12 Roadblocks to healthy communication

The current blogspot will be based on the question “what are the 12 roadblocks to healthy communication?”. We will discuss the various barriers to effective and healthy communication. We will also learn how roadblocks to healthy communication affect the intent of the communicated message. We will also see the various examples that explain each roadblock to effective communication.

What are the 12 roadblocks to healthy communication?

The 12 roadblocks to healthy communication are:

  • Directing
  • Warning
  • Advising
  • Persuading
  • Moralizing
  • Judging
  • Agreeing
  • Shaming
  • Analyzing
  • Probling
  • Distracting
  • Reassuring

The 12 roadblocks to healthy communication are:

Directing

The first roadblock to healthy communication is directing. It is very much related to ordering and commanding the other person. Directing involves telling someone to do something the way that you want it to happen.

Often directing involves imposing things on other people with power, force and coercion. The other person might feel that his or her own needs are being put down or neglected. 

Directing or ordering someone often makes the other person feel rebellious, resistant and frightened. They may also go through resentment.

Directing and ordering often makes the other person change the topic of conversation. The collaboration and consensus that is often a sign of a healthy relationship is usually missing in the relationships where one person has the habit of ordering or directing the other person.

Usually people with an authoritarian style of communication have a habit of ordering and commanding other people for their own good. 

Ordering and commanding often ruin the communication when there is some actual authority of the ordering person over the other people involved in the communication or at times only because of authoritarian style of communication.

Some examples of directing and ordering are :

  • Stop being that pessimistic
  • Stop taking things so personal
  • I want you to go back right where you started and fix the problem
  • You gotta eat your vegetables because i said so
  • Don’t say that now
  • You have to face the reality
  • You need to sound apologetic and guilty

Warning

The roadblock of warning in healthy communication is similar to threatening and admonishing. Warning or threatening involves highlighting the risks of an action that the other person is going for or threatening the other person of the possible outcomes or dangers.

Warning often involves sending the message to the other person and pairing it up with the possible unpleasant outcomes that would result if the message is not attended to as required.

Warning or threatening roadblock usually occurs when the communicated messages are centered around the threat of power.

The warning and threatening messages produce feelings of resentment, rebelliousness, anger and resistance in the other people involved. 

Such warning and threat messages often shatter the pleasant aspects of the social persona of the speaker including a reduced sense of compassion, kindness and empathy.

For example, following messages involve the roadblock of warning and threat :

  • If you don’t do as said then…
  • You better stop it here only or I will..
  • You better be in the office on the weekend or…
  • Start treating the pet better or 
  • You are really asking yourself a big trouble by
  • This is the last time you are going to get away with that so easily
  • I will ensure you face some serious consequences of not following my commands

Advising

The roadblock of advising is related to making suggestions for someone or providing solutions.  Advising roadblock hinders the healthy communication process as the unsolicited advice and solutions limit the person’s own cognitive abilities to think from the solution focused aspect and analyze the possible solutions.

Similarly advising and providing solutions hinder healthy communication as they act against the concepts of active listening and responding. Instead of attending well to the message being communicated, the person starts looking for possible answers and solutions that he has to throw back to the person. Thus the person communicating the message feels a lack of empathy and validation.

Advising also develops a sense of inferiority in the person trying to communicate his or her needs. They feel that the other person is trying to overpower them or is trying to make himself superior to them by providing them with suggestions and solutions to get done with the problem.

Another core factor of advising or providing solutions is that if the suggestion doesn’t work out well, the other person is going to blame it all to the one who provided the suggestion.

Advising another person often portrays a lack of trust on the abilities of the other person to handle the underlying issue on their own. Due to interference of the advising person, the other person is often made to feel low confidence and lack of self worth.

Advising or solution providing often involves the following phrases:

  • Had I been at your place…
  • Did you try doing.. ?
  • How about…?
  • The easiest way out is…
  • One thing you could possibly try out to feel better is…..
  • Have you thought about ..?

Persuading

The roadblock of persuading often involves giving lectures, arguing with the other person or using logic and instructing the other person. The main aim of this road block is to influence the other person with facts and figures and using counter arguments to support their opinion.

Persuading involves teaching or lecturing the other person using all of your information and the knowledge and experience. Persuasion often makes other people feel as if they are being viewed as inferior and inadequate.

In response to persuasion, people often turn out to be defensive and resistant. They often make all the necessary steps to put you down and act against what is being persuaded upon them. They tend to strongly oppose the influence and try to stand strong with their own opinion. Thus a competition between right and wrong often leads to unhealthy and ineffective communication.

Persuasion often leaves people with a strong attitude of “whatever” or “i don’t care”.

Persuasion often involves the following phrases :

  • Yes .. but…..
  • Statistics show that…..
  • Do you even realize…
  • As far as i have experienced it….
  • You are not realizing the logic related to….
  • Realistically can you….
  • Let’s think this through and the facts associated with it make it clear that….

Moralizing

Moralizing is similar to subjecting one’s thoughts or actions to social, legal or moral values. It is centered around the should and musts of a society or community. It is usually related to preaching people what you think they should be doing and pairing it up with the shoulds and musts of the society.

Moralizing is related to making the other person feel obliged to submit to whatever is being preached. Moralizing is often centered around making the other person feel guilty or inept. The feeling of inadequacy is paired up with a strong belief of “you are not ok”. 

Moralizing involves imposing tasks and duties by sandwiching them within the shoulds and musts of the society. The “should”, “oughts” and “musts” tend to make the other person feel being preached about morality and thus they develop a rebellious attitude and act against the authority.

The moralizing roadblock often involves the following phrases:

  • Do you think your decision is socially adequate?
  • What you really must do in such a situation is….?
  • “You ought to be….?
  • “ Religiously your action is not …..?
  • Society will never accept you as ….

Judging

The roadblock of judging is related to criticising and blaming the other person. It is centered around the negative evaluation of the other people, their thought content and emotions. The negative evaluations often make poeple feel unorthy of, inadequate, stupid and indecisive. 

Judging others lets people feel that they are being overpowered and evaluated for their just and unjust actions in life. Thus they develop social anxiety and they fear taking decisions in life. Even if they are right in going for a certain action they still feel inadequate and shaky.

Judging others involves blaming others, criticising and disagreeing with others. Thus this affects the healthy and functional communication process. Being critical of others shatters the faith in their underlying strengths.

Judging others involves the following phrases:

  • You are facing the situation due to your own self
  • You are always wrong to believe in yourself for this.
  • Its all because of you actually
  • It is all your own fault
  • You have put yourself into this situation 
  • There is more required to be done than what you think is enough

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Agreeing

The roadblock of agreeing is related to approving, accepting and positively evaluating the other person’s emotions and thought content.  Such responses involve flattening the other person and creating one’s own positive image.

Agreeing involves insincerely responding with positive feedback to the other person. Insincere positive feedback is often related to manipulation of other’s thoughts and emotions. 

Positive feedback and positive evaluation often are a roadblock to effective communication as it involves negative consequences on the part of the other person. Positive evaluations are often used in the communication process as a gimmick to get the other person to change behavior, thought content or feelings in a certain way.

Agreeing often involves the following phrases:

  • You’re an obedient boy i know you will do this for me
  • You are such a good mother to do this. Also try…
  • I think you are absolutely right
  • I couldn’t agree any more with you…

Shaming

The roadblock of shaming is related to humiliating and labeling. It is often centered around name calling and ridiculing the other person. Shaming makes another person feel inadequate, humiliated and ashamed. People are made to feel stupid about themselves.

Messages that involve shaming often ridicule the person’s self image and their self value gets lowered down. Name calling often leaves the person feeling inadequate and defensive. They feel offended upon being humiliated.

Upon being humiliated, a person develops passive aggression and frustration. 

Name calling puts a label on the person and no matter what the person does, he is believed to be the label he has been associated with. 

Examples of name calling and shaming include:

  • You are stupid to do so
  • You egghead do not have a clarity about the reality 
  • You are so dumb 
  • Many low intellect people believe that, you are not alone
  • People of your sect often do such dumb things 

Analyzing

The interpretation or analyzing roadblock involves a person to give an explanation of what wants to do. It is aimed at diagnosing the real issue and providing solutions. 

Analyzing the situation involves going to the core feelings of the other person and surfacing their content and feelings to bring it to their conscious knowledge.

Analyzing and interpretation often leave the individual in a threatening position. The person tries to act as a therapist to do analysis of the other person instead of just being there and listening to their queries.

Analyzing often involves the following phrases:

  • You know what is wrong with you?
  • Do you know what the real problem with you is?
  • It’s just that you believe you’re good at it because you merely know a few things better than other people.
  • Actually you believe this…because…?

Probling

Probling is related to questioning and asking for more information. Probing involves asking open ended and closed ended questions to gain a deeper insight into the issue.

Probing and questioning becomes a roadblock when the questions are asked to confuse the other person or to act superior to the other person. 

Probing through excessive and inappropriate questioning often hinders the road to effective and functional communication. Probing often drives the communication process to a blind alley. A communication that is centered around excessive probing often reaches a screeching halt. 

Asking a plenty of closed ended questions for probing often makes the person feel being targeted or being pushed to feel inadequate.

The probing roadblock to communication often involves:

  • What time did the incident happen?
  • Where were you?
  • Who accompanied you?
  • What did you say?
  • What did the other person say?

Distracting

The roadblock of distracting involves diverting the other person’s interest to hinder the communication process. Distraction is related to withdrawing and avoiding. 

Distraction is related to avoiding the conversation due to lack of knowledge or interest about the topic in conversation. It is also related to diverting from the topic innoder to gain maximum attention for one’s own self. 

Distracting often involves using humor to get done with the topic of conversation or shifting one’s focus away from the message being communicated. 

Distraction is based on the following phrases:

  • I think we are done with your problem
  • Lets discuss it some other time
  • I came to you for something else and look at you
  • Is this the only thing we are discussing today
  • Can we keep it for other time 

Reassuring

Reassuring is often related to sympathizing, controlling and supporting the other person. Through reassuring the other person is prevented from feeling inadequate and low due to an unpleasant event. It often helps the other person to feel support and help from people around in times of distress. 

However reassuring often involves negative outcomes as well. People who reassure themselves often feel like helping others but are not available for them to go through the emotional turmoil. 

Reassuring is done with an aim of providing people an assurance that things will be ok. Reassuring represents that we are actually not in a position to relate to their unpleasant or negative emotions and it is uncomfortable for us to go through their story. So let’s put an end to it by winding up the topic or telling them something philosophical in times of emotional turmoil.

Reassurance pushes a person to sympathize instead of empathizing with the other person. Thus the effective and functional communication is distorted. 

Reassurance involves the following phrases:

  • You will be ok now
  • After every dusk there is dawn
  • Look on the bright side
  • Don’t cry like that you are not a baby
  • This had to end like that, no point crying out now

Conclusion

The present blog focused on the 12 roadblocks to healthy communication. We listed and discussed the 12 blocks to effective and healthy communication. We learned that judging and labeling others and talking to others with a threatening style is often responsible for ineffective and distorted communication.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): 12 roadblocks to healthy communication

What are the 7 roadblocks to listening?

The 7 roadblocks to listening are:

  • Mind Reasoning
  • Labeling
  • Jumping to conclusion
  • Moralizing
  • Should and musts
  • Distracting
  • sympathizing

What are the 4 roadblocks to effective communication?

The 4 roadblocks to effective communication are:

  • Diverting
  • Questioning
  • Ordering
  • Humiliating

What are some barriers to communication?

Some of the barriers to effective communication are:

  • Use of jargons
  • Language barriers
  • Noise pollutions
  • Mental stress
  • Cultural differences
  • Physical disabilities

Citations

https://kcc.ky.gov/Vocational-Rehabilitation/staffresources/Documents/SGA%20Conference/Session%2012/12%20Roadblocks%20(5)%20(1).pdf

https://ifioque.com/listening/listening_roadblocks

https://primeyourpump.com/2019/07/24/12-communication-roadblocks/

https://pollackpeacebuilding.com/blog/12-roadblocks-communication/

https://www.unodc.org/ddt-training/treatment/VOLUME%20B/Volume%20B%20-%20Module%202/3.Clinical%20Forms/3.T_Gordon_Roadblocks.pdf

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