How Communication Styles Influence Emotional Responses

How Communication Styles Influence Emotional Responses

How Communication Styles Influence Emotional Responses

Words are powerful and we also know that words can carry different forms of weight to them. Saying "I feel sad", doesn’t sound the same as saying "I feel devastated."

Saying "I feel happy", does not sound the same as "I am feeling elated." The weight of our words or how they are presented is not something that we take into consideration in everyday life; especially when it comes to the way that we communicate with ourselves.

Four Communication Styles

Communication styles can say a lot about the inner workings of our emotions. Let’s explore four different communication styles: Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, and Assertive communication.

  1. Passive communication can be categorized as a way that a person may speak without explicitly expressing their feelings, opinions, concerns, and so on. Many times, what we tend to see in a passive communicator is that they would minimize any grievances or unacceptable behavior despite it potentially being triggering. Leaving a person with feelings of shame, guilt, or confusion. These feelings can cause someone to feel anxious, remorseful, or resentful due to their needs not being met.
  2. Aggressive communication can be seen in an individual who expresses their thoughts and feelings in a way that can cause harm to someone else. Aggressive communicators have been known to use blaming tactics, loud tones, speaking on impulse, and frequent interruption, and can cause fear in others. This method can induce feelings of hostility, anger, and frustration which can lead to alienation from others.
  3. Passive - Aggressive communication is when a person can appear as if they are not bothered but react out of anger in ways that are more subtle and less direct. A person who is passive-aggressive can often feel stuck, powerless, or insulted. People who are passive-aggressive may have a difficult time acknowledging feelings of anger or sadness, use sarcasm to hide true emotions, or use sabotage to get even.
  4. Assertive communication is where a person can clearly express their feelings and opinions without needing to use tactics such as avoidance or threatening language to get their point across. People who are assertive communicators can express their emotions appropriately and respectfully, speak in a calm tone of voice, and is able to listen without interruption. People who are assertive communicators feel confident in their statements and allow themselves and others to be heard.

Emotions Connected To Communication Styles

By going over these four different communication styles we can see how each style has its own emotional response.

  • Passive communicators tend to feel more anxious causing them to not want to speak out. Without being able to effectively express these emotions, a person is more likely to feel overwhelmed, insignificant, and sometimes even abandoned.
  • Aggressive communication can leave people feeling different levels of anger and sadness; ranging from infuriation to hostility and annoyance, or sometimes even feelings of rejection and isolation.
  • Passive-Aggressive communicators often feel powerless. This feeling of powerlessness is masked through feelings of bitterness leading them to engage in sabotaging behaviors making it difficult to work through their own negative emotions.

Knowing Your Style

Being able to identify our emotional reactions when engaging in any kind of conversation, will allow us to learn how to respond to others as opposed to react. Reacting to others usually comes from an emotional response which can be shown through communication. When we actively try to respond instead of reacting, we are able to:

  1. Evaluate the situation and not act on emotional impulse.
  2. Become aware of unpleasant feelings.
  3. Respectfully express our concerns without minimizing our experience or putting the blame onto others.

The way we speak has an influence on how we feel. If we let negative emotions run their course, it can be seen through the way that we communicate and behave towards others and ourselves. Allowing ourselves to pause and take a moment to assess a situation, can enhance our communication and promote a level of awareness over our emotions to not have us act on impulse.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.