Protest Behaviours

It is easy to hide behind unhealthy behaviours (like ignoring calls, making your partner jealous, game playing and temper tantrums).

But is it ‘easier’ in the long run?

To be honest in any relationship there has to be an element of vulnerability and this takes courage. It takes real courage to say what we need and why.

If a relationship with unhealthy behaviours becomes a long-term relationship, what will be the quality of that relationship? Are you likely to have your authentic needs met in that relationship? NO! Because they are not being expressed!

How can your partner know that you are upset because he forgot to call on your mum’s birthday unless you let him know? Not answering his call the following day and posting pictures of you with your ex on social media is ONE form of communication, but it is not a CELAR form of communication.

You might know that you expected him to call on your mum’s birthday, but did he know that? You might even feel a bit ashamed of your own perceived neediness in wanting him to call. When you reject your own needs, you abandon part of yourself. Let’s not do that anymore.

Communicating this need might sound like:

“Hey, did you know it was my mum’s birthday yesterday?”

“Yes, how was it?”

“It was great. In my family we usually call extended family on their birthday, and I guess I expected you to call me and my mum. When I saw you didn’t call, I felt disappointed because I want you to feel part of my family and connected to them. I’m wondering how it would be for you to call me and my parents on their birthdays?”

“Oh, we don’t do that in our family. Yes, sure, I’ll call next time, thanks for giving me the heads up”

This kind of CLEAR communication builds the solid foundation of a lasting secure relationship. If you had unhealthy relationship behaviours modelled for you as a child it might take a while for you to shift into healthy ones, but it can be done with a bit of patience and practice.

*List adapted from Levine, A. & Heller, R. S. F. (2019). Attached.  London, UK; Penguin.