Making moralistic judgements, Making Comparisons and Denying Personal Responsibility are the 3 unconscious habits that block effective communication. I discussed these in a previous article and gave examples of how they cause Communication Frustration for both people. This article will help you see the other forms those habits can take in your communication at home and work.
1. Giving Analyses: Whenever we think we know why something was said or done based on our opinions we are analyzing. Here's what my wife and I experienced. Whenever Kay would single she wanted affection that I wasn't giving her I'd call her "needy and dependent". Whenever I wanted affection Kay wasn't giving I'd call her "selfish and insensitive".
As we studied compassionate communication we both realized our analyses were actually expressions of what we both wanted and needed. 2. Mistaking Morals for Values: A value judgement helps us decide which qualities we value in life; for instance we might chose honesty, respect, peace, or freedom.
These are always a reflection of how we believe life can best be served. With moralistic judgements we are attacking people and behaviors that oppose our value judgements. For example, "We say violence is bad, and people who murder others are evil". This was a struggle for us to change our language from "Violence is bad" to "I'm fearful of the use of violence to solve conflicts; I value the resolution of human conflicts through other means". Because, for us, our church was where we experienced the most confusion over morals and values. 3.
Manipulating: Making children, spouses, friends, and co-workers unwillingly do what we want is manipulating. It seldom produces the results we're after because fear, threats, guilt-trips, and comparisons are the tools we use to force their behavior. Some ways Kay and I experienced this: When Kay wanted word done around the house, she would ask why couldn't I have the handy man prowess of her best friend's husband.
It never made me do the yard work or projects around the house the when or the way she wanted. Me explaining to my youngest son Mitchell, who's dyslexic, that JD, his gifted brothers, taught himself to read never motivated Mitchell to read faster. Even if you think you have good intentions (like we we did) for manipulating others the only thing that's sure to happen is wounding you relationships and others deeply. 4.
One-way Philosophy and Politics: Philosophy is your world view. Politics is your actions in it. It really shocked Kay and me to see how our Philosophy and Politics were starting unintentional conflicts.
We missed out on learning new ideas, making deep friendships, and having bigger opportunities when our philosophies and politics were a one-way conversation. People create conflicts about Philosophy or Politics because they mistake their moral judgments as facts. We know we did.
5. Using Other's Actions: Is when we shift our personal responsibility based on other's behavior we make others responsible for us. Some examples from John and Kay: When I tell Kay I was yelling at the kids because of their bad table manners, this makes them responsible for my outburst. When I accept a golf invitation with my buddies after promising the kids I'd hang out, it makes my friends take responsibility for my commitments.
Perhaps you'll be familiar with these as well: "I lied because my boss told me too", "I hate my job, but because I'm a wife and mother I go.", "I work long hours because my boss says I have to". People are always dangerous when they're unaware of their responsibility for how they behave, think, and feel. 6.
Policies and Rules: This is when we shift responsibility to those in authority and unexamined procedures. Examples you might encounter would be "I have to suspend your son because it's the school policy", "I'm not authorized to help you", "The computer says", "My boss would kill me", "Our policy is not to make exceptions", "My boss says", "We've always done it that way". Responsibility shifted to policies, rules, and management does not validate the behavior.
Changing old habits isn't easy. Whatever you do, have compassion with yourself and others. You are not broken, You do not need fixing, and there is nothing wrong about you.
Focus by looking when these habits pop up and create Communication Frustration in your daily experience. Patiently observe your interactions. Ask your spouse, children, friends, and co-workers if they see these habits showing up in your conversations with them.
Life Strategist John Reisinger, can help you develop remarkably effective communication skills. Transform your conversations with those you love and work with and enjoy Remarkable Living.