From Marshall Rosenberg-
"I guess what I want is for you to smile and say that anything I do is OK. "
Often the use of vague and abstract language is used to mask an oppressive interpersonal game.
For example "when I say that I want responsibility, what I really mean is that I want him to do what I ask, without question. I want him to jump when I say jump, and smile when doing it. I realize that would demonstrate obedience rather than responsibility and that's not fair. "
Many times when working with people, they confess how awful they have been, but didn't realize it until after. They were unreasonable or unrealistic. They knew they were doing the wrong thing, but didn't really care at the time. They are not horrible people, but their behavior was not stellar.
So, when we focus so much on communication, we often forget that behavior is vital, as is follow through. Communication does not solve everything. One couple reminded me of this, "Don, her communication is crystal clear and I thank you for that. She is clear that she does not like me and wants me out of her life."
I'd like to say that was not a true story.