On the podcast today, I talk about actual examples up manipulation in communication…when it looks like, what it feels like and most importantly, the damage it can do. We cannot feel emotionally safe in conversations deadlock emotional honesty, healthy boundaries, invulnerability.
It’s so much easier to see manipulative and passive aggressive behaviors and others, but what if we ourselves happened to struggle with these as well? What if we really want to change some of these things now that we know how emotionally immature we can come across, and how it’s difficult to have meaningful connection with others.
The good news is… this is so changeable! The fact that you even want to change it tells me you’re getting ready to get ready to really make some genuine changes that not only will benefit your relationships, but also how you see yourself. We cannot feel good about ourselves if we know that we have to resort to manipulate to get needs met, to avoid difficult conversations, and to not take responsibility when others lovingly confront us because they’re hurting.
So here are some steps that you can begin to take to turn things around. Know that before you start this be prepared that it will feel awkward, will raise your anxiety even more momentarily, and take commitment encourage. I also want you to know then you can take your time, make mistakes along the way and learn from them, and really solidify your commitment to connecting better. Remember, growth begets growth. The more you do this the better you’re going to want to be at it. OK so let’s get started.
FIRST I want you to spend some time with yourself and really get gut-level honest with yourself. You know by now you inherited some if not all of these tactics. It was modeled for you AND used on you! It’s not your fault. BUT it is your responsibility to change it. And you can. Yes these are ingrained behaviors, but with effort and resolve you can change them completely. I also want you to acknowledge underlying fears of being vulnerable, past traumas of when you were in that did not go well along with your courage to do things differently today. Also remember, If you were that steeped in denial you probably wouldn’t be able to admit this. if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’re ready!
SECOND. Work on what real feelings and fears may be underneath. When I say underneath I mean what you’re really feeling deep down but may not be aware of at the given moment. Usually these are vulnerable feelings that we don’t often recognize , acknowledge much less share with others. Probably because growing up that was not OK, or the folks around us today would not be able to handle it either. So let’s look at some examples of this:
“I thought you loved me” UNDER is “I’m afraid to face the reality the boundaries you are laying out right now, and I’m terrified to accept it.”
“I Can’t believe you don’t want to do this I don’t understand what’s wrong with it.”
UNDER is you are struggling to accept the reality that your partner doesn’t see things the way you do, and that you might not be able to do the thing you want to do. The work here is some grieving, as you come to terms with their boundaries and your choices whether or not to respect their boundaries. Because here’s the thing, if you want others to respect your boundaries that’s a two way street. By owning what’s really going on deep inside you get really honest with yourself. It no longer becomes about them now does it? Now we can take responsibility and actually practice going back into the room and saying “Hey I’m sorry I got upset I just I’m having a hard time accepting that you don’t want to do this thing and I guess I set myself up. there’s nothing wrong with you not wanting to do it. I guess I have some growing to do around this.”
THIRD Now it is time to get real get real about how you feel about YOU when you HAVE to employ tactics.to get needs met with another person. We really truly have to Own the AGENDA OWN THE AGENDA. We have to Sit in the sh*t. I know. The impulse will be to rationalize and make excuses. So let yourself have two minutes of that and then just STOP. JUST OWN IT. Own what you secretly was hoping to happen. Own what you wish they would think and feel about you. Own that you wish they would just cosign your BS so that you wouldn’t have to change. Own your resistance to vulnerable growth that will change you and change your life . We have to honor the resistance and then decide that something is just more important than our fear of changing right?
So if you courageously work on these three steps, I promise you will begin to become so much more aware of how you talk to others, how you behave around others, how you avoid connection, and this will deepen your desire to communicate so much better. The neat thing too, is that you can do this as you go, tweak it as you realize things, make small changes every week, and keep getting better at it. We are always evolving and if you have a crappy week and don’t work on it at all that’s OK because that in and of itself would just give you more evidence as to why you want to get back on the horse and double down next week 🙂