In this third blog in the series talking about communication we’re talking about having the right tools to enable good and constructive communication to take place. We have already blogged about tips for good listening which can be a game changer in improving your communication skills, as well as how being at different points in the recovery process can impact upon your communication.

To watch the video discussing this blog click on the video below:

At school children are taught to speak up with answers and to be quiet when the teacher is talking. They may study drama and learn about performance at secondary school but the level of teaching about communication is surprisingly variable. It’s also something that can be impacted by your experiences as a child? Were you encouraged to speak up about how you felt or were you encouraged to get on with things and not dwell on how you felt? As a child did you feel able to speak up when you felt things weren’t right or was it better to keep your head down? What were your role models like as a child? Did you see people talking about their differences and finding a way forward? Or did you experience the sharing of views as arguments that were rarely productive?

Our childhood experiences can greatly shape the communication skills we have but also how we feel about talking about personal and intimate issues. As we grow up and join the world of the workforce we may find ourselves being sent on training course that opens up a whole new world of learning skills about skills that all form part of good communication. This may include listening skills, or learning how to talk to people in difficult situations, or it may include understanding ourselves better so that we are more able to talk about how we feel.

But many people do not access such training through their employment. If their childhood and educational experiences did not teach them about how to communicate and they do not learn these things when they start to work then they may find they have a number of barriers to communication. These might include:

• Not being able to identify or understand your own feelings which can make it very difficult to then talk about them
• Being very reactive so you don’t properly listen to what another person is saying before you react
• Not having the language skills to articulate what you’re saying
• Mindset blocks around whether it is safe to express how you’re feeling. This can particularly be the case where you experienced trauma in childhood

Communication barriers can often be a factor in the breakdown of a relationship and they then go on to shape what the relationship between the two of you is like following your separation. It can be hard to accept and articulate the fact that you don’t have the communication skills to deal with the current situation but by accepting this and deciding that you want this to change you are making a decision that things in your life will change and that you want to learn new skills that will benefit you, your future relationships and especially your children.

There are many online resources that can help you to learn to improve your communication skills. Therapy may help you to deal with blocks around expressing and understanding your feelings. Coaching or using the services of an NLP practitioner may also help to enable you to be more expressive and to overcome barriers to communicating more freely.

Family mediation can also help you to understand things that are barriers to good communication and co-parenting effectively. A family mediator may flag things that they see during sessions to help you. They can then help you to identify what further support might help to improve things. This might be the services of another professional or it might be as simple as helping you to understand the cycle you’re caught up in, or giving you alternative language to help you better express what is happening for you both.

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