We live in a distinctively character-impaired age. So, it really pays to know your relationship partner well. Moreover, it pays to know how to relate to them in empowered ways. I first introduced 12 essential relationship empowerment tools in my book In Sheep’s Clothing. And in my book Character Disturbance I explain what really makes all the disturbed characters in your life tick. In all my writings I strive to give folks the relationship empowerment tools they need to understand and thrive in our times.
Some Essential Relationship Empowerment Tools
Last week I talked about two basic tools: defining engagement terms and doing so quickly. (See: Personal Empowerment Basics.) And I explained why those tools are so important. This week, I want to talk about some other relationship empowerment tools. Using the tools will help you avoid one-down positions and exploitation. So, let’s talk some about two specific ones: accepting no excuses and keeping a level head.
Avoiding the Emotion Trap
Psychological manipulators are covert aggressors. That’s the breakthrough insight behind much of my work. Understanding how such personalities operate is key. They largely play on your emotions and your conscientiousness. So, it’s important not to let your emotions get the better of you.
Whenever someone aggresses you naturally go on the defensive. And you can easily become unnerved and upset. However, you lose power when your emotions hold sway over you. So, it’s important to keep them in check. And aggressors can easily have you emotionally on the run. But you gain power when you hold ground. The best way to do that is to keep emotion out of things and judge and deal with behavior only.
Keeping the Focus on Behavior
When someone something to hurt or disadvantage you, the reasons for it don’t matter. Besides, when you buy into someone’s excuse you not only enable a behavior’s recurrence but also allow yourself to be improperly influenced. So, judge only behavior. If a behavior is inappropriate or harmful, the reasons for it are irrelevant. You must remember that. If you forget, you could be easily taken in and manipulated. Remember also that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So, how a person has already treated you is a good indicator of how they’ll treat you again.
We’ve now talked about some key relationship empowerment tools. Confront problematic behavior directly but calmly. And accept no excuses for it. Make clear the rules for engaging with you. And don’t wait to establish those rules. Following these rules will empower you. Next week, I’ll discuss a few other important relationship empowerment tools.
Character Matters will re-air last week’s program this coming Sunday at 7 pm EDT. We’ll be back live Sunday July 19, 2017.