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

Identifying Your Cognitive Distortions

Identifying Your Cognitive Distortions

 Tunnel Vision: When you filter out all the positive aspects of your partner’s behavior /intentions or the relationship itself and focus exclusively on the parts that feel hurtful or deficient. It is a kind of selective attention where some parts of the picture receive intensive obsession while other parts drop from awareness

 Assumed intent: This is mind reading what you think are, the other motives and intention without any direct knowledge
You form an opinion and negative assumption that explains why your partner acts the way they do.

Magnification/Awfulizing: You exaggerate the effects of your partner’s behavior or you focus on future catastrophic possibilities.

 Global labeling: Here you place a negative nametag on your partner, a label that acts like a global indictment of their personality or performance. Global labels not only criticize behavior, they tar the identity of the spouse. Example he is lazy, she is negative, a complainer, neurotic, crazy, a nagger, a liar etc

 Good/ Bad Dichotomizing: You sense reality in simple back and white. Your partner’s behavior is good or bad, wrong or right. Good means that it meets your need bad means it does not. Once these labels are attached, it is hard to see all the complex motivations and needs that influence every interpersonal event.

 Fractured Logic/Complex Equivalence: This is when you take an event or behavior and attach an unsubstantiated explanation on it. He is late that means he does‘t love me .We are not getting along that means we are heading for a divorce. She is upset that means she hates me.

 Control Fallacies: Here your thoughts pull to one of two extremes. Either you see yourself as very responsible for your partner’s needs, feelings and happiness (and therefore a failure if there are any problems in these areas) or you feel out of control and helpless to make positive changes for your self or your partner either end of the controlling continuum gets you in trouble. Either you are to blame for everything or you feel powerless because you feel your partner is in control.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Identify your Defense Style:

Identify your Defense Style:

When events and interactions make you aware of a feeling that you have labeled as bad, hurt or angry, you will to defend against it in the same way you that you choose to respond to your parental environment. Your experience has taught you that using this defense will block or diminish how bad you feel. The defenses most typically used in intimate relationships are avoidance, denial, and acting out [turning a feeling into behavior]

Feelings triggered by intimate relationships where people defend:

Rejection or abandonment,Guilt
Hurt.Shame or humiliation
Feeling unlovable or unworthy,Failure
Loneliness, Jealousy
Emptiness, Numbness or deadness
Feeling drained, Feeling wrong or bad
Feeling controlled or engulfed, Sadness
Fear, Loss

Identify your Defenses
Avoidance Defense

§ Turning Away: You turn your focus to outside relationships family, friends or instead of your partner
§ Turning off: This defense uses coldness and emotional withdrawal to protect from painful feelings
§ Triangulating: This involves adding a third person to the dyad. You begin to invest romantic or sexual energy in someone outside of your relationship
§ Addiction: Addictions to food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping and virtually any form of excitement as a way of coping with painful feelings.
§ Compulsive Activity: Workaholics, projects, hobbies, sports and virtually any enterprise that siphons time at the expense of the relationship.
§ Giving up: This defense involves stopping all effort, going on strike or waving the white flag of surrender

Denial Defense

§ Showing Nothing: There are two version of this defense;
§ In the first, you fear rejection and avoid revealing anything about yourself. In the other version it involves situations where you feel hurt and angry but do not let your partner know they got to you.
§ Compliance: In this case the effort is to be perfect, pleasing, placating. Accommodating. To be what ever the partner wants. The hope is if you are perfect then no one can hurt you. At the root of this is feeling unlovable.
§ Competing: This defense requires that you be better than you partner is; a better parent more creative, more generous to compensate for deep feelings of unworthiness
§ Boasting. This defense is very closely associated to competing but it is more brazen. The effort is to block feelings of unworthiness by constantly pointing to evidence of ones value.
§ Distracting: In this defense, you derail attention from
any situation or issue that triggers painful feelings. Rather than experiencing the feelings one would change the subject
§ Forgetting: You let important, but disturbing things slip out of your mind. If example someone admonishes you and you begin to feel badly about yourself you would handle the painful feeling by promptly forgetting everything they said.

Acting Out Defense

§ Attacking: This defense turns pain into anger either verbal or physical. You push painful feelings, like helpless, inadequate, or powerless, away with anger.

§ Passive aggressive: This defense acts out anger indirectly. The idea is to hurt your partner in a way that will not trigger blame or backlash. Blaming another is central to this defense.

§ Fault Finding: In a defense you act out hurt or angry feeling by criticizing, ridiculing. Or sarcastically belittling your partner. Finding fault is passionless anger.

§ Revenge In this defense you act out hurt or angry feelings by consciously planning strategies designed to hurt your partner at some future time.

§ Demanding: People who are fearful of rejection, abandonment, or hurt often cope by demanding. They act out their fear by requiring that a partner provide a high degree of support, help or attention. Another version of the demanding is over control. This strategy is often used jealousy is a factor The jealous partner seeks to diminish their fear by monitoring and controlling the relationship

§ Self-Blame: This defense can be summarized, as “You are right I’m awful." You cope with your fears of rejection by rejecting yourself first. When you are excoriating yourself the other person may take it in like a form of manipulation rather than an honest admission.
Fear of Change
We are the masters of our own destiny, yet actively choosing our own paths can sometimes be intimidating. People have the ability to create positive changes in their lives, yet distorted fear-based perceptions often act as a road block ,so intertia sets in Fear of failure and fear of success are two common aspects of the fear of change, both reflecting similar negative beliefs of low self-worth and self-doubt. When strong self-worth is present, however, change can be welcomed as an opportunity for growth, forward movement, and personal fulfilment. Almost synonymous with the fear of change is the fear of failure. Many people feel worried and anxious when they even think of undertaking new challenges because they doubt their abilities, their intelligence, their self-worth, or their capacity to overcome obstacles that may arise. They fear not measuring up, making a mistake, and being judged and humiliated. The possibility of failure threatens to dislodge their already low sense of worth and therefore does not merit the risk. Conversely, when self-worth is strong, fear may still exist, but it no longer has the power to destabilize forward movement. "Failure" is perceived as a temporary setback or as a potential learning experience. Strong self-esteem enables individuals to focus on taking the steps necessary to ensure success, expressing itself in an unfolding of the self, the ability to strive, learn, and embrace new challenges and experiences. Fear of success is the flip-side of fear of failure. Many people are ultimately afraid of expereincing their full potential, not because they fear they will fail, but because they fear their power and their ability to succeed. They fear forging ahead , turning their dreams into reality. The idea of embracing happiness and truly succeeding may evoke many limiting beliefs stemming from low self-worth. For instance, many people doubt whether they deserve happiness or whether sustained happiness is even possible. Or, they worry that success may somehow "taint" them. Others dwell on the potentially negative reaction of their friends and family members, concerned about losing love and acceptance due to envy, jealousy, and resentment. Their need for external validation may cause them to choose to compromise themselves and their dreams rather than risk the possibility of jeopardizing the "acceptance" they cling to. Such beliefs tap into deep-seated self-doubt, and often result in self-sabotage.Restricting one's abilities and withholding one's brilliance truly serves no one. As Nelson Mandela stated in his Inaugural speech, "We ask ourselves - who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."When we come from a place of non-negotiable self worth and trust, fear of failure and fear of success give way to faith in ourselves, the Universe, and the process of life. We are able to tap into inner resources, take risks, push past limitations, and forge ahead. The unknown is perceived as a challenging, exciting adventure. Change becomes something not to fear but an instinct worth embracing with confidence and self-trust.