Not A Jerk: Dialectic Tension - Why your partner can't make up their mind
Autonomy/Connection and Expressiveness/Protectiveness related to issues of "being a friend" as a role and experienced many tensions from trying to be a. Dialectical tensions, defined as opposing forces that people experience in their relationships, are important for relational development. Predictability-novelty, for . Two broad approaches can be identified in dialectically the subsequent state of the dialectical tension in relationships avoidance and disclosure function interdependently.
It is not necessary, however, to have a friend in organizations to experience dialectical contradictions. Stress occurs frequently on the individual level as human needs and desires oppose. Friends within organizations desire to provide each other with special support and assistance but organizations strive for equitable treatment and discourage bias. It is a tendency of close friends to be open and honest with one another, but organizations often expect a level of confidentiality that places strain on friendships that value the sharing of information.
Feeling excited about a restructuring of your organization but anxious since it may interrupt your routine and put stress on your current relationships. Inviting a coworker to lunch with the intention of asking for support on a project at work.
Two specific discursive struggles were identified: Old relationship-new relationship - For many siblings, family rituals were not continued upon moving out, resulting in a change in relationship and a feeling of missing out, emphasizing the changes that occur during the transition from an old relationship into new ones.
Children and stepparents In a study  focusing on the adult stepchild perceptions of communication in the stepchild- stepparent relationship, three contradictions were found to be experienced by the stepchildren participants: Dialectics of emotional distance-closeness - While many stepchildren expressed feelings of emotional distance, the participants had varying reasons for keeping the distance.
Some participants who still had a positive relationship with their nonresidential parent kept an emotional distance from their stepparent as an act of loyalty that they felt toward their nonresidential parent.
Other participants equated emotional distance to the fact that they had little in common with their stepparent. However, many participants expressed feeling some closeness with a stepparent while maintaining an amount of emotional distance. Stepparent status - Many of the stepchildren in the study also experienced a dialectical tension between desiring for the family authority position to be designated to their one residential parent along with a desire for both the residential parent and the stepparent to share parenting authority.
Many participants felt that legitimating their stepparent as a parent would result in the formation of closeness. Expression - The participants expressed a desire for open communication with their stepparent, while at the same time, expressing resistance to openness and instead favoring a more careful form of communication due to the fact that the participants often sensed a lack of familiarity with their stepparent. In another study,  researchers aimed to identify the contradictions that were perceived by stepchildren when characterizing the ways that familial interactions caused them to feel caught in the middle between parents.
The participants expressed that they wanted to be centered in the family while, at the same time, they hoped to avoid being caught in the middle of two opposing parents.
The main contradiction identified in the study was similar to the autonomy-connection dialectic; stepchildren desired the freedom to communicate and enact the desired relationship with their parents. However, these stepchildren also felt the need to manage the constraints that resulted from parental communication, particularly when both parents did not cooperate with one another. While the stepchildren wanted to know what was happening, at the same time, they also wanted to be protected, resulting in a second dialectic of control-restraint.
Through this study, the researchers believe that openness-closeness dialectic between parents and their children is important to building functional stepfamily relationships. One study,  focused on the relationship and communication between college-aged stepchildren and their nonresidential parents, found two underlying contradictions: Many participants expressed that they wanted their nonresidential parent to be actively involved in parenting them but did not desire it once they were.
Participants also expressed that while they wanted open and intimate communication with their nonresidential parents, they felt that they could not closely communicate because of the nonresidential parent's lack of familiarity with the child's everyday life. Theory applications[ edit ] End of life care[ edit ] Relational dialectics theory can be applied to the context of health care, specifically end-of-life careproviding a system for caregiver communication that contains tensions and challenges.
The quality of the end-of-life journey is influenced by how these tensions are managed. Grief[ edit ] The human grieving process is marked by relational dialectics. After the death of a child, bereaved parents often experience tension between presence and absence by grieving their child's permanent absence while still experiencing an emotional bond toward the deceased child. Through interviews with participants who had experienced the loss of a loved one, researchers concluded that many of the end of life decisions made by family members, patients, and doctors were centered on making sense of the simultaneous desires to hold on and to let go.
Participants recognized that they experienced tension between their own preferences and the preferences of a loved one, and with that, experienced the tension between desiring to make decisions based on emotions versus making decisions based on rationality.
Dialectical contradictions have also been found among parents who have lost a child. One study  found that two primary dialectical contradictions occurred for parents who had experienced the death of a child: Parents experienced openness-closeness when they desired to talk about their child and their loss, yet they perceived the outcome as risky, especially if they sensed that friends and family wished for the parents to move on. Participants explained that they were able to manage this contradiction by being selective with their disclosure and taking control over the communicative situation.
When dealing with the presence-absence dialectic, bereaved parents experienced tensions between the ongoing bond that they experienced with their child, and the physical absence of the child. Participants expressed that when people were not willing to remember their dead child, the physical absence of the child was deeply felt.
However, when people chose to remember the deceased child, the parent experienced feelings of comfort and continual bonding with the child. Applying relational dialects theory to studying interactions of autistic individuals starts from approaching autistic individual as an actor during the interaction and deeming competence a result of the interaction.
The investigation of dialects includes integration-separation, expression-privacy, and stability-change enhance the understanding of the communication between people with autism spectrum disorders. Dialogue[ edit ] Dialogue is typically a conversation between two or more people.
Relational dialectics - Wikipedia
These conversations are what constitute relationships, as communication is the very foundation of any relationship.
According to Cools, "the four important concepts that form the foundation of dialogism 1 the self and the other situated in contradictory forces, 2 unfinalizability, 3 the chronotope and the carnivalesque, and 4 heteroglossia and utterance".
According to Baxter, "a constitutive approach to communication asks how communication defines, or constructs, the social world, including our selves and our personal relationships. From a constitutive perspective, then, persons and relationships are not analytically separable from communication; instead, communication constitutes these phenomena"  When initial researchers studied relationships, they found that similarities, backgrounds, and interests are usually what hold people together while self-disclosure is the root of these components.
Dialogic researchers would argue that differences are just as important as similarities and they are both discovered through dialogue. When utterances are "linked to competing discourses", they are considered utterance chains. Baxter believes that there are "four links on the chain where the struggle of competing discourses can be heard. Baxter also suggest that to understand an utterance, we must also understand the discourse.
She posits "in the broadest sense, a discourse is a cultural system of meaning that circulates among a group's members and which makes our talk sensical. Spiraling inversion and segmentation are two strategies that Baxter and Montgomery have established to respond to this complexity. Spiraling inversion is generally a no-win situation; a struggle between two different thought processes.
For example, if you were to do something your parents did not approve of, you could lie about it, but your parents might yell at you for lying. And on the other hand, you could tell them upfront, and they could be completely quiet in shock.
Segmentation is pertaining to more than one role in a relationship that must be altered depending on the situation. For example, if you were working at your father's shop as a part-time job, he would be considered your father AND your boss. This could mean that he has different expectations of you in different circumstances and his attitude towards you might change between roles. There is a temporary feeling of wholeness felt between partners involved in this dialogue.
It is easy to see examples of aesthetic moments in romantic relationships, such as a first kiss or a reciting of wedding vows, but these moments can be experienced by anyone. No one person is more powerful or dominant than the other, and they are able to communicate without these imbalances interfering.
This does not mean that the dialogue is free of competing discourses as listed in Utterance Chains. Three terms are important in understanding this definition: Central to the notion of opposition is mutual negation: Semantically, opposites are the antonyms of one another and function to nullify, cancel, undo, or otherwise undermine one another.
Barbara Montgomery has identified three kinds of oppositions: Opposites are unified if they are in some way interdependent. Interdependence can take two basic forms, which Irwin Altman and his colleagues referred to as the unity of identity and interactive unity. The unity of identity is semantic or definitional unity. For example, we understand what "night" means only because we have a concept of "day.
For example, marriages require both similarities and differences between the partners. Partners must be similar to some extent in order to establish and sustain a common bond. However, partners must also be different from each other in order to sustain autonomous identities. Contradictory phenomena are yoked together at the same time that they negate one another. This simultaneous "both-and" dynamic produces an ongoing dialectical tension or interplay between opposites. To dialectical theorists, dialectical tensions keep the relating process vibrant and alive, as parties navigate the unity of opposites in an ongoing manner.How to Manage Dialectical Tensions in Relationships
Therefore, contradictions are not a sign of trouble for a relationship, but are inherent in the process of relating. Leslie Baxter and her colleagues Baxter ; Baxter and Montgomery ; Werner and Baxter have described three clusters of contradictions that have been identified by several dialectical scholars: The dialectic of integration-separation is a family of related contradictions, all of which share the family resemblance of necessitating both partner integration and partner separation in relationships.
A relationship is a union of two distinct individuals. Without union or integration, a relationship ceases to exist. But in the absence of separate individuals, there is nothing to integrate.
Relating partners, therefore, face the ongoing challenge of negotiating the united opposition of integration and separation. Several different terms have been used to capture contradictions that can be located in this integrationseparation cluster including: Although some of these labels are mere synonyms of one another, the variation in terms often captures subtle, situation-specific differences in the interplay of integration and separation.
The negotiation of integration-separation can be experienced by relationship parties at the mundane level of how much time to spend together versus how much time to spend alone or in activities with others.
It can also be experienced as a dilemma of rights and obligations; for example, the right to have one's own needs fulfilled versus the obligation to be responsive to the needs of the other person. This dialectic could also be experienced as a dilemma of identity: In short, the dialectic of integration-separation can be experienced in many ways by relating partners.
The dialectic of expression-nonexpression refers to a cluster of contradictions that revolve around the united opposition of candor and discretion. Relationship intimacy is built on a scaffold of openness, honesty, and complete disclosure. Yet, at the same time, intimacy also involves respect for each person's right to privacy and the obligation to protect one's partner from the hurt or embarrassment that can result from insufficient discretion.
The dialectic of expression-nonexpression requires an ongoing negotiation of revelation and concealment, both in interactions between the two partners and in their interactions with others outside the relationship.
The dialectic of expression-nonexpression can be experienced in many different ways by relationship parties Baxter and Montgomery For example, parties can frame the dialectic as a matter of individual rights: Alternatively, parties might frame the dialectic around issues of protection, in which the decision to disclose or not revolves around a desire to protect oneself from hurt or embarrassment versus a desire to protect the partner from hurt Dindia Finally, the dialectic of stability versus change refers to a family of contradictions that revolve around the unified opposition of predictability, certainty, routinization, and stability, on the one hand, and unpredictability, uncertainty, spontaneity, and change, on the other hand.
"Dialectical tensions in marital couples' accounts of their *relations" by Donna R Pawlowski
Relationships require both stability and change to establish and sustain their well-being Bochner and Eisenberg Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery use the metaphor of jazz in discussing the dialectic of stability-change in relationships. Jazz artists follow a basic melody which functions as the predictable center of a given artistic performance.
This backdrop of certainty enables wildly spontaneous and unpredictable musical departures. Similarly, relationship parties tack back and forth between the stable "givens" of their relationship and unpredictable "new" demands and experiences.
This discussion of commonly identified contradictions does not exhaust the list of possible unified oppositions that face relationship pairs, but it provides an introduction to at least some of the dialectical tensions that friends, romantic partners, marital couples, and families face as they conduct their everyday relating Brown, Werner, and Altman ; Conville ; Rawlins Contradictions and Change Social dialectical scholars agree that the dynamic interplay of unified opposites results in ongoing and inevitable change for relationship partners.
Dialectical tensions in marital couples' accounts of their *relationships
Although the ongoing tension of oppositions can be negotiated in temporary moments or periods in which all oppositions are responded to at the same time, it is much more common to see an ongoing pattern in which one pole is temporarily responded to at a cost of negating the other pole.
The communicative actions that parties enact at a given moment change how a contradiction is experienced at a later point in time. For example, if parties embrace spontaneity and abandon planning, this will create pressure at some point for greater certainty and predictability in their lives.
The most common conception of this change process among dialectical scholars is a helical model, in which responsiveness to one dialectical pole, or opposite, creates pressure to attend to the opposite dialectical pole Conville Over time, a relationship pair cycles back and forth between responsiveness to the opposing demands.
For example, a parent and child may cycle back and forth between autonomy and interconnection throughout their lives. However, each time a pair cycles back, it is never exactly to the same place they were before—the parties have acquired additional experiences and perspectives.
Thus, relating is like a helix. Over time, the very meaning of a given contradiction is likely to shift. For example, Daena Goldsmith found that among romantic couples, issues of connection versus autonomy took on different meanings depending on where a couple was in their relationship's development.
Several dialectical scholars e.