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Do you know the most damaging relationship dance?

It’s what makes movies fun and relationships miserable. The first time I heard about this dynamic I almost fell out of my chair. Had someone been spying on me? How embarrassing.  Now, years later, as a relationship expert, I know this common relationship problem ends romances, blows up friendships and destroys jobs. It isn’t pretty. But you can avoid it.

Find out if you are doing this damaging relationship dynamic.
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Which Relationship Style Are You?

Now you can discover your style and what it is doing to your relationships.
Find out what you are doing before you make a mess of things — like I did.

Bright Ideas For You

Here is The Push-Me Pull-You Dance, one of the Three Most Damaging Relationship Dances. The fear of abandonment is the driving force this dance. I first identified this dance while working with couples to improve their relationship. Whenever we would get on track, one of them would make a move in this dance, and suddenly, his or her partner would fall to pieces.

Because being left is such a primal fear, many people regress or take action without thinking when faced with the threat of abandonment. Once you understand the moves in this dance, you can be free of these highly manipulative, unconscious moves.

(I recommend you PRINT out this long chapter and highlight the behaviors you have used in the past. People who change fastest are those who identify their damaging patterns and review that information three times over a three week period. Go for it! You can stop falling into these dances, if choose to do the work.)

The Push-Me, Pull-You Dance

Like The Dance of Drama, this dance has three predictable moves that create relationship problems. The three moves in this dance are:

The Push Me- Pull You Dance Steps

The Dance Step:

The Behavior:

The Message:

The Abandonment Move

To Leave

“I Don’t Need You”

The Clinging Move

To Hold On

“I Need You”

The Rejection Move

To Push-Away

“Go Away”

As with The Dance of Drama, these roles can be played out in very subtle or dramatic ways.

As you look at this dance in more detail, see if you can identify:

  • Any ways you have played out these roles
  • Other people in your life who play these roles
  • Your reactions/feelings when someone else plays these roles

As you learn to identify this dance, you might be surprised at the many ways it is played out. This doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships. For example, I have worked with many parents who cannot tolerate their children pouting and pulling away from them. Because of this, instead of setting healthy limits, the parents give into their children’s demands. By doing this the parents are inadvertently training the children to manipulate by using this powerful ploy, The Abandonment Move. You will learn more about that in this chapter.