An example of a couple who find it hard to communicate.

Some people are better communicators than others. This does not mean that people who find communication difficult can manage without it. John and Louise were typical of a couple who found communication difficult.

John was a quiet man, who found it difficult to let anyone know what he was thinking or feeling. Louise was more open and direct. She let John know exactly what was wrong when she was upset. But within an hour or two she would have forgotten about her anger. John was different, he would feel hurt and rejected for days after a row with Louise.

They learnt to get along together. John often felt lonely. Louise felt frustrated that she could never sort out anything with John. Then a major crisis struck. Their third child was born severely handicapped.

John didn't cry, and couldn't let anyone know how upset he was, or let Louise know how deeply he felt for her in her grief and worry. His sadness came out as anger, the only feeling he felt safe with, anger with the hospital, Louise and anyone else who caught his attention.

Louise couldn't understand John's anger, and felt increasingly bitter that John didn't seem to share her unhappiness. After a few months, the arguments and the bitterness got to a level where Louise couldn't stand it anymore. She left John.

John and Louise would have said "we don't communicate anymore", but they were, of course, communicating some fairly strong messages to each other. Not talking to someone does not mean you are not communicating. Silence is a form of communication. It will be interpreted as anger, or sulking, or perhaps even disinterest.

John and Louise would have had a much more rewarding relationship if they had been able to communicate more clearly. So when the crisis came, they would have been able to work together and support each other.