There are several strategic moves when playing relational “Hide and Seek” that will help covertly hide your negative feelings. As you read through this list, you might want to check off the ones that are characteristic of the way you do relationships.
1. Deny your feelings of anger and frustration.
With this move, you just don’t let on when you are hurt. You say something like, “It’s ok” when it isn’t … or “it doesn’t matter” when it does … or “it’s not that big of a deal” when it really is. You turn the anger and frustration inward instead of expressing it at the person who deserves it.
2. Tell yourself, “In time things will work out on their own.”
Don’t take any action to resolve the conflict on your own because, who knows, it might only make things worse.
3. Have a lot of imaginary conversations.
Instead of going to the person and having it out for real, just do it in your head. You say what you really want to say, and then you mentally have them respond how you think they should. But whenever you see them for real, just keep smiling like everything is fine.
4. Expect others to read your mind.
Drop little hints and clues that might suggest that you are not happy and hope that others will somehow figure it out. Don’t sit down with them and come right out and say what is on your mind. That could be too risky.
5. Gossip instead of confronting.
All of that pent up anger and emotion has to go somewhere and since we’re too afraid or too lazy to take it to the person directly, other people are the natural outlet. And if we’re “religious” it’s really easy to do this by saying, “I have a prayer request about a problem I’m having with so-and-so. Let me tell you the situation so you’ll be able to pray more intelligently …”
By the way, there is a time when it is appropriate to say something like that but only under certain circumstances.
Those are some of the strategic moves in relational Hide and Seek. But how do you “win”?
– you meet your need for approval through deception.
You act like everything is OK, you don’t rock the boat, and you avoid the hard issues because you want everyone to be happy with you.
Well, that’s the game and it can get ugly. But there is hope for those of us who struggle with this relational pattern. There is hope for those of us who lie in bed at night and realize that most of our relational stress comes because we pretend in order to meet our need for approval.
There is hope for those of us who want to end the game, but first, we must admit the truth about ourselves, that we are masters of it and then turn from it. We must ask God to give us courage to say what needs to be said and we must lessen the value we place on what people think of us. Only when we do that, are there some things we can start to do differently in our interactions with those around us.
Tomorrow I will wrap this up with a few strategy moves to end this pattern that is in reality, no game at all. We are talking about real people with real lives. Many time these are some of the closest relationships in our lives.