Episode 130 Withdrawal (1)

Withdrawing from a Relationship – Losing Relationship Strategy #5

Episode 130 – Withdrawing from a Relationship

The fifth Losing Relationship Strategy in this series is – Withdrawal.

When we withdraw from a relationship, we are disinvesting in it. When we are criticizing and fighting, we are still invested in the relationship. Withdrawal is a sign that we’ve given up and are no longer giving our energy to the relationship. 

Here’s a question you can ask yourself: Have I ever withdrawn from a relationship? How did I get to the point of withdrawing?

If you want to begin learning some winning relationship strategies, register for my upcoming class:

Healthy Relationships from the Inside Out

March 21, 11:00am MDT


If you don’t want to wait for the class, schedule a Strategy Call with me. This is a one-time introductory coaching call, not a sales call. We’ll spend about an hour discussing your issue and you’ll leave with at least one, probably two or three strategies to begin using in your relationship

CLICK HERE to set up your call

Tina Gosney is a certified life and relationship coach. She helps her clients strengthen themselves so they can survive and thrive in their family relationships, no matter what is happening. Strengthen yourself and you’ll strengthen everyone around you.

She is a positivity practitioner and is a trauma informed coach.
Visit tinagosney.com for more information

Full Transcript

Tina Gosney  00:00

All behavior is a form of communication. If we could really get into someone else’s mind and see a situation from their point of view, their behavior would make sense to us.

Tina Gosney  00:15

Welcome to the coaching your family relationships podcast, where we work on building a stronger you so that you can survive and thrive. No matter what is happening in your family. I’m your host, certified family relationship coach, Tina Gosney. Let’s get started.

Tina Gosney  00:36

Welcome to the podcast today. This is Part Five In a series of losing relationship strategies. These are strategies from Terry Real, who is one of my mentors, and one of my teachers, I think they’re so helpful to look at and try to pinpoint where we’re using them, because they will keep us from the very thing that we want, which is better relationships. I’m doing this series on losing relationship strategies, but I don’t want to just leave you with a bunch of losing strategies, I want to be able to teach you how to move into something better, I’m going to teach you some winning strategies.

Tina Gosney  01:14

And that’s why I’m teaching a class just next week. So it’s only a few days left to register Healthy Relationships from the Inside Out. We’re going to go more into depth and how we’re using these losing strategies, and how they affect our ability to get what we want, which is more peaceful, more connected, more loving relationships. That’s what we’re going to be doing. When I teach you how to move past all of these very transactional strategies that we all use, are going to start thinking relationally and not transactionally.

Tina Gosney  01:52

And in order to do that, we really have to look in sight of ourselves first, it has little or nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with what is going on inside of us. That’s why this class is called Healthy Relationships from the Inside Out. Because we don’t have control over what someone else does, right? We don’t have any control over what someone else does, or what they say. But we all are very powerful creators of what is going on inside of us. We don’t realize that we are we’re usually very unconscious to it. But I want to bring consciousness to what you’re doing. Internally, who you are being in a relationship is very important.

Tina Gosney  02:40

I’m here to help you develop those skills to be a person that is confident in your own skin. And confident in your relationships with others. Because whatever is going on inside of you is going to start coming outside of you if you’re feeling confident in your own skin, and about who you are and peacefulness about yourself, that will carry outside of you for sure. We can’t learn anything from our relationships. Until we learn what we’re doing. I want you to have the advantage of learning from what you’re doing.

Tina Gosney  03:17

There’s a link in the show notes, I would love for you to attend. If you can’t attend live, don’t worry, there will be a replay. But you will get more out of it live. And if you are live, you have the opportunity for a q&a at the end.

Tina Gosney  03:32

Today I’m doing losing relationships, strategy number five. And if you clicked on this, you probably already know that it is withdrawing, withdrawing from a relationship.

Tina Gosney  03:43

My husband and I have been married for a long time for several decades. And it feels really strange to even say that. But it’s been decades that we’ve been married. We were really young, when we got married were both pretty young. And we both had pretty poor, not pretty poor, very poor relationship skills, and tools. And we each had our own losing strategies. I’m going to be super vulnerable today and tell you one of my really difficult losing strategies is this one though withdrawal.

Tina Gosney  04:20

That first year that we were married and probably longer than the first year. I didn’t know how to communicate. I didn’t know how to tell him how I was feeling. I didn’t know how to tell him when I was upset or asked for something different or communicate what I wanted. I really didn’t have much experience at all. In talking through my feelings and through difficult situations. I was very avoidant. If you know attachment styles at all. You’ll know you’ll recognize that word I was very avoidant. That means I keep people at arm’s length distance because people to me did not feel safe and And if something went wrong, that meant you’re not a safe person, you need to stay over there. And I’ll be over here. And something always goes wrong, right? Something is always going to go wrong. We can’t just live our lives with nothing ever going wrong or never getting into any disagreements.

Tina Gosney  05:17

So when that would happen, I would shut down, and I would shut him out. This was less of a punishing and retaliation move. And if you, you recognize that as one of the other losing strategies, but this was not really me punishing him, it was me lacking the skill to be able to work out disagreements and problems. It came from my lack of tools and skills.

Tina Gosney  05:43

Well, I don’t do that anymore. I really try to see when I’m prone to doing that. Because I now have a whole toolbox full of tools. And I’ve worked on these skills for a long time for years now. But it was my go to strategy for for a long time. And it was very frustrating to my husband. I’m not going to say that he didn’t have his own losing strategies that were frustrating to me. But I know that this one particularly was very frustrating to him, because we’ve had several conversations about my shutting down and withdrawing.

Tina Gosney  06:20

Do you know who the Gottmans are? The Gottmans are the leading relationship experts in the country. They might even be in the world. I’m not sure. But I know at least in the United States, the Gottmans are the leading relationship experts. They have something called the Love Lab. They’re they’re located in Seattle, they have this love lab set up like an apartment where they have people come, couples come and they spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days. And they live in this apartment. And everything that they do and say is filmed. And the Gottmans are analyzing and looking at how they are reacting and and interacting with each other.

Tina Gosney  07:04

Well, they have done so much study in how we relate to each other that they can predict with I think it’s over 85% accuracy. I might be getting that wrong, but that number wrong. But I know it’s very high. And it’s over 80%. But I think it’s 85 or 90% accuracy. They can predict whether someone will get divorced within the next five years. Isn’t that crazy that they see is how we are using these losing strategies and in how we relate to each other. And they can predict what will happen in the future.

Tina Gosney  07:41

Now if you’ve listened to my podcast, there’s another episode that I did that has one of their tools, one of their concepts called The Four Horsemen, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, they call it because once we have these things into our relationship, it’s pretty it’s kind of a deadly sign. And this is the main one of the main things that they talk about are the four horsemen.

Tina Gosney  08:08

And those four horsemen are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. And stonewalling and withdrawal are pretty much the same thing. relationships don’t start off with a stonewalling each other, we don’t get into relationships. And immediately we start stonewalling or withdrawing.

Tina Gosney  08:30

We usually start off with some criticism, criticizing somebody or being criticized contempt, which is mean, which just means like, we’re treating somebody like they’re less than us. There’s something wrong with you. I don’t know why you any sane person would do this, you know that, that kind of that kind of talk and treatment in our relationships. And then criticism, criticism and contempt leads, one or probably both people to being defensive. And if you know Byron Katie’s work, you’re probably familiar with her quote of defense is the first act of war. So when we get really defensive, we are starting, we’re, we’re putting up walls and gathering our ammunition. And once we are defensive, it’s very easy then for at least one person to tune out and go silent and withdraw. Now I know my husband back then, you know, when we were first married, we had a lot of criticism and contempt going on. And for sure, we were both defensive. But because I didn’t have the tools to do differently, and neither did he. But I took it to stonewalling and withdrawal very quickly.

Tina Gosney  09:51

Withdrawing is disinvesting. It’s not usually a sign of punishment, because punishment means that we’re still invested in the other person. Withdrawing and stonewalling are signs that we’ve given up, we’re not investing in the relationship anymore. In fact, you can have anger, you can have fighting, you’re gonna have all kinds of contention. And those actually show that a person is still invested in their relationship. But when there’s an absence of those things, that’s withdrawal, that is disinvesting.

Tina Gosney  10:29

In their relationship in order to protect ourselves, and hold on to ourselves, if you could even put it into a visual form, it would look like big giant walls being built up around a person, maybe even, you could picture like a castle, you know, that has people stationed with bows and arrows, trying to protect them praying for trying to protect the castle, and you’re drying up the drawbridge, to protect yourself. That can be what stonewalling and withdrawal is, it’s a way of protecting, it’s a way of isolating.

Tina Gosney  11:04

And like I said before, it’s not usually the first response, it’s more of a protective move that comes after the other things.

Tina Gosney  11:13

All behavior is a form of communication. If we could get into someone else’s mind and see a situation from their point of view, their behavior would make sense to us. Often when we’re looking at someone, we can’t, we do not know why their behavior is the what it is. But if we are seeing stonewalling in our relationship, if we can begin to look at what is being communicated. It will give us a wealth of knowledge can give us so much information. And when we have information, then we start to get to understanding.

Tina Gosney  11:51

Sometimes stonewalling and withdrawing can be a trauma response. Now I am a trauma informed coach, I see my coaching through a lens of some very extensive trauma trainings that I’ve done. Trauma does not happen just when we have something big happen to us in our lives. We all have trauma, there’s big trauma, and there’s little trauma, everybody has little trauma. A lot of people have big trauma, but everyone has little trauma. We experience something that’s frightening, stressful, distressing. And our system just can’t handle it. And we shut down. And then we relive that trauma all the time. We get back into a similar situation, we relive that trauma without even noticing what we’re doing.

Tina Gosney  12:46

I began a few years ago, I began having what I recognize now as some trauma responses. Every time I went to a certain place. And this was a place that I went to quite often on a regular basis. I was noticing that day that I knew I was going there, I would wake up with headaches, I would wake up tired and sluggish. And when I came home from this place, all I wanted to do was sleep. And sometimes I would sleep for hours. When I was there, I would have trouble concentrating. I had trouble collecting my thoughts, and really concentrating and being able to just put together cohesive thoughts and sentences.

Tina Gosney  13:28

And when I was at this place, that I was experiencing these headaches and the tiredness and the foggy brain, I was withdrawing. I was like that castle with my drawbridge drawn up. And I would withdraw from conversations, I would sit by myself, I would sit at a place where I would hope that no one would sit by me. So I didn’t have time to have a conversation, I would sit close to the door. So that I knew I could get out quickly if I needed to. But I was withdrawing.

Tina Gosney  14:02

These are indicators of past trauma. And I’ve been working for several years now on my responses when I get into that situation, and I’ve overcome, say have overcome but I’ve worked through much of it. I know I still have to be very aware and in tune with what my body is trying to tell me when I get into that situation in that circumstance. Because trauma responses will take over your body, and often you don’t recognize it. I didn’t recognize that those things that I was experiencing were trauma responses. disinvesting in a relationship can sometimes be a survival trauma response.

Tina Gosney  14:50

We don’t always notice the difference between a trauma response and a disinvesting response because we’re just shut down right? I’ve coached people who are responding to their environment with trauma responses. And they don’t realize that that’s how they’re reacting. Usually people that have some trauma, whether they recognize it or not big T, little T trauma are usually very emotionally shut down, they still tell you like I’ve never really up and I’ve never really down, I just kind of live my life right in the middle.

Tina Gosney  15:24

Well, it’s really difficult to connect with a person like this. Because they’re guarding their emotions without realizing it. Sometimes they do realize that they’re guarding their emotions. But most of the time, I’ve noticed that they think, Oh, it’s just the way that I am.

Tina Gosney  15:39

And think about this, we connect with people emotionally. When someone isn’t able to connect emotionally with us, it becomes really frustrating to that other person, especially if they’re in a marriage or a relationship. Right, it becomes really frustrating for that other person to feel like I just can’t be close to this person that I love.

Tina Gosney  16:01

Now, if this sounds like you, I want you to go help seek the help of a therapist or someone who specializes in trauma. Just see if there’s something there for you just set up one appointment, and then go from there.

Tina Gosney  16:16

Now, when someone is disengaging from you, there can be so many different reasons for it. In fact, there are so many different reasons that could happen, that I can’t even go into all the reasons because it might vary from person to person might be such an individualized thing. But I do want you to realize that there are things that you can do someone is disinvesting in a relationship, and withdrawing from you. The first thing that we can do is we can ask ourselves some questions. What am I not seeing right now? How have I contributed to the situation? How can I take responsibility for what is mine to own? And then I want you to check in with your own criticism, contempt and defensiveness. In the relationship, get clear about what is in your control and what isn’t. Because if you are criticizing, treating someone with contempt and being defensive, that is in your control, it might seem like it’s not, but it really is.

Tina Gosney  17:19

So what if you are disengaging in a relationship? You’re the one that’s withdrawing? First ask yourself? Could this be a trauma response? If the answer is yes, go get some help from a trauma therapist. If the answer is no, or I don’t really I really don’t think so. Then I want you to check in with the safety that you’re feeling in the relationship. Are you feeling criticized? Like the other person has contempt for you? Are they being defensive? And are you being defensive?

Tina Gosney  17:49

We can check in with our body on these things. Because our body doesn’t lie. Our mind is very easily manipulated, but our body, we call it we call our body truth tellers. It’s a truth teller. It doesn’t lie. But when we ignore what our body is trying to tell us, and we’re super good at doing that, because we’ve been culturally conditioned to ignore the signals from our body. When we ignore what our body is trying to tell us. We will just keep reliving the same thing over and over again. I want you to ask yourself, why are you disengaging? Is that what you want in your relationship? Do you want to disengage? Sometimes the answer is going to be yes, I do. Sometimes the answer will be no. But let’s look at how you make decisions. And your reasons for them. I want you to know your reasons for what you’re doing. We don’t want to be unconscious in our choices, especially when it comes to how we are being in our relationships, we want to make conscious choices not go unconscious in them.

Tina Gosney  19:01

Now in the healthy relationships class, I’m going to go deeper into ways that you can manage your own thoughts and your emotions. And you’re going to leave this class with a plan to start working on it. This is not going to be the type of class where you take a bunch of notes. And then they sit in a notebook on your nightstand. And you’re like I don’t know how to do that. I’m going to give you an action plan. We’re going to have things for you to do to practice this. But until then, here’s one thing that you can do to get started on this. Noticing this strategy in your own life.

Tina Gosney  19:37

I want you to ask yourself, have I ever withdrawn from a relationship?

Tina Gosney  19:43

And then how did I get to the point of withdrawing is ask yourself those two questions.

Tina Gosney  19:51

I would love to see you next week at the healthy relationships from the inside out class. We’re going to move From a transactional relationship to a relational relationship, we’ll be begin working on that. There’s a link in the show notes. I would love to see you there. And here’s just a reminder that content consumption does not make changes. To really make the changes that you want, I want you to come to the class. There’s a link in the show notes. I will see you there.

Tina Gosney  20:27

If you like what you’re hearing on the podcast, and you want to take the next step, set up a strategy call with me. I offer a discounted coaching call for first time clients. This is perfect for you if you’re wanting to try out this coaching thing and find out what it’s all about. Or if you’re someone who has this one relationship issue where you feel stuck, you just need some help with it. The price for these calls will be going up in April of 2024. And for the first quarter of 2024. I’ll be offering 24 of these calls at the current price of $25. These calls will go fast and when I’ve done 24 of them, the price goes up. Schedule your call today before they’re gone.