“I don’t like playing games.”
It sounds reasonable and healthy. But when the person who says they don’t like playing games is perhaps the master game player, we really need to understand what is going on.
When you get responses from others that you didn’t expect, it is very possible that there is some game playing going on. This is especially true when one or both parties uses passive aggressive behavior to manipulate others into doing what they want.
The game player would rather be right and win an argument, than admit to being wrong, and improving themself.
Passive Aggressive behavior very often comes along with it’s cousin, codependency. It is the behavior that is only satisfied when someone else does what you want or expect of them. Most often a passive aggressive approach is used because we are unable or unwilling to express our clear wishes, requests and desires. We don’t feel safe with our emotions or believe the other person will understand. Being honest and vulnerable is very scary.
Shame is a tool often used by the passive aggressive codependent to try to get our needs met. But since we cannot clearly express what those needs, expectations and desires are, it is left to the shame receiver to figure out what we want them to do so we can feel okay. Since no one is clear about their needs, expectations and desires, the shame giver and shame receiver are both left unfulfilled. Shame is never a healthy tool no matter how effective it seems.
Why can’t you be more like your brother, or sister, or neighbor? Why can’t you do anything right? Why do I have to be married to someone who is so stupid? Why did I ever marry you? I’ve been married too long…. There are so many forms of unmet expectations, differing forms of rejection.
If I don’t feel okay, why should I let someone else feel better? My needs are what matter, right?
The problem though is that when we fail to identify what our own true needs and feelings are, it is impossible to express them to others in healthy ways.
Instead of asking a simple question, “Would you like fries with that?” We might instead say, “I assume you want fries.” While the result might look similar, the communication is significantly different….the two approaches are miles apart.
When we express our needs and expectations as assumptions, we fail to honestly deal with what we need and want. Maybe it’s because we don’t know…we’ve never taken the time to identify what we really want.
I would enjoy some ice cream. Would you like some also?
Another problem that sometimes comes up is a person who never seems to state a preference. You might not have a strong preference in many cases, but if you do not express one, you abdicate (give up) your responsibility and force the decision you should be making onto someone else. Imagine going to a restaurant and ordering from the menu by asking the waiter to make the decision of what you will eat. “Oh, I don’t care. You decide….” You will appreciate that this is not how it should be done.
I’d like Prime Rib with a Baked Potato and Broccoli, please!
Expecting our happiness and comfort to come from the actions and efforts of someone else leads to pain, discomfort and disappointment. This is especially true when we are unclear about what we really want and need.
Take the time you need to step back and reflect on who you are, what you need and what you really want. Make sure you have people and resources in your life to support your dreams and identify your next best actions.
Every successful person has at least one coach or mentor who helps them make better choices than they can make through trial and error.
LifeShift Academy™ will help you make less trial and error decisions to become clear in your future and reaching your goals.