Psychological Indicators to Avoid for Healthier Relationships at Any Age
Shaming in relationships is not new. It’s been around for generations. We’ve accepted it, talked about it, hated it, been indifferent to it, given advice about it, gotten counseling for it, pushed it aside, made excuses for it and more. We get a good laugh out of the occasional meme to poke fun at rejection and avoidance. “Hey, you’re pretty emotionally unavailable for someone who posts everything about their life in social media.” Wink, wink.
Emotion is a necessary element to decision making that many ignore. Leading us to believe we should be emotionless, lobotomized, and simply accept bad behavior because “catching feels” for someone in modern relationships is labeled as absurd. You’re safe in knowing, it isn’t.
But there is a rise in the acceptance of internalized shaming in relationships. It starts with the external shaming inflicted on a partner by deadly stonewalling and having emotions torn to shreds by shamers throwing stones at a glass house. While of course, in full armor to hide their own shame.
We are only as needy as our unmet needs. Let that sink in. Reactions negatively compound internally when we feel our most intimate needs aren’t being met.
So, unless you’re a masochist, looking to have other dine on your heart, you want to bypass the many red flags of avoidance behavior and intimacy shaming. Look for things that replace ineffective communication and attitudes with positive processes and outcomes. Avoid becoming enmeshed in the intimacy shaming phenomenon by staying away from these top three red flags.
Avoidance Attachment Styles
Studies show that younger generations are particularly susceptible to avoidance attachment. There is a tendency to shy away from monogamy or catching “feels,” partly because abnormal behavior in not showing emotions has become the new norm. Hopefully, we can grow out of this. We don’t compromise and shame others because it’s the best thing to do, we do it to avoid the actual problem. To avoid pain, conflict, and rejection. While there is a high susceptibility in those in their twenties, this has been shown to be a problem at any age with the right indicators.
Avoidance attachment style is what many refer to as being wrapped up in narcissistic behaviors. Narcissism is a notion thrown around in the mainstream if anything doesn’t go our way. However, using it to correctly identify avoidance behavior as something that should not be in your relationship, only adds to your emotional toolkit.
Let the avoidant type move on and find someone who likes being kept at a distance, doesn’t need intimacy, and gets the cold shoulder with attempts at effective communication. Because showing your own emotions should not be a death sentence to a relationship. Be aware of your own normal human attachment needs and relationship expectations.
Relationships aren’t convenient, and if someone is only around when it’s convenient for them, maybe you should avoid them like you would a tapeworm.
Character Assassination When Sharing Feelings
With increased digital aspects to relationships and a tendency to hide behind a screen for what used to be uncomfortable conversations or even breakup, it seems normal to take inner shame and deflect it on your “victim”. Assassinating the personal character of your current or previous partners feelings is a form of bullying. Instead of dealing with the issue, you create waves of personal shame when you attack a person’s character. It goes nowhere and solves nothing, other than to temporarily satisfy negative emotion. The shame circle is like the ouroboros (the snake eating its tail) it feeds a cyclical behavior while avoiding real feelings. It may be a temporary way out, but the long-term consequences to both the shamer and shamee can be long-lasting.
Creating self-adjusting behaviors or “defenses” to recognize and respond to these mini assassinations builds your resilience and your level of communication. Including self-awareness, being non-hyper reactive, applying your vulnerable side, and creating personal confidence and self-worth. Whether face to face or on our digital devices, the health of our romantic relationships depends on our ability to relay our human emotions. It also creates a higher level of relationship certainty and moves away from the psychological reliance on negative or attacking communication.
If someone continues to attack your character and personality rather than the topic of issue, this is a sign they need some assistance in emotional growth. Most of the time, this is something that they need to acknowledge and accomplish on their own. It’s like removing a band-aid from an open wound. Trying to “fix” this can increase your personal stress and emotional damage. Let them fly solo.
Increased Anxiety, Depression, And Drug Abuse
Acting like you don’t care is the B.S. of outdated books and game playing. It doesn’t do service to our lives. It has been proven time and time again, that behavioral patterns and responses come from a build-up of learned behavior from our childhood. It is also well known that making someone else responsible for your behavior and emotions tends to make you avoidant of your own emotional responsibility. This is where more self-shaming comes in and we seek escape in sex, drugs, relationships, and other addictions to avoid more anxiety and depression. Are you going for the morning after effect with cirrhosis inducing drunken sexcapades or creating more awareness of the shame culture?
So, what do you do when life overrides plans? First, are you being true to yourself? Can you really live an authentic life, without authentic people around you? The answer should be no, and things that may increase or trigger intimacy shaming should not be part of it. Ask yourself if you feel secure and if the actions of your partner (and yourself) are more consistent than erratic. Are your emotional needs important to your partner? Is this shown by their actions? The consistency of actions can help to eliminate anxiety and open a new level of intimacy. The repetitive notion that we are all inherently broken is becoming a broken record. The irony is, popular culture has accepted shaming a person and constant conflict in relationships is a norm. But in the end, words can really hurt you and lead to increased anxiety, depression, and addictive behaviors. Intimacy shaming and toxicity don’t have to be accepted, and you don’t need to suffer in silence. You can’t rush your healing, so don’t be afraid of what they say.
Emotional and mental exhaustion with toxic and damaging relationships has increased in recent years. We are biologically wired to want intimacy but have often accepted intimacy shaming.
Start cracking the shell of shame because you are ready to learn the lessons of the world. Even tougher, the lessons of ourselves.