I have written about “death spirals” in relationships before in “Forgiveness and Grace”. That particular article dealt with death spirals in parenting and discipline, and this post is equally applicable to your relationships with your children.
Let’s talk about “death spirals” in communication.
It can be just as seductive and damaging there as anywhere else in your life, but where relationship death spirals are usually filled with emotion and drama, communication death spirals can creep up on you so subtly that you are in the depths before you know it.
There are many kinds, but the one I am exposed to the most and must keep avoiding in myself, are those of negativity, complaining repetitively about a particular thing or person and confusing complaints with communication.
You see, it is so easy to do!
You complain, others commiserate, and unless you are careful, you can create a feedback loop that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing more than distancing others from you by alternately boring and frustrating them.
Even more importantly, a fairly constant stream of complaints and negative observations can inure those around you to when something is really wrong. And that, my friends, can be fatal.
What can we do to spot this pattern in ourselves? Pay attention to what you are saying. Are you repeating the same complaint over and over to people who cannot change it? How do you think that makes them feel?
What can we do when we acknowledge we have started a death spiral? Here are some ideas from Psychology Today, and though the specific complaints may not apply to you or me, try putting your own in there and see where they fall.
As author Toni Bernhard says, “When we truly recognize that we have no control over most of our complaints, it’s easier to accept that many of our experiences in life simply won’t be to our liking. Acknowledging and accepting this, we can begin to take those unpleasant experiences in stride.When we do, we’re likely to find that our tendency to complain subsides. What a relief that would be!”
Wishing you a day of recognizing your blessings, whatever they are!