How To Learn Communication Skills? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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How To Learn Communication Skills?

I'd love advice on how to learn good communcation skills. I myself actually know some good skills and try to practice them. When I do have the courage to speak up I use "I" messages instead of "you" and I don't say "never" and "always" and I use active listening and am not afraid to look inward at my own faults, mistakes, etc. My biggest problem is the fear of speaking up at all and gettingt to the point of thinking trying to speak up for myself will do no good because I'll be met with the "you're worse than me" attitude or sarcasm. (he does not do name calling, so thats good.)
My husband is more of a raised voice, sarcastic comeback type with poor listening skills. He seems to feel victimized or take things personally a lot. One time he was yelling and later was totally surprised that I thought he was angry.
I've always been a pleaser, avoid conflict, quiet type. He's always been more vocal, quick to anger, victim type. Counseling would be great if we didn't live in the middle of nowhere. Any advice on "DIY Communcation 101"?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 12:02 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

I guess the question I would have is whether your H actually wants to learn good communication skills. There is no way to learn how to deal with his bad communication skills in a way that magically turns him into a better communicator - it doesn't work that way.

I'm sure there are books he can read, but would he?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 12:17 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

For you or him?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

He would be willing, but a book might not be the best thing. Video might be better.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

For both of us. I need to learn how to open up and share my feelings, and speak up when I feel angry, hurt, etc. He needs to learn how to listen and not react passive aggressively bypass using sarcasm like "yessss, dear! Once again I've said and done everything wrong"
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 05:13 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

Interesting question.

Some, like David Schnarch (Passionate Marriage), would say you and your spouse probably do a great job of communicating, its just that you have argued things out and neither wants to budge, stretch, self-soothe and grow. That until one or both are ready to grow, no amount of "avoiding you-words and sharing feelings" will help one bit. Harsh, but pretty true for most of us.

Others, such as Chapman (5 Language's of Love) would say you are probably talking past each other in different love languages. What is meant by that is that you may be saying things in a language that he can't understand and he may be saying things back to you in his native love languages that you are totally misunderstanding.

For example, my native love languages are touch and words of affirmation/praise. If I want to express my love for my wife I will touch her in a loving non-sexual way. She use to interpret that as my pawing at her. When I would tell her how wonderful she was (praise) it was because I loved her, all she heard was that I was trying to butter her up to get into her panties. When she criticized me, I heard negative praise and it made me feel un-loved and I would turn away from her to emotionally protect myself.

Still others such as the Drs. Gottman, would probably say that you need to develop different techniques for dealing with special grid-lock issues in your marriage and avoid the 4 horseman that doom a marriage.

You probably don't really have a communications problem. You have a set of grid-lock issues that you need to address and find a reasonable compromise on.

Since you want video's; you might start with the following couple of sources and see if any approaches strike you and your H as worth really studying their books or attending their courses/workshops. Everything requires studying and hard work, fixing a marriage is not easy. There is no magic fix. Schnarch says that marriage is the hardest learning/growing experience a human being can attempt, if you do it right.

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGottmanInstitute

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqz9xk7ALxc

Good luck

Last edited by Young at Heart; 09-14-2015 at 05:24 PM.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 05:48 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

Listen with empathy, try to understand how the other person feels. Feedback is a gift, value it and don't knock it with sarcasm. There is more that was part of my training this summer. There was also practice and role playing.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 08:48 AM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

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My husband is more of a raised voice, sarcastic comeback type with poor listening skills. He seems to feel victimized or take things personally a lot. One time he was yelling and later was totally surprised that I thought he was angry.
Try the book "How to Improve you marriage without talking about it". I know that sounds contradictory to what you're asking... but the way you describe your husband makes me think that although your communication skills are fantastic ("I" messages, active listening etc Have you read Parent Effectiveness Training by any chance??) you may not understand quite how he thinks.

This book helped me IMMENSELY in understanding how men think (not just my husband, but brothers, father etc). Even if you have great listening skills, saying the wrong type of thing, or even the right thing in the wrong way can get a mans back up in an instantly. They take offense to things women don't, and are especially sensitive to the words and body language of their female significant other (our admiration and respect for them is more important than that of anyone else).

I found that by understanding my H and knowing how to say things (and what not to say) he became MUCH more open and communicative, talks about his feelings all the time, and generally we never ever argue now or have periods of silence or coldness like we did in the past.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 05:54 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

I am blunt to the point of rudeness. A cherished fried of mine noted I should always carry something to drink in my hand and take a sip before responding to anyone. It works.

Is there such thing as insanity among penguins? - Werner Herzog
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 07:44 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

Have you thought about having him read Communication in Marriage by Marcus Kusi? It's a great short read for helping couples communicate better. your husband will enjoy reading it.


Last edited by general; 10-11-2015 at 07:46 PM. Reason: Added more info
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 10:10 AM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

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Originally Posted by mam665 View Post
I've always been a pleaser, avoid conflict, quiet type. He's always been more vocal, quick to anger, victim type. Counseling would be great if we didn't live in the middle of nowhere. Any advice on "DIY Communcation 101"?
I think opposites in temperament often attract and for good reasons..even if you are naturally more passive (as is my husband) and your husband is naturally more vocal, firey (as is me).. I can relate in a backwards sort of way here.. if both bring your best set of communication skills, having a similar vision....you will make an assume team..

This is an article , small as it may be.. that I feel is very helpful for starters...it's taken from a counseling group...

PLANTING THE SEED OF INTERDEPENDENCE

Quote:
1. Interdependent couples accept the need for them to change and take ownership of their own issues.

They do not blame their partner or others for their problems, nor do they assume the role of a victim. Interdependent couples are able to realize what their issues are on an individual level, and are dedicated and motivated to working through their issues, regardless of what their partner has chosen to do. They recognize when their issues are being brought into the marriage, and are dedicated to their own growth and recovery.

2. Interdependent couples don’t give up their own identity.

They recognize the importance of having and maintaining their own identity outside of the marriage, in addition to their identity as a couple. I view interdependent relationships as having a “me”, “you”, and “us”. I like to think of interdependence like the concept of fire. In order for fire to burn, it must have the right amount of oxygen to survive. Without oxygen, the fire will burn out. Much the same in relationships, when one person “becomes” the other person, the relationship does not get the oxygen it needs in order to survive and the fire will go out. We call this term enmeshment. On the same note, with too much oxygen, the fire will burn out of control.

In relationships, when people become disconnected emotionally and there is too much distance between them, we term this “cut-off”. Interdependent couples are able to celebrate their individuality and uniqueness, without “becoming” the other person, or taking on the other person’s feelings. They feel confident to express their own opinions, without sacrificing their own sense of self for another person. At the same time, however, they are able to compromise in the relationship and are sensitive to the other person’s needs without compromising their own values and self-worth.

3. Interdependent couples are able to confront and criticize their partner in a non-judgmental, healthy, and non-blaming manner, without rage and without shaming.

They also step up to the plate in accepting their own role in the marital conflict, accepting constructive criticism without becoming defensive or reactive. Because they are able to accept their own flaws, their own need for change, and work on their own issues, interdependent couples are fully accepting of each other, including their flaws!

It is much like each partner is holding up a mirror to the other. This mirror allows the partner to see both strengths and weaknesses, which can be seen as an opportunity for growth as opposed to a passive-aggressive way of hurting the other person.

4. Interdependent couples are not enablers, and set good boundaries and limits in their relationships.

They do not enable nor do they invite hurtful, dysfunctional, and unhealthy behavior to continue in their partner or relationship. Through the continual process of recognizing and working on their own issues, as well as having a voice in their relationships, they share mutual respect with each other. When they do not feel respected, they are able to voice their feelings in a genuine manner.

By setting good boundaries and limits with others, interdependent individuals hold others accountable for their actions. They do not assume responsibility for, rescue, or make excuses for the other person’s unhealthy behavior. As they continue to work on their own growth and recovery, they are confident in letting go of unhealthy and destructive behaviors in their life.

5. Interdependent couples fight!

They fight in a healthy way and do not fear or avoid healthy conflict and uncomfortable feelings in their marriage. Because they are able to express their genuine feelings when they occur, they are able to show anger in a healthy way, without rage. When they do show their feelings in an unhealthy manner, they are able to recognize their relapse, realize what deeper issues have been touched, and forgive themselves without spiraling in shame. They are also able to forgive their partners for their mistakes.

Interdependent couples recognize that to deny feelings is to deny who we truly are. They accept that the full range of emotion is to be real. They know that without expressing genuine emotion, the feelings will run their lives and take over in the form of addictions or other counterproductive and unhealthy behaviors.

6. Interdependent couples have healthy communication, with deep connection and intimate sharing.

Because they are consistently working on healing their emotional wounds and confronting their emotional pain, they feel free to communicate and show others their real self. Commitment to working on their relationship is a priority. They commit to therapy and individual growth in their recovery.

They trust the process of healing, trusting their ability to feel their pain, work through their issues, and follow through with their individual and marriage counseling appointments.
Then because you are communicating so well.. there will be conflict at times....

The CONFLICT thread...4 types...the 5 to 1 ratio in Marriage Conflicts...

..................
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-06-2015, 08:38 PM
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Re: How To Learn Communication Skills?

Read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, still the best around.
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