A large number of the clients that seek for personal or family counselling present with issues of inability to express and communicate. The wife feels all that I say is misunderstood and so does the husband. The parents feel that the teenager is not getting what we are trying to say and the teenager feels exactly the same for parents. Either we are blaming the other for not understanding or feeling guilty of not being good at conveying.
If we logically try to analyze any communication we will understand that any communication has two parts: a sender and a receiver. The sender has a message he or she intends to convey, and puts it in words which, to their, best convey what they are thinking. But many things can intervene to prevent the intended message from being received.
Like if the communication is verbal, tone of voice can influence interpretation. “Why were you late” – a simple concern can be understood as violation of privacy, suspicion, domination or aggression.
Nonverbal cues also are important. Is the sender’s posture open and friendly, or closed and cold? Is her facial expression friendly or accusatory? All of these factors influence how the same words will be received.
Now the second part – receiver– In addition to how the message is sent, many additional factors determine how the message is interpreted by the receiver.
The receiver compares the message with all the information and knowledge he already has. Depending upon his/her previous assumptions or interpretation of the situation the receiver will respond.
The most common problem in relationships between couples and at work is faulty communication. Conflict will always be present where human beings are together but appropriate communication can determine a positive outcome such as mutual understanding.
Let us see the reasons to communicate
The purpose of communication is to:
*Express our needs and wants
*Know and understand what others need and want from us
*Get to know others better and at deeper levels
*Remove any doubts and insecurities where necessary
*Engage in healthy, constructive dialogue rather than arguments
*Inspire, value and encourage others
Why is it difficult
Each mind has been conditioned by different parents, different teachers, religion, and society and gender orientation. It is a different world in itself. And when two minds try to communicate, as far as the ordinary mundane things are concerned, there may not be difficulty but when there is closer application, emotional and ideological exchange, communication can start becoming difficult.
Where lies the problem
Majority of the time you will see two types of communication methods adopted by people.
Keep quite – avoid conflict- the person adapts a method of non communication fearing the stakes of relationship. In such cases there is suppression and internalization of disturbance leading to physical and mental health issues, low self esteem, and anger towards self and self destructive behaviours.
Aggressive- confronting- the person thinks this is the only method of self expression and communication otherwise there is threat to their existence. Such method harms and damages relationship and robs the energy off and not to forget the health hazards of aggressive traits.
What is the better way of communication?
Definitely not the upper two as the first operates on fear and the second makes a person defensive. Rather when we communicate through our feelings like “when you said this I was really hurt” than “why did you say this? How could you say so? Or how dare you say so? Or you always say so.
I is very important not who did and why did. The moment you shift your focus from the person or incident to what happened to you – you make the person defenceless and create an opportunity for dialogue and response rather than reaction and fight.
This needs constant awareness and self work but If it is becoming difficult and challenging to understand yourself and interpersonal dynamics then a professional help can be sought.