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The taker's 'defense power move': give even less, see the reaction

Imagine the following situation.

In a relationship, one side is giving more than the other, because they have more to give. This is perhaps agreed by both sides. Let's label them giver and taker, although of course in a relationship both are giving and taking.

Giver: (subcommunicates they don't feel appreciated and that they are giving more)

Taker: Takes an issue with that, and proceeds to give even less; to test the resolve of the giver.

Giver: Now they are in a difficult situation. If they accept the 'even less giving' of the taker, then they have lost a lot of power. If they stop giving, the relationship is going to suffer.

This is never explicit. It's subcommunicated with body language, responses to small requests for compliance, or even 'attention' (in time spent together).

If the giver resurfaces the situation, then the relationship becomes transactional, one where power accounting or value accounting is evident. That is not good for an intimate relationship.

If the giver stops giving so much in response to the taker's strategy of giving even less, the relationship goes to hell.

The taker can always blame being 'less giving' to personal circumstances: the giver has more to give.

What do you think the giver can do in this situation?

EDIT:
Note, the taker in this case takes the judge role from the giver. Initially the giver subcommunicates "you are not giving enough for me to stay" (judge role). With this strategy, the taker takes the judge role and 'calls the bluff' of the giver.

Lucio Buffalmano and John Freeman have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman

Hmm, I think you did a great job going from specific to general, LoF.

Only issue with that is... It's often more difficult to give any advice at the general level.

Some Ideas:

Beware the "open exchange talk", which is more for business

In general, it can often be a good idea to avoid any frame that might even suggest an accountancy of giving and taking.

Almost everyone runs that mental calculation, but almost nobody is ready to talk about it without feeling like they're dealing with a cold-hearted person and/or a bean counter.

Preframe & frame the open exchange talk properly

If you open that topic though, you want to give it a proper preframe of something like:

"I love you and want this relationship to flourish, and having this convo I think can help that.
(What do you think)"

Then keep repeating that line and re-enstating that frame as you have the conversation.

Including cementing and (emotional rewarding) in the end (there should be examples in PU).

Address the issue at the specific & detail level, rather than the overall give/take balance

Also, I gotta wonder: is there anything that may make you feel short-changed?

Is it:

  • Not enough time spent with you
  • not making up financial giving with gratitude
  • not making up your giving with affection / cooking / generally making an effort...
  • not being ready and willing with a "yes" as often as you'd like
  • being late, or inconsiderate of your time

When you know if there's something specific, then you can address that, rather than the full balance of give/take, which is often fraught with risks as per above.

John Freeman and leaderoffun have reacted to this post.
John Freemanleaderoffun
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Awesome response Lucio. You are right I didn't give enough detail (as I'm concerned this could be found in a public forum).

I'm moving this to a private part of the forum to give more detail in my answer.

I'm amused I've found @Alex  commenting on something very, very similar in that private forum:

Problem

I invest more social efforts in the relationship, and I am expected to do so (if I don't do it, or if I calibrate to the same degree of value she brings, she will start to grow resentful, passive-aggressive, stonewalling, and she won't be able to explain why she becomes resentful).

(...)

The problem is that I objectively bring more value to the relationship. In terms of finances, of social status, intelligence, physically, etc. I also have a higher SMV. I'm not giving more details, but I'm not making this up, she even told it to her friends and family (and I think deep down she feels insecure about it).

And she is doing a lot less for me that I am doing for her. That's what makes me think that expecting me to invest more socially is unbalanced, or can make me feel like I'm being taken advange of.

This is a similar way of phrasing what I'm facing. It seems to be a common pattern for TPM/PU alumni.

It'll take me a long while to make a post with enough detail, when I do I'll link it here. (I hope I can still edit it).

 

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on September 24, 2022, 4:52 pm

Beware the "open exchange talk", which is more for business

In general, it can often be a good idea to avoid any frame that might even suggest an accountancy of giving and taking.

Almost everyone runs that mental calculation, but almost nobody is ready to talk about it without feeling like they're dealing with a cold-hearted person and/or a bean counter.

I want to correct this.

The general concept holds.

However, you can do it.

And it can actually be very high power and leader-like.
Ind if you can bring that awareness to her, without making it seem like you're being nasty, then you gain a lot of leadership points, respect, and attraction as the "intellectual authority" (SU talks about this).

However, the caveat, you must do it well -not nasty or bean counting-, with conviction, and much, much better, while also keeping a win-win frame.

Also, it's possible to drop hints of the value exchange.

For example, at the risk of coming across like a blowhard, I remember once one girl complaining to me that I didn't do something that her ex supposedly used to do.
I answered: "yeah, but I'm a cooler guy".
She replied, "that's also true".

Sub-communication there was:

Me: (I can afford not to do that, the relationship is still better for you because you're getting more value just by being with me)
Her: (fair enough)

But because everything was implied, it didn't come across like a blowhard, value-taking, or just "crass" -which is the risk of open-exchange talk-.

If she didn't get it right away, then I should have gone into that open-exchange talk.

Once you embark on that kind of talk, it's crucial you stick to it, and "maintain frame", without apologizing or backtracking.

Backtracking, justifying or denying would mean losing much of your power and displaying the opposite of what you want to convey.

John Freeman, Bel and leaderoffun have reacted to this post.
John FreemanBelleaderoffun
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Very important topic, as we see it goes deeper.

Thanks to you both for this conversation, I'm learning from it.

I'm answering in the follow-up thread.

leaderoffun has reacted to this post.
leaderoffun
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