Posted: August 3rd, 2022

COM2006 WK 4 DIS

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Power Affecting Communication

Let’s look at how power affects communication. Beebe, Beebe, and Redmond (2017) describe

interpersonal power as “the degree to which a person is able to in�uence or control his or her

relational partner” (p. 231). In a perfect world, each relationship partner would have equal degrees of

power in the relationship, but reality shows us that the power equation is not equal. So how does one
person in the relationship gain more power over the other person? One usually overpowers another

because the other person is dependent on his or her partner’s ability for ful�llment of his or her needs.

Personal needs can range from the basics of food, shelter, and money to emotional needs, such as

affection, love, sex, and intimacy. One person can also have power over another in the relationship if

the other person relies on his or her partner for self-image. In other words, if the relationship is a

de�ning factor for someone’s self-esteem, this can cause dependency and a driving factor to stay in the

Power differences can cause con�icts in relationships. According to Baxter and Montgomery (1996),

relational con�ict is not an either-or situation but it is a management of ongoing dialectical tensions.

Dialectical tensions are two opposing desires either in one’s self or between two people.

For example, John and Anita have been married for about a year and �nd themselves frequently having

small arguments. John wants to devote more time to himself, and Anita desires spending more time

together. This can be described as a dialectical tension of separateness and togetherness. Envision a
rubber band—the more Anita pushes to do things together, the more John pulls away. John often

retreats to his “man cave” to work on his car when Anita suggests an outing together. Since Anita’s job

provides the majority of income for the household, she feels more entitled to get what she wants. This

feeling of entitlement comes across in her communication with John and often causes John to retreat.

Although differences in power exist in all relationships, the power balance may shift as circumstances

and needs shift. According to Baxter and Montgomery (1996), dialectical tensions are ongoing and
relationships are processes with dialectical tensions. In the example of John and Anita, how can they

manage their dialectical tension? Notice that the question is how to manage and not how to resolve.

How can the couple negotiate both closeness at times and separateness at times? Constructive

communication is the key to help manage relationship con�icts due to dialectical tensions.

In the example of John and Anita, constructive communication would start with focusing on the

problem to be solved. Both John and Anita need to assertively explain how the other partner’s actions
affect them. The focus should also be on discussing what is important for each partner and how these

needs can be met. Underlying this discussion should also be recognition of the shared values that they

have as a couple.

In addition, Anita needs to recognize that her entitlement responses re�ect her power over John in

their relationship. Relationship power differences should be recognized and neutralized. In other

words, Anita needs to recognize that John’s needs are as important as her own. It is important to

discuss their power issues so that they can proceed to have a constructive conversation about how to
meet both their needs. Constructive communication helps each person understand about the other

person’s values and brings new insights into and solutions for the relationship con�icts.


Baxter, L. A., & Montgomery, B. M. (1996). Relating: Dialogues & dialectics. New York, NY: Guilford

Role of Power

Symmetrical Relationship

Role of Power How Power Affects This Relationship
Both people in this type of relationship have the
same orientation toward power. Both desire
power, or both want to avoid power.

When you are in a symmetrical relationship
where you both want to relinquish power to the
other person, decision making becomes an
issue. If neither person is willing to take control
or claim power over the situation, then
problems can arise. This type of relationship
then becomes a submissive symmetrical
relationship. If, on the other hand, both people
want to take control, then the relationship is a
competitive symmetrical relationship.

Competitive Symmetrical Relationship

Role of Power How Power Affects This Relationship
In this type of relationship, both people want to
take control or have power in the relationship.
Each person in the relationship wants to control
the other or the situation. In this type of
relationship, having power is the person’s goal.

When each person in the relationship wants to
control the other person or the situation, then
the relationship is about who can get his or her
way. The goal is to have power over the other
person or situation. In this relationship,
cooperation and negotiation become very
difficult; however, these are not impossible.

Submissive Symmetrical Relationship

Role of Power How Power Affects This Relationship
In this type of relationship, power is to be
avoided. Both people in the relationship want to
avoid taking control of the situation or making
decisions. Power in this case is unwanted by
both parties.

When both people in the relationship want to
avoid having power over the other or the
situation, then it is hard, if not impossible, to
make decisions or move forward in a situation.
Both people can flounder and struggle with
indecisiveness in this type of relationship.

Page 1 of 1
Interpersonal Communication

©2014 South University

SUO Discussion Rubric (80 Points) – Version 1.2
Course: COM2006-Interpersonal Communication SU01


No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
27 points

Satisfactory (C: 28-
31 points

Proficient (B: 32-
35 points

Exemplary (A: 36-
40 points

Criterion Score

Quality of

Initial Posting

/ 40No initial posting

exists to evaluate.

The information

provided is

inaccurate, not

focused on the

assignment’s topic,

and/or does not

answer the

question(s) fully.





understanding of the

topic and/or



The information

provided is accurate,

giving a basic

understanding of the

topic(s) covered. A

basic understanding

is when you are able

to describe the

terms and concepts

covered. Despite

this basic


initial posting may

not include


development of all

aspects of the


The information
provided is accurate,

displaying a good

understanding of the
topic(s) covered. A

good understanding

is when you are able

to explain the terms

and topics covered.

Initial posting


sincere reflection

and addresses most

aspects of the


although all

concepts may not be

fully developed.

The information
provided is accurate,

providing an in-

depth, well thought-

out understanding

of the topic(s)

covered. An in-

depth understanding

provides an analysis

of the information,

synthesizing what is

learned from the



No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
13 points

Satisfactory (C: 14-
16 points

Proficient (B: 17-
18 points

Exemplary (A: 19-
20 points

Criterion Score

No Submission
0 points
Emerging (F-D: 1-
13 points
Satisfactory (C: 14-
16 points
Proficient (B: 17-
18 points
Exemplary (A: 19-
20 points
Criterion Score

Participation in


/ 20No responses to

other classmates

were posted in this

discussion forum.

May include one or

more of the


*Comments to only

one other student’s


*Comments are not

substantive, such as

just one line or

saying, “Good job”

or “I agree.

*Comments are off


Comments to two or

more classmates’

initial posts but only

on one day of the

week. Comments



meaning they reflect

and expand on what

the other student


Comments to two or
more classmates’

initial posts on more

than one day.

Comments are

meaning they reflect
and expand on what
the other student
Comments to two or
more classmates’

initial posts and to

the instructor’s

comment (if

applicable) on two

or more days.


demonstrate an

analysis of peers’

comments, building

on previous posts.

Comments extend

and deepen




may include a

follow-up question.


No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
13 points

Satisfaction (C: 14-
16 points

Proficient (B: 17-
18 points
Exemplary (A: 19-
20 points
Criterion Score




/ 20No postings for

which to evaluate

language and

grammar exist.

Numerous issues in

any of the following:

grammar, mechanics,

spelling, use of

Some spelling,

grammatical, and/or

structural errors are

present. Some errors

Minor errors in

grammar, mechanics,

or spelling in the

initial posting are

Minor to no errors

exist in grammar,

mechanics, or

spelling in both the

No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
13 points
Satisfaction (C: 14-
16 points
Proficient (B: 17-
18 points
Exemplary (A: 19-
20 points
Criterion Score

Citation Style)




slang, and

incomplete or


citations and

references. If

required for the

assignment, did not

use course, text,

and/or outside

readings (where

relevant) to support


in formatting

citations and

references are

present. If required


the assignment,

utilizes sources to

support work for

initial post but not

comments to other

students. Sources

include course/text

readings but outside

sources (when

relevant) include



ve, such as Wikis

and .com resources.

present. Minor

errors in formatting

citations and

references may

exist. If required for

the assignment,
utilizes sources to
support work for

both the initial post

and some of the

comments to other
students. Sources

include course and

text readings as well

as outside sources

(when relevant) that

are academic and

authoritative (e.g.,

journal articles,

other text books,

.gov Web sites,


organization Web

sites, cases, statutes,

or administrative


initial post and

comments to others.

Formatting of

citations and

references is correct.

If required for the

assignment, utilizes

sources to support

work for both the

initial post and the

comments to other
students. Sources
include course and
text readings as well
as outside sources
(when relevant) that
are academic and
authoritative (e.g.,
journal articles,
other text books,
.gov Web sites,
organization Web
sites, cases, statutes,
or administrative

Total / 80

Overall Score

No Submission
0 points


There was no

submission for

this assignment.

Emerging (F to D Range)
1 point minimum

Satisfactory progress has not

been met on the competencies

for this assignment.

Satisfactory (C Range)
56 points minimum

Satisfactory progress has been

achieved on the competencies

for this assignment.

Proficient (B Range)
64 points minimum

Proficiency has been

achieved on the

competencies for this


Exemplary (A

72 points minimum

The competencies for

this assignment have

been mastered.

Nurturing vs. Toxic Relationships

Relationships are created, maintained, and even dissolved through communication. Beebe et al. (2017)

explain that relationship forming and maintaining is done by both partners who decide on the merits or

drawbacks using a cost–bene�t analysis. In other words, the estimated costs of the relationship are

weighed against the estimated bene�ts of the relationship to determine whether you stay in or leave a
relationship. That being said, how do you explain why someone would stay in a toxic relationship?

First, this discussion about toxic relationships implies more than relationship challenges or failures to

have needs met in the relationship. Toxic relationships are characterized as having some elements of

harm to either or both partners. Harm may be in the form of a mental or physical abuse or an

emotional damage.

Now, let’s examine different behaviors and communications that can characterize a toxic relationship.
Beebe et al. (2017) identify several factors—deceiving, jealousy, criticizing, discon�rming, withdrawing,

and abusing both mentally and physically. Oftentimes, there is also relational violence in toxic

relationships. These authors also claim that “acts of relational violence communicate anger,

frustration, lack of control, and disregard for a partner and the relationship, while instilling fear and

engendering retaliation, counterattacks, and subversion” (Beebe et al., 2017, p. 283).

Obviously, there is a degree of severity in a toxic relationship, which is determined by the degree of

harm to one or both of the people involved. Even when there is a signi�cant degree of harm, sometimes
people chose to stay in the relationship. Why?

The social exchange theory is an interpersonal communication theory about costs and bene�ts that

may help you understand what is happening. Thibault and Kelley (1952), in their seminal book, The
Social Psychology of Groups, explain that people estimate what rewards and costs they would incur
from the outcomes of interpersonal interactions and situations. People have a natural tendency to

increase rewards or move toward situations that seem to have rewards and move away from situations
that are estimated to incur costs. Therefore, in case of toxic relationships, why someone stays in a

severe toxic relationship may be better understood if viewed by the social exchange theory.

In this case, the injured person may be staying in the relationship because the cost of leaving is

perceived to be higher than the cost of staying. If this is the reason, then there is a greater tendency to

avoid interaction with the relationship partner or �ght back by engaging in a similar toxic behavior,

thereby creating a circular pattern that is often hard to break. It is advisable for people in these types
of toxic relationships to get professional help to either break the toxic communication patterns or help

the harmed party leave the relationship.

If the relationship is only mildly toxic and has not escalated to severe relational violence, then there is

a chance that the relationship could be saved. In order to develop a more nurturing relationship, both

parties need to be committed to being open and honest and have a great desire to save the

relationship. The �rst step is the honest disclosure of what has happened and how and why each

person feels the way he or she does. Acknowledging the transgression(s) is the starting point. The
second step is starting the process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is seen as necessary for relationship repair (Waldron & Kelley, 2005). Forgiving

communication is about authentically communicating one’s intentions and interpretations and by

listening to his or her partner even though it may be hurtful or uncomfortable. Fishbane (1998)

advocates a dialogic approach to couple’s therapy because most often couples enter the therapy
polarized and disconnected. Couples can also become disenchanted because of the end of the

“honeymoon period” where “love is blind” and couples are in the phase of their relationship where

�aws are not obscured and idealized images are fractured.

Oftentimes, the cause of couples disconnecting with each other can be precipitated by a transgression,

such as in�delity or lies or any hurtful acts or talk, and usually by the time couples come to therapy, all

they can see is their own pain. The same thing can happen to people in friendships where harmful acts
and miscommunication can cause people to pull away. Turning away from another, for whatever

reason, further entrenches the person in the “I” focus steeped in the emotions of being wronged by

another. It is only when the person, who has been transgressed, can move past how he or she was hurt

or betrayed, he or she can truly see another and begin to relate in relation and start the process of

repairing the relationship (Fishbane, 1998). These ideas pose forgiveness as having a dialogic


Metaphorically, conceptualizing the act of forgiveness as a dance implies that both parties contributed
to the act of transgression in some way and that both parties are important to forgiveness, and, thus,

framing forgiveness as intersubjective or the experience of it emerging from both persons in the

relationship, rather than framing the process of forgiveness as being unidirectional action—

transgressed granting transgressor forgiveness. Dialogue, rather than a typical rhetorical situation

where one is persuaded to adopt another’s belief, idea, or point of view, focuses on meeting the other

person where both are focused on how to repair the damaged relationship and discovering new
meanings or ideas of how to forgive together (Brown, 2011).


Brown, L. (2011). It’s not just about you: A dialogic approach to forgiveness. Con�ict &
Communication Online, 10(1), 12–25.

Fishbane, D. M. (1998). I, thou, and we: A dialogical approach to couples therapy. Journal of Marital
and Family Therapy, 24(1), 41–58.

Thibault, J. W., & Kelley, H. H. (1952). The social psychology of groups. New York, NY: John Wiley &

Waldron, V., & Kelley, D. (2005). Forgiving communication as a response to relational transgressions.

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(6), 723–742.


Week 1 Discussion

Students Name

Instructors Name



Modes of Communication

The television program considered the talk show is concerned with giving the audience and the adequate host time to converse and interact effectively. The show is based on inviting the most prominent person, like a psychological expert who interacts with the audience by counseling them. At the same time, the latter asks questions concerning day-to-day activities. The program is meant to provide an interactive session for the audience, and they can access further knowledge in different fields. The subject that was discussed was the tactics to live free from depression. During the program, different audiences gave their life experiences and how most of them used to curb the problem. In addition, the psychology expert communicated effectively by giving the audience the best approaches to deal with stress, like sharing the problem with close friends and finding psychological assistance from approved mental facilities.

The interaction model of communication is fitted in the television show program. The audience, the host of the show, and the guest were involved in interacting by sending messages and receiving feedback. The interaction model of communication creates an atmosphere of togetherness and individual suggestions and views (Vlachopoulos & Makri 2019). The conversation was fully effective since the parties involved complied with effective communication tactics. The audience responded effectively when asked questions, and most of them applied their listening skills to capture the message from the guest. In addition, the interaction model between the host of the program and the guests used the context of the major topic of discussion and allowed the audience to pay attention and be involved in the conversation.

The noise in the room interfered with the communication, especially when the audience responded to questions in a massive approach. The noise led to a lack of understanding of the messages and hindered accurate feedback. In addition, it interfered with the interaction between the host and the guest. For example, the guest challenged the audience by stating to them that being in a depressed state is sometimes a personal influence. On the other hand, the audience disagreed with the guest speaker, leading to a lack of effective interaction.


Vlachopoulos, D., & Makri, A. (2019). Online communication and interaction in distance higher education: A framework study of good practice. International Review of Education, 65(4), 605-632.

Stress Management

Stress does affect how and why we communicate. The old adage is when you squeeze an orange, you

get orange juice. Using this metaphor, what happens when we are squeezed or stressed? Oftentimes,

the result is that our patience is tested and we react and speak without thinking. Anger is often about

deeper issues than what we are arguing about. For example, it is common to feel stressed when we feel
that there are too many demands on us—time, money, caretaking, problem solving, and so on. When

we are stressed, our body and mind suffer and it is harder to have constructive and supportive


Since it is a given fact that you will always have some stress in your life, the question is how to manage

your stress so that it doesn’t affect your health and your relationships. The �rst place to start is to

recognize that you have the control and ability to manage your own stress. Although the stressful
circumstances may be caused by another person, only you can manage your stress. Stress is a reaction

to perceived and real problems.

Referring back to con�ict and problem solving, remember that the problem you name is the problem

you set out to solve. This gives you a key tip for managing stress. If you feel more stressed by assessing

the problem as unsolvable or debilitating, then you can work at reframing the problem.

Reframing is an effective way to manage stress. For example, ask yourself—is this particular problem

or issue a mountain or a mole hill? Your self-talk or how you think about a problem in�uences how you
feel about the problem. For example, when you say to yourself that you really hate traf�c and that a

traf�c jam makes you feel angry, the words that you choose to describe the traf�c give you stress.

Instead, if you say that you don’t like being stuck in traf�c but you can use the time to listen to your

favorite music, then your stress will be lessened. Positive self-talk is a key for managing stress.

So what is positive self-talk? First, you need to be aware of what you are saying to yourself. Examine

the word choices that you use to describe the problem. Ask yourself, can you reframe or reword your
description of the problem? You feel you have control or don’t have control over the situation because

of the words you use. For example, when you think of a situation as “would have,” “could have,” or

“should have,” you are thinking about the issue in the past tense. The fact is that it is impossible to

“could have,” “would have,” and “should have” in the present moment. You can’t go back and redo the

action. Using this type of language can make you feel helpless and, as a consequence, feel stressed and

depressed. Reframing in this case would be to substitute the past tense verbs with the present and the
future tense.

For example, Maria is a stockbroker in a major brokerage �rm. She gets tremendous pressure from

management to bring in substantial new clients. Recently, Maria received a call from Diane, who is

looking for investment. Maria explained to Diane that her �rm has a managed investment plan that will

oversee Diane’s funds and invest according to a designated investment risk formula. Diane is

interested in the details until Maria told Diane that this managed account has a 2% fund charge each

year. Diane is put off because she has also been talking to another �rm that has the same type of plan
but that �rm is only charging 1% a year.

Due to this difference, Diane decides to invest a substantial amount of money in the other �rm. Diane

consults Maria again about investing a much smaller amount from another account. She also explains

to Maria why she has selected the other �rm to invest the larger amount of money. Maria is visibly

upset because her �rm would have matched the fund charges since the amount was large. Maria is also
upset because she had not asked Diane how much she had to invest. Maria had assumed that Diane

only had a small amount to invest. Even though Maria had regretted that she did not have this

conversation with Diane earlier, she reframed the situation by suggesting to Diane that she can invest

the smaller amount with her �rm using similar parameters and track which �rm provides a better


Diane is impressed with this solution and decides to open an account with Maria’s �rm. Maria is visibly
relaxed with the idea that now she has a chance to win Diane’s business. If Maria had stayed in the

“would have,” “could have,” or “should have” frame, then Diane could have easily walked away.

Reframing changed the situation from the past tense to the future. We can always change our actions

in the future.

The key to reframing is to catch what you are thinking and examine the words that you are choosing.

For example, the word “can’t” implies powerlessness. Saying “I can’t” to yourself creates resistance and

lowers self-esteem. Catch yourself when you think “I can’t” and ask yourself why not. Many authors
and positive psychology writings talk about the power of af�rmations or statements that you

repeatedly and habitually say to yourself.

For example, instead of “I can’t,” �nd statements that reframe the issue into positive and make an effort

to repeat these af�rmations regularly. Positive af�rmations need to be constructed in the present

tense and have personal meaning for your situation or feelings. For example, if you are looking for

someone to share your life with and have been feeling lonely and unlovable, you could say to yourself,
“I am now enjoying the loving attention of my partner who I respect and love and who respects and

loves me.” Though these statements may sound like wishful thinking, when you can in�uence your own

sense of empowerment or can think using positive af�rmations, you can, in turn, lessen your stress and

be a more constructive and supportive communicator.

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