Category Archives: Communication Tips For Couples

Effective Communication in Dealing With A Difficult/Angry Partner








For individuals in a relationship with a difficult partner who have not found their way of communicating effective when things heat up and get out of control, I have found a technique derived from the Yale Communication Model to be extremely effective. The technique is as follows:

1. Use An “I” Statement On How The Other Person’s Behavior Makes You Feel And Then A Component That Addresses The Other Person’s Behavior.


“When you yell at me like this, I get really scared, and also feel hurt and belittled.”

“When you treat me like this, I start feeling rejected and unimportant and then I try to avoid you and don’t have the energy to do what needs to be done.”

“I know that you are really angry, as we both are. But yelling at me like this is not going to get me in your corner. In fact, it’s actually getting me more scared and pushes me away and will only contribute to a worsening of the situation between us.”


2. State What You Want.


“What I need from you is to talk to me rationally about what is going on for you rather than in a tone that is disrespectful and belittling.”


3. Set Limits On The Behavior If Necessary.


“Look, I need a time-out here. I can’t take you yelling at me. We can’t carry on this conversation if you are going to continue be red-faced and screaming in this way. This needs to stop. You clearly need to cool down and regroup. I’m going to have to end this discussion for now if you cannot adjust your tone and behavior. You need to think how you are speaking to me, and if it continues in this way, it’s going to make it impossible for us to connect.

“Look, if this abuse does not stop, you or I will have to leave the house for a while or I will call the police.”

“I know that you are really angry. But yelling at me is not going to get what you want. In fact, it’s only going to make me shutdown and push you away.”


4. Don’t Go It Alone

It amazes me how empowering this strategy can be. Many of my clients report an improvement in their relationship and how using this simple strategy can help build a sense of self-respect and empowerment in a difficult relationship over time.

However, not everyone feels comfortable or has success in implementing this without consistent practice and some professional guidance. Some people even say, “Wow I could never do that!” As with starting any new habit that is difficult, it takes practice, consistency and some guidance.

If you are in a relationship and dealing with a difficult/angry partner, please feel free to contact me for a consultation at 401-284-2933.

6 Communication Tips For Couples

6 Communication Tips For Couples

In my counseling work with couples I have found that difficulties with communication are a key stumbling block to building and maintaining a healthy relationship.

This article outlines a few communication tips based on what couples have found helpful in communicating their needs. This straightforward model, outlined below, helps you convey what you see as a problem, how you feel about it, what you want, and what you will do if it doesn’t happen. It is designed to be clear, concise, non-emotional, and non-judgmental. People who use this model find that communication is less likely to get off track and become attacking.

  1. Try to use “I” rather than “you” statements.

When_______________(situation or behavior)

Try to leave out “You” statements such as ‘You never, you always, you should have’…as this can make the other person become immediately defensive and start the “blame game.”

“When… I am yelled at like this… I am treated like this… I don’t get a response from you… my feelings are not taken into consideration.”


  1. State how you feel.

Saying, “I feel” gives the other person information about how the situation or comment affects you. It also helps you validate yourself and helps you feel more empowered.

I feel _______________.

Try to state both secondary and primary feelings. Secondary feelings (anger) are the result of a primary feeling (shamed, belittled).

“I feel… angry… hurt… belittled… humiliated… taken advantage of… unappreciated… abandoned… not taken into consideration… unimportant… disrespected… minimized.”


  1. State what you want.

It is important to let the other person know what it is that you want from them in terms of behavioral change.

I want ______________.

What it is that you want from the other person.

“I want … to be talked to in a respectful tone of voice… to be acknowledged and appreciated for what I do right… to feel loved and accepted… this mess picked up as soon as possible… a heads-up when you are going to be late… to feel more supported around your family… to feel that my feelings are recognized, and taken into consideration… to have some say in these decisions… you to stop yelling at me…to be treated with respect.”


  1. State what you will do if your wishes are not met.

If the other person ignores you, says, “no”, is passive-aggressive, or blows you off, you will need to consider using this step. “Or I will need to . . .”   is not to be used as a threat or a punishment, but is what you will do to take care of yourself without the cooperation of the other person.

Or I will need to _____________.

“Or I will need to… leave the room… leave the house… will need to make other plans next time… start considering other options… to other ways to take better care of myself… call the police.”

The most powerful tool you have at this point is to stop interacting with the other person if they keep persisting. Keep in mind that you must follow through with what you say you will do.

When the subject is being changed many times and the other person is trying to throw you off track by bringing up all of your other past sins and trying to get you confused, keep the focus on the main topic, the one in the present moment, which keeps the conversation in the “here and now.”

“Lets keep our discussion on the topic we started with.”


  1. Reinforce Efforts at Change

Be grateful for any efforts at improving the relationship. Some studies . . . have shown that gratitude benefits both the giver and the receiver,” according to Todd Reed, a communication author and coach. “When either of you does something nice for the other – lets you sleep in, washes the dishes when it’s your turn – take a second to show appreciation. Even if you’re just saying thanks for the small stuff, it can go a long way in solidifying your relationship.”


  1. Get Help

Sometimes emotions can get in the way of healthy communication. If you feel that you have already tried some of these tips and have been unsuccessful- do not assume that the situation is hopeless. Everyone needs help, once in a while, so consider either individual counseling to learn and practice these skills, and/or couples counseling if your partner is willing to give it a try.


If we can help in any way, give us a call at 401-284-2933.






Summary: Article on 6 Communication Tips For Couples to argue less and love more.