Updated: Oct 27, 2019
I remember finding a quote similar to this while taking classes as counselor-to-be in the counseling program. It's profound if we take the time to evaluate it properly. As we all know, when it comes to dealing with the people we are closest to, whether it's family, a friend, or significant other, it's easier said than done. The people closest to us often know which buttons to press to pull us into an argument. It often feels like we don't have another option than to respond , pushing us into the same old patterns we always fall into. We can experience intense feelings that well up inside of us with a need to become defensive. Sometimes we set out to be a certain way in our interactions with others and get pulled into negativity and drama.
More often than not, the WAY we are communicating with others and being communicated with is to blame. What we say, our tone, or how it is perceived by the other person can make a huge difference in whether we are met with the reactions we are expecting or whether something gets triggered and people become defensive. It can also be tough to break those patterns of communication if we're used to having conversations go awry. Sometimes our desire to be "right" or to "win" overcomes us. Maybe our communication patterns growing up have been what Marshall Rosenberg, developer of NonViolent Communication, would call "violent" and we have continued forward with what was modeled to us for a good portion of our lives.
The good news is, the way that we communicate with others can be improved. It starts with awareness. If we can become aware of when we are triggered to become defensive and really evaluate what it's about, we can effectively communicate that in a way that doesn't lead to an argument. It starts with making minor changes in what we say, our tone of voice, learning new and more effective ways to communicate. Over time, implementing those new communication skills can help them become the new pattern for us.
If you need help breaking out of old, unhealthy patterns of communication, contact me and let's start your journey toward better communication.
For more information on NonViolent Communication (NVC), please visit https://www.cnvc.org/.