Communication breakdown: The silent scourge of relationships

04-10-2021 Mon 13:47 IST | IANS | Lifestyle

New Delhi, Oct 4 : Conflict in relationships can occur due to several reasons. Poor communication presents itself as a major reason behind 'toxic' unhealthy relations. The lack of communication in a relationship can threaten its very existence. Usually, a communication breakdown involves either one of two scenarios -- both the partners have stopped talking altogether about important things or both the partners can't have a normal discussion without turning it into an argument. Couples who fail to consciously communicate with one another often face issues regarding relational growth and intimacy. While many partners feel that communication strategies are not something to pay much attention to, in the end, it's the one thing that truly holds crucial significance in healthy, happy relationships.

Common Reasons of Communication Breakdown in Relationships

Lack of Trust

Without any argument, transparency and trust are the pillars of a successful relationship. When they disappear, breakdowns in communications can quickly take place. Total transparency remains the key to open communication in relationships.

Busy Lifestyle

Making time for the spouse becomes difficult when both the partners are busy working full-time. Tight deadlines, stressors at work, conflicting work schedules or even difficult relationships with the team or a manager can negatively impact an intimate relationship. In such situations, people begin to internalise stress, perceiving the other person in the relationship just as a burden. This brings a wide communication gap ultimately affecting the relationship adversely.

A Traumatic Event

An external shock or trauma can rapidly change a relationship's dynamics. Trauma or external shocks can include:

* Loss or bereavement

* Sudden unemployment

* Health scares or illness

* Accident

A sudden traumatic event can change a person. This can also affect the way the person communicates with the spouse, family and friends.

Unhealthy Behavioural Patterns

Communication in relationships can also break down when either one or both of the partners engage in unhealthy patterns of behaviour. It can include:

* Always trying to hurt or abuse the partner in daily interactions

* Constant Criticism of personality or hurtful attacks

* Being defensive in arguments

* Refusing to open up or speak clearly with one another

Effects of Improper Communication in Relationships

* Loneliness

* Creating a negative perspective of the partner

* Lack of intimacy

* Feeling lost or unseen

* Difficulty in reaching goals

Ways to Fix Communication Issues in Relationships

Listen to More Talk Less

When the emotions are running high, every person wants to express their point of view which leads to a situation where no one is really interested in the resolution or conversation. Constant interruption in a conversation is an indication that one doesn't think that the other person has something important to talk about and only wants to express their own opinion. The entire point of a conversation is to listen to the other person without the constant urge to interrupt. A better listener can influence, persuade and negotiate. What's more, a good listener can also keep at bay conflict and misunderstandings.

Address Past Issues

One of the common reasons why couples fail to communicate properly is because something painful or agonising happened in their relationship that hasn't been resolved. It is important to process such hurtful incidences, build trust once again and forgive one another to make the relationship work again.

Avoid Unfair Remarks

Effective communication is easily terminated when one person in a relationship makes unfair remarks or brings up things from the past especially situations that were never resolved. It is imperative that both the partners avoid words like 'you' and 'you always'. Such words can easily take the conversation in the wrong direction. Instead of that, couples should try and address one another by calling out their first name in a loving way. This is an effective technique to dilute anger.

By Prakriti Poddar
(Prakriti Poddar, Managing Trustee, Poddar Foundation)

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