Now that you have identified some of the Secret Warfare tactics you use, remember that they are standing between you and marital harmony. Find out how to eliminate them.
Eliminating your Secret Warfare tactics may not be easy. Besides the fact that these tactics have probably become as comfortable as a cozy pair of slippers, there are other reasons why you might want to avoid directly communicating your needs and feelings. For starters, women are especially resistant to stating their needs, thanks to centuries of conditioning urging us not to be assertive. The unassertive woman brushes her issues and the feelings attached to them under her emotional rug, but invariably resentment oozes to the surface through one Secret Warfare tactic or another. Secondly, if as a child you witnessed your parents' out-of-control arguments, you may have consciously or unconsciously chosen to swing to the other extreme and not speak at all when conflict erupts. Childhood abuse might also be at the heart of your silence in the face of conflict. If you were mistreated in childhood, you learned that keeping quiet was a way to survive (and avoid beatings or other forms of abuse). Even though you may consciously know that silence is no longer key to your survival, you may still fear your partner's reaction if you dare to speak up about what is bothering you.
I have given you some clues as to why you may believe that not directly addressing your conflicts is the safest course of action. You must remember, however, that Secret Warfare tactics keep you far from safe. When you launch sneak attacks on your partner, he becomes furious -- more furious than if you dealt with your issues constructively and in the moment. Losing your Secret Warfare Fight Traps and replacing them with healthy conflict resolution skills is your greatest form of protection from being retaliated against, as well as your only way to put a stop to marital conflict.
The following steps will help you say good-bye to your Secret Warfare Fight Traps:
1. The next time you are upset with your mate, let your observing ego come to the rescue. As I mentioned last week, the observing ego is a part of the psyche that can watch with an objective eye and prevent you from falling into old behavioral habits.
2. Allow your observing ego to assist you in identifying the particular Secret Warfare Fight Traps you are tempted to drop on your mate.
3. With your observing ego at full throttle, you can make a conscious choice regarding how you intend to handle your anger. You can either drop every Secret Warfare missile in your arsenal, or you can choose to resist falling into old, destructive patterns and introduce better ways of handling your angry feelings instead.
Now that you have vowed to say adios to your Open and Secret Warfare tactics, you will need to put alternate conflict resolution strategies in place. Tune in next week to learn more about the one skill that is the backbone of conflict resolution.
In the meantime, head to the Relationship Saving message board and share your experiences and stories.