For individuals in a relationship with a difficult partner who have not found their way of communicating effectively when things heat up and get out of control, I have found the Yale Communication Model to be helpful. The technique is as follows:
1. Use an “I” statement letting the person know how their behavior makes you feel and how it effects your response.
“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 angry and contributes towards pushing me away.”
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 continuing yelling at me. We can’t carry on this conversation if you are going to continue in this way. This needs to stop. Now! You clearly need to cool down and regroup. I am 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 as this is making it impossible for us to connect.”
4. Don’t Go It Alone
This strategy can be very empowering. Many of my clients report an improvement in their relationship immediately by using this simple strategy, which helps 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 strategy without consistent practice and through some professional guidance. 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.