- Gender and Relationships
What Causes A Relationship to Fail
Barriers to our Relationship Communication
"Hey, what's your problem?" Doesn’t this phrase sound familiar? Every time we argue with our spouse, family and friends, we always ask them this question. You started with a nice dinner then a good discussion about money, children, politics, or even just a mere television show that later you find yourself disagreeing with each other. But wait! Why it did eventually ends up into a big fight? If you have observe it, it has a good start but after shortly it ended up in a bad night. So sad, isn’t it? If we don’t start checking ourselves what causes a relationship to fail, we might not notice it again that it will eventually end.
There are a lot of barriers in communication that affects any relationship. In this article, we shall tackle some of these hindrances that may affect us.
- Every one of us was raised in a different family environment. We have developed these sets of values, principles, beliefs, and attitudes that our parents have taught us. We have grown into a unique individual that has our own character and personality. These definitely influence us on the way we deal with others and how we handle our life. For instance, somebody who was raised in a religious family usually starts every meal with a prayer but a person who is not used to it will certainly find it uncomfortable. A person who was raised in a conservative family behaves differently compared to somebody who was brought up in a modern way of lifestyle. Each will speak, dress, walk, thinks, or sees things differently. It establishes how we communicate with our partners, families, friends, and colleagues. It also has a big impact on how well we shall do in our career and personal life. If we refuse to understand and accept the kind of upbringing our partner has, it eventually will hinder us to grow in our relationship. It can contribute to our problems if we don’t learn to accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Our preconceived ideas and belief comprises our own biases to each other. When we assume something about our partner, it usually hinders us to listen effectively. Let us say for example, wives may assume that their husbands are doing something fishy if they have experienced seeing their partners with other women. In the same way that if husbands felt that their wives are too possessive, they tend to assume maliciously every time they are being asked about their activities. We, as part of our society, have also developed our own notion and speculations about the people we meet everyday. These may be influenced by the news that we heard on television and read on the newspapers. The news about the crimes, politics, economic recession, health, unemployment, and a lot more. The way we perceived others, our society and ourselves creates an impact on how we express ourselves and how our relationship will work.
If you happen to watch the Dr. Phil show entitled “What No One Wants to Admit” last October 23, 2009 at CBS, he talks about the different cultures in our society. His group discussed about the racial stereotypes and subtle attacks that our society feels about African American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, or Caucasian especially on the event that America has elected the first African American President Obama. The show was very informative and perhaps, you can check out his website.
INFLUENCE OF STRESS
- Based on the book “The Sav-on Health Self-care Advisor”, it says “Stress is our reaction to anything – good or bad – that upsets our balance. . . Stress often comes from painful situations you feel you can’t control: job burnout, money problems, grief, or divorce.”
There are a lot of different kinds of stress that affects our relationship communication. It may include from lesser stress of arguing who has the right judgment about a television show or whose turn is it to watch the baby or wash the clothes. Other significant stress situations may involve financial standing, social status, work pressure, or family expectations. These create tension that manipulates our emotions which eventually controls our reactions. We do not need bring to work our problems at work. In the same way that if we have difficulty in the office we should not pass it on to our family. We can discuss our concerns and dilemma with each other but we should allow our stressful emotions to carry out another stress.
LACK OF TRUST and INTERACTION
- Don’t we feel good when our families and friends trust us? Don’t we feel happy when they remember us or call us especially during special occasions? Don’t we feel light when we are together with people we like and love to be with? With full of trust and interaction in our life, we become more responsible and inspired to do things better that we usually do. It motivates us to work harder and live life to the fullest. On the other hand, our lack of trust and interaction with our family, colleagues and friends leads to a relationship communication problem. If we have limited conversation with our spouses, this may lead to a misunderstanding because we don’t know much about our partner. We don’t know what is happening to them. It then leads to an assumption . . . a mere guess of how each other feels. We become more doubtful. If an employee feels that his boss doesn’t trust him, he may lose his interest in his work. The level of our relationship is affected by the level of trust and interaction that we have developed with each other.
As what Stephen M.R. Covey says in his book The Speed of Trust, “trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivation and inspiration. People want to be trusted. They respond to trust. They thrive on trust. Whatever our situation, we need to get good at establishing, extending, and restoring trust – not as a manipulative technique, but as the most effective way of relating to and working with others, and the most effective way of getting results.”
UNDERSTANDING ONE’s CULTURE
- The differences in culture in our society affect the way we communicate in our relationship. Caucasian, African American, Hispanic or Latino, Italian, or even Asian speaks and behaves differently. Anybody who marries somebody who comes from a different culture should learn to accept one’s culture. Our ability to understand one’s traditions and way of life contributes to the effectiveness of our communication skill that builds our relationship. It creates an impact in our personal and career life. Italians are more known for pasta whereas Hispanic people are identified for spicy food. Americans are famous for burgers and fries while Asians are recognized for fish and rice as their staple food. We used different languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, Filipino, Chinese, Thai, etc. and pronounced the English language differently too. We might find these things as quite simple, but if one doesn’t try to appreciate the other person’s culture, it can affect our relationship communication.
REALITY VERSUS EXPECTATION
- It is but normal that we have our expectations about life. When one marries somebody, we already have that thought at the back of our minds on what we expect from our partners. There are times that our expectations were not met that lead to our frustrations. Our disappointment affects the way we communicate in our relationship. As the saying goes, “What is ideal may not be real.” Our prince charming may not really be a real prince. Our favorite employee may not be the best among the rest. Reality may not really jive with our expectations. It is but right to hope for something good in a relationship but let not our anticipation develop into despair within our life. We can express optimism of what we want, but we should extend a probability of error.
EGO and DEFENSIVE
- In the field of Psychology, we have studied different theories about personality development. One of which is the Psychoanalysis Theory founded by the well-known Sigmund Freud. According to the Freudian theory, “The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id . . .” Based on his study, the “id” was known as the “pleasure principle and the “super-ego” controls our sense of guilt. While our ego acts as a mediator between our id and super-ego. Our id do things that seek pleasure to avoid pain, our super-ego will then aim for perfection to determine what is right and wrong and our ego will then intercede to find balance to satisfy both. Freud refers to our ego as the sense of self, our judgment and tolerance to our external world.
In today’s world, our ego may mean one’s self-esteem, self-confidence or self-worth. It is the part of how we look at ourselves. If we have a low self-esteem, we usually tend to become defensive in our relationship or how we deal with others. People have difficulty in controlling their emotions implies that they have a difficulty in balancing their ego, which tends to let them become more defensive. However, our performance increases if our confidence level is high. Our family, our career, our achievements, our friends, and the society have an influence in our self-ego. The way we perceive ourselves contributes to the way we perceive others.
When I usually write, I love to use acronyms because it is easier to remember. I am sharing this to all readers that if we have these barriers in our communication then there is a big possibility that our relationship will end up a F A I L U R E.
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Tina, as she is fondly called by her family, friends and colleagues, is a Psychology and Business Management Graduate. She also studied Guidance...