Protest behaviours are ways of communicating. They have either been role modelled in your family of origin, or you have adapted them to stay safe in some way.
For example, you might have witnessed your mother get angry about your father’s behaviour, but rather than confront him, she might have sulked and been passive-aggressive. Maybe this was role modelled to her in her family of origin.
When you go into a relationship for yourself, against your better judgement, you find yourself using the same methods of communication; sulking, withdrawing, slamming doors etc.
Yes, it’s a form of communication. But is it the most effective form of communication? Do you get the results you want from communicating in this way? Are you likely to have your authentic needs met? NO! Because they are not being expressed! It takes courage to say what we need and why.
How can your partner know that you are upset because they didn’t call unless you let them know? Not answering their calls the following day and posting pictures of you with your ex on social media is ONE form of communication, but it is not a CELAR form of communication.
Communicating your need might sound like this:
“Hey, I felt worried about you when you said you would call last night, and I didn’t hear from you, and then I felt hurt. So I’m wondering what happened?”
“Ah, I laid down on the sofa and fell asleep. I’m so sorry!”
This kind of clear communication builds the solid foundation of a lasting, secure relationship. If you had unhealthy relationship behaviours modelled for you as a child, it might take a while for you to shift into healthy ones, but it can be done with a bit of patience and practice.
Wherever you are – be kind to yourself. It’s a big healing journey.
List adapted from Levine, A. & Heller, R. S. F. (2019). Attached. London, UK; Penguin.