DigitalPR With Celestine Achi: HEPHZIBAH COLUMN - THE COMMUNICATION GAMES COUPLES PLAY: A COMPILATION

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HEPHZIBAH COLUMN - THE COMMUNICATION GAMES COUPLES PLAY: A COMPILATION

Saturday, October 25, 2014


On a softer side of the digital divide and due to demands from my audience, I have introduced a saturday column that will be focusing on relationships - the emotions, the pains, the choice, the break ups and the how. 

For today, I have narrowed down on a compilation of the unhealthy communication games that many individuals and couples play, not realizing the destruction they are causing. The purpose of this article is just to point out some of these manipulative games so you are aware of them. The next step is to properly deal with them and eliminate them from going on in your relationship. There is indeed a thin line between love and hatred.

These are common unhealthy thinking patterns that contribute to emotional pain. We all seem to fall victim to one of more of these patterns from time-to-time:

MAGNIFYING —Making Mountains Out of Molehills: It’s taking life’s events and exaggerating them until everything seems like a catastrophe. We take nickel and dime incidents and turn them into million dollar crises.

OVERGENERALIZING —History Always Repeats Itself: Generalizing is relying on past events to predict the future —casting doubts on your adequacy, and preventing you from trusting others or yourself. They hold on to past hurts, failures, and rejections, and recite them as evidence for their gloomy attitude toward the future. They figure, “Why try? The past will just repeat itself.”


EMOTIONAL REASONING —Interpreting Feelings as Facts: Emotional reasoning is confusing feelings with facts. Regardless of the evidence to the contrary, the person’s convinced that if they felt it, it must be so. What they feel, they think is true—despite what anyone else says to the contrary.

POLARIZING —Seeing Everything as Black or White: “Polarizing” is a perfectionistic thinking pattern that views life as all-or-nothing, good-or-bad, and/or black-or-white. They classify events as right or wrong, good or bad; and they judge their performance (or their spouse’s) on the basis of their own impossible standards.

SELECTIVE ABSTRACTION (An off shoot of Polarizing) Missing the Forest for the Trees: Selective Abstraction is focusing so intently on a few negative traits that the positive ones are overlooked. It’s focusing on what’s wrong rather than on what’s right —spending precious time and energy fussing over a few minor problems instead of investing their energies on positive solutions.

MINIMIZING —It Really Doesn’t Matter: “Minimizing” is denying or discounting any feelings associated with significant events of one’s life. They shut down their emotions and shrug their shoulders over life’s significant hurts and events. It can have a chilling effect on marriages.

UNIVERSALIZING: Making an unwarranted leap from a specific situation to a vast generalization. (This often makes use of “always” and “never.”)

CHARACTER KILLING: Switching from the issues of the conflict to making a personal attack on your spouse. (This may include sarcasm for a more devastating effect.)

CLOUD COVERING: Making a vague, foggy accusation instead of being detailed and specific about the complaint. (Again, sarcasm helps!)

UPPING THE ANTE: Instead of responding to the hurt or anger of your spouse, you just play “tit-for-tat” by citing a worse case that’s been done to you.

SCATTER BOMBING: Overwhelming your spouse with a barrage of faults and misdeeds that land all over the map. Dropping into the conversation a huge list of sins (usually unrelated) —including everything and the kitchen sink!

MOTH BALLING: Putting an old grievance in storage —for years or decades —and bringing it out at just the right time to hurt your spouse.

SPITTING IN YOUR SOUP: Using passive-aggressive comments to lay the guilt on the other party. Often involves sarcasm.


KICK OUT OF THE ROOM OR THE SEXUAL APPROACH/AVOIDANCE GAME: One of you has a greater sex drive than the other. Generally men have a higher sex drive than women, but that’s not always the case. The game starts when the spouse who has the higher sex drive starts believing he or she has to ask or hint for sex 6 or 7 times in order to get it once.

YELLING, OBSTRUCTION, EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL

MIND READING: Expecting your spouse to “know instinctively” what you expect.

A few insights on this expectation:
Anger can be generated by mind reading. In your mind you create your own reasons for why your spouse did what he or she did and you project those reasons onto him. Keep in mind that hinting, pouting, and sighing won’t get the desired results. You need to ask clearly.

Families are often spared heartache when the husband isn’t required to read his wife’s mind [and the same can be applied in reverse if the husband is the one who is playing this game.


“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15:5-6)

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