The Care & Maintenance of Love, Part 4: Common Communication Traps – All or Nothing Language

Each of us is unique.

We are a complex mix of the strengths and weaknesses of our parents, and to this mix, we have our own idiosyncracies.  Our beliefs and behaviours are shaped by our experiences.

So each couple is unique – in how two unique individuals relate – how we get along and how we don’t. The strengths and problems of each couple are not generic, but there are common communication traps through which we may all stumble.

1. All or Nothing Language

In real life, I’ve never met any cartoon characters, but when things aren’t going well, we can talk about the people we live with as they were. None of us is so black and white. None of us is all good or all bad.

When we start off statements about our partners with, “You always . . .” or “You never . . .”, we perpetuate in our own minds skewed and biased caricatures of them. The more we reinforce an ever-narrowing view of them, the less likely we are to see evidence to the contrary. We only see what we let ourselves see.

This is one of the ways we can slide into ever more negative views of one another.

We can only get off this slippery slope by stepping to the side, taking a better look and gaining a wider view of both our partners and our relationships. It can start by resolving never to say “never” . . . or “always”.  Really, none of us is that consistent.

Next: Inaccurate Mindreading.


About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
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