Sender-Receiver Distortions in Communicating

24 Oct

Here are some factors that impede the smooth, efficient flow of communication:

  1. Negative core beliefs of either party
  2. Prejudices, especially those of which we are unconscious
  3. Judging behaviors, such as criticizing a person or labeling them
  4. Giving unsolicited advice
  5. Being self-righteous
  6. Attempting to control another through threats or putting the person through the “third degree”
  7. Deliberately avoiding a topic through diversionary tactics
  8. Falsely reassuring the other person that the matter isn’t important

Let’s clarify what we mean by some of these items. Negative core beliefs are often unconscious attitudes we have about ourselves which can powerfully affect our conscious lives. To illustrate, suppose that an important person in your life conveys to you that you are a burden to them. You internalize this, and now you become a burden to yourself! You have little patience with your shortcomings. You label yourself clumsy, slow, stupid, or the like. The ways you have of verbalizing those deep-seated, physically held beliefs are known as “negative core beliefs.”

Giving unsolicited advice and being self-righteous are similar distorting factors to communication. Sometimes a person will feel that s/he is superior, often as a defense against really feeling “less then.” Feeling superior does not emanate from the real self but from external associations, such as belonging to a “favored group,” for example, a prestigious family, social class, or faith group. From this derived superiority, the person may actually exhibit self-righteous behavior, which is the opposite of an open and receptive attitude.

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