Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Games People Play In Relationships- What They Involve & How To Avoid Them


One of the best ways of establishing a healthy and honest relationship is to be mindful of the games people play in relationships. You and your partner – like everyone else – are not exempt from engaging in these forms of emotional gimmickry.

I will now explore some of the most common psychological games people play in relationships, including the game dynamics. I will also include many of the relationship games which I have not only experienced first hand, but  have also subconsciously participated in.  I would like to stress the point that in many of the following examples, I am drawing from my own experience as a hetrosexual Male, however the dynamics of these examples also apply to Females and same sex relationship couples; these examples are not strictly limited to gender or sexual preference, the psychological motives are the same:

1. Frigid Woman/Man

This game often occurs with a woman (sometimes man) who is pursued by her husband for sex, but is rejected on the grounds that “all men ever want is sex – they’re so selfish and they’re incapable of just loving me for me.”

Eventually as the husband (sometimes wife) is rebuffed in this way more and more, he loses hope and stops making sexual advances. As time progresses and the husband remains quiet, the wife becomes more and more provocative in her behavior. For example, she might walk around in skimpy clothing, bend over in suggestible ways, or even (in extreme cases) flirt with other men.

The husband, seeing his wife’s behavior, continues to resist seeing it as a kind of “trap.” However, when the wife turns up her provocativeness and begins to engage in more physical contact (e.g. kisses), the husband regains a glimmer of hope and launches in with hopes of sexual intimacy. However, the wife immediately rebuffs him with her usual “See! Men are so selfish and obsessed with sex. All I wanted was intimacy!” excuse.

Reason for the behavior: Mostly fear of sex and/or fear of vulnerability, fear of loss of control and/or desire to control the other, sometimes a desire for more sexual intensity but this is rare.

Hidden incentives of the behavior: Avoidance of sex due to shame and/or fear, a sense of superiority and/or control of the other which stems from an underlying self identity/low self esteem issue, justification and/or avoidance of low self-esteem issues by implying “I'm OK, you're not OK, therefore there must be something wrong with you for wanting sex", sometimes for enhanced sexual stimulation and intensity but this is extremely rare.

2. If it Weren't For You

This game starts with a passive person (male or female) selecting a more dominant partner. Naturally, the domineering partner restricts the activities of the passive partner, and so the passive partner resigns to the role of the victim with the catch-cry of“If it weren't for you I could do this, I could do that” etc.

Reason for the behavior: Unconsciously the passive partner chooses a controlling partner as a way of avoiding frightening situations that may jeopardize their self-image. It also gives the passive partner the “power card” to play in arguments, and contributes towards their belief that “They're OK, but others are not OK.”

Hidden incentives of the behavior: Avoidance of fearful situations, safety, self-righteous victimhood, power.

3. See What You Made Me Do

Within a relationship sometimes it is common for one partner to get extremely absorbed in a project of some kind. Whether this project is a simple household chore, hobby, or work-related task, it tends to absorb the partner’s time, energy and effort constantly.

When the other partner intervenes however, the busy partner might exclaim something along the lines of “See what you made me do!” as a result of accidentally deleting their whole work document, dropping a can of paint, injuring their thumb with a hammer mishap, or any other instance. Of course, it is the partner’s own anger and high-strung state that causes the accident.

The intervening partner soon learns, with enough of these instances, to not interfere or interrupt with their busy partner, leaving them alone, and allowing them to spend more time by themselves than with the rest of the family.

Reason for the behavior: Deep down the busy partner is actually fearful of intimacy and connection, and so avoids these compromising situations by burying him/herself in the solitude of work.

Hidden incentives of the behavior: Avoidance of emotional and sexual intimacy, confirmation of the belief that “I'm OK, but others aren't OK, aren’t reliable, are nuisances” etc.

4. Now I've Got You, You Son of a B%tch

In this game, the NIGYSOB (Now I've Got You, You Son of a B%tch) player selects a partner who is a classic button-pusher; in other words, a person who knows what negative emotional triggers to set off in others at the right (or wrong) times. Both partners in this game experience hostility towards one another, however the NIGYSOB player externalizes their anger, while the button-pusher internalizes their anger.

The problems usually start when the NIGYSOB partner is in a bad mood about something. The button-pusher partner, known for their ability to provoke "hot buttons," triggers a tirade of anger in their NIGYSOB partner usually with a poorly timed question or comment.

For example, the NIGYSOB partner might come home after a long day at work in a foul mood. The button-pusher, sensing this, might ask something like, “What have I done wrong now?” which triggers the NIGYSOB partner to launch into a long angry monologue of how the other person is “so self-centered, only cares about themselves, is only really an unthoughtful and egocentric person” etc. In other words, “Now I’ve got you, you son of a b*tch!”

Reason for the behavior: The NIGYSOB partner selects a partner who will allow them to avoid their anger/jealous behavior by providing them with a seemingly legitimate way to vent their rage. They then feel justified for behaving the way they do.

Hidden incentives for the behavior: Avoidance of personal issues such as fury and resentment (often stemming from unresolved issues with a parent(s) or previous relationship), self-justification of their inability to control their emotions through the use of an outlet, confirmation of the belief that “I'm OK, but other people aren't,” avoidance of self-responsibility.

5. I Don’t Need You

The I Don’t Need You game (IDNY) is paradoxically played inside a relationship, but with the rules of the dating sphere. Usually only played by one “femme fatale” or “player” figure within the relationship, this game involves an underlying tug-of-war game. On one side, the femme fatale or player tugs for power, and on the other side the partner tugs for attention and recognition.

A common example of the IDNY game within relationships is when one partner behaves in ways that suggest “they don’t truly need the other person.” This could manifest itself in individualistic behavior like going to a festival or event alone (or with a group of friends), or openly “wanton” behavior such as flirting with other men and women, advertising their “other” admirers, and so forth.

In response to the IDNY partner’s games, the other partner reacts by trying harder and harder to gain the attention and “win” the affection of their seemingly disinterested partner. When the IDNY partner is not satisfied with their partner’s efforts, they might exclaim, for instance, “I could have gone to that screening rather than sit here with you!” or even something as extreme as “I should have never decided to marry you!”

Reason for the behavior: Underneath the IDNY partner’s game is a deep fear of commitment, intimacy, and especially vulnerability. They might fear their own defectiveness, ugliness and impotence, and therefore compensate this fear with the pursuit of being “desirable” and “sought after” even within relationships. On the other hand, the IDNY partner might genuinely be a narcissistic person with the desire to wrap others around his/her fingers.

Hidden incentives of the behavior: Power, control, avoidance of vulnerability, establishment of false self-image, sexual stimulation.

Conclusion:
Why do people play games in relationships? There are many reasons as we have seen above. The truth is that relationships aren't always entered solely to give and receive love. Often there are many other underlying goals and pursuits in play that are a result of unconscious fears and desires.

The good news is that once you become aware of the patterns that constitute these games you will be able to heal, transform and also create relationships that are healthy, stable and fulfilling.

Have you experienced any of these relationship games or their associated implications? Do you have any of your own to add?

CR

OrwellianEye.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be advised that submitted comments will only be published if they are free from obscene profanity, explicit phrases and personal character assassinations containing explicit language. Please feel free to express your opinion, however we do request that all comments are of a courteous nature. No abusive or vulgar comments will be published.