Tag Archives: Suzette Haden Elgin

Cartoon of angry woman with crossed arms

Communication Skills for Relationship Explorers: GAVSD

Cartoon of angry woman with crossed arms“If you REAlly LOVED me,
you’d be willing to LIsten

to me and HELP!”

This sentence is a Verbal Attack.

No, really, it is.  Let me ‘splain….

I’ve been having a useful conversation with my almost-ex in his Facebook (and my LiveJournal, but that part is FriendsLocked for the comfort of my commenters there). Over a few days last week, we unpacked one of our really major BAD DYNAMICS from our relationship.

[It’s one of the reasons that I still appreciate him and our relationship–even at our worst, we’ve always tried to look at this stuff and learn from it.  The fact that we were so mired up at one point that we could no longer make progress is of course why we’re not together anymore. But the other fact that we’re still both willing and able to examine these behaviors and learn is why I still sometimes present workshops with him. By learning from our own mistakes we might be able to help others, so at least that way all our pain might not have been completely wasted! ;^)]

So as I said, over the past week or so we’ve discussed a particularly challenging type of interaction for us, one that was especially poisonous, and which dogged us for the entire course of our relationship.  And in the course of this analysis, one of the sentences I unpacked was one that I labeled a Verbal Attack Pattern, after the work of Suzette Haden Elgin, the author of the Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense series. Continue reading