Relational Dialectics Theory Essay

2542 Words 11 Pages
Comparing relationships to unicycles seems strange or unlikely, however the constant strive for balance against opposing forces is a perfect description for relational dialectics theory (Griffin, 2009). Barbara Montgomery, an interpersonal communication scholar, describes riding a unicycle as a task of contradicting forces, constantly pulling against each other in a tug-of-war motion. The best way to control the wheel is by the constant changes in movement, adapting one way or the other, to maintain control over the fall (Griffin).
When Montgomery and Baxter first started researching interpersonal relationships they were surprised by the feedback they discovered from their interviews (Griffin, 2009). They found multiple truths to a lot
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They argue that these tendencies are common towards all relationships and are unavoidable (Griffin). The core concept that stands out of relational dialectics theory is contradiction (Griffin, 2009). A contradiction happens whenever you have two interdependent forces that mutually work against each other (Griffin). This is continually happening in relationships because they are in a constant state of flux. Relationships are constantly changing and there is no complete certainty. Baxter and Montgomery give the example of contradiction as a game of tug-of-war created through interpersonal conversations. Moreover, these theorists believe that contradictions are inevitable and can be used to constructively enhance the quality of relationships (Griffin). When researching, Baxter came across three reoccurring contradictions that come as a balancing act for relationships: integration-separation, stability-change, and expression-nonexpression (Griffin, 2009). There are two ways to experience these dialectic contradictions, internally or externally. Internal dialectic refers to the contradictions within the relationship, whereas external dialectic refers to contradictions between the couple and the community (Griffin). Baxter and Montgomery regard the internal dialect for integration and separation as a contradiction between connectedness and separateness (Griffin, 2009). As an individual a person feels the need to be independent and
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