Having great conversations with each other is one of the main ways that people connect.
Hurtful speech patterns when you talk with your lover, friends, family members, children, or boss can result in one of you feeling devalued, dismissed, or disempowered. When that happens, you can be pretty sure that resentment and depression will begin to hover like a black cloud within and over the receiver. What kinds of speaking habits demoralize the person who is receiving them?
Here's three biggies to look out for, either as a giver or as a receiver (I call them them the 3 Dunces):
Deprecating, Demanding, and Dismissive.
1. Deprecating words or tone of voice. Even the slightest tone of sarcasm or irritation can cast a pall on the person toward whom the comments were directed. To whom do you sometimes speak with a negative edge in your voice?
Children? Pets? Employees? Family? Lover? Friend? Team mates?
From whom have you received words accompanied by a "You dummy!" or other forms of vitriol?
Instead of allowing yourself to speak in deprecating tones, listen to the attitude that your voice conveys. Keep it respectful.
2. Demanding. Requests invite willingness in response, as demands invite resistance. No one, including children, generally wants to be told what to do unless it's an emergency situation. In an emergency, just about everyone is happy to have one person take charge and bark out orders. Most of our lives, however, we are living in non-emergency situations.
Cooperation feels good; dictatorship is depressing. Even children are people, not puppets.
When you feel that you have to submit to someone or something more powerful, dominating over you, the by-product of the submission will generally be aggression, resentment, and/or depression.
Whom do you sometimes tell to do things? Do you demand or makes requests? When have you felt that someone was telling you what to do in a way that felt dominating rather than collaborative?
Instead of demanding a specific response, take the time to understand where the other person's source of contradiction springs from and how you can come to collaborate rather than remain in confrontation mode.
3. Dismissive. When you need to qualify statements of compliance or apologies, you are dismissing the person in front of you.
"Yes, but...." dismisses the words just spoken.
"That's not right because...." negates what was said.
When you issue "Yes, but..." or "No, that's not...." responses, you are using the equivalent of the backspace delete key on your computer. Beware, unless your intention is to induce anger and resentment in that person.
When you experience that words you have just spoken are being deleted with "Yes, but" or "No, it's not," you are facing the receiver end of dismissiveness. Odds are you will be tempted to counter-attack. You may get defensive in order to keep the information you were trying to share on the table, or you may give up. Giving up on getting your words heard and taken seriously results in the disempowered feeling of depression.
Who sometimes tells you things that you are quick to dismiss or ignore? Who tends to disagree with you or dismiss what you say instead of taking it seriously? How do you then feel?
Instead of ignoring or rejecting what you hear because you only focused on what you found wrong, focus on what you agree with and ocmment on that point first. Then, afterward you can always add, "And at the same time...."
Just remember that if you want to avoid a depressive collapse, respond in any way other than giving up and feeling bad. Dominant-submissive interactions between people (often in male-female relationships) produce resentment and depression. If you do not take a submissive position in response to your partner's deprecating tone of voice, demands, and dismissiveness, you may feel frustrated or want to exit the situation, but you will not feel depressed.
So what's the bottom line?
Pay attention to speech patterns.
The 3'D's of deprecating, demanding, and dismissive forms of speech have depressogenic (depression-causing) consequences. If you have been issuing any of the 3-D's in your speech patterns, you best clean up your act. If two of the "3 D's" are present in your speech, take serious action. If all three are present in your relationship, act now to make sure you change the habits asap.
What are your thoughts and ideas?
I will be glad to hear from you, as I appreciate thoughtful comments.
As always, leave a man or woman all the better for knowing you.
Average men and women know only the rules.
Masculine Men and Feminine Women know and are the EXCEPTIONS!
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More effective communication advice from YourTango:
- The Key To Effective Communication
- Love: Tips & Expert Advice
- Say What? Effective Communication For Your Love Life