Effective communication is the foundation of healthy relationships, so it only makes sense that poor communication has damaging effects on relationships. In my Facebook live series, I went through five things hurting your family communication. If any of those habits are going on, or other forms of poor communication, these are five detrimental effects of poor communication in families yours may experience.
Original photo by Shannon Harke
1. Creates Misunderstandings
When communication is ineffective, it creates opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstandings. This often leads to making false assumptions, jumping to conclusions, and attempting to read other people’s minds. Typically when people jump to conclusions, they will choose a negative or worst-case scenario which can also lead to unintentionally hurt feelings.
2. Increases Stress
A lack of effective communication can also create insecurity in the relationship if you are not on the same page, feeling disconnected, and do not know what is going on with the other person. This insecurity leads to potentially unnecessary worry, concern, and fear. It may even cause poor decision making because of not having all the information or understanding all sides of a situation. All of these increase stress levels.
3. Escalates Conflict
It is normal to have differences of opinions with other family members. However, if people are unable to speak respectfully and clearly about these differences, it may escalate into undue conflict. With poor communication, arguments start more easily and escalate faster. People also react in unhelpful and defensive ways prolonging the issues.
4. Weakens Bonds
In part due to the effects mentioned above, poor communication weakens the bonds between people. With regard to parent-child relationships, children may feel as though they lack support and lose their sense of direction. Their self-esteem is likely to suffer, and they may feel as though they have to hide things from their parents. In marriages, intimacy will decrease and the quality of the relationship will be hindered. In other family relationships, it is likely that feelings of disconnect will increase.
5. Ends Relationships
Ultimately if poor communication carries on without being resolved, it could cause the relationship to deteriorate until it falls apart completely. For example, poor communication was reported as the leading motive for divorce in the Journal of Family Issues. This could be because a conflict blows up so large that the two can no longer repair the relationship. Or it could also be just because the feelings of disconnection go on for so long that each person hardly feels any care or concern for the other any longer.
How to Fix It
In contrast, members of families with regular, open communication feel heard, understood, and valued. Trust is built from speaking honestly and respectfully. Effective listening is the first piece of the puzzle and empathy goes a long way as well. I have created the online course Create Connection so that you can learn and implement effective communication skills. By doing so you avoid the above effects of poor communication and encourage your family relationships to thrive.
Create Connection teaches the skills involved in listening, empathy, nonverbal communication, perception management, and conflict resolution one week at a time. It contains video lessons, PDFs, quizzes, resources, and more so you are supported all along the way. It is only on sale for a couple of weeks, so click over here to learn more about what is included in the course and enroll.
Have you experienced any of these effects of poor communication in families?