This is is by all means not a complete list but these are the most common relationship behaviours people resort to when things aren’t going right. You know the ones, when your emotional stuff is triggered and some of your more childish behaviours take over your normal rational maturity.
Now as you read the list you may find yourself saying “oh that’s me” or “that’s us” or “everyone I know does that!” While all of these are pretty common, don’t mistake them for being “normal” or “acceptable”. There is a big difference between what’s normal and what’s common, they are not the same thing but these behaviours being common does explain why the behaviours continue to be considered normal or acceptable.
The “I’m Fine” or “Nothing” Response, which is the I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it-and-you-should-know-what’s-wrong Game.
Big Bully/Bitch. This is where either or both partners resort to name-calling and put-downs like children, or occasionally being purposely spiteful.
Elephant Syndrome. This is where previous arguments and issues, which were assumed to have been dealt with (by one partner) are included in the current argument. Also known as “dredging up the past”.
The “I’m right regardless” game, which is often characterised by one or both partners having to have the last word and their default position in any conflict is “I’m right and you’re wrong”.
The Tit for Tat Game where instead of admitting or even considering fault, partners find fault in the other partner as a way of deflecting the blame.
The Silent Treatment. A form of punishment where there is zero communication or affection for undefined periods of time.
The Guilt Trip. Permission given but with an emotional price often characterised by a tone which implies “yes, but I’m going to be devastated or angry at you if you do”.
The Blame Game. Fairly easy to recognise, one partner says “It’s YOUR fault” or “YOU made me feel/do <insert emotion or behaviour here>”.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Communication. Purposely not sharing a piece of information such as a lunch date with a friend of the opposite sex, to prevent the other partner unnecessarily overreacting negatively.
Bitch-Festing. Where partners rant to others (friends and family) about their relationship issues instead of speaking to the partner about it.
Defend Defend Defend! The knee-jerk emotional reaction when one partner attempts to communicate (effectively or not) an issue directly relating to something the other partner did, or did not do.
Coexisting. Characterised by the lack of quality time even if partners spend considerable amount of time in the same house, or conflicting personal schedules, i.e. “ships passing in the night”.
Happiness Dependant. Where at least one or both partners do not have a life of their own and NEED and/or expect their partner to make them happy.
Spoilt-Brat Syndrome. Tantrums and/or sulking if one partner doesn’t get their way, also characterised with a lack of general manners such as please and thank you.
It doesn’t matter if you do just one of these, a few or all of them, in fact I was guilty of a number of these many years ago. Emotional maturity is the key to changing your reactions and behaving like a child to responding like a mature adult. This means doing some internal work to heal, dissolve and resolve your emotional baggage and then developing some healthy relationship and communication skills.
We learn everything we know about relating and love from the people we grew up around. There are no mandatory courses/classes for children, we weren’t taught to be able to distinguish what we learned from our environment as being childish or detrimental versus how to be an emotionally intelligent adult with healthy relationship skills. I learned the hard way over decades of experience, and through many books, courses, coaches and mentors… Most don’t so it’s no wonder so many others fail at relationships and continue to act out like children when love gets bumpy.
Relationships don’t have to be so hard or full of heart ache but it does take a commitment to learning how to relate like an evolved adult and taking responsibility for your own emotional “stuff”. I help people and couples with all kinds of relationships and personal issues, so they can live a more harmonious life with those around them. Contact me for a free exploration session to see how we can help you create more love, harmony and laughter in your life.