Let the Games Begin

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Let the Games Begin Powered By Docstoc
					Dr. Paul Hannig
      Abusive Relationships need to be acknowledged. Healthy
    Relationships need to be understood and claimed. Are you in
    an abusive relationship? Do you want an ecstatic union? Stop
       the Denial! Get the help that you, your partner and your
                          relationship needs!

                      Let the Games Begin: Fair Fighting/Unfair Fighting
         Dr. Paul wants you to take a look inward at your fight tactics and how they are affecting your life.
This "I" opening self-examination will inform you of your own destructive and constructive fight styles. By
learning how you fight, you'll learn how you handle interpersonal difficulties---- and the consequences that
affect your relationships and your influence on the world. With so many people struggling to form effective
and happy relationships, why should you neglect your own ability to arrive at successful solutions? Finally
there is a comprehensive and clear guide to help you specifically develop effective strategies for
overcoming destructive fight styles. This easy to read format is a first of its kind in that it can help you in
every aspect of your life; including your most important intimate relationships.

        After years of experimenting and trying out different methods for conflict resolution, Dr. Paul has
found a plain language, user-friendly guide that can help you sort out the problems and find the best
solutions to your conflicts and struggles. This section is a trustworthy guide to establishing Sizzling
Relationships as recorded in the book of that name. If you are looking for an indispensable reference
source dedicated to your need for successful conflict resolution, then this is the authoritative answer to
your prayers.

         The use of one or two of these tactics, in a mild way, does not constitute abuse. But, if there is
        sufficient intensity and a considerable usage of many of these tactics, then the line to abuse has
        been crossed.

        Check off on the left-hand side of the page which fight tactics you employ. On the right hand side
of the page, check off the fight tactics of your partner, if you have one. Make sure that your partner does
the same exercise, so that the two of you are on the same page. Remember, this is a mutually agreed
upon exercise. After the two of you have completed this task, compare answers to see how close the both
of you came to recognizing each other's tactics. When this is finished, sit down and have a rational, calm
and equal discussion about what the both of you have learned.

            If you have difficulty with this exercise, call Dr. Paul at once. He will walk you through it
            and help you find the right strategies.

       The Denial Game: Everybody needs help at some time or another. The statistics are alarming
        as to how many people are having difficulty with interpersonal relationships. If you play the denial
        game, you may or may not learn the hard way, through pain and suffering. It's much easier to
        catch a problem in its early phases then to try to fix it when the ship is sinking. Denial does not
        work and it reinforces the status quo. Recognize and acknowledge a problem in its early stages
        and you defeat the denial game. Don't allow yourself to be backed down by someone who denies
        that a problem exists. Be honest with yourself and face the music that something may be wrong.
        There is always a solution, whether it exists inside of you or in the communication and problem
    solving strategies of your most important relationships. Problems are meant to be solved and not
    tolerated to the point of your own extinction or the destruction of your most intimate relationship.

             If you are in an abusive relationship or have a history of abusive relationships and have
    come from an abusive background, you are probably accustomed to applying Mutually
    Dissatisfying Tactics and Solutions. But, remember that you must be brutally honest with
    yourself when it comes to acknowledging your abusive relationship tactics. Denial defends the
    status quo and prevents much-needed change. If you are in an abusive relationship, you may
    need to acknowledge that each partner needs therapeutic counseling as well as couples therapy.
    If the both of you acknowledge and recognize your abusive family backgrounds, then you can
    assume that you both are victims. But, do not allow the victim game to further destroy your

            Abusive relationships need to be freed from denial. Check with Dr. Paul about
            his Maltreatment Inventory.

   He said /She said: This is a very destructive and manipulative game. It goes like this;"He said
    that, you said this. Well, now wait a minute, I could have sworn that you said this. Am I going
    crazy? He said this to me about you and now I am telling someone else what he told me." The
    purpose of this game is defensive. It's meant to stack the cards in your favor in order to prove that
    you are "not bad or a victimizer/perpetrator." It is also used in battles where one partner is trying
    to prove his/her's "Goodness and Innocence." There is a lot of guilt in this game that usually
    represents disordered couples who are fighting to see who occupies the "victim" position. This
    strategy also crosses and violates many confidentiality boundaries and takes the fight outward
    instead of inward towards resolution with the partner. The "He said/She said," strategy confuses
    people, and is usually taken out of context and interpreted to the fighter's advantage. In court
    cases, a slasher may claim innocence due to insanity. Such, was the case between Lorena and
    John Bobbitt. Other such fighters, will gather evidence to prove that the fight partner is "crazy" or
    at least disturbed with some type of psychiatric disorder.

   Battling Perceptions: This fight strategy fails because neither partner will admit to their own
    lack of empathic listening and communication skills. It's a coverup for hiding the fear of being
    wrong and the need to be right. It is a cognitive distortion, because the participants mistakenly
    believe that their perceptions parade as reality. They become very fixed and rigid in their
    positions and refuse to acknowledge their own failures about knowing and meeting the real needs
    of their partners. Whenever two people engage in one ups manship and dueling perceptions, the
    person who engages in empathic listening and paraphrasing will defuse the possibility of a ''
    Right/Wrong conflict. Entertaining someone else's perceptions will put you in a position of
    avoiding arguments, sending acceptance and understanding messages and discovering the
    validity of someone else's ideas. It avoids the "My way or the highway" domination strategy.
    It's a proactive rather than a reactive approach.

             Mastering empathic listening and communication skills will eliminate ''battling
    perceptions." Next time you and your partner are having a conversation, practice deep listening
    and paraphrasing. Repeat back to your partner what you have heard and get confirmation that
    what you heard is what was said. Express your understanding of your partner's unique view. Try
    to take as much negativity as you can out of the conversation. Remember, you are not interested
    in character assassination or disrespectful negative judgments. You are solution oriented! Don't
    wallow in the struggle and do not allow yourself to escalate to a free for all. Leave the pit bull and
    the Vipers out of your discussions.

            Abusive families are low on the empathy skills scale. Successful families are high on the
            empathy skills scale. Ask Dr. Paul about his empathy training approach.
   The Anger/Fear Game: This game is part of the "I Don't Care" game. This strategy is usually
    conducted within a minefield where one or both partners claims "I really do love/care for her/him."
    However, your actions say the opposite. In the overall picture, you may love your spouse. But,
    you may hate his/her's annoying and destructive behavior. If such behavior continues over a long
    period of time, love will go out the window and hell and hate will fill the family atmosphere. It is
    difficult to eradicate anger and fear from a relationship. But it can be contained within reasonable
    and rational bounds or taken outside and worked off through very effective systematic therapy

             For some couples, fear and anger has to be taken completely out of the relationship,
    because the partners are using those emotions to control each other. I recommend that each of
    you make a very strong commitment to taking fear and anger out of your relationship. It has no
    place there; especially if it's evil spirited. Fear and anger is not about the other person. It is about
    yourself! You need to take anger and fear out of your life and out of your most precious
    relationship. Learn to control these two emotions when they are beginning to rise up inside of
    you. Don't justify or rationalize them. Observe your feelings and acknowledge them, to yourself.
    But don't throw them into the middle of a melee. You don't want this fire to explode. Keep it to a
    spark! If you need to, when the fires have died down, you may share your negative emotion with
    your spouse. But, don't escalate fear and rage by throwing it into an intense whirlpool.

            Learn how to say, "I feel angry when.................," instead of engaging in rageholism.
            "I feel afraid when............ can you take this out of my life and our marriage?" Then
            engage in paraphrasing strategies in order to convey understanding of what is needed.

             Intense over reactive anger and fear feelings are destructive and could lead to very
    dangerous results. Look at the pain and the hurt that lurks behind defensive, escalated,
    exaggerated, maximized anger and fear. Maximizing of these emotions needs to be corrected in
    your thinking processes. Keep a daily log for a whole week of all of your negative thoughts. When
    you monitor your thoughts and your feelings, you are in a better position for eliminating
    destructive anger and fear reactions. Remember, that anger and fear are based on internal
    thoughts and feelings that influence your behavior destructively. When you discover, after
    considerable monitoring, the thoughts that fuel your anger and fear, you should consider how you
    can modify and reframe those thoughts to a much more constructive outcome. You do not want
    your partner to see you as angry and fearful; especially when those emotions are acted out
    instead of discussed rationally. If you choose to contain your fear and anger, you'll experience a
    much more positive consequence. If you choose to act out your fear and anger on each other,
    you'll choose to suffer the consequences. When you choose the behavior, you choose the
    consequences. Choose positive thoughts and behavior and you will reap positive results.

             If your fear and your anger causes injury to your partner, he/she will withdraw. Is this
    what you want; to hurt someone and push them away and cause them to be afraid and to distrust
    you? It doesn't seem like such an effective strategy. So, why do you do it? Is it the goal of your
    anger and fear to control someone and make them do things that they do not want to do just so
    you will feel safe? Do you really want to push your partner away and cause pain? Is that your
    goal? Change your thinking and you change your life. If getting angry and fearful does not work,
    why use it? Understand what you want and need. Define your true goals and line up your
    thoughts, feelings and behavior towards attaining that goal.

             Don't use old and worn out thinking and behavior. It's gotten you nowhere! Think problem
    solving strategies, reduction of negative thinking and worn out relationship habits. Consider the
    welfare of your relationship and your family. Drop the selfishness and tune into each other's
    needs. Work towards intimacy and satisfaction, rather than destruction and hollow victories. If it
    doesn't work, get rid of it and replace it with something that does. Stop spinning your wheels with
    the same old ineffective strategies and archaic behaviors. This is a new dawning for yourself and
    your relationship. Get it? Stop fighting and arguing in front of yourselves. Make your life, peace
    on earth!
   Withdrawal: I'll bet when you engage in a dirty fight with your partner, you decide to withdraw.
    For some people, that seems to work. After a knock down, dragged out battle, they go off and lick
    their wounds. How does your withdrawal affect your partner? Do you announce that you are
    going off to work on your anger and fear and that you will soon be back with a better attitude,
    mood and communication? Every move that you make that is outward from your principal
    relationship has a possible consequence. Announcing that your going off to get yourself clear and
    come back and be more real says to your partner that you care about the relationship enough to
    work on yourself. But, if you use withdrawal as a weapon and you do not come back clearer than
    when you left, how does that affect your relationship?

             In your withdrawal, did you eliminate your negative thoughts, feelings and stressors? Or
    was your withdrawal a form of punishment for the misdeeds of your partner? If you do choose to
    withdraw, do you come back and share yourself honestly with your partner? Or do you remain
    silent and noncommunicative, while leaving your partner wondering what you were thinking while
    you were away? Pouting is for hurt little children. It's part of a game of hide and seek. "I'll hide
    and you try to find me." Do the loving thing!

            Some people use a relationship cut off strategy. In the middle of an issue or unfinished
            business, this person, unexplainedly, cuts off contact and disappears. At some point, this
            individual suddenly reappears and offers no explanation, leaving the partner wondering.

             If you use withdrawal as a fight tactic, remember to come back and share with your
    partner how you got clear and resolved with yourself. This may be a good time for a heartfelt
    apology and a discussion of how the two of you can avoid future mistakes by using strategies that
    work. Apologies that are sincere, communicate to your partner that you have taken responsibility
    and acknowledged what you did that contributed to the problem. An apology that is used just to
    make up, without acknowledging self-responsibility, will only reinforce distrust and future
    explosions. Make sure, when and if you withdraw , that you come back with deep internal
    resolution and positive thinking/behavior changes. Your goal is not just to make up after a war; it
    is to discover and negotiate solutions that eradicate future outbreaks. It is always better to check
    with your partner to see if withdrawal is experienced as a provocation . "Cold Feet" is the name of the
    game. In a physically abusive relationship, withdrawal may be the only answer.

              Withdrawal can be an unfair fight tactic. It is based on an unfair need to control your
    partner and other people. Sometimes, it is spiteful and destructive. You cannot build a beautiful
    relationship if you make a unilateral decision to withdraw. It hurts your partner and fills him/her
    with fear and distrust. Is this the effect that you want to happen or do you wish to build love and
    trust in your relationship. And don't forget what effect that your unilateral decision to withdraw will
    have on your children and the rest of the family. Unfair withdrawal is a love destroyer. It kills trust
    and reinforces fear. It is not a negotiable solution. Get rid of it and grow up. It's time to act like an
    adult, rather than like a scared little rabbit. You are a married person with mature responsibilities.

            Take the bull by the horns and say to yourself, "Today, I choose not to be afraid.
    Today, I choose to not withdraw. Just for today, I will not worry. Just for today, I
    will be kind to every living thing. Just for today, I will be kind to my partner. Just
    for today, I will not be afraid. Just for today, I will be responsible for my actions.
    Just for today, I will not be spiteful. Just for today, I will not be vengeful. Just for
    today, I will give thanks for many blessings. Just for today, I will not make
    unilateral decisions that effect others. Just for today, I will communicate with my
    partner and negotiate a mutual satisfying agreement. Just for today, I choose not
    to anger. I choose not to worry and I choose to be filled with gratitude. Just for
    today, I will not blame.
             Withdrawal is such an unfair fight tactic that it leaves your partner and your relationship
    hanging in midair. Cutting off the action in your relationship by withdrawal is emasculating to the
    relationship. Withdrawal is different than a timeout which is announced by raising your hands in a
    "T" sign. Timeouts are different than withdrawals. They slow down the action in order to find
    workable solutions. Withdrawal cuts off the action and leaves people smoldering in fear, anger
    and frustration. Learn how to use the timeout symbol in order to slow the action down so that you
    can negotiate mutually satisfying solutions to relationship sticking points.

            Don't contribute to the downfall of your marriage and family. Become a problem solver,
    not a problem maker. Timeouts create moments of understanding and clarity. Withdrawal just
    adds fuel to the fire and has devastating side effects.... Stop your emotional reactivity and
    become proactive. Stay calm and rational. Hold your ground and decide that you are strong
    enough to negotiate a mutually satisfying solution with your partner. Unilateral withdrawal goes
    against your partner and cuts your relationship down to an unstable level. Stabilize yourself and
    you stabilize your most important relationship----- Yourself and Your Partner! If you want
    respect, give it by respecting the rights and feelings of others. Everything that you do
    effects your partner and other family members. Withdrawal does not engender respect and
    trust. Communication does!

            If one partner in an abusive relationship refuses to get professional help and the other
            does, then leaving is the only same thing to do if the abuse continues. Remember,
            Safety First----- restrain and retrain. You'll have to learn how to get along sooner or

   Negative Judgments: Disrespectful judgments have no place in a serious love match. In fact, I
    know of no situation that warrants hypercritical judgments as a means of fostering harmony,
    goodwill and love. Negative judgments destroy relationships and reduce love accounts to the
    divorce level. This fight style consists of low verbal blows that create distrust and distance. No
    one wants to be around a dirty fighter who uses negative judgments like a scorpion or a viper
    uses the poison in its mouth to kill prey.

             Monitor and record any negative judgments that move through your mind and press for
    verbal expression. Do you direct your disrespectful judgments at your partner? I'll bet you that
    your partner possesses attitudes, behaviors and feelings that you do not find attractive.
    Determine what those behaviors are and devise non-defensive, non-attacking effective strategies
    for dealing with these distasteful interactions. If you return tit for tat, you will have fallen into the
    trap of who can Out Judge the other. Do not become reactive. Observe and mentally
    acknowledge your feelings. Don't suppress your emotions. Make a mental note of what you are
    feeling. Your partner is just doing his or her thing. He or she would do the same thing with
    someone else, even if you weren't there. Do not personalize your partner's actions and
    judgments. Unless you want warfare? Some people just do not possess adequate social and
    emotional skills. If you choose to be reactive and nonobservant, you will only keep repeating the
    cycle of conflict. Practice self-control through observation and non-reactivity. By doing so, you will
    feel more successful for not taking the provocative bait. By not taking the bait by reacting to your
    usual triggers, you avoid an abusive interaction. If you don't allow yourself to get sucked into the
    game in the first place, you will be free. Your partner will have to give up the game or find
    someone else to play it with.

             If your partner blitzes you with a surprise attack, don't react. Just observe and work your
    feelings later in privacy. You cannot control or change someone else through reactivity. Negative
    interactions can only be modified during calm periods of discussion. Punishment, rejection,
    abandonment, threats and throwing your partner out of the house does not work and only adds to
    the pool of resentment and anger. Acknowledge that your partner possesses triggers that push
    your hot buttons. Be prepared and expect to be hit with negative behavior. Prepare yourself to
    observe and be non-reactive. Conflicts usually occur according to cycles. There is always
    the beautiful calm before the raging storm. Figure out your relationship cycles and vigorously
    discipline yourself to observe and be non-reactive. If you do not reinforce provocative, baiting
    behavior with your own reactivity, your partner's negative behavior will diminish. But, don't expect
    overnight miracles. Sometimes, when you choose to not play the reactive game, your partner will
    escalate provocations in order to seek negative rewards. Eventually, your partner will stop trying
    to suck you into an angry battle, because the negative reinforcement is not forthcoming.

            Your partner may have a difficult time expressing emotions. He or she may just need to
    ventilate in order to get to the real feelings. This may cause a problem for you; because in the
    process of ventilation, you will hear a lot of distorted meanings, mixed emotions, hostility and
    other unfriendly statements. I know that you just want to be loved and be treated with a lot of
    positive respect. But, if your partner has a wall of negative emotions that exist on the surface, he
    or she may need to ventilate before getting to the underlying feelings. By not allowing your
    partner to ventilate through talking, you'll only reinforce more repression and by so doing, you will
    guarantee future explosions. If your partner is harboring a lot of resentment and pain, he or she
    will have to go to someone else, other than you in order to air out grievances and get to the
    bottom line. Remember, your partner as well as you, needs to be heard. This may be the first
    time in his or her life that feelings have accumulated to the point of expression and that
    expression may look unfriendly. Everything has to come out sooner or later!

             People who are high in social emotional skills, usually do not engage in the battle for
    supremacy by negative judgmental weaponry. People who use negative judgments as a
    relationship weapon usually do not possess adequate empathic listening skills and rely more on
    cat/dog fighting. If you negatively Judge, strike it from your life once and for all. And insist that
    your partner does the same. Do not Judge unless you are willing to be judged by the same standards
    that you Judge others! I have yet to see a relationship on the rocks that did not use negative
    judgments as a means of destruction. Such marriages share very little intimacy and the partners
    usually blame each other for the problems in the relationship. Stop the madness and do
    everything you can to build your partner into the loving person that he or she is. If you don't do it,
    someone else will. And by all means, check out your thought processes for any signs of distorted
    and negative thinking. Remember, you don't want to be right -- you want to be effective. Do what
    works! Do you want to be a lover or a fighter? Don't avoid the real issues by hiding behind
    negative judgments!

            Get a mental enema and flush out the negative crap that you put on your partner. If
            you want to build love into your relationship, you will need to sanitize your thinking.
            Erase every thought from your mind that hurts your partner. Replace it with spiritual
            Unconditional Love. Check with Dr. Paul's spiritual counseling strategies. Love
            is the answer! There are powerful spiritual and cognitive tools for mental sanitation
            and purification by love.

   Grudge Matching: So, your partner did something a long time ago and you judged it to be
    horrible, awful etc. etc. Because you interpreted that past event as something awful, catastrophic
    and should not have existed at all, you are holding one big grudge. The problem with such
    relationships is that both of you usually seek to gather evidence to justify and rationalize the
    destruction of the relationship. It's the game, "I'm good, you are bad." People with low self-worth
    play the opposite game, "I'm bad, you are good and right." A version of this game is, "Injustice
    Collecting." The status quo conflict is maintained by a strategy of Never Forgive/Never Forget.
    Each of you mirrors the other with mutual Blame Storming, backed up by rationalization and
    justification. Could it be that a certain portion of your thinking may be responsible for the
    predicament that you find yourself in. Keep a log of your negative thoughts concerning your
    partner for a full week. See if you have engaged in a certain kind of thinking called, "Awfulizing,
    Terriblizing, Catastrophizing.'' This maximization of emotional reactions, behavior and thinking
    sends your relationship out of the orbit of rational thinking and effective problem solving.

             Ask yourself if you are still holding a grudge that justifies your distrust and fear towards
    rebuilding an effective relationship. Grudge holding is erroneously used to justify adversarial
positions. Stop this kind of thinking and decide what has to be done to build a rewarding and
healed relationship. Otherwise, you'll be keeping the battle going. If you want peace in your
relationship, take out your awfulizing thinking and your grudge matching. There is a time for
peace and time for war. Forgive the past insults for your own sake and healing and bring the
battle to a conclusion.

          Forgiveness follows a formula of 7x 70=490 and is backed up by concentrated efforts to
wash your mind in a sea of unconditional love. A mind that is sanctified and purified with total
spiritual love will not have any room for negative, repetitive, ancient, hostile, distrustful thoughts.
By letting go of grudge thinking, you set the stage for creating an intimate relationship where your
self torturing thinking does not interfere with ecstatic union. When unconditional love dominates
your mind, you will need to stand guard and monitor the intrusion of habitual destructive thinking.
Once you have allowed your holy love to dominate your ego, you will commit yourself to
exorcising your fearful, angry, distrustful thoughts. When you allow unconditional love to rule your
mind, your partner becomes the most incredible, fantastic and beautiful/handsome person on
earth. You will, then, move into the world of absolute trust, a world without fear, anger and
uncontrolled negative emotional reactions.

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