Transactions in relationships

One of the most confusing things in many connections or relationships is that often we are very sure that our connection has deep feelings for us, often we’ve sensed it, seen it, been told it and its irrefutable: BUT when they run we doubt those feelings and wonder “was i imagining it”

Along with that we wonder “how can anyone run from love”? and we conclude they don’t love us as much or they love someone else more and we go into the mental ‘spin cycle’

What’s fascinating about human nature is that we go through this and yet we all understand that human nature isn’t as simple as “if he loved me he would be with me”, yet our mind plays games…

I believe that it’s the inability of someone who’s developed their own life experiences, to get into the head of someone who’s still struggling with theirs. Add to that the behavior of running ( cutting off contact ), which is is, I believe, one of the most painful and confusing of all behaviors and the real stab through the chest for most of us.

In this ( i call ) insanity stage, where they either cut off contact or bounce back and forwards or act like 2 different people, we can read what’s going on psychically of course but in order to develop an understanding outside of our readings there are also clues from the behavioral patterns that can help us assess what’s really going on.

Transactional analysis is a very powerful psychological tool that can offer us an insight into behavioral patterns in interactions between any 2 people.

In its most simple form there are 3 roles that we can each take on in any transaction. The first is called PARENT and most commonly appears in relationships as the unconditional giving to another even when their behavior doesn’t deserve or respect it.

The second is CHILD, which breaks down into several behavioral patterns that try to manipulate us into the unconditional giving, parent mode.
We learn this as babies when we cry for food and cry to be hugged etc and some of this residual behavior can and does follow us through to adult life. How much depends upon the individuals personal experiences and psychology – but it’s associated with the immature me me me, needy mode of being.

So the most common form of transaction is where one partner is required to be the unconditionally giving loving PARENT MODE person.
When parent mode person starts asking for reciprocal behavior the runner will often go into one of the CHILD MODES in order to subconsciously manipulate us back to unconditional giving again.

Running is one of them – straight into denial and ‘sulking’. Another is blame and hitting you with the “its all YOUR fault” A third is “if you loved me you would be there for me and not ask me to ( leave wife/husband ) or ( commit to you now ) etc etc etc… Being blamed for “pushing” is another.

If we stay in parent mode, giving and giving and being there, then the first thing to go is our self esteem….. Because what we are doing is actually fuelling the dysfunction, allowing whatever underlying emotional or psychological issues are present to rule the relationship.

Of course natural PARENT MODE people will give and give and give and give…….BUT we have to remember that giving beyond a certain point is not the answer it actually causes many of the problems when the person we are dealing with cant get into that mode at that time….

A third and most important mode is ADULT MODE. ADULT has the inner fun and openness of the child but not the childishness, the giving of the parent but within healthy boundaries, and has rules and balance.

ADULT mode is the way to drive transactions into a responsible mutual functional mode. For example “yes i love you but you can’t keep coming in and out of my life” or “yes i will be there for you, but what are your plans for leaving him/her”?

Conditional behavior is not ultimatums even if the other person comes back to you in one of the child modes and says something like “your pushing me” or “you know the situation” or just runs off and sulks. In fact the ONLY way to show them that this doesn’t and wont work is to stay in adult mode so that EVENTUALLY they realize there is only one way to transact with you and that has rules and boundaries and is reciprocal in respect, honesty and truthfulness.

Remember that bad, child mode behavior you experience from them when you enforce the adult mode boundaries, is designed to make you not enforce them again, to make you be unconditionally giving – accepting of their dysfunction..
And if we empower the dysfunction we avoid making it change…

Loving people fear losing and so often ‘tread on eggshells’.
I wish i could tell you i don’t have clients who still call me and say “do you think he will ever leave his wife” after many many years of suffering the same situation. The vast majority have not enforced boundaries or have been pushed back by child mode behavior of cutting off contact or other dysfunctional behavior. And back they go to just being there…..

Remember that these modes are behavioral modes we can all flip in and out of and we all have some of each of them. The trick to development is to develop the better ones and lose the dysfunctional ones. By being ADULT to someone’s CHILD we change the transaction… and ultimately force them to flip into the same mode.

Always disown the dysfunction !

And remember that these are behavioral traits not necessarily WHO someone is…but often what they’ve experienced and certainly driven by underlying emotional issues

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1 Comment

  1. This article is a RARE GEM that I have come back to today because following it has made me really happy in my interactions with people and in my own life.
    Interactions with people on “adult mode” is the only way of interacting that leaves you happy, and not drained, not feeling used and unhappy. Endless giving in “parent mode” brings in so much unhappiness and feeling drained. “Parent mode” can be turned around to “adult mode” with strong boundaries. Out of the many, many empowering things Steve taught me, two of the laws/ rules that help me daily now in all my interactions and relationships with friends and loved ones are:
    (1) Unconditional love is NOT unconditional giving

    (2) I don’t care if it’s your soul mate/soul connection, the President or Santa Clause, absolutely no one should be allowed to treat you badly.
    olutely no one should be allowed to treat you badly.

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