An Amazing Series on How to Become the Best YOU!
Tip #3: Quit Playing Emotional Games
By Motivational Speaker Connie Podesta
Let there be no doubt—game-playing is a killer when it comes to keeping a relationship alive and healthy. It undermines the ability to love, trust, feel safe, fight fair, be vulnerable, experience intimacy, have fun together , work together, share ideas, discuss money, raise children, set values, and experience success.
Healthy relationships are based on one thing…healthy communication, otherwise known as assertive– or to get right to the point—ADULT communication. Assertiveness is defined as the ability and willingness to let others know your wants, needs, concerns, and feelings in an open and honest way without initiating or allowing GAME PLAYING, gimmicks, threats, manipulation, hidden agendas or GUILT TRIPS. (I have a saying for this last one, “A guilt trip is NO VACATION.” Isn’t THAT the truth?)
Actually there are four types of communication styles and the unfortunate thing is – THREE of them involve game-playing. No wonder relationships can be so difficult to figure out—we simply aren’t “talking” to one another the right way. So just what are the three game-playing communication styles?
The first and most obvious is Aggressive Communication which ALWAYS involves manipulation at its best (or should we say at its worst?) You know the type – the ones who use HURT and ANGER to get what they want by either playing the victim, acting hurt and sad when they don’t get their way and trying to make us feel responsible and guilty for the choices they make….or ANGER which are the ones who yell, threaten, intimidate, and try to control our thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes so we do it “their way”.
The second is the Passive Communication style. These folks rely on compliance and avoidance in their game playing. Passives have decided to play it safe and CHOOSE to take the path of least resistance by tuning out, ignoring, avoiding or withdrawing from a person or situation rather than dealing with it head-on. Basically they give up, give in and give out to others’ demands and then feel betrayed or sad that life doesn’t go their way.
Then of course there is the Passive-Aggressive Communicator. People with this combo platter of styles avoid direct confrontation (passive), but attempt to get even through manipulation (aggressive). If you’ve ever thought about making that certain someone who needs to be “taught a thing or two” suffer (even just a teeny bit), you’ve stepped pretty close to (if not on into) the devious and sneaky world of the passive-aggressive. These people never say what they mean or mean what they say. Rather than find solutions, they find ways to get even and make people suffer who do not acquiesce to their demands.
Clearly, the only healthy communication style is Assertive Communication. Surely you can identify many people in your own life that favor each of the four styles. Including yourself. Most of us go from one style to another depending on the day, the person, the situation, past experiences, and what works best to get our own needs met. When we are being assertive, we work hard to create mutually satisfying solutions. We communicate our needs clearly and forthrightly. We care about the relationship and strive for a win/win situation. We know our limits and refuse to be pushed beyond them just because someone else wants or needs something from us. Sounds great, right? You bet! Then why is assertive so darn hard. Why can’t we all just behave and talk respectfully, rationally, and honestly ALL THE TIME? Because we want what we want when we want it. And, unfortunately, we have learned through the years that manipulation and game-playing may get our needs met quicker in the short term than trying to figure out how to do it right.
Bottom line: we train people to play games. Yep—you heard it right! We are a usually a participant, not a victim, in the relationships that drive us crazy. Whenever we give in, give out and give up to manipulative behavior we have taught the other person a thing or two about what we are willing to compromise about ourselves in order to keep the peace or avoid confrontation. And when we play our own games, and people let us get away with it—we associate that behavior with “hey, that worked. Let’s do it again”. And the games continue—regardless of the consequences.
What’s the answer? Take a long, hard look at yourself, your relationships, your communication styles, your go-to response when you don’t get your way, and ask yourself this question: “Do you respect yourself and others enough to take game-playing out of the picture and replace it with thoughtful dialogue, crucial conversations, assertive thinking and win-win solutions?” If so, then you are on your way to making some big, positive changes in some of the relationships in your life. If not, then let the games continue—at your own risk and to those around you. Remember, as usual, the CHOICE to change is yours and yours alone.
Two Take-Aways to Share With YOUR Social Circle Today:
- You CAN’T be all things to all people. Life gets better when you set fair boundaries & stick to them! #AGuiltTripIsNoVacation
- Keep your game-playing to actual GAMES. In your relationships? #BeYourBestAssertiveSelf
Stay with us on this journey right here at www.conniepodesta.com/blog! I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment or two and please share with your friends! (We’re all in this together right?) Be sure to follow me on Facebook & Twitter too – we share fun stuff and think BIG there every day! I’d love to have you join in the conversation!
Other articles in this series include:
- Quit Getting in Your Own Way Intro
- Quit Living in the Past
- Quit Living in the Future
- Quit Expecting Life to Be Fair