Want to be free of inappropriate pressures in your relationships?
Develop a response strategy!
Feeling pressured? Try responding instead of mindlessly “returning” the (unhealthy) interpersonal “serve.” Dr. Cloud is so right about this!
First of all, we need a way to create some space between the person’s unhealthy interpersonal “pitch” and our response, so we have time to actually decide whether we truly want to:
“catch the ball” (listen, match their emotional stride, & turn the dial up on our compliant (“with”) energies – our inner Reformer, Helper & Loyalist skills)
“return better than the serve” (confront, push them towards something a little higher, & turn the dial up on our assertive (“against”) energies – our inner Challenger, Enthusiast, & Achiever)
or simply “not play” (detach, slow things down, & turn the dial up on our withdrawn (“away”) energies – our inner Peacemaker, Individualist, & Investigator).
If we don’t take this kind of space before reacting, someone else’s habitual relational patterns are basically controlling our schedule. Where do we find that wonderful space between stimulus and response? We find it in that wonderful practice of staying present and noticing what buttons in our personality are getting pushed by the pressuring behavior of another. If we know our “autopilot” tendencies, that is MUCH easier to spot. Check out our Enneagram Styles in Relationships Page , if you’re wondering about yours.
And second, if our “autopilot” takes over, and we just go with our personality’s agenda under stress without actually deciding about the above issue, we may simply set ourselves up for being the target of the other’s pressuring habits again….AND AGAIN! We need to learn how to be one of the people in the pressure-er’s life that never reinforces that pressuring behavior. That way, the next time he or she is looking for someone to manipulate or bully, we are not on the short list anymore. Saves us some energy!
In my workshops, I often get questions like “How do I deal with critical people in my life?” or “What do I do when so-&-so starts pressuring me, like they ALWAYS do!” The real question is underneath these questions. The real question is why am I letting the critical, boundary-less, pressuring, manipulative people in my life decide that we are going to play their game?
Remember, if you don’t return the serve, they can’t play the game with you!
God Bless You in the Relational Adventure Ahead!