Identify your type of communication in the family
Satir (1967) in her growth model described five communication stances: congruent, placator, blamer, super reasonable, and irrelevant. These stances are used as a means of “survival” in childhood during difficult times. However, everyone uses one of these to some extent as they move from one life stage to another in their family interaction. The negative side of the use of these stances is the feature to become permanent ways of communication to hide the reality of one’s real feelings from and others.
The placator hides his or her feelings of low self-esteem and weakness by trying to please others, to satisfy his or her emotional survival depends. They participate in remorseful, uncertain, and meek communication that is designed to please others. In attempting to please others the placator tries to avoid rejection while they expand their roles to being peacebuilders in the family.
- The blamer
The individual hides their feelings of low self-worth and vulnerability by trying to control others and by disagreeing generally, thus giving him- or herself a sense of importance despite his or her inner feelings of loneliness and failure. The blamer engages in finding mistakes of others, name-calling, and condemnation. They may not feel good or secure without bringing other members down.
- Super-reasonable stance
They attempt to numb and isolate themselves from their true feelings. They respond to family communication, especially conflicts, in an intellectual or overly in a rational way—avoiding the (emotional) inner self which may portray their otherwise emotional vulnerability. The impact of this on family is the downplay of inner feelings which impede open and honest communication between family members
- Irrelevant stance
Handles family conflict and stress by pretending it does not exist. Internally the irrelevant stance taker feels uncared for and alienated from the family. Hence he or she attempts to refocus family communication elsewhere from the present context or topic under discussion and away from inner feelings. The irrelevant stance taker will engage in indirect or even irrelevant verbalizations that serve to refocus and move attention from the conflict.
This is referred to as the awareness, acknowledgment, and acceptance of feelings and their expression in a non-reactive manner; Firstly these people, have the ability to acknowledge and accept their feelings and interpretation of the feelings and communicate. Secondly, they practice empathy in expressing their needs and have a concern for other people’s needs and the contexts in which they interact.