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Observation of an Interpersonal Communication Problem - Essay Example

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The author of the essay describes the interpersonal communication problem between her husband and the author. It happened towards the end of their seemingly perfect holiday. The author, according to the definition of effective communication, identifies the problem…
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Observation of an Interpersonal Communication Problem
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OBSERVATION OF AN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION PROBLEM of the problem The interpersonal communication problem described here is between my husband of 10 years and me. It happened towards the end of our seemingly perfect holiday. The much awaited relaxed time was now nearing an end. Early next day my husband was to get back to his busy office schedule, children to their schools and I would get absorbed in the mundane household chores. The break that I had taken from my full-time job, after having kids, had stretched on beyond my plans. The frustration of not being able to find a job, and having to do with odd freelance assignments was taking toll on my self-esteem. We were waiting at the airport lounge when this unfortunate conversation took place. Had it not been for this conversation, it would have been one of our best stress-buster holidays.
Me: "This has been a wonderful holiday. Thanks honey! Wish we had more of these."
Him: "Yes it was a no work and all play time. Anyone would love that."
Me: "Was so good to be away from the hectic routine of school and house."
Him: "And from my stressful job."
Me: "Wish we could take such breaks more often."
Him: "Why not, only if you could start earning soon enough."
Me: .. (I gaped at him and without uttering a single word started shedding silent tears.)
Him: "I did not say anything to upset you."
(No response. I walked away wiping my tears, leaving him and the kids wondering.)
Him: "See, you are angry. You are always such a spoil-sport!"
2. According to the definition of effective communication, what is the problem What's wrong with this picture
This is certainly not a situation of effective communication. Effective interpersonal communication leads to proper understanding and generates feelings of community and intimacy. In the scenario mentioned here, traces of misunderstanding and hurt are apparent. I jumped to conclusions, assumed things in a way they were perhaps not intended to be and left the scene without either explaining my feelings or giving my husband a chance to explain himself.
If the Johari Window model for self-awareness is applied here, the problem can be seen and understood in a much better and balanced perspective.
The open area in a decade old marriage like ours was huge. Both, my husband and I knew many things about each other. In regard to this particular scenario, both of us were well aware of my fondness to travel. We knew that his job was stressful. He was aware of my attempts of job-hunt. And I knew that it was an expensive holiday. The feelings of happiness, excitement, relaxation and satisfaction that this holiday gave, were all so apparent.
The blind area in our relationship, about the things which he knew about me but I myself was unaware of them, is reflected in his last comment. He told me that I was angry and a spoil-sport. I had no idea that he was interpreting my feelings this way. I certainly was blind to the fact that my behavior made me appear angry and a killjoy. This was certainly not my intention and I was totally oblivious to it. But this is how he saw it.
The hidden area in our marriage, about the things which I knew about myself but he did not know, was rather small. Being a very extrovert person, I thought that I was quite open and expressive about all my feelings. But I was wrong. My feeling of low self-esteem due to constant failures in the job-hunt process was well hidden. The boredom that I felt by mundane household chores was also never openly expressed. Things from the hidden area suddenly came to the fore in this situation.
What really shocked me was the unknown area of our relationship, the things which neither of us knew about the other or about oneself. I never knew that I could become so emotional in an instant. My kids had never seen me cry so openly this way. My husband had not seen me getting emotionally so upset at an issue that he perceived as non-threatening. Moreover, I had never realized that because I did not have a job, I had suddenly become so touchy to any mention of my not earning. I also was unaware that my not earning was an issue on my husband's mind. If he had not mentioned it, I also would have never known that he related taking the next holiday to my being able to earn. Revelation of the unknown area was quite a shock and perhaps added to the unpleasantness.
3. How do you think the problem could have or can be remedied in a non-defensive manner through self disclosure of FEELINGS
I wish the situation had not taken the turn that it did. In that case, it could have been an ideal end to the perfect holiday that it was meant to be. Only if I could have been aware of my feelings, and had a better control over my response, things could have been different. I should have explained my feelings of hurt in a balanced manner, without walking away in tears. Had I done that, the end part of the conversation would perhaps have been this, and not a problem situation.
Me: "Wish we could take such breaks more often."
Him: "Why not, only if you could start earning soon enough."
Me: "Do you realize that I'm trying my best to find a job. Even the mention of my not earning upsets me a lot."
Him: "I did not say anything to upset you."
Me: "Maybe you didn't mean to, but currently I'm a bit sensitive about this issue. Let's talk about some pleasant things!" Read More
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