Every single day of your life you communicate with those around you in ways that you may not even be aware of, without even saying a word. How? You give off "vibes."
Your "body language," or non verbal behaviours, have the power to impact your relationships in powerful and sometimes destructive ways. This is especially true in our intimate relationships where we can use bad energy to get what we want to or punish. Think you're in the clear? Don't be so sure. Here are a list of ways you may be using non verbal behaviours to hurt your partner.
You Use Silence As A Punishment
Your partner makes a choice that you disapprove of, instead of saying so, you say "it's fine" and leave it there. Your partner feels this disconnect and it hurt, which, if we're being honest, is what you wanted. And when they call you on it, you pretend to have no idea what they are talking about.
The problem is, over time, couples get good at this game. You can wound your partner with just a look or a subtle change in body posture. It conveys the message: I only love you when you do what I want. If you displease me, I’ll make you pay for it.
It is a type of subtle violence that makes no marks. You partner is left feeling attacked but can't explain why.
You Play The Victim
The victim vibe is the weapon of choice for those who like to maintain control without looking like you're trying to control. For example, maybe you want your partner to do something they don't want to do, like attend a party, and you sulk and badger until you get your way. Only that isn't enough. Instead of thanking them for acquiescing and then allowing them their honest feelings about how they came to do so, you retaliate by asking, “What’s wrong?” or “What’s going on?,” and act like you’re the victim of their bad energy. Frustrated, they say, “This is what you said you want. But, now that you’re getting it, you’re still complaining? Still not happy? What the hell is wrong with you?”
You got what you wanted by ignoring their feelings, and now, you make them the bad guy by playing the victim.
You're An Emotional Bully
This is the opposite of using silence. You up the volume of your voice. Your goal is to create a pressure cooker effect by upping the energetic intensity on your partner. You squeeze them until they give you your way. Bully them. Nag them. Over-explain your point. Lecture. Talk too loud. Talk extra slow. You make it perfectly clear that you will not stop until they give you what you are looking for. This method adds a bunch of negativity to something that shouldn't be that hard.
You Keep Your Partner In The Dark
You give your partner only part of what they want or need in conversations. You offer a taste to hook them and then hold back the rest in order to maintain control. It’s a not-so-subtle power play made through your tone of voice, timing, and how much you do or do not engage with them. And what is the “thing” they want and need that you withhold? Your love, affection and attention. Here are a few examples of what this may look like:
Your partner tries to tell you about his day, you listen briefly, then change the subject before he finishes.
Your partner asks to discuss something with you. You agree, but while she talks, you send texts, or surf the web, or check your e-mail or you interrupt the conversation to make or take a less-than-urgent phone call.
You pretend to pay attention, periodically saying “uh huh” and “okay.” But really, you don’t give a rat’s ass about the conversation (what they’re trying to tell you) and you’re letting them know with your bored tone and indifferent questions such as, “Who are we talking about, again?
So, what can you do to improve this negative energy in your relationships? We all send out positive and negative energy, sometimes without being fully aware but more often than not, we do know when our negative energy is distressing someone else. For this cycle to end, it is important for both partners to acknowledge these behaviours and commit to changing them. Don't wait for your partner to call you out, that will likely put you on the defensive and blow up the whole thing. Know your own behaviour, check in with your partner. Talk about it when you aren't in distress.
Do you see yourself in any of these patterns? It isn't too late to take the bull by the horns and change.
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