You are giving the context of when, where and what happened (clarity), stating a fact of what was said or done (no “you made me feel”), sharing your feelings (no one can argue how you felt but some may try) and asking a yes or no question. You’re not placing blame, you’re simply sharing how you feel based on what happened. The question evokes either a “yes, I’m a creep and meant you to feel bad,” or an apology or explanation.

 

I Should Be More Relaxed

We got back from vacation a few days ago.  I haven’t really felt like writing. The vacation was pretty good but I feel like I should be more relaxed lol. On the way up to the lake (3 hour drive), H and I were fighting over getting lost and other equally stupid reasons.  This continued the first 2 days. We very rarely argue or fight (which I don’t think is necessarily healthy) so it was upsetting and did not lead to any closeness or resolutions.

Finally on Friday, we were in town at the grocery store and I was just feeling so very sad and alone.  My husband was right by my side and yet I started crying because I was so unhappy and lonely.  I finally told him how I was feeling and that opened up the door to the first actual productive discussion in a few months.  After that we definitely had a much better time together.

I am looking for a sex therapist in our area, which is not as simple a task as you might think.  Besides the fact that it just seems so bizarre to me that this is where I am in life, it’s hard to trust just anyone with your deepest, darkest feelings. Marriage counseling I had no trouble with, this is just different.  Also, most insurances don’t cover sex therapy and we do not have a lot of extra money right now.  I guess I will just start making calls and go from there.

I think I am just really scared because if this doesn’t work, I will have no choice but to make huge changes in my life.  I am trying to think positively and be upbeat, but it’s not easy.  How the hell did I (a woman who LOVES and NEEDS sex like I do oxygen) wind up in a sexless marriage?!?!?!  This was NEVER supposed to happen to me and I think I am really sad and pissed off about it.  I feel duped.  Like I got sold a false bill of goods.  My husband is so kind, sweet and funny. He is always there for me, in good times and in bad so it feels disloyal and wrong to be so unhappy with him.

Wow, my feelings about this are a lot more complicated than I thought they were.  I think we have both been unhappy and unsatisfied for a long time.  I have to remember this is a positive step and can only lead to a better, happier future. Fingers crossed 🙂

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Sexless? No Thanks I Need Sex

I just read an article that stated that 1 in every 5 marriages is sexless! They define sexless as having sex less that 4 times a year. Um 4 times a year seems like an improvement to our stats the previous 5 years lol.

Seriously who doesn’t like sex???

I have always been a huge fan of sex. For me it was always an important part of a relationship. Granted I have had relatively fewer partners than most women my age (6). But in a loving, committed relationship I felt free to explore and I enjoy trying new things. I enjoy exploring multiple times a day lol.

So to have no sex for a few years? I’m probably lucky I didn’t end up in a padded room. I was so unhappy and felt completely ugly and constantly rejected.

It also helps with my depression and is necessary to my happiness.

Even though we are currently having sex, it’s still not as easy as it was with P. He and I could discuss anything and everything without being awkward or uncomfortable. There’s a distance there with H that while improving slowly, still very much exists. I have no idea why. Since I am open and honest, it must be coming from hubby.

Sometimes I think he got used to using porn and jerking off for so many years before we even met. But we dated for 4 years before we got married and the sex was great! I wouldn’t have said yes if it wasn’t.

I’ve been looking for a good sex therapist in our area and will make some calls tomorrow. He has to be ready, willing and able. He says he is, so hopefully this will help.

It does not nor will it ever excuse cheating. But it’s a sad fact that life isn’t black and white. I know now that an affair wasn’t the answer for me. I also know that as stupid and naive as it seems, we fell deeply in love. It’s not easy to find everything you need in one person. I really thought I had but obviously that wasn’t enough.

I will continue to work to have the marriage I need to be happy but I will never again go months or years without physical love and intimacy. No matter how much I love someone. Life is too short not to be happy, enjoyed and loved.

Is he friggin serious!?!?

You must Never forget who was there for you when no one else was.

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This is what he posted yesterday. I know he’s talking about me and it just makes me shake my head. Yes I absolutely was there for him when no one else was for a year and a half. But in the end, it truly didn’t matter to him. I didn’t matter to him. And I really have no use for a guy that uses social media to send obscure messages.

I am not perfect but I am honest, upfront and open. I told my H I was losing it and would soon cheat. He did nothing. When I started the affair, before I fell in love with P, I told him! Does this make it right? No  it doesn’t.

I know now affairs cannot work. For me it was living 2 half lives instead of 1 full one. Looking back, I was willing to give up so much for him but he obviously wasn’t willing to give up anything for me.  He said I was the woman he loved and wanted to be with. I taught him how to love, how to communicate and how to strengthen a relationship through compromise. He said I was securely in his heart, mind and soul and then poof he was gone.

He’s way too old to be acting like he’s in junior high. Just a little more time and my heart will be healed.