Relationships

The Toxic Power Dynamics After a Breakup

By K Thompson

Your ex broke up with you. You cried, you sobbed, and you begged. But your ex still doesn’t take you back. You decide that it’s best to just leave her alone and focus on rebuilding yourself. You stop contacting her.

But unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as you thought. You open Facebook and you see a post of your ex looking happy and having fun with her friends. You see her Instagram story with a text in picture that says she is finally feels free. You fire up twitter only to find out she had a wild party last night.

And seeing all this makes it hundred times more painful than before.

How can she be this happy when you are still barely able to get out of the bed in the morning?

This is a very common scenario after a breakup. I call this “the toxic power dynamics after a breakup”. It doesn’t happen after every breakup. But it does happen when one party in the breakup is the type of person who likes to have power in all their relationships.

One way to not let such a person affect your emotional and mental health is to understand this toxic power dynamics.

They are using social media to get to you

This weird power dynamics usually starts happening once you stop contacting your ex. When you stop begging, pleading, asking them to get back together. Until now, you have been providing a sort of comfort for them. Even though they broke up with you, they know that you are there for them. Waiting for them to change their mind.

So, in a way, even though you have broken up, they didn’t have to go through the pain of losing you. They never had to go through the grief. They never had to entertain the feeling that they might lose you forever.

On the surface, it may seem that your ex should be okay with the breakup because it was their decision.

But grief doesn’t work this way. When you lose someone you were attached to, you go through grief. It’s as simple as that. There is no way to avoid it.

You contacting your ex was making them feel like they haven’t lost you.

But when you stop contacting them, they panic and become scared of losing you forever.

The Toxic Power Dynamics comes from an Egoistical Mind

This is where it gets little bit tricky for your ex. They never expected this grief. They never thought they will feel so terrible after breaking up. Wasn’t the breakup supposed to make them feel better?

If your ex is in touch with their emotions, is self-aware; they will soon figure out that they are going through grief and they will be fine after a while.

But if your ex is the type of person who always needs to be in control, who always needs to have the upper hand in a relationship; they will do mental gymnastics to make them feel better.

She will do things to get a reaction out of you. She might do something to make you feel like you still have a chance of getting back together or she might do something to make you feel like she is already over you.

In both cases, her subconscious mind is trying to get a reaction out of you. It’s trying to get you to contact her, so she doesn’t have to go through the pain of losing you forever.

What should you do?

Ideally, you should just continue grieving and healing from the breakup. You should only contact them after you have done no contact and are sure there is still something there.

If you don’t play into this toxic power struggle, your ex will soon stop playing the mind games. They will eventually accept the grief and start healing themselves.

 


Infidelity, Here and Now

By Truth About Deception

New research highlights the latest trends in patterns of infidelity. Here are some of the more interesting findings:

  • People are more likely to cheat during the summer months
  • At a minimum, it’s estimated that cheating happens in 20-25% of marriages
  • Rates of infidelity are increasing the fastest among older men (thanks, Viagra).
  • Infidelity is the number one reason for divorce
  • Cheating is more likely for individuals who have a dismissing or anxious style of attachment
  • Growing up in a house where infidelity occurred increases one’s odds of cheating
  • Living together before getting married is linked to increased infidelity
  • More opportunities to meet people at work increases the likelihood of cheating

Source: Fincham, F. D., & May, R. W. (2017). Infidelity in romantic relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 70-74.

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Conflict and Attachment

By Truth About Deception

Couples don’t always see eye-to-eye. Conflict is certain to arise in every romantic relationship.

What matters the most is how couples approach and deal with conflict. Research consistently shows that one’s attachment style greatly influences how couples work through disagreements.

Partners with an anxious style of attachment are likely to:

  • Experience more frequent and intense conflict in their relationships
  • Blame their partners for disputes
  • Engage in a more controlling style of communication (make more demands, threats, and use manipulation).
  • Have difficulty letting go of issues

Partners with a dismissing style of attachment are likely to:

  • Downplay the importance and frequency of conflict in their relationships
  • Distance themselves from their partners
  • Withdrawal from conversations, limit their involvement, and curtail the discussion
  • Try to keep their feelings to themselves

Given what anxious and dismissing individuals bring to the table in terms of their approach to conflict, you can see how such a pairing leads to problems in a relationship. One person tries to escalate conflict while the other person tries to check out… and no one is happy with the outcome.

Source: Feeney, J. A., & Karantzas, G. C. (2017). Couple conflict: insights from an attachment perspective. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 60-64.

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The Benefits of Betrayal

By Truth About Deception

A partner’s betrayal can be a gut-wrenching, life-changing experience. Being betrayed by a partner can leave you feeling devalued and disrespected. And when your partner puts his or her needs ahead of what’s best for you or your relationship, it can also create a lot of uncertainty and confusion (“How and why did this happen to me?”).

While being betrayed can be a devastating experience, like all negative events, it also represents an opportunity for reflection and reevaluation.

A partner’s betrayal can force you to focus your attention on core principles of your relationship. Specifically, a betrayal can cause you to think about:

  • Your partner’s true goals and motivations. Do you and your partner’s goals align? Do you share the same values and want the same things out of life? A partner’s betrayal can get you to focus on whether you and your partner actually share the same goals.
  • How responsive your partner is to your needs and concerns. Does your partner take your perspective into account, try to make you feel understood, and show concern for how you’re feeling? A partner’s responsiveness to your distress is very telling. A betrayal can reveal just how responsive your partner is – a partner who dismisses your needs or who acts more defensive than concerned isn’t ideal.
  • A partner’s betrayal can help you identify your expectations and standards. How exactly do you want and need to be treated in order to feel loved, valued, and care for? A betrayal can help you articulate exactly what you want out of your relationship.
  • A partner’s betrayal can force you evaluate your relationship. Is your relationship worth the occasional pain and suffering? Does the good outweigh the bad?

While no one wants to experience a betrayal, a partner’s betrayal can motivate people to engage in a detailed evaluation of their relationship.

The core principles listed above are adapted from Finkel, E. J., Simpson, J. A., & Eastwick, P. W. (2017). The Psychology of Close Relationships: Fourteen Core Principles. Annual Review of Psychology, 68, 383-411.

 


Attachment and Hiding Online Activities with Others

By Truth About Deception

New research reveals that individuals with an insecure style of attachment – individuals who have an anxious or dismissing attachment style are more likely to engage in infidelity-related behaviors online.

When it comes to online activity people who have an anxious or dismissing style of attachment are more likely to…

  • Engage in intimate information sharing with others
  • Keep in touch with ex-partners
  • Behave in ways they try to hide from their partners
  • Hide online chats from their partners
  • Get angry and defensive when questioned about their online behavior
  • Believe their partners would be upset if they knew the truth about their online activities

Source: McDaniel, B. T., Drouin, M., & Cravens, J. D. (2017). Do you have anything to hide? Infidelity-related behaviors on social media sites and marital satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 88-95.

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