Showing posts with label Self-esteem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self-esteem. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Resentful Compliance vs Commitment

By Jim Hutt, Ph.D., Family Problems Topic Expert Contributor
The focus of this post is to elaborate on two related themes. One, the differences between resentful compliance and commitment. Two, how understanding those differences can alter the course of a relationship.
Resentful Compliance
Resentful compliance is an agreement that is not an agreement, but sounds like one. Right away you can see the potential problems resentful compliance might spawn. Resentful compliance, or going along to get along, as it it sometimes called, means doing something somebody else wants you to do, but, for whatever reason you do not want to do it. Problem is, you do not, or cannot, say “no,” when you want to, and instead you agree to do something just to get the other one off your back.
Here’s the twist–there are the resentfully compliant who do what  their partner wants, but are resentful about doing it. There are also those who don’t do what their partner asks or demands; they say ‘yes,” but passively fail to follow through. They, too, resent their partner for a variety of reasons. They actively agree to do what their partner wants to get them off their back, then passively refuse to follow through.
When complying with a request or demand is accompanied by resentment, and it develops in to a pattern, the resentment toward your partner is palpable, and the disdain for repeatedly selling yourself out is significant. This type of conflict pattern is difficult to break without counseling and drives a huge wedge between the two of you. The resentfully compliant one feels bossed around on the surface, and underneath it feels weak, powerless and scared to express him/herself. The resentfully compliant one usually feels unheard, misunderstood, unloved and without a voice. This person is often conflict averse.
The partner of the resentfully compliant one, on the other hand, resents the passive aggressive behavior, and often meets with denial when confronting it. If confronting the resentfully compliant is done with intense emotional reactivity, the price of honesty is deemed too high, and the conversation shuts down as quickly as it began. Rinse, wash and repeat, the gap between two of you widening. This is a recipe for one of two typical outcomes: either constant bickering and fighting, or, painful distance and silence, like two ships passing in the night. By the way, neither of those lead to a good sex life.
It’s up to the resentfully compliant one to begin to voice their discontent with what’s going on. Your partner is angry and resentful that “you never live up to your commitments,” or, “…you never do what you say!” Likewise, the one making the request must keep their reactivity low when they hear “no” if they want commitment in place of resentful compliance.
What neither understand is that there is never commitment when there is resentful compliance. Resentful compliance negates responsibility, undercuts integrity, and only gives the appearance of a commitment. That is why resentful compliance is often mistaken for a commitment
Commitment follows a decision to accept responsibility for doing something based on mutual acceptance and/or agreement. A request is considered, discussed with your partner, perhaps with some negotiation, and then acted upon. When following through with a particular commitment, integrity remains intact, and the trust between the two of you is reinforced. Commitments  are made consciously, and typically are made together.
When you follow through with a commitment, you do so because you understand that following through, in general, keeps trust alive. There may, indeed, be the occasional decision to be a good sport and “go along to get along,”  but it is not done as part of a pattern that has a core of resentment running through it.
The Partners of The Resentfully Compliant
Are you the partner of someone who is resentfully compliant?  If you think you are, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does my partner avoid conflict?
  • If so, what role, if any, do I play in that?
  • Do I make it difficult for my partner to say “no?”
  • Am I aware that my partner cannot say “no,” and do I take advantage of that to get what I want at my partner’s expense?
These questions begin to address the core of the patterns that resentfully compliant people and their partners engage in.
The Resentfully Compliant Partner
If you are the resentfully compliant one, ask yourself:
  • Do I avoid conflict regardless of how my partner responds to me?
  • Am I afraid to say “no” because of thoughts, beliefs, feelings and patterns I developed in my family of origin?
  • Do I refuse to accept responsibility for my role in this pattern, and instead blame my partner?
Answers to those questions begin to break the patterns resentfully compliant people and their partners repeat. Discuss them with each other. If necessary, explore them with a counselor who can facilitate a healthy process.
These patterns can be changed, but requires persistence, effort and commitment.  Resentful compliance will not work.
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©Copyright 2011 by Jim Hutt, Ph.D., therapist in Menlo Park, CA. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to The following article was solely written and edited by the author named above. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the following article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment to this blog entry. Click here to contact the Topic Expert and/or see Jim's Profile

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Five Techniques for Avoiding Short-Sighted Decision-Making

Posted on by Mark Allison

Five Techniques for Avoiding Short-Sighted Decision-Making

Post image for Five Techniques for Avoiding Short-Sighted Decision-Making
How to make decisions that are in your long-term interests without succumbing to short-term temptation.
We all have two people inside us. One is a party animal. He wants to get as much pleasure as he can right now. He wants to eat, drink, have sex and generally be merry.
The other is the boring guy. The kind who saves for a rainy day, eats healthily, never drinks too much, does the ‘right thing’ and probably irons his underpants as well.
We’ll call the first guy ‘Want’ and the second guy ‘Should’. The mental battle between Want and Should has been going on since most of us can remember. Maybe your Should guy usually wins the battle, or maybe your Want guy still runs amok every now and then.
These five techniques give you more ammunition in the battle between Want and Should, all based on solid psychological research (from Milkman et al., 2008):

1. Make the choice in advance

One of the best ways to fox the Want guy is to make the decision in advance. When we make decisions in advance it’s Should that’s in charge. Whatever area of life, whether it’s financial, dietary, work or any other, if you make the decision in advance, you’re likely to cut down on detrimental outcomes.

2. Compare similar options

Studies find that when people choose things without comparing the options their Want guy easily gets out of control. Without comparisons it’s easier for the Want guy to justify the bad decision. By comparing options, though, research finds that people are better able to make the choice that is in their long-term interests.

3. Avoid decisions under pressure

Spur-of-the-moment decisions are what the Want guy loves. When we make decisions under pressure, our basic desires are in charge. Try to avoid making decisions under pressure so that you can consider what you should do. When we give ourselves time to think, we’re much more likely to reach the right decision.

4. Make one-shot decisions

All sorts of weird things start happening when we imagine the choice we are making right now as one in a series. Often not good things. You see the Want guy is clever. He knows we love to lie to ourselves to get what we want. We tell ourselves things like: “I’ll have that cake now, then I’ll eat healthily for the rest of the week”.
No. No ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and no tortuous logic to get what we want. Shut the Want guy down by making one-shot decisions. Am I going to be good or bad, right here, right now?

5. Use commitment devices

We can stop ourselves acting on impulse by committing ourselves to a course of action that is in our long-term interests. Commitment devices allow us to take the choice away from the Want guy.
Here are some methods people use to pre-commit to long-term interests:
  • Only buy ‘bad’ foods in small packet.
  • Sign up to the gym for a whole year.
  • Put money into a piggy bank that has to be smashed to get the money out. Grown-up equivalents include investment vehicles that lock money away.
Commitment devices are best when they are tailored to your own psychological preferences and circumstances. For example, if you’re well-off then a year’s gym membership might not be enough commitment to make you exercise. Or, if you don’t care about eating six small packets of a ‘bad’ food, one after the other, then this technique won’t work either.
You’ll have to discover what type of commitment device works for you. Whatever it is, make sure it’s solid or the Want guy will come and get you!
Image credit: Willem van de Kerkhof