Communication Styles and Recovery

At Welwynn we work to support our clients to communicate “clearly and directly in a kind and loving way.”  The cost of not doing so can be stress and unhealthy relationships – both major triggers for addictive behaviors. “Clearly and directly” means that we commit to speaking up for ourselves so that we can get out needs met and prevent or de-escalate conflict.  “In a kind a loving way” means that we can do so while respecting the other person and our relationship with them.  This short directive to communicate clearly and directly in a kind and loving way sums up assertiveness.  You don’t need to have an addictive disorder to benefit from better communication – anyone can improve their wellbeing and relationships by reflecting on these 4 communication styles:

Passive communicators sacrifice their own needs so that others can have their way.  They often experience resentment, are unsure of what they want, and sometimes “blow up” out of proportion to the triggering event because of pent up frustration.  Passive communicators need to practice being clear and direct.

Aggressive communicators are very clear about what they want and dominate others to get their way.  This can work in the short-term (they get what they want), but in the long term it causes alienation from others.  Aggressive communicators need to start respecting the rights, needs, and feelings of others as just as valid as their own.  They need to practice communicating in a kind and loving way.

Passive-Aggressive communicators express their needs or their dissatisfaction in indirect ways while appearing compliant on the surface.  Passive-Aggressive communicators cannot get their needs met because they are not clear and directand the frustrate those around them with their negativity.  Passive aggressive communicators need to realize that no one wins or gets their needs met with this strategy.

Assertive communicators respect their own feelings and needs as well as other peoples’.  Assertive people are able to mature and grow as are those around them.  Assertive people reduce stress by communicating their needs clearly and directly and have healthy relationships because they do so in a kind and loving way. 

Which patterns do you find yourself in? 

Do you communicate in one style with some people and other with others?

Where did you learn your communication style?

We come by our communication patterns honestly.  Maybe we emulated a parent or other member of our family or origin, or maybe we have learned to play a particular role at work or in current relationships.  Ultimately, you are responsible your communication style going forward.  You must clearly and directly communicate your needs, or else they probably won’t be met.  If you are able to still respect others and remain kind and loving you will enjoy healthier relationships, lower stress, and personal growth.

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