Writings from Christine

Are You a Good Communicator?

by on October 7, 2018

are you a good communicator

At the start of their initial marriage counseling session, I asked Kevin and Karen, “What can I help you with?” With equal amounts of conviction, both of them said communication. As a therapist, I admit that upon hearing this statement I immediately dismiss it. The reasoning is simple: most people who enter marriage counseling struggle with communication or they would have no need for therapy in the first place. It is also an easy scapegoat often used by couples to avoid talking about the complicated issues of infidelity, addiction, abuse, trauma, and grief.

However, there is a valuable area of therapy that might be overlooked as a result of dismissing lousy communication. Many clients believe that their “communication problems” with their partner reside only within the other person, and few are willing to acknowledge their own shortcomings. Good face-to-face communication skills are an essential asset, and in today’s society of Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook posts the skill has become a lost art form with most not even aware of what quality communication looks like.

This is a fifty-question quiz that can be used to identify the common areas of poor communication skills.

Do you:

  1. Interrupt when the other person is talking?
  2. Make faces while they are talking?
  3. Make passive-aggressive jabs instead of stating what you really think?
  4. Withhold your true feelings out of fear?
  5. Pick apart every word a person is saying?
  6. Shutdown when confronted?
  7. Assume the worst possible meaning?
  8. Jump to conclusions without obtaining more information?
  9. Believe that you already know what the other person is going to say without giving them a chance?
  10. Interrogate a person with close-ended questions?
  11. Miss body language clues?
  12. Have conversations in your head by don’t say it to the other person?
  13. Think about what you are going to say next while the other person is talking?
  14. Not ask clarifying questions before talking?
  15. Not repeat back what the other person is saying before you make a point?
  16. Allow your emotions such as anger, anxiety, and guilt to override the conversation?
  17. Not allow the other person to walk away when they are upset?
  18. Not accept criticism without pointing out a flaw in the other person?
  19. Not plan out ahead of time what you are going to say and the best way to say it?
  20. Quickly accept responsibility just to end the conversation?
  21. Apologize even when you are not at fault?
  22. Blame the other person for your emotional reaction?
  23. Seek to find fault in the other person to avoid accountability?
  24. Physically move away from the other person out of fear?
  25. Physically move in closer when upset as a form of intimidation?
  26. Pick at your skin, wring your hands, play with your hair, or do other compulsive behaviors?
  27. Avoid eye contact?
  28. Verbally threaten the other person to make a point?
  29. Throw out ultimatums if the other person doesn’t agree with you?
  30. Use sarcasm as a way of saying what you want or don’t want?
  31. Give the other person only two options: yours and another extreme version?
  32. Frequently remind the other person of how they have hurt you in the past?
  33. Use the other person’s flaws, mistakes, or disorders against them?
  34. Change the unresolved topic to something else when feeling uncomfortable?
  35. Refuse to accept responsibility, admit to wrongdoing, or ask for forgiveness?
  36. See yourself as better, smarter, or more right than the other person?
  37. Refuse to take a step back and look at the bigger picture?
  38. Not thank the other person for sharing their feelings?
  39. Cry to manipulate?
  40. Escalate quickly when you don’t feel like you are being heard or when your needs aren’t being met?
  41. Share the details of your conversation with others outside of your relationship?
  42. Tell the secrets of your partner to others without their permission?
  43. Verbally agree to do something when you know that you won’t do it?
  44. Refuse to share your feelings, emotions, or thoughts?
  45. Lie about what you are really thinking or feeling?
  46. Lie to the other person rather than admit the truth for fear of their reaction?
  47. Mislead the other person to avoid intimacy?
  48. Refuse to allow a third party to meditate on difficult topics?
  49. Not set time limit boundaries for hot topics of conflict?
  50. Step over the boundaries of the other person because you don’t agree with them?

This list can be used in two ways: It can be a self-evaluation to improve communication at home and work, or it can be given to another person for them to evaluate you. Any “Yes” answer to these questions should be an area that is explored and modified so communication can improve.

To get your copy of the book, Abuse Exposed, click here.

Posted under: abuse Communication Writings from Christine

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