RELATIONSHIPS & CONTROL
Relationships are tricky business. They can make us feel like the most wonderful person in the world, or they can bring us down to the depths of despair.
Have you ever noticed, that there are many games played between couples? We often do not notice these games in our own relationship, unless we have a great friend or been to a good therapist! The reason that we do not see it in our own relationship, is because we are IN the game.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE GAMES PEOPLE PLAY:
1. The silent treatment, ignoring any chance to talk.
2. Resorting to name calling.
3. Being a bully or a victim.
4. Parent/child, e.g. ‘stop acting like my mother… then stop behaving like a child’.
5. You didn’t do ‘x’ for me, so I won’t do ‘y’ for you.
6. I’ll only have sex with you, if you do something for me.
7. I’ll do whatever I want and you can’t tell me what to do.
8. I take all the responsibility in this relationship and you do nothing.
HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT THESE ARE NOT FUN GAMES?
In fact, these are downright relationship
killer games. The reason they are called games is because there are unconscious rules in the relationship that allows this to continue. These rules were formed in childhood and brought into adulthood unconsciously. This means that you didn’t purposely set out to play these relationship killer games, but they are irresistible, uncontrollable even, perhaps even fun in a sadistic kind of way!
WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THESE GAMES?
It is your inner child. The unconscious part of you that feels wounded, hard done by, is a victim or perhaps a bully. We know that when our inner child is in control, we start to behave like a spoilt brat, cry, get angry or lose control. Unfortunately, these are games that no one can win. It is a lose-lose situation. Because even if you think you have won, you have still lost. Leaving your partner feeling angry, hurt and resentful, may feel like a win in the short term, but it is a sure-fire way of losing the game and the relationship, in the long term. Because no one can, or should put up with this behaviour for very long.
WHY DO WE PLAY THESE GAMES?
The child inside all of us that has been wounded in some way comes back.
This inner child causes all sort of havoc in adulthood. This is not necessarily caused by any kind of trauma. It can be from simply being told ‘no’ more often than the child wanted, or never being told ‘no’, or because they were bullied, shy, too popular and the more serious consequences of neglect or abuse.
HERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO HELP YOUR INNER CHILD:
1. Recognise when you have allowed your child to take over, by asking yourself ‘how old do I feel right now’, be honest. If you say anything that resembles a child you know you have lost control.
2. Be kind to your inner child, just acknowledge you are feeling the old wounds, even if you don’t know what they are.
3. Do not judge or criticise. You probably have had enough of that already.
4. Do not go into a whirlwind of shame, or ‘why’, or anything else, just acknowledge, smile that you have noticed and move on.
5. Seek professional help if your emotions have taken over and you feel out of control.
6. If you are conscious enough to know you are behaving like a bully take a breath and acknowledge it to yourself and your partner.
7. If you are conscious enough to know you are being a victim (anything that resembles ‘poor me’), be extra loving/kind to yourself. Have a bath, meditate, cuddle a dog/cat/ teddy bear.
8. Seek professional help if you notice these behaviours only occur with your partner and you have not been able to shift them.
However, if the inner child remains in control of the relationship, then the fighting will likely get worse and worse. Resentment will build and the couple will find it harder and harder to forgive and to move on. Therefore, it is so important to go to relationship therapy sooner rather than later.
Just like in football, the coach can see the problems that the players cannot see. The
coach watches the intricacies of the game and teaches the players a new and better game plan. And that is exactly the job of the therapist, to show the couple how their current game plan is not working for them and to help them find a new and improved one. In the next issue of Great Health GuideTM, we will see how we can resolve these problem behaviours. When both people in a relationship behave like adults, the partnership will grow successfully.
Leanne Allen (BA Psych), Is the principle psychologist at Reconnect Psychology and Coaching Services with two offices, one in Riverstone and Windsor area. She has trained in Sandplay Therapy, NLP and CBT. Leanne has also just completed training as a life coach. Her approach is to look forward while releasing the trauma of the past. If there is something that you would like to know about please feel free to leave a comment on her Facebook page.
FIGHTING WILL LIKELY WORSE GET IF CHILD THE INNER REMAINS CONTROL IN OF THE RELATIONSHIP.