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.
Dr. Rich Nicastro