Relationship Help: Preventing A Breakdown In Communication

Relationship Help Quick Tip

A breakdown in communication can occur for many reasons—reasons that may not always be apparent.  One common (and overlooked) reason has to do with the long-arm of our childhood relationships.

There are no formal courses about how you should communicate with your spouse/partner. In fact, it’s likely that you are simply repeating the lessons learned from your childhood. This could be a good thing if your relationship mentors were interpersonally healthy; but you might also be unconsciously falling back on the relationship behaviors you witnessed in important others—even if these weren’t the best lessons to learn.

Relationship truism: Couples communicate in ways that are similar to how their parents/caregivers communicated. Repeating learned communication patterns from your childhood can be so automatic that you’re simply unaware that this is occurring.

Relationship Help Self-Reflection Action Step

  • What healthy and unhealthy communication patterns did you learn in your childhood?
  • When are you more likely to fall back on unhealthy communication patterns in your marriage/relationship? 
  • What is one step you can take to become more fully conscious of repeating negative communication patterns?
  • What is one step you can take to add effective communication skills to your communication toolbox?

Give yourself ample time to reflect on these questions. If your spouse/partner is willing, ask him/her to answer these questions and share your responses with each other. This sharing can help deepen a mutual understanding and empathy for each other.

All best,

Dr. Rich Nicastro

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