The triple edge of avoidance: the ultimate weapon of control

Research has identified three insidious types of avoidance that cause psychological and neurological changes, as well as physical pain in you – even when your only involvement is witnessing someone not speaking up when they should. It will harm your dealings if you believe these are innocuous. It is important that you do not mistake them for the normal process of someone gathering their thoughts before communicating or being hesitant to approach conversations ripe for possible rejection.

A boss, coworker, family member, or a buyer or seller of real estate can compromise your well-being without you being consciously aware. Imagine these 3 edges of avoidance as dull to dangerously sharp. In all cases, research shows when you are desiring a mutually beneficial connection a period of silence beyond the time you anticipated for the interaction will cause you physical, cognitive, and psychological stress.

Slow Withdraw or Stall. Maybe you waited for a delayed returned text, you were stood up, or put off with a “let me think about it and I’ll let you know” that never came, or maybe you’ve placed an offer on a home and they indicated a more timely reply. The stress causes cognitive dis-processing, chaos, and confusion. It begins a cognitive decline in your ability to accomplish your objectives. Slow Withdraw or Stall causes you to question yourself and begin to adjust your needs and desires. You believe that you may have misunderstood, or are to blame for the lack of connection, or have done something wrong. You accommodate them to keep the interaction going. In a healthy relationship when you reach back out you will be met with a mutually beneficial re-connective response and a gesture of goodwill (even if only a sincere apology) to acknowledge their behavior.

Withholding. Delay. Bait and Switch. Maybe they missed an actual (or implied) timeline for communication or action. Perhaps they run hot and cold, intermittently or cyclically unfulfilling the same level of intimacy or commitment towards you that they did before; for instance, if you have an intimate relationship and they periodically treat you like you are in the “friend zone”, by being emotionally or physically distant. In a transaction, it can be they did not fulfill an obligation that is necessary to move forward to the close, or they acted assumptively that you will agree to a change of terms. This tactic keeps you hooked in the relationship while throwing you completely off-kilter. The result is more harmful because it causes you to question your perception, right to be heard, respected, and valued. It is a damaging form of gaslighting. It will cause you to be fearful about what you have done wrong, what you didn’t understand, and anxious about ” doing the right thing” or else continue to suffer, succumb to their expectations, or expect a greater loss of the relationship. The purpose is:1) to cause you to *engage more with them than they are willing to invest in you, appease them with an apology, or make a concession to your well-being by forgoing something of value to you such as money, your personal time, or time with other people, 2) to benefit them 3) in order to secure a ” return to normal”. In a healthy relationship attempts for reconnection will not require you to be in an inferior position, but the other party will truly be humbled by your graciousness to overlook their behavior. A word of caution: Reconnections and their gestures of goodwill to compensate you for their bad behavior can be penance to assuage their guilt and keep you hooked because they have no intention of treating you with respect in the future.

Stonewall. When actively trying to connect and putting in much effort by directly questioning their words or actions, to actively seek to understand them better, you are met with their blank stare, unreadable expression, sidestepping replies, and complete refusal to communicate. If they engage, you will be told that they will not engage in the direction of your questions, either because they have no answer or they choose not to, and you will get nowhere. This is ” my way or the highway” or the ” conversation is closed” response. Stonewalling can also be when someone has a **position/ability to stand in the gap to influence, call out bad behavior or to stand up for you, or another, but remains silent. This lets you know you are completely unworthy. Where you are loyal and committed to the relationship -either with tens of thousands of dollars tied up in an escrowed transaction, or with a friend, or spouse- it is devastating because you have no perceived recourse, satisfactory way out, or point of reconnection, and they have complete control. You stay trying to make every possible concession to connect completely on their terms and at their sole discretion. You are hostage, trying to figure out what you did wrong or why they are acting this way. A word of caution: when they decide to engage, you will find it is on their terms; you submit and be happy or else. Things may “return to normal” but will never be healthy.

In all cases, the controlling person will claim they have “done nothing” and can “remain blameless”. You have “the problem”– you are: too sensitive, impatient, your expectations were not realistic, or you weren’t clear on their expectations and you need to be more responsible to communicate with them, or put more effort into helping them understand; or they: ” find it hard to talk to you”, ” didn’t understand you”, ” that’s not what you said”, ” they talked to you about it and they thought you understood”, “you agreed and it’s now your problem if you didn’t take them seriously”, they don’t want to ” get in the middle”, or don’t think they would be received well if they tried, etc.

If you are not having these issues with other (normal) people, and you have reasonable proof that the avoidant person is not: 1) being coerced or forced to be abusive towards you, 2) experiencing an organic or drug-induced cognitive impairment, and if your attempts to connect has not resulted in a mutually beneficial re-connective response, understand that unless you leave and cut your losses, they will continue to cycle through these three edges of avoidance again. Only, you can let go. Count the cost to your psychological, neurological, and physical well-being and be the wiser.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing the tactics of avoidance, circumvent the level of detriment to you by seeking the counsel of two to three trusted advisors, who can intervene in your cognitive confusion by helping to establish the cause. Be careful if you are isolated from advisors and if your attempts to reconnect don’t feel quite right, or especially if you are experiencing much confusion. These tactics are not based on reflection, a threat of you rejecting them, or feeling inadequate to express themselves to you. This is manipulation. They are taking control of your thoughts and feelings by putting your focus on themselves.

They are not the victim. Provided they have free will, they had an equal responsibility to communicate and a hidden reason for not doing so. You can let go, count the cost to your psychological, neurological, and physical well-being and be the wiser.

negotiation and divorce card

If you desire to be a seller or buyer of real estate, always employ a professional who understands the tactics manipulation, and strategies of negotiation to give you invaluable insight into negotiating a contract for sale and purchase.

L.Alexia Clemens, Broker of White Brick Real Estate
Certified Negotiations Expert (CNE) & Real Estate Collaboration Specialist- Divorce ( RCS-D)


#HeyAlexia #HeyAlexa #TacticalNegotiation #RealEstateRelationships #WhiteBrickRe #WhiteBrickRealEstate

*When you feel you must apologize, or put aside something that is of value to you in order to submit/ benefit the relationship, doing so is not productive, but only confirms and reinforces their behavior. I recommend if you do, do so strategically to minimize your loss, and as a test to see if they adjust their long-term behavior ** Sometimes someone has a position but no authority to influence. When someone has no control over what the other is doing, they may not be able to intervene. Recognize this, do not trust that they will help, and instead, seek other trusted advisors for assistance.