“Relational Dialectics: Friends or More?” | The Corinthian
Introduction Relational dialectics is a concept within communication theories it is important to understand the core concepts of relational dialects. Example. Take for example the relationship between Tom and Summer in the Relational dialectics theory (RDT) focuses on relationships and the. The desire for affection to be genuine versus the desire for affection to be motivated by benefits and perceived advantages of the relationship. Example: Being in.
For instance consider the point between harmony and separation. Communication patterns causing constant state of instability acts as a contrary in sustaining a relationship. Concepts Contradictions— in relational dialectics, the concept is that the extreme contrary has the characteristics of its opposite Totality— in relational dialectics, the totality comes when the opposites unite. Thus the relationship is balanced with contradictions and only then it reaches totality Process— relational dialectics can be comprehended through various social processes.
These processes simultaneously continue within a relationship in a recurring manner Praxis— the relationship progresses with experience and both people interact and communicate effectively to realise their needs.
Praxis is a concept of practicability in making decisions being in a relationship despite of opposing wants and needs The most common dialectics in a relationship are 1.
Openness and closeness In a relationship, both partners expect openness in their communication as to be dependable and also to maintain an healthy relationship. But on the contrary, the individual desires privacy. Certainty and uncertainty Certainty is one factor that bonds the relationship. It is the promise that one keeps and makes both the parties comfortable. But on the contrary, being so predictable makes the relationship dreary thus an element of surprise or ambiguity spur up the relationship.
Connectedness and separateness A relationship to continue, people has to be bonded physically and mentally. But on the contrary too much of connectedness can blur the individuality of the person. Managing Relational Dialectics Alternation- prioritising the problems alternatively Denial- being one sided while confronting a problem while ignoring the other Segmentation- dealing with the problem one-sidedly. Unlike denial, the problem is being faced in a different circumstance Disorientation- avoiding the problem by terminating the relationship Balance- keeping a balance between the situation while solving a problem Reaffirmation- accepting the problem to maintain the relationship Integration- both the parties are made satisfied by developing methods to solve problems Applications The relational dialectics can be applied in studying interpersonal relationships.
The behavioral changes in the partners can be comprehended by applying the contradictions that balances the relationship. In the workplace Blended Relationships are close friends that are a part of the same work environment. Dialectical tensions occur in organizations as individuals attempt to balance their roles as employees while maintaining established friendships within their occupations. 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.
- Relational Dialectics Theory
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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.
The Modern Breakup — Apollon Digital Journal
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. 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.
“Relational Dialectics: Friends or More?”
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.