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The 10 Ways – A Guide to the 21st Century Relationship – Step One
Over the years in my practice, I have worked with thousands of women. In those thousands of readings, the most commonly asked questions were about relationships. No matter how the session started, it always finished with questions about relationships.
What follows over the coming issues is not a set of tips and insight but is a system to have a better relationship.
Step One, Own Your Behavior
If you have been through relationship after relationship where you find yourself repeating the same arguments, experiences, and drama, understand that the common denominator is you. And for you to have a different kind of relationship, what you need to change is you—more specifically, the part of you that is in charge of your current world and personal views.
Many different parts of you influence your behavior on an array of subjects. You created most of these parts in order to survive childhood experiences, and all of them have a positive intent, such as keeping you safe.
Let’s call these parts “The Little Girl.” She comes in a variety of behavior patterns: pleasing, obedient, rebellious, contrary, cooperative. This list goes on and on. The problem is that these parts use antiquated behavior.
Such is the case with The Little Girl part that tries to control her future outcome by controlling your behavior (and the behavior of others) using the language of shame and blame. Her pattern is one that I like to call The Shame-Blame Game.
The Shame-Blame Game is learned during childhood when our moms, dads, teachers, and other adults used it to obtain a particular behavior from us. They learned it from the adults in their childhood. The irony is this is not adult behavior. It never was and it never will be. It is a child’s behavior passed from generation to generation.
The Shame-Blame Game is not introspective thinking. It is not going over the events to create change. It does not include positive dialogue with yourself or with Mr. Man.
There are two basic types of shame-blame: internal and external.
In the internal Shame-Blame Game, you shame and blame yourself, resulting in a never-ending cycle of self-criticism.
Here’s an example of an internal shame dialogue: You are in a relationship with Mr. Man and something just doesn’t feel right. You say to yourself, “It must be my imagination. I am reading too much into it.” When he turns out to be a less than wonderful Mr. Wonderful, you’re embarrassed and think to yourself, “Why didn’t I see this coming? Why didn’t I listen to myself?”
In an attempt to control a reoccurrence of this event, you shame yourself so you do not ignore or overlook warning signs again. You promise yourself that next time the outcome will be different.
Here’s an example of an internal blame dialogue: Your partner leaves you because he says you are too cold and withdrawn. You think, “He was so perfect. He could have been the one.” Angry with yourself, you think, “Why didn’t I show him more warmth, more of my true self?”
In an attempt to control a recurrence of this event, you blame yourself for acting withdrawn and losing a potentially good relationship. You promise yourself that next time the outcome will be different.
In the external or projected Shame-Blame Game, you shame and blame your partner, resulting in a never-ending cycle of criticism.
Here’s an example of an external shame dialogue: You are dating Mr. Man and he forgets to attend your company function. Feeling humiliated and embarrassed, you think to yourself, “He is so inconsiderate. I am not important to him.”
That evening he apologizes, but nothing he says is good enough to make up for his transgression. Doing your best to make him feel bad, you say, “I can’t believe you would do this to me. I don’t understand how you could be so insensitive.”
In an attempt to control a reoccurrence of this event, you shame him so he will never forget you again. You want him to promise that next time the outcome will be different.
Here’s an example of an external blame dialogue: You think you have caught your Mr. Man in a lie. He tells you he is going one place, only you find him at another—and he is not alone. Assuming the worst, you feel betrayed and think, “I knew it, he’s cheating. He’s been lying to me all along.” You confront him in anger.
Although his explanation is perfectly reasonable, you blame him for your emotional outburst, saying, “This is all your fault, I never act this way. You should have told me your plans changed. What did you expect me to do finding you with someone else?”
In an attempt to control a recurrence of this event, you blame him for your outburst of anger. You want him to promise that next time the outcome will be different.
In reality, women mix the different ingredients of The Shame-Blame Game until they have a shame-blame jambalaya.
Are you playing the Shame-Blame Game now in some part of your life?
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Do you feel shame about ignoring the actions of a partner? Do you blame yourself when things don’t work out and immediately think if I had only done “X” things would be different?
Have you tried to shame a man to get what you want? Did you react to a man’s behavior and then blame him for your behavior and choices?
The next time you find yourself in a situation that stimulates any form of a shame-blame dialogue, close your eyes and ask yourself, “Who is doing the talking?” Is it your adult-self, or The Little Girl? Most likely, you will find your disappointed little girl is in charge.
Do you really want to give The Little Girl dominion over your life? Would you let her buy a house, take a new job, start a business, or have access to your bank account? Of course not, but you probably already do. You probably give The Little Girl autonomy in many more places than you like to admit.
The Shame-Blame Game can permeate many aspects of your life. While it may seem like an effective strategy, it is not. It is the strategy of an insecure child trying to control outcomes. It is not the best strategy for a good relationship.
The Shame-Blame Game throws you and Mr. Man straight back to childhood, creating a relationship based on all the unresolved childhood issues associated with shame and blame. Ultimately it leads one or both parties to rebellion, or worse yet, compliance.
There is hope. You can change the repetitive Shame-Blame Game.
How? By owning your behavior.
The next time you feel an attack of The Shame-Blame Game coming your way, prior to spewing words like Niagara Falls, take a moment. In this moment you can change your world permanently. This moment holds your creative potential. It is your doorway to change in your relationships.
The most liberating thing you can choose in this moment is curiosity. Curiosity does not hold judgment. It is the key to a good relationship. When you are curious, your mind can solicit answers about your feelings and behavior.
The best place to solicit answers is to engage in a conversation with your “Objective Viewer.” Your Objective Viewer is your inner wise woman, your adult-self. She is the pathway to your personal wisdom. She is your greatest ally in life.
The Shame-Blame Game depletes your ability to see your own life clearly. This keeps your Objective Viewer a small voice in the distance, only able to guide you in the manner your consciousness will allow. She waits for you to become curious and change your focus from others to self. Without your Objective Viewer, you see the world passively through your life experiences projected like a movie onto the life of another.
Your Objective Viewer sees the entirety of your life without judgment. She supplies you with answers to your questions, such as: What is really concerning me about this situation? What am I feeling and have I felt this way before? Am I sabotaging this relationship?
Your Objective Viewer is there to answer your questions and show you that you are not your experiences and behavior. Solicit her and follow her down the path of self-awareness. You will live a life of discovery, possibility, and potential.
Your Objective Viewer, your Inner Wise Woman, is uniquely yours. Imagine what she looks like. She may resemble one of your teachers or be a mix of you and a favorite relative. She can be younger, older, happy, or elegant. She can be dressed in royal robes, have the presence of a warm fire, or sound like an angel’s choir. How you imagine her is up to you.
Once you have open communication with your Objective Viewer, she will help you own your life as your creation and thereby you will Own Your Behavior.
Ownership is a powerful position to adopt because you cannot change what you did not create. So, when you have consciously accepted responsibility for your life, you can expand old thoughts and create new outcomes.
Your thoughts are your energy, here to serve you. When you combine your thoughts with emotions, intense focus, and repetition, you manifest. For better or worse, your thoughts are a magnet for creation. The thoughts you are having right now are your life in the making.
Ask yourself, “Am I using my thoughts, my energy, to create for my highest good, my highest expression of love?” “Are my motives pure?” If not, start again. You already tried controlling yourself and others with the Shame-Blame Game, which is how you lost your power, to begin with.
Making a choice to be curious today brings back a piece of your energy that was put to sleep by The Shame-Blame Game. When you are curious and see your life objectively, your behavior will change. You will claim your power to direct your life.
Owning your behavior is the first step on the path to get and keep your man and a healthy relationship.
Next post – Step 2, Create a New Value System.
Cynthia Chauvin Miles CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist in Northern Virginia. Author of six books she works with women and men on creating positive life changes quickly and easily using hypnosis, life coaching, intuition and business strategy.