We’ve all learned how to move toward pleasure and away from pain in our relationship interactions. When Professional Women (or others) get caught up in confusing interactions, it’s “normal” to question our “normal.” As kids, it’s okay to play “trick or treat.” But when it comes to adult relationships, it can be rather scary. That’s why we need clarity about the 5 scary tricks that make you confused in a relationship. Clarity is the first step of awareness to change what I define as “dance patterns.”
The five scary tricks include: gaslighting, guessing, grumpy, gloomy, and gregarious.
Scary Trick # 1 – Gaslighting
The term “gaslighting” has become a way to help identify manipulative behaviors of men toward their “submissive” wives. It comes from the 1944 movie “Gaslight” which depicts a man with ulterior motives. He fools her with missing pictures, strange footsteps, and dimming the gaslight to make her believe she’s crazy.
A form of gaslighting might look like this. You had a conversation with your spouse about your weekend plans. Then when the weekend arrives, they tell you “we never talked about it.”The term gaslighting has become a way to help identify manipulative behaviors of controlling spouses toward their submissive partners. Click To Tweet
If you feel crazy in your relationship, this might be a pattern to throw you off kilter. Likely, the situation is crazy and not you, which brings us to Scary Trick # 2 – guessing game.
Scary Trick # 2 – Guessing Game
Does your spouse like to honor you with surprises? And you like them? If so, this trick may not apply. But if he or she knows that you don’t like to be surprised, yet they keep you guessing, you’ve likely been caught up in scary trick #2, guessing game.
Your need to plan or know what to expect. That idea is worthy of respect. When you are left in the dark over upcoming events, it’s a form of control. Of course, we’re not talking periodic surprises like Christmas or birthday gifts. Instead, this pattern is designed to keep you in a subservient position.
Here’s an example:
Wife – “I’d like to get a babysitter for Saturday so we can go on that date we talked about.”
Husband – “Let’s just wait and see.”
Several days pass and she’s left wondering. She’s on the verge of nagging, stressed, and in need of a date. Then his mother shows up on Saturday ready to babysit so he can “surprise her.”Your need to plan or know what to expect is worthy of respect. Click To Tweet
Both gaslighting and guessing are scary tricks in adult relationships. Which brings us to Scary Trick # 3 – grumpy.
Scary Trick # 3 – Grumpy
An empathic spouse wants to understand her grumpy partner. “I know he’s worked hard to provide for us” are excuses I hear in the counseling office. But in reality, she is enabling this scary trick # 3.
We are all responsible for our own emotions. If stress is taking a toll on you at work, it’s time to learn effective coping strategies. If your grumpiness is a symptom of insomnia, it’s time to learn good sleep hygiene.We are all responsible for our own emotions and attitudes. Click To Tweet
But if being grumpy is a consistent relationship pattern and your spouse continues to make excuses for you, this is a scary trick that leads to relationship doom. As the fourth-deadliest horsemen that Dr. Gottman identifies as “Contempt,” this long-term grumpiness will doom a marriage. And that leads us to address Scary Trick # 4 – Gloomy.
Scary Trick # 4 – Gloomy
It’s hard not to be judgmental here. Because scary trick # 4 could easily be classified as a type of depression called Persistent Depressive Disorder.
As a “disorder,”(which used to be called Dysthymia) it is a low grade depression that lasts two or more years. It doesn’t present as suicidal depression, but it interferes with normal social, occupational, and relationship functioning. This is easily treatable with proper therapy.
But the “scary trick” side of gloomy is when the person chooses not to get treatment. Instead, they live with it until it becomes part of their character. They have subconsciously chosen to live a small, narrow, negative life. They are unaware of how others around them can get sucked into a black hole. It affects the entire family and puts the developing minds of growing children at risk.
This is likely an unaware “scary trick.” And it’s vitally important to surround yourself with positive friendships apart from the gloomy one. In other words, don’t get caught up believing that you are the only one who can “cheer him up.” We cannot do for others what only they can do for themselves. And if this “scary trick is coupled with Scary Trick # 5 – gregarious – we have a problem.
Scary Trick # 5 – Gregarious
Of course, home is the place to relax and be yourself. But if your loved one keeps on showing you the worst part of him and shows acquaintances the best, it’s time be aware of scary trick # 5 – gregarious.
Gregarious is an adjective meaning friendly, sociable, and outgoing. Everybody enjoys being around your spouse. But when consistently experiencing his grumpiness with you, it’s time for clarity and change.
In summary, these 5 scary tricks can give us clarity. We are not the ones who are “crazy.” But instead, we might be caught in “crazy” interactions – gaslighting, guessing game, grumpy, gloomy and gregarious.
If you are on the receiving end of these scary tricks, it’s time to take a step back. Notice what’s really going on. Avoid thinking of yourself as being “the only one who understands” the other person. You deserve to be clear and confident in your relationships. Most of all, you need to feel safe.
Your next step
Sign up for a complimentary workshop, “Relationship Resilience For Professional Women.”