The Power Of The Tongue
The older I got, the more rebellious I became. My formative teen years and early 20s were muddied up mistakes, that I now recognize as life teachings learned the hard way!
I was a hard-headed young adult, hell-bent on asserting myself in a world where I was often overshadowed and out talked by much less bashful and meek individuals. After awhile, I lost control, and my horrid communication skills proved it.
I had absolutely no procedure for my chaotic, flippant, loose lipped tone of voice. I said what I felt and refused to care how it made others cringe. My justification was that no one seemed bothered when their taunting words or bullyish antics hurt me. That pain, meshed with a broken spirit from a relationship gone awry, brought into existence a communication style that was a repellent to all things loving.
A once dismissive child transformed into a boorish and non-strategic orator who could verbally go toe to toe with the best of them. I was proud of my “take no sh*t” attitude.
Some of us are under a delusional trance that dazes us into thinking we are effective communicators. In our defense, we become the victim, believing that when someone misunderstands our messages, it has more to do with the way the receiver interpreted what we said, and less to do with the manner in which it was delivered.
Tragically, this distorted perception of self is what drives most relationships over a cliff. A substantial number of us are terrible communicators, and because we have yet to understand the delicate nature of effective communication within a relationship, we end up with broken relationships that end because neither person knows how to talk to the other.
The sophisticated art of communication is one that should be given attention if you ever hope to maintain a healthy connection with another person. There are a wide range of damaging communication styles, each presenting their own unique issue.
What type of communicator are you?
The “I Can Do Bad All by Myself” Communicator
After years of being discouraged by failed relationships, I developed the, “independent woman” syndrome. I used my success and accolades to assert myself in the face of any man who thought they were going to walk over me. My independence became a defense mechanism, and at some point in my life, someone I trusted left me feeling abandoned and alone. I didn’t want to be hurt again, and consequently, I lowered my expectations. Relationship pain was inevitable, but if I prepared myself for the heartache in advance, it would lessen the blow.
Problem: Whenever someone I dated would make me feel frustrated or upset, I would “pleasantly” remind them that at any point in time, they could “kick rocks.” The, “I don’t need anyone” language will attract individuals who seek out relationships where they can get the maximum return with little to no effort. They want you to be independent so they don’t have to put the work in. That’s precisely the situation I found myself in because my conversation invited them to dine at my table, expense free.
Solution: True confidence is radiated in your behavior and demeanor. I no longer feel the need to constantly tell my partner how “independent” I am. It’s obvious.
Once I took time to heal the place in my heart that caused me expect the worst from relationships, I reestablished my high standards. While I am still confident and assertive, I am no longer boisterous and dominating. Instead, I use softer tones and an unmistakable sense of self-respect to naturally create a space where I could openly talk about my expectations and give my partner room to tell me theirs.
The “Know it All” Communicator
The “know it all” communicator is one of the most difficult people in the world to have a discussion with. These individuals have a very rigid thought process and they rarely deviate from what they believe to be true. The inflexibility in their willingness to hear or respect an opinion other than their own leaves their partners feeling frustrated and unacknowledged. This communicator is charged by their own insecurities and/or a sense of superiority.
Problem: If you are a “know it all” communicator, you have potential to ruin your relationship with selfishness. You give very little consideration to others’ thoughts and your, “my way or the highway” mentality will push your partner away. No one wants to feel like their thoughts, emotions, and feelings are not appreciated.
Solution: This communication style is challenging to amend because it is deeply tied to your ego and pride. If this is your communication style, it is imperative to let your partner know that you recognize that there’s work to do and that you are striving to be less stubborn and more welcoming of opinions, even if they do not necessarily align with your own.
The “It’s Whatever You Want” Communicator
When I first began to date I was a, “yes girl.” I never wanted to go against my partner or cause a ripple in my relationship. I became angry whenever I found myself in situations where I had to defend myself, and saddened when I couldn’t find the courage to stand up for myself. I was too fragile to articulate my feelings and be firm in my wants, so instead I chose to say nothing. I so desperately desired to be accepted.
Problem: This communication style makes you easy prey for controlling and possessive partners. When you do not assert yourself, you open your life up to people who, (in their own self-hatred), need to feel like they are in control of others to feel secure. There is very little respect given to this type of communicator. You are expected to be silent even in times when you are screaming internally. Often overshadowed by a more commanding partner, you internalize everything and suffer quietly.
Solution: The source of this communication style is a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you are unsure of yourself, you usher in people who will take advantage of your silence. You have to undo the training that taught you to be comfortable with mistreatment and abuse. Disassociate yourself from people and things that cause you to tuck away in your shell and find the company that encourages you to find your voice!
The “Manipulative” Communicator
In relationships, this communication style can be extremely confusing. Instead of being direct and truthful, manipulators always say what sounds good, even if it’s not what they truly feel.
The issue with this communication style is that it is often difficult to differentiate between someone who is trying to avoid confrontation or hurting their partner feelings, and someone who is a liar. There are two different types of people who depend on this type of communication style: those who use it with the intent to deceive their partner, and those who want to minimize confusion and conflict, so they say whatever they have to in an effort to avoid confrontation.
Problem: This communication style often leaves your partner feeling sad and confused. Why? Your language hardly ever matches your actions. When you say things you don’t truly feel, it is difficult to back them up.
Solution: Stop being a liar! No matter the reason, by sugar-coating the truth, you are still playing with the emotions of others. No one deserves to be toyed with and this communication style leaves hearts in limbo. Be straightforward.
The “Passive Aggressive” Communicator
Passive aggressive communication will corrode your relationship with no remorse. This communication style rears its unsightly head in the form of bullheadedness, hostility, resentment, and the intentional refusal to do for your significant other. Passive aggressive communicators play a lot of mental games with their significant others. They hardly ever communicate how they actually feel. Instead, they lead their partner on a scavenger hunt, forcing them to guess or beg them for insight into why they are upset.
Here’s an example. As a punishment, passive aggressive lovers will withhold affection and physical intimacy when they are upset or angry, but won’t tell their partners why they’re mad. Instead, they will simply disconnect and make their significant other plead for understanding.
Problem: You harvest a great deal of resentment towards your significant other for things they often have no idea they did wrong. Instead of communicating your emotions, you make them pay for it in other ways. This is a very malicious and revengeful communication style. It is calculated and purposeful.
Solution: You have to learn to be forgiving of your significant other when they do something that bothers your emotionally. Secondly, you have to understand how detrimental your game playing is to your relationship. Practice addressing issues head on when they arise. You cannot set your partner up for failure by making them pay for a mistake they did not even know they made. Be direct with your partner. When they offend you or hurt your feelings, tell them how you feel and give them the opportunity to make amends for their wrongs.
No relationship can sustain without the willingness of two people to learn how to talk to one another. This may seem simple, but it is one of the most unaddressed relationship issues. Learn how to speak in love, patience, and kindness. The tongue holds the power to transcend your relationship to unseen levels or lead you into destruction with no hopes of restoration.
I pray you seek and find everything you need and then some. Move in love…Until we meet again lovers and friends. Be well. Be prosperous. Be passionate.
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. Keyes supplies clients with the necessary tools and techniques to awaken their divine energy, heal their open wounds and create an aura of love, compassionate and tranquility. In 2013, Keyes was named “13 People to Watch For” by Rockford Register Star and in honor of Black History Month 2014, Keyes was recently named a“Neighborhood Hero” by ComEd’s Power of One Campaign. Keyes in currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology and hopes to one day be a best-selling author and motivational speaker. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships.