Are you a stuffer, a leaker or a gusher? (Part 3)

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throwing knivesDo you know anyone like this?

  1. Mottos and Beliefs
    • “Everyone should be like me.”
    • “I am never wrong.”
  2. Communication Style
    • Close minded (has difficulty seeing another’s point of view)
    • Poor listener
    • Monopolizing
  3. Characteristics
    • Domineering
    • Patronizing
    • Condescending, sarcastic
  4. Behavior
    • Puts others down
    • Doesn’t ever think they are wrong
    • Bossy
    • Know-it-all attitude
  5. Nonverbal Cues
    • Squints eyes critically
    • Glares
    • Stares
    • Rigid posture
    • Critical, loud, yelling tone of voice
  6. Verbal Cues
    • “You must (should, ought better).”
    • “Don’t ask why. Just do it.”
    • Verbal abuse
  7. Confrontation and Problem Solving
    • Must win arguments, threatens, attacks
    • Operates from win/lose position
  8. Feelings Felt
    • Anger
    • Hostility
    • Frustration
    • Impatience
  9. Effects
    • Provokes counter aggression
    • Alienates Others
    • Pays high price in human relationships
    • People feel like they need to lie and cover up to protect themselves
    • Forces compliance with resentment


The problem with a gusher’s aggressive communication is it very rarely solves problems. Usually, after verbal explosions, there are hurt feelings, walls are built in relationships, and the problem resurfaces later.

People learn to avoid others who are gushers because they don’t want to get caught in the line of fire. Those who are gushers may feel better in the moment (they have a voice and have let their needs, wants, and desires be known), but they often destroy relationships in the process.

Gushers leave a trail of hurt, pain, embarrassment, and pshychological damage.

I’m always reminded of the following story with a gusher.

Nails In The Fence

Author Unknown

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

As children we are confident that the adults and people in our lives are more than capable to forgive and forget our offenses no matter what we would say or do.

It’s not until we reach adulthood that we realize the long term damage our words and actions can have on one another.  Suddenly as adults we look back on our own lives at the times when someone hurt us with their cruel words or actions and although we were able to forgive them, there are some things we discover were never able to truly forget.

The fact is there are some things that we may say or do that ultimately can never be taken back no matter how many times we apologize to the one’s we hurt.  Unfortunately we tend to realize the level of irreversible damage we caused only in hindsight and even more, the ones we tend to hurt the worst are the people we usually love the most.

As the saying goes, “To err is human, to forgive divine,” which is true, we are human, we make mistakes, and sometimes we say or do things we don’t mean out of anger in times of great frustration or sadness.

Yet, every time we are in a dispute with a friend, disagreement with a loved one, or even just having a bad day, it’s so important to remember to pause and take a moment to think about the possible permanent repercussions our actions and words could have on others.

It’s only natural that we will have times where we will lose our tempers or be pushed to our personal limits.  However, when we find ourselves in those times of great frustration or anger, we must be sure that whatever we say or do in those moments won’t,  like the nails hammered in the fence, end up leaving permanent holes in the one’s we love and in relationships important to us that we will never be able to undo.

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