Unholy Trinity …
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I recently came across this excellent blog post on communication. In it, the author outlines what he calls the Unholy Trinity … perceptiveness, lack of self awareness, and defensiveness. When these things are present, it makes effective communication nearly impossible.
The author’s advice is to minimize contact if possible, and keep things light and low key when you can’t, and that’s excellent advice if someone in your life exhibits these traits. But then I got to thinking … what if YOU are the person who follows this pattern? Do you have a string of lost relationships behind you? Has someone … maybe multiple someones … said that it’s hard to talk to you? Have you cut people out of your life because they’ve said things you didn’t want to hear? Maybe it’s something to think about.
Although any temperament can struggle with self awareness, it’s usually the sanguines and the cholerics who have the most trouble with it. But if we want to become Christlike, it’s up to us to be aware of our sin, dump it at the foot of the cross, and make the behavioral changes that reflect our relationship with Him. When we’re not seeing our sin, God will often use the people close to us to point it out.
So what can you work on if you think the problem might lie with you? Try starting with these.
Perceptiveness … those subtle nuances you are so gifted at detecting are generally not about you. Stop taking everything so personally. Clarify the situation if necessary, and if the other person tells you that he meant X, don’t argue that you’re sure he meant Y. If you insist that you know what they really meant even if they say otherwise, that person is not going to feel safe talking to you again.
Lack of self awareness … if someone close to you says that you’re impossible to talk to, your response has probably been, Well if you can’t talk to me, that’s your problem! That is guaranteed to keep you stuck in the same place. Instead, take a deep breath and ask them why they feel that way. Accept the fact that they are seeing something you’re not.
Defensiveness … this is where you’ll need that deep breath. What they tell you will probably make you angry. It will probably hurt. You will want to argue and defend and tell them that if they didn’t do A, you wouldn’t do B. This is the point where you have probably ended relationships if the person didn’t apologize and drop it. But if you want to grow, you need to ask God to show you if what they said is true. If you need confirmation, ask 2 or 3 other close, trusted people … just remember that they are well aware of your tendency to cut people out of your life, so they may hesitate to be honest.
Once you begin to see the problem, you can take steps to change it. If you need help, contact us.
The Unholy Trinity is, at best, childish, and at worst, incredibly destructive. The good news is that you can choose to change, and you can accomplish it through the power we all have in Christ. It won’t happen overnight … it will happen one conversation at a time, as you decide to stop taking things personally, become aware of how you are affecting others, and really listen instead of defending your behavior.
Getting rid of the Unholy Trinity will leave more room for the fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness … and get us close to the ultimate goal of being like Christ.
Blessings … Cindy