A quote online that has been confusing for me with my own communication issues -
"What we allow will continue. What continues escalates."
That is a variation but I was clueless - How can I control other people? How am I allowing or not allowing other people to do something? When you comply with something that makes you uncomfortable, then you are allowing someone else's choice to direct your actions - allowing them to control you and the situation. As a child I was taught and expected to be compliant and dutiful and be fairly quick about it too. Physical punishments weren't the control though, disappointment at not meeting very high expectations was the control.
My family speaks passive aggressive as a norm. I didn't even really know what the phrase meant vs "normal communication". That was normal for me, and I married into a family where it was also normal. The wife was expected to be subservient to the husband (and the children too somewhat in my ex's family). After reading more and watching my parents more recently - it is also about politeness for them and is tied to "love". It would seem rude to directly ask for something or state a demand. So there is an indirect description of some issue and you just have to work through to what their expectation is - if you loved them - then you would want to help improve their issue....or maybe you don't love them after all? It is conditional love when you feel approval is only issued when you comply with the unspoken expectations.
I had a codependent family upbringing with somewhat self-focused parent/s who may have had some childhood trauma issues of their own. Intergenerational trauma is a phrase to describe the issue of parenting or cultural norms leading to many generations of children who weren't nurtured growing up to have children that they don't know how to nurture.
A TEDx speaker, The Power of Zero Tolerance, Isabelle Mercier, TEDxStanleyPark, shares some her own childhood difficulties with a school bully, and how her mother's seeming betrayal when answering a phone call from the bully was just what the young girl needed to nudge her into standing up to the bully (over the phone) and saying "No".
Sometimes no is the hardest word to say because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or we know they can't really handle being told no or being told why you don't want to do what they want, or we may be scared the bully will do something bad. In emotional manipulation/domestic violence type of situations the bully may have custody rights over children or pets and may use them to manipulate the situation. Quietly packing and leaving really is the best solution generally, as the domestic bully doesn't tend to get nicer and signs of leaving or trying to, can lead to an escalation of harm or control and isolation tactics. Or the emotional manipulative/codependent person may increase the guilt and devaluing - How could you even think that?
What we allow, continues, and escalates.
Behaviors that increase dopamine levels can be addictive. Tolerance is built up to the last level of stimulation and an increase is needed to activate the receptors and get the stimulating response again - so what we allow, escalates as it continues. More and more stimulation is needed to achieve the same level of dopamine. Bully someone, get a buzz, next time the same prodding may seem boring and worse bullying is needed to get the same buzz/dopamine activation.
Choosing peace of mind means choosing not to worry about past or future and to stay focused on the present task. We can be more effective if less distracted. We can be more effective when we are actively choosing where we want to spend our time - being productive or worrying about missing a deadline? Being productive on your own goals or spending your time doing most of the household chores because the spouse doesn't help much and supports the children in not helping either.
Feminism was supposed to help women have more freedom and choices, but women still do the majority of childcare and housework. Single parent households are also more common, and honestly a lot of work - not ideal except that a bad relationship can be worse for children. Having allowed myself (though I tried to get more help) to be the family servant, my kids grew up with minimal housekeeping habits and skills. What we allow, continues, and escalates. When your partner has the philosophy "My way or the highway" - then the highway can start looking quite good and may be the best bet for your own peace of mind. Especially when their way is unhealthy and it makes you sick too, or they involve you in criminal activities.
It may be frightening to be on your own, but you get to listen to the radio station that you want.
The Topic page: Peace is Freedom to Love includes posts about trauma history and relationships, and recognizing gas-lighting.
Another helpful TEDx talk: Nothing is a coincidence. This is a sign: Yeliz Ruzgar at TEDxModaSalon 2014.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.