Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Identifying Coping Strategies

Aversion Strategy

 Discounting: the message you send to your partner is that their needs are invalid. They do not have the magnitude the importance of your needs

 Withdrawal/Abandonment: The message here is do what I want or I am leaving. Either you threaten to leave physically or you threaten or actually dropout emotionally. The threat of abandonment is so frightening that a partner may be willing to give up a great deal [themselves} to avoid Example I: “I don’t think this is working, If you can’t be there for me when I need you to do something then I don’t think I have any business being in this relationship. {The message is do what I want or you will be alone} Example 2: partner announces they are going to a class reunion the response is.” Do what you want, but I am not interested in going with you. I have some heavy television watching to do. I will see you later. The message.”[Don’t go because I don’t want to and if you don’t do what I want, I am checking out emotionally with the TV:

 Threats: With this strategy the partner commits to actively hurting the other as a means of control .The price can be too high in the coin of resentment.
o Example: if you do not do what I want {sexually} then I will find someone who will. [The message do what I want or I’ll hurt you
o Example: If you do not take that job then I will call your family and tell them what a looser you are. The message, 'does what I want or I’ll hurt you

 Blaming: The method here is to make your needs the other persons fault Example: “. If you could tell me how you really feel then I would not have to live in this emotional void. Look I am asking you to tell me what is going on with you. Knock, knock anybody in there?’ [The basic message: I feel empty because you are inadequate] Another form of blaming is to make your partners needs their own fault. Example: ‘If you would have gone with me to my mom’s like I asked you too then the car would not have been broken into and you would not have to deal with all this schlepping and insurance issues”. [The message ‘you created the problem now you fix it”]

 Belittling/Denigrating: Here the strategy is to make your partner feel foolish and inappropriate for having needs different from yours. Using shame as a lever to control. Example: "Why do you always want to go to the beach when you get a sinus headache every time you go” The message: going to the beach is a stupid thing to want. Example 2: Your friends are all idiots, why can’t we be involved with people who are capable of intelligent conversation. The message; “Your friends have no value give them up.

 Guilt tripping: This strategy conveys the message that a partner is a moral failure for not supporting what you want. Example: Sees partner on the couch “I have spent the whole day at work and I came home and spend all my time cleaning to keep this house going and you can’t spend 15 minutes to fix the screen door. You are in love with that couch. I can see your main goal in life is to keep your feet off the floor at all times” The basic message: Look at how hard I work. Your desire to rest is unfair ...you are bad]

 Derailing: You respond to your partners l need by switching the conversational focus. The covert message is that the partner’s needs and desire are not worth talking about. Example: I know I know you want more time off from the kids but I have too much going on at work to deal with this right now. I have only two days to get all this work done. Did you get my suit from the cleaners? Tell Susie I want to see a perfect score on her spelling test. [The basic message is my needs are more important]

 Projection/ Transference / Shoot the Messenger: You respond to your partner's with anger when they point out a problem that you have chosen to deny or ignore. Being reminded of the need to fix the problem fuels your own guilt. You are angry at the fact that you have the problem in the first place and because you have mixed feelings about how to deal with the issue, you do nothing. And then blame your partner for evoking your feelings of anxiety. You project your own feelings of anxiety as being caused by the person who reminds you of the problem or asks you to when you are about the problem. Instead of taking ownership of your decision and recognizing that you are creating your feelings you, get angry with the messenger. [The basic message is” it’s your entire fault I feel this way. I am not responsible. I am not interested in what you think or feel the only feelings that count are my feelings and I don’t want to have them and you want to make me … you are bad because you remind me.

Identifying Your Role

1. How have you set up this aspect of your relationship?
2. How have you permitted it to exist
3. How do you participate in perpetuating
4. What do you do to make it worse
 Thoughts
 Spoken words
 Actions
 Reactions
 Silent intentions
 Subsequent behaviors

Payoffs for Indulging Negative Behaviors

 I get to look good compared to my partner
 It gives an excuse for not trying harder
 I don’t have to put in a lot of effort
 I can avoid looking to closely at myself
 I can’t fail if I don’t try
 I can force my partner to leave and look like the good one or victim
 I can demand what I want because my partner feels guilty
 I look good compared to my partner
 I don’t have to make tough choices
 I can avoid a confrontation or fight
 I secretly enjoy the drama
 I can keep my vulnerable parts hidden
 I can blame my partner for not having a better life myself
 I have an excuse for being unfaithful
 My partner leaves me alone
 I have an excuse for not spending more time at home
 It gives mean excuse for not trying harder
 I can’t fail if I don’t try
 It serves my partner right
 It is safer than facing it
 Its easier than fixing it
 I am afraid to be alone
 I get attention even though it is negative
 It hides my own faults
 I get people to feel sorry for me
 It gives me the upper hand

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