Jenks Hypnosis and Training Center, LLC

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Located in Jenks, America, near the heart of south Tulsa

Destructive Communication Styles
Part 2

Last month, we talked about the Passive Communicator (the Door Mat), the Aggressive Communicator (the steamroller) and the Passive Aggressive Communicator (a steamrolling doormat that will get you coming or going).

The Passive Communicators are taught in childhood not to "rock the boat." They have a profound fear of being rejected; feel helpless and frustrated by the lack of control over their lives and carry a deep seated resentment of all the demands that are made of them. They feel abused, put upon and martyred.

The Aggressive Communication is also learned in childhood. Their low self esteem causes and increases feelings of being threatened even by the smallest and most innocent of difficulties and situations. They also ignore, disregard or simply fail to see the consequences of this style of communication.

The goal of the Passive Aggressive Communicator is to be in power and control; to manipulate any situation to his or her satisfaction without having to directly confront or accept responsibility. Strangely enough, this style of communication comes from a position of low self esteem, fear, anxiety and a feeling of complete lack of control.

So how did we learn such destructive communication styles? As children, our needs, requests and boundaries were never respected. Some were never allowed the opportunity to practice saying "no". Some were taught, and expected, to obey without question. (While these work well for small children and the military, it is quite detrimental to us as cognitive adults. How can you model an action you've never seen?) Some learned these styles by simple emulation and some by trial, error and punishment. What's the use of doing things differently if all you get is a kick in the teeth?

So if we don't want to be a Passive, Aggressive or a Passive Aggressive communicator, what is the answer?

Assertive Communication.

Assertive Communication recognizes that you are in charge. You accept responsibility for your actions, behavior and decisions. You understand that you and only you have the right to make the choices and decision that affect your life. This is the truly healthy way to communicate - provided, everyone is allowed the same rights. This style of communication acknowledges our thoughts, needs and wishes without the expectation that others will, or should, automatically agree; or that we will or should automatically acquiesce to their demands or expectations. We express respect for others feelings and opinions without the feeling the necessity of doing what they demand or expect. However, learning this style can be difficult. 1) Because we forget that WE are control our Destiny. 2) That our lives are under our control and ONLY our control. And 3) there are so few models to emulate.

There are distinct advantages to utilizing this style of communication. Unlike the Passive, the Aggressive or the Passive/Aggressive, these advantages are all positive!

This style allows us to relate to others with less conflict, anxiety and resentment.
It allows us the freedom to accept or decline requests without feeling guilty or coerced.
It allows us to focus on the present situation rather that residual resentment, old hurts or perceived injustices of the past.
It increases self confidence and self esteem by eliminating the need to live up (or down) to someone else's expectations.
It allows us to maintain our self respect without trampling the self respect of others.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. How does someone change their basic style of communication? Take a deep breath and step boldly into unknown territory. Get rid of the fear and the anger that shackles you to poor communication styles. Begin to accept responsibility for your actions.

Learn to recognize the communication styles of others. Changing from a Passive to Assertive when dealing with a strong Passive Aggressive Communicator may not be the wisest course of actions. BE AWARE OF THE STYLE THAT IS THE SAFEST FOR YOU.