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Your silence speaks volumes.

I have always been perceptive to body language and facial expressions, but never more so since my training in Transactional Analysis. Sometimes I wish I could return to the days when I could turn away and ignore what I see and find ways to defend against it. Those days are long gone.

As part of working with a client, I need to see these silences and nuances and address them. When having a dialogue, noticing what the client is doing with their hands, their body or the thoughtful quiet looks is important. Also noticing the facial expression as the retort, response or statement is shut off, and suppressed rather than expressed.

Now that’s absolutely fine in a therapeutic relationship, where the client has contracted with my to work through some issues and is paying me to do my job. I can take the risks and gently confront the silences, the discomfort and weed out what is happening. Once that’s done we can talk about what is real and unpick the reasons the client chose to suppress rather than express.

Now, in my relationships and friendships, the contract is different. In my immediate relationship it’s not an issue since my partner is receptive to questions about what’s real and not, and in order for our relationship to thrive, we will confront the discomfort to move on. But what about friendships. What about when you “know” that a friend is not being real with you and is holding back, suppressing their feelings around a subject.

Our ongoing problems with he who shall not be named (HWSNBN) is about to come to a head. We have known for several years now that it is not “us” and we have the support of our neighbours and friends. For a while we wondered whether it was a cultural problem, and now we know it’s not. It feels good to know we’re okay. However, on just one front, it’s patently obvious someone is judging us and coming out on the side of HWSNBN. One question the other day and then a silence that spoke volumes has left me with rather a sour taste in my mouth.

If my friend were a client, and we had a mutual contract, I wouldn’t have hesitated at the time to address the issue. However, my friend is not a client and me challenging the interaction puts the friendship at risk, and actually I can see would enter me into a Game. I have entered into Games frequently with this friend, picking up the gauntlets laid at my feet and the irresistible urge to pick them up overcoming me. I made a decision a few weeks ago to leave the gauntlets on the ground. So my dilemma now is, by not stating my case and expressing my need to be judged okay, I am still in the Game (effing Game I wanted to say). So, am I sitting here on the fucking Drama Triangle like a Victim?
I can see from my language I am now feeling angrier than when I first started writing. How do I address this without entering into yet another bloody Game which doesn’t change the outcome. My friend has been fixed for some time in the belief that we should roll over and be bullied.

Kathy hanging on to sanity and all that is good.

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About kathythesane

Lived in Kent, then Devon, now France. Trained as a Mental Health Nurse in Canterbury, then at Training South East (Sandhurst) in Transactional Analysis with Alice Stephenson (dec'd) , Suzanne Boyd and Mellie Lewin. Managed a Private Psychiatric Nursing Home for very mentally ill patients in Devon for 3 year before retiring to France in 2006.

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