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ERIC Number: ED473481
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Maintaining an Abusive Relationship: What Do Relational Maintenance Behaviors Really Mean?
Palmerton, Patricia R.
In most interpersonal communication courses, educators teach their students about the actions competent communicators will take to make a relationship more satisfying for both parties. What happens, however, when educators consider maintenance behaviors in the context of a relationship that is destructive, a system that is not only dysfunctional, but is abusive? It might be expected that the behaviors that maintain a healthy relationship would also maintain a sick one. An even deeper question might be whether or not relationship maintenance behaviors that function to nurture a healthy relationship also function to nurture--to fuel--the dysfunction in an abusive system. If so, then the very behaviors educators teach as important skills to know and to enact as a competent communicator may function to increasingly entrap, enmesh, and contribute to a system that is destructive to that communicator. This paper briefly reviews some of the research on relational maintenance behaviors, concluding that, on the basis of the review, it appears that enacting relationship maintenance behaviors are functional if a person wants to preserve a relationship, repair a relationship, or help a relationship become more satisfying for both partners. The paper then reviews characteristics of an abusive relational system. Finally, it looks at how relational maintenance behaviors may function within the context of that system. (Contains 12 references and 2 tables.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A