4 Communication mistakes that kill relationships

If you are a mum, running your own business and in a relationship, it can feel like a constant juggling act. So many different priorities it’s hard not to drop a ball! Just running a small business is tough enough and is not just time consuming, in it can end up being all consuming.

I want to share some secrets with you that will make your relationship better.

For the past seven and a half years I I have been working with singles who come from failed relationships and it’s tough for them. No matter who leaves the relationship both parties tend to carry a lot of baggage and pain that stops them finding love again.


So I want to let you know that the grass is not greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it!

Good relationships keep you healthier and living longer. A recent study  of 309,000 people found that a lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50%. That’s the same risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more than obesity and physical inactivity! The best thing you can do to avoid illness, have healthier habits and live longer is to have a strong partnership. The quality of relationships matters. Troubled relationships tend to cause stress and weaken the immunity.

Let’s look at the four  communication mistakes that will KILL a relationship! This is based on research by the Gottman Institute who studied couples over 40 years. Gottman found he could predict with 90% of couples which relationships would work over the long term and which ones wouldn’t.


 4 Communication Mistakes that Kill Relationships


1. Criticism

Criticising your partner, being judgemental and overly critical is the first indicator of a relationship that will fail. You may feel like you are ‘encouraging’ the other person to be better but these types of behaviours rarely achieve this. No-one enjoys being criticised!

Solution – . Healthy, positive communication is the key to great relationships. It is important to use constructive comments rather than criticism. Tell your partner what the issue is and how you feel about it . Use ‘I’ language rather than ‘you’ language.


2. Defensiveness

Defensiveness is a way of not taking your share of responsibility, it is where you react to a complaint as though you are the innocent victim. This gives the message to your partner that you don’t care what they have to say and how they feel ‘You’re saying, in effect the problem isn’t me it’s you’.

Solution – Listen to what your partner has to say, accept responsibility for your part of each situation, even it if you only played a small part. This will create healthy relationships.


 3. Stonewalling

Stonewalling in relationships involves not listening, shutting down and emotionally withdrawing from the situation. Even though stonewalling can be a natural reaction for some people it doesn’t allow the conflict to be resolved.

Solution –Take a 20 min break from the situation, calm down and then return to the conversation. Don’t simply sweep the problem under the carpet otherwise it is likely to be the elephant in the room, problems rarely go away. Often you will have a pattern of dealing with conflict that you resort to. It is important to not allow your emotions to rule you, to be able to self-sooth. Learn to let go of your anger and negative emotions so you can be constructive in the interaction, building healthy relationships.


4. Contempt

The first three can occur even in healthy relationships; contempt is different and can be a symptom of abusive relationships. It is about putting someone down in a way that they are beneath you. Contempt is about behaviours in a relationship like insults, sarcasm, eye rolling, mockery, hostile humour, name-calling. and acting like you are better than your partner. Gottman’s research shows that an air of superiority by itself is the best predictor of a break-up or a divorce. “[Contempt] is poisonous to relationships because it conveys disgust. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message you’re disgusted with him or her,” says Gottman.

Solution– create relationships full of support and appreciation. Refuse to give or accept contempt. For many people sarcasm is a way of life and they don’t even realise they are doing it. Too often true things are said in jest or sarcasm so take the active step to quit sarcasm and replace sincere communication.

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