Four Communication Patterns to Use if You Want to Keep Fighting
July 3, 2014 @ 3:56 pm by ACT
Excerpt from The Coward’s Guide to Conflict by Dr. Tim Ursiny:
Critics act as though they think they are superior to other people. They are judgmental, blunt, and demeaning, and they enjoy showing their power and importance at the expense of other. They are experts at giving you messages such as, “You failed me,” “I am disappointed in you,” “You will never get it, ” or, “Don’t you have a brain in your body?” The critic enjoys it when others cower to their authority. Sometimes people act as though they are superior because their self-esteem is extremely low, and they are trying to prove themselves. On other occasions, people shift to the critical mode as a defense because it feels safer than feeling hurt. Finally, at times people who are being critical are that way because they simply have let their frustrations build up too much. They failed to address the issue when they could have dealt with it in a healthier way.
The pacifying person does his or her best to calm down the other person in the conversation even at the sake of standing up for personal beliefs. Pacifying is often motivated by fear. Pacifiers try to appease the other person at the cost of their own dignity and honor. By pacifying, they believe they can avoid the other person’s wrath. However, they perpetuate the underlying conflict issues because they never confront the issues. By taking a weaker position, they hope to control the criticism of the other person. They want to get rid of the conflict even at the sake of their own self-respect and genuineness. A life-time of pacifying can lead to bitterness and/or depression. In addition, the goal of the pacifier is often not achieved by his strategy. Often they actually increase the anger of the other person for several reasons. For example, if the other person is being critical, then the pacifying may make him feel even more powerful. Therefore, he may take the critical mode up a notch. Often, people lose respect for pacifiers, which, of course, makes the conflict even worse. The goal of the person pacifying fails, and the longer-term conflict is never resolved. The conflict becomes a recurring discussion in their relationships with the other person.
The other two unproductive communication patterns and what to replace these four with is discussed in the rest of the book.