Cleaning Up Communication In Conflict


    Recently I ran into a firestorm on a blog about making what I thought was an innocent suggestion that women consider wearing something frilly and lacy to bed at night to please her husband.  The depth of anger  and hostility came as a shock to me.  I was called a predator, stalker,  wife beater rapist  and all manner of other vile names and descriptions.  It also illustrates the mob mentality where people are encouraged to jump in when they would not ordinarily do it themselves.  The individual conscience is put on hold and embraces the collective conscience where people are encouraged to do or say ever worsening comments and or behaviors.

     What it illustrated to me was a common complaint to me by men in my practice that women don’t make it safe for men to reveal their feelings because of fear of verbal reprisal.

     There is a difference between aggressive and assertive communication skills that should be pointed out.  Aggressive communication takes a disagreement and has the offended party lashing out with verbal bashing and  put downs.  What this does if to offend the other party where many times they strike back trying to top the previous insult.  This invariably descends into dysfunction.  What it DOES NOT DO IS RESOLVE THE PROBLEM.  It only adds to the problem and breaks down effective communication.  It pits people into hurling insults back and forth and they lose sight of problem resolution.  This is the stuff that divorces are made of.  I tell my clients to rent 3 movies and study them in depth and observe how art imitates life; The War of The Roses, The Breakup and The Prince of Tides.

     I teach my clients how to problem solve by assertive communication.  This   allows people to state their disagreements, give their reasons and respects the other person.  Handling conflicts in this manner respects both people and allows for continued  respect and trust in communication.  It is hard to trust a partner or a person who disagrees with you when they are going for your figurative jugular vein going in for the kill so to speak.

     In our western society, we are very aggressive in our dealings with one another.   We show little respect for someone who disagrees with us.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should not verbally assaulted because of it.  Name calling and insults are never appropriate.  Women are more guilty of this than men are.  For men, women hurling insults and put downs are the equivalent of getting punched in the face.  The problem is that he is powerless to defend himself against these assaults by women.  He can’t punch them out (or shouldn’t but sometimes does because the Fight or Flight Syndrome is in high gear and he explodes)

Hurling insults back and screaming back at the woman is also unseemly so he is stuck in a very unfair position.

    Bottom line is that if you want to be loved and respected, you have to give respect in return.  It is okay to disagree, it is not okay to be disagreeable in how you disagree.   Sometimes there is no way that either party is going to change their position.  This is okay, there does not have to be a winner.  It is okay to agree to disagree.  There is honor and respect in that, there is NO HONOR in hurling insults.

If you want help with your relationship, whether it is to solve fights or sexual issues, please drop me a line, I offer a free half hour consultation and offer a money back guarantee.

One Response to Cleaning Up Communication In Conflict

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