Centfie writes empirical views based on observation, experience, and research.
Before I gained self-awareness or matured, I was guilty of contributing to poor communication in my relationship. When my partner made me angry, I would keep it inside and not talk for a while and then later burst about in anger when something little occurred, like failing to reply after a minute.
I would seethe with anger, quarrel, and say some mean words. Then, afterwards, I would resort to silence, and the pattern repeated itself. I had become an expert in shutting down communication in my relationship.
No outsider can shut down communication in a relationship unless you let them. It takes both partners to either build effective communication or destroy it.
The following behaviors can cause a complete shutdown in communication because it makes one partner to feel cornered, unheard, or taken for granted and one blocks the other.
Such communication patterns ruin your relationship. Poor communication leads to emotional cheating whereby your partner enjoys communicating with someone else rather than you.
They love you, but they are afraid of talking to you because they fear your reaction.
Or maybe they want to talk to you but are avoidant of talking about weighty issues.
Communication is crucial for the survival of relationships. It's important to stop sabotaging your communication by getting rid of unhealthy communication patterns. See the following 10 mistakes that shut down communication in your relationship, and eliminate them from your life.
This article uses the third person pronoun because the topic applies to all genders.
1. Giving Ultimatums
Giving ultimatums involve imposing your decisions on your partner without giving them a chance to choose and putting strict deadlines for them.
For instance, pressuring them to take the relationship to the next level when they are not ready yet. Or threatening your partner with a breakup if they don’t do what you want.
It’s as if you are demanding your rights, and in the process, you forget that your partner has a right too. Even though you are in love, you shouldn’t force them to take action. Instead, try to communicate and come to a mutual agreement.
If you have to give your partner ultimatums, it may be a sign of unaligned relationship goals. Hence, it may be time to reconsider calling it quits.
Relationships involve some degree of manipulation to sustain them. You may need to use sweet words and romantic actions to keep your partner interested.
However, when you use your words with intent to gain something rather than the interest of both of you, then the manipulation becomes toxic. Being manipulated is not a pleasant situation to always be in, and it ruins your communication.
Ann example of toxic manipulation is coercing your partner to do something that is against their values. You may use statements like "if you love me as you say, you would do this for me."
You guilt-trip your partner into doing something they don’t want by casting doubt on their love for you. Hence, you knowingly put them in a situation where they have to please you to prove their love.
Instead of manipulating your partner, just ask them openly and with love. Let them feel free in the relationship and do things out of their own heart.
3. Anger outbursts
In a moment of anger, you might speak to your partner with a raised voice. When you increase your voice, no useful communication will take place. A calm countenance is more likely to encourage meaningful conversation and problem-solving.
The moment you burst out in anger, it makes your lover retreat or retorts back with the same fierceness. I bet you don’t like it when someone shouts at you. The immediate reaction might be to respond with shouting too or to walk away.
Anger outbursts shut down communication between people. So, when you have a valid reason to be angry, cool down first before confronting your partner. And express yourself without shouting at them.
4. Avoiding conversation
Avoiding conversation involves giving your partner the silent treatment when there is a need for verbal communication. You choose to keep unusually quiet and deliberately avoid talking to your partner.
You do this intending to hurt your partner. Someone who loves you would like to hear from you because relationships are built through conversing.
So by being silent instead of talking things through, you deny them the chance. It's immature behavior to resort to silence as a response to something they did or said that you didn’t like.
If you don't like something, state it, or ignore it. Silence is not going to make them change but talking to them about it can.
5. Expecting mind-reading
You expect your partner to read your mind without expressing yourself to them. If they fail, it makes you angry. Expecting your partner to know what you want without saying it is an extreme expectation.
When you are excited and want to tell your partner something, it’s easy. However, it can be a challenge to speak when you feel some negative type of way.
Tell them what you feel, and let them tell you what they feel without being too quick to criticize their emotions.
6. Mind reading
Mind reading is behaving as if you know your partner’s mind and what they are thinking or not thinking.
Unlike the friendly teasing where you know each other so much you can finish each other’s sentences, you use mindreading to feel powerful. This habit doesn't give your partner a chance to explain themselves.
Even when your relationship is strong and has lasted for years, and you both know each other well, respect your partner and let them express themselves if they want to.
When you assume what's going on in their mind, you leave no room for proper communication as it is putting yourself in a position of power. Although you may have an idea about what your partner is thinking, converse about it.
7. Negative non-verbal language
Using harmful non-verbal language directed at your partner. Sometimes the non-verbal communication is accompanied by my negative words. At other times the non-verbals enhance "silent treatment."
This is typical of those who experience violence in their relationship. Often accompanied by abusive language, aggression in the relationship leaves no room for wholesome communication.
It can be obvious violence that causes harm and pain on the body. Also, aggression can involve subtle actions like being pushed away, funny looks, turning your back against them, rejection of hugs, declining a kiss, denying them sex, or grimacing.
If you are on the receiving end of violence in your relationship, find a solution soon. You deserve to be treated with respect. And if you are the aggressor, voice your feelings like an emotionally mature person.
8. Ignoring your partner
You may ignore your partner's words, needs, or feelings either because you are not listening to them, or you choose not to. When one partner is ignored, the other may feel worthless or taken for granted. Your partner will think they are not a priority to you.
Ignoring your partner may involve either actions or lack of actions when a response is expected. For example, when they speak after talking and expressing themselves, you go on with your business or don’t respond at all as if they are invisible.
So, they have to repeat what they are saying many times. your partner may give up speaking to you, or seek other people who will not ignore them.
Also, ignoring your partner entails not telling or showing them you love them and invalidating their feelings about something when they open up to you instead of giving your support.
Cutting off or talking over your partner all the time when they try to communicate something, may ruin communication in your relationship. It makes your partner feel undervalued and unheard.
If you have a habit of interrupting your spouse all the time, it will shut down communication with them.
It will be difficult to talk to you because they feel they will just be interrupted. They will keep their true feelings and motives inside because you don't allow room for disagreement.
Let them finish what they have to say even though you may disagree with them. Avoid interrupting when your partner is talking especially if it's a sensitive matter.
10. Wrongly timed conversations
When you raise sensitive topics at the wrong time, you hinder effective communication. Your partner might misunderstand you. Or you may feel ignored. Sometimes your partner doesn’t listen because you have chosen the wrong time to talk.
Also, some things are meant for the two of you only. Before you talk about something in the presence of other people, be sure your lover won't mind. Don't rebuke or make fun of your partner in public.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Centfie