Losing Strategies | Ep #138

Growing up, we all take on behaviors that we use when our safety feels threatened.

In this episode, I will be covering five strategies we use to try to get back a sense of safety.

While these behaviors are common and we all participate in some (or all) of them at times, you’ll learn why they will ultimately not get you what you want. There may be a temporary feeling of “winning,” but in the end, we will be less connected with others, and usually less connected with ourselves.

Tune in this week to learn what strategies you buy into, and what it may be costing you.

To learn more from me, be sure to join my email list at: https://andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/

To work with me, go to: https://andreagiles.com/get-your-life-back/

Follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/theinfidelitycoach/

Episode Transcript

I am Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity
podcast, episode number 138, Losing Strategies.

Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.

Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in. Hi, everybody. Welcome back to
another episode. I apologize in advance. You’re going to listen to me
sounding sick through this episode. I actually feel much better than I did.
I’m on the tail end of a pretty bad, something, cold, something that
knocked me out pretty good, but I’m feeling better.

Just don’t sound so great. So pardon me on this episode, but I’m glad
you’re here. And as always, we’ve got a lot of great things to cover.
Before I dive into this week’s episode, I want to just share a couple of
things going on that you want to know about. For the month of March, I have
a special going on where if you join my signature program, Get Your Life
Back After Infidelity, there’s some different bonuses that you get. But one
of them is you get free admission to a live event that I’m holding later
this year.

It’s going to be a one day all day live in person event where you get to
come and get coached by me and get taught by me in person. You get to be
with other people, some of the people that are in your group when you join,
get to meet some of them, mingle with them. And joining in March, you get
that ticket for free. You get to come for free. So if you have had your eye
on this program for a while, now would be the time. Now’s the time to jump
on in and grab your spot so you can come attend that for free.

You can go to my website, it’s just andreagiles.com. Work with me tab. You
can also go to the show notes of this episode and you can follow the link
there as well. Anyway, today we are going to talk about losing strategies.
What are losing strategies? We all have situations where we just lack the
skill. We just lack the skill to know how to handle certain situations,
what to do. And in this episode I’m going to be talking about things that
we do to gain control, things that we do to try to feel better, that are
not helping, they’re sabotaging.

Again, we all do these things. We all do. We all have in many ways pretty
immature relational skills. Relational skills meaning our ability to be in
really healthy relationships with tools and skills and strategies that help
us become closer to one another, that help create more closeness, more
communication, more strength. Most of us just, were not taught this, so we
just don’t know. We don’t know. And so we do the best we can to try to fix
things in the way that we think will be useful to try to feel better about
our situations.

And often we are unwittingly making things worse. We’re not meeting to, but
we’re often making things worse by some of these losing strategies. So
we’re going to be talking about what these things are, but before I dive
into that, I want to tell you just some general things about relationships.
So right now I am in another certification. I’m loving it so much. It’s the
Relational Life Institute. It is led by Terry Real who has 40 years of
experience.

Terry has written some incredible books and worked with all the big names
in the industry. He’s made quite a reputation for himself, and I have been
drawn to him for a long time. I really love his philosophy on things, and I
decided to actually go through the process of getting certified in his
method, and I am loving it. It is rigorous, it’s hard work. Just this month
on Thursdays, I have a seven-hour class that I have to attend.

It’s live in person class where I have to do things that are uncomfortable,
like coaching with peers and leading, and it’s pretty deep. It’s pretty
deep. We have deep discussions talking about our own lives, our own
situations, but I’m loving it, learning a ton, and I want to share with you
this losing strategies is one of the things that we’ve been learning about
because we see it in clients and see how our clients try to fix things in a
way that seems good to them, or maybe it was taught to them, this way of
fixing things and it doesn’t work.

It actually creates more division. So one of the things that has been
hammered in in this training, and you will hear me talk about it a lot
because it’s been really remarkable, it’s been very helpful in taking some
of the ideas in my head and the truths that are in my heart and putting
language to things that I already knew, things that I already taught, and
it’s just deepening a lot of where I already was and I’m learning a lot of
new things too.

Okay. So one of the things that is reinforced again and again and again is
that the normal progression of relationships in normal healthy
relationships is harmony, disharmony, repair. Harmony, disharmony, repair.
And so many of us have an aversion to disharmony. We live in a society
where disharmony is very undervalued, where we look at disharmony with a
negative connotation. We’re very afraid of it. We don’t want to be in
disharmony. And we overvalue harmony.

We overvalue the peaceful times as if they’re more important, have more
weight than the times that have disharmony. And in reality, it is through
disharmony that in healthy relationships, we’re able to move to repair,
which is where real intimacy lives. Isn’t that fascinating? Real intimacy
does not live in harmony. Real intimacy lives in repair. Why? Because
repair requires vulnerability, truth telling, humility, really seeing
ourselves, really owning ourselves going, “Yeah, I can see how you would
feel that way. I will not do that again or I will try to improve this part
of me that’s hurting you.”

Right? That’s where we see the other person, where we understand somebody
else’s point of view, where we express ourselves, where we say, “This thing
you did really hurt.” Right? Where we’re able to share these things and
talk and come to a place of harmony where we are closer. And that is the
progression. And we put so much emphasis on staying in harmony when really
harmony is just staying at the surface.

It’s very surface level. And often in this harmony, often it’s not even
real harmony because there’s contempt or resentment that’s underneath it
that is unexpressed. So even though it might look like harmony, when it’s
at the cost of not being able to move through disharmony and repair,
there’s often under things going on underneath it that are just not being
shared. Okay? Okay, so let’s talk about losing strategies here. All right,
there are five main losing strategies that we fall into.

The first one is being right. I can’t remember even where I heard this, but
it’s something that I heard in a talk or something years ago where this man
was sharing a story about how he was complaining to somebody about his wife
and how he knew he was right and how she was wrong, and this person said to
him, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be married?” And it kind of
stopped him in his tracks going, “Oh, oh, okay, maybe I need to think about
this a little bit.” Right? So many of us get over defensive of what we
believe is right and we don’t need to.

We are all allowed to have things that we really firmly hold to and I
recommend it. I recommend knowing your mind on certain things and standing
your ground. But what we do is we get into these tug of wars or, “My way’s
a little bit better than your way” or “I know and you’re wrong.” We get
into these kinds of tug of wars where no one actually wins, where there’s a
lot of disharmony created and where people aren’t feeling heard. Right?

Part of why being right is such a problem is because we think that we’re
going to solve our differences by blowing through them, by proving to
somebody, and that if we can just prove through the scientific method that
our way is right and their way is wrong and prove our case, right? That
suddenly they’ll be on board. And the problem is that there’s not room for
somebody else’s point of view. Okay? Often it’s the way that we go about it
where we’re trying to convince somebody, where we’re trying to defend our
position or argue about who’s right, who’s wrong, and the problem is that we
can’t stay connected when we’re in that space.

Okay? We can’t stay connected. In that space, we’re often going into our
lower brain of a kind of a protective mode, which let me just say this, all
of these losing strategies are coming from a place that is trying to
protect. It’s coming from a fear-based, “I need to protect myself stance.”
And so if we are sitting there trying to prove that we’re right and that
somebody else’s wrong, it’s because we don’t feel safe.

And so we’re thinking that if we’re right, then we get to be safe, that
there’s some safety in it. And in reality, the safety actually is in, yes,
being able to stand our ground, but also being able to be in relationship
with somebody else where you can hear their point of view and come together
on that. Even if you end up not agreeing, “I respect you, I respect me,
this is where we land with this and let’s move on. How can we come back
together?”

Okay. But standing our ground and needing to be right, needing to see
somebody as us being right is a losing strategy. Okay? Again, it’s not the
same as there’s just things that we know sometimes. Right? There’s things
that we just know, and this is not to talk you out of what you know. It’s
about learning how to know what you know, while also holding space for
other people’s knowing, holding space for other people to come into their
own and not need to be right in order to feel okay.

When we really know something, we don’t actually need to convince anybody.
We actually don’t need to. We can know it and that can be enough. All
right. Losing strategy number two, controlling. Controlling involves
putting pressure on a partner to do or see things in your way. There are a
couple of different kinds of ways that we control. Okay? The ways that we
control are covert and overt. You’ve probably heard this before, but I want
to go through a little bit what they are. Okay? Overt control is very
blatant.

There’s no question what this person is trying to do, “You will do this or
else. This is the way it has to be or else.” Covert is more indirect. It is
manipulation. This is where you hear the term passive-aggressive, like I’m
not going to come say it right out, but I’m going to make these little jabs
so that you feel bad. And then I’m going to pretend like it was this
virtuous thing. I actually had something happen just this last week where
somebody said something to me that was very passive-aggressive.

It was an extended family member. I was very covert and I could see right
through it. It was a comment about me leaving my 2-year-old to travel. And
it was just interesting to see. It’s interesting to see why when people
don’t have the courage to just come out and say, “This is what I think, but
I’m going to make a backhanded comment here to try to tell you what I think
without actually saying it.” And this is a losing strategy because people
can feel it. Right? People can feel it.

It just feels yucky. Right? It feels yucky to have somebody try to control
you, whether it be by directly saying words to you or by making these
little jabs that feel manipulative, that feel like they’re agenda driven.
What are you trying to get from me? So often in the wake of infidelity,
somebody who maybe was not necessarily controlling before can develop some
controlling traits. Let me explain why.

As I mentioned, all of these losing strategies come from a place of fear of
needing to self-protect, feeling like, “I need to protect myself. I need to
look out for number one.” They’re coming from that lower brain
consciousness of protection. And with infidelity, for most people, their
sense of safety has been threatened. Their sense of belonging, their sense
of being a part of something safe has been threatened, and so it makes
perfect sense that you would do things to try to minimize your threat,
right? To try to minimize the fear that you feel.

And so for a lot of people, they might not have been this way before, but
can become quite controlling and want to really dictate how the recovery
process goes, exactly what the other person is doing, when they’re doing
it. Want to monitor all the things. Look at all the phones and the texts
and the tracking the car and all the things to try to monitor. And why is
this a losing strategy? In part because it puts so much pressure on you to
have to pay so much attention to this other person, keeping you in this
state of anxiety.

There’s so much dependence here on, “I only feel okay if this person is not
doing this thing” or “If he is doing this thing.” And there has to be a
shift. For real healing there has to be a shift back to, “Who do I want to
be? How do I want to spend my life? How do I want to spend this precious
energy that I have?” And no one likes feeling controlled, right? No one
likes to feel controlled.

We tend to lash out or shut down to control. Often our own losing
strategies can push another person to respond with their own. And this is
where we get into some gridlock, right? Of if one person is being
controlling and then the other person in a way of defending because they
feel unsafe, gets really withdrawn, which we’re going to talk about a
little bit later, it’s a no win, right? We’re not getting anywhere. We’re
not getting anywhere.

That is why it’s a losing strategy. Very understandable, right? It’s very
understandable, but it’s not going to get you what you want. So looking at
where you’re trying to control things, why? What is it that I’m trying to
feel here? What is it that I’m trying to accomplish? And is it working? And
are there other things that I could do that might work a little more
effectively? Okay, onto the third. This is a fun one, unbridled
self-expression.

This is a tricky one because we live in a time where self-expression is
very encouraged, right? Where this is my truth. You hear that expression?
This is my truth. The problem in this is that sometimes we use this as an
excuse to say whatever the heck we want. “Well, this is my truth, so I’m
just going to own it and say the truth and you can just deal with it.” This
often can come from a sense of entitlement like, “You owe me to sit here
and listen to this.”

Sometimes it comes with years of feeling pent-up, of having worries and
concerns that are built up, and so it can feel really good. “I’m just going
to vomit all of this all over you. Here you go.” And they may really back
themselves up and justify it by saying, “I just really needed to be
authentic. This is my authentic self telling you how I really feel.” Why is
this a problem? Because there’s no filter, because there’s no looking at,
“What am I actually trying to do here?

Am I trying to feel better and word vomit all of this stuff out, or am I
trying to preserve this relationship that I care about?” If you don’t care
about the relationship, by all means, it’s called losing strategies. Right?
If you’re not worried about losing, if you already are feeling like the
relationship is lost, it can feel really good to just say all the things
and not have a second thought about it.

But if you are trying to build something, if you’re trying to preserve
something, if you’re trying to get to the bottom, if there’s something
worth preserving, this is something to look at. One filter, I can’t
remember where I originally heard this, but one filter to run things through
is, is it kind? Is it true? Is it useful? Okay? Is it kind? Is it true? Is
it useful? Sometimes it can be true and it’s not useful. Sometimes it can
be useful and not kind.

Looking at that in that lens can be really helpful to just filter a little
bit. Now, I’m not saying that you have to pad what you say to make sure
it’s kind enough. Sometimes the truth stings. Sometimes really telling the
truth can be quite uncomfortable for the other person. So much of it comes
from where in you it’s coming from. What are you trying to accomplish?

Are you trying to create more intimacy by going, “I need you to hear me. I
need to say this thing. I need you to know the impact. I need you to hear
this.” Right? That can feel unkind sometimes, but if it’s coming from a
place of kindness in you of going, “The only way forward is to tell the
truth,” then I want you to challenge that and go, “Okay, even if it’s
uncomfortable for this other person, does not mean that I’m being unkind.”
Okay?

Unbridled self-expression is where we just say whatever we want. And we’re
oversharing. Okay? We’re oversharing. It’s a very kind of entitled place
that, “I’m entitled for you to sit here and listen to whatever thought
comes into my head.” Again, after infidelity where this comes up is that
from a place of hurt, from a place of pain, it can feel very justified to
say everything, everything.

While I understand that, while I have compassion for it, I do think at the
end of the day, we do have to live with ourselves. We have to live with the
kind of person we are, and we have to live with our decisions. And if we’re
trying to build something, it makes sense that we wouldn’t want to be
abusing in the words that we use, that we don’t want to not make any room
for any kind of connection or coming together or any kind of repair because
we are constantly verbally bashing.

There’s not a lot of room for connection. There’s not a lot of room for the
other person to go, “Now wait a minute, that’s not what that meant to me.”
Right? There’s not a lot of room there for that. So looking at how we are
expressing ourselves, I am all for self-expression. It’s just this
unbridled, “I can say whatever I want because it’s my truth.” Check in with
yourself. Is it actually true?

What are you trying to accomplish? Is it actually useful? Is it going to
get you what you want? Okay. All right. Losing strategy number four,
retaliation. I can’t tell you how many times I have had clients come and
tell me that they just want their partner to feel how painful it has been
for them, and they want to hurt them back. I get it. Oh man. Like, “You
have inflicted so much pain on me and I want you to feel it just for a
minute.

I want you to feel the pain. I want you to know what it feels like.” Right?
And we think that this is helpful because for one thing, it can feel
better. Right? “You hurt me, I’ll show you what it feels like so you won’t
do it again.” That’s it sometimes, “Just so you won’t do it again.” Now, in
this mode of self-protection, that might make perfect sense. It might
really truly make logical sense.

Like, “If I hurt this person the way they’ve hurt me, then they won’t do it
again, and so the fear will be gone.” Right? And that can make sense to
your lower brain, but when you’re looking again at what you’re actually
trying to create, it’s not going to work. Okay? Now, there’s a couple kinds
of retaliating that we do. One is very direct, very direct, defending from
the victim position.

It’s, “You hurt me. I’m the victim here, so I’m going to defend myself by
saying this thing that’s really hurtful, by hurting you back.” Right?
That’s one way of retaliating. Another is offending from the victim
position. Okay? Retaliation from that position can look like your spouse
saying something to you that was hurtful to you, so you sling one right
back. “Oh, you think this? Well, what about this? You say I’m not good at
this. Well, you’re no good at this.”

Right? That’s retaliation. Another kind of retaliation is more covert. It’s
like when we are out in public, you act embarrassed of me, and so I am
going to not hold hands with you. You did this thing, so I’m going to just
ignore you, okay? It can be more passive-aggressive. It is a form of
retaliating, but it’s not as direct as saying something mean or, “You hurt
me, so I’m going to hurt you. I’m going to throw this thing at you in
retaliation.”

Right? It’s a little bit different. Again, after infidelity, oh, can this
feel even good sometimes, right? Like, “I want to give you a taste of what
you’ve done and how bad it hurt. I want you to hurt as bad as I’m hurting.”
And you know what? It can feel like this desperation for them to get it.
Like, “I just need you to understand how much this hurt because if you get
it, then maybe you won’t do it again,.” And the problem again is that if
we’re looking at actually trying to connect with somebody, this is a
connection killer.

It can feel really good. We can really justify it. It makes sense, but is
it actually a strategy that’s going to get you what you want? It will not
because there’s no connection. There’s no understanding. There’s no coming
closer, there’s no intimacy, there’s no repair. The relationship will not
progress because there’s nowhere for it to go from this place. Okay? And
the last losing strategy, withdrawal. There’s many ways that we do this. It
can be physical, physical withdrawal.

“I’m not going to let you touch me. I’m not going to touch you.” It can be
verbal withdrawal, like just, “I’m not going to talk to you. I’m going to
stay away from you.” It can be psychological, it can be, “I’m just going to
wall myself off to you.” Someone can physically leave and withdraw or they
can go completely silent or they might withdraw kindness. They might
withdraw caring and just kind of go through the motions like, “What? What
do you mean I’m home. I’m here, aren’t I? What’s your problem? I’m here.”
But being closed off.

It can be over specific topics, different aspects of the relationship. It
can be over intimacy, it can be over the whole relationship. Okay? All
different kinds of ways that we can withdraw. There’s no way through this.
If we’re trying to get through disharmony into repair, withdrawal will just
shut it down. There’s no way through it, we’re just kind of collapsing.

We’re collapsing into whatever the problem is and not getting through it.
Okay? When we’re hurt, it can make sense that we want to pull away, that
we’d want to withdraw, but if our end game is to come out the other side
with some kind of repair, and you know what? This goes for people who are
staying in relationships or not. Some of you are leaving and it might seem
like, “Well, why does it matter?” It matters because many of you still have
children together.

You have things that you’re going to still be interacting with each other
with and learning to communicate in a different way is going to get you so
much further. It will be a gift to you that you give to yourself. Okay?
Now, all of us do all of these things at different times. Some of you have
one in here that’s kind of your go-to. Some of you might go right to
pulling away. Some of you might go right to retaliation or wanting to prove
your point.

“I’m right, you’re wrong and there’s nothing you can say about it.” Right?
We all have our go-to place. Some of us hop all over the place. Some of us
can see ourselves in all of them. Something about each of these is that
they can come to be by different motivations, different motivations that we
have. For example, withdrawal might be because we’re really afraid of
conflict or because we don’t trust or because we feel really hopeless.
Okay? That can be why we withdraw, because we feel really hopeless and
afraid.

Now, sometimes that same action of withdrawal can be coming from a place of
aggression where we’re trying to be punishing. It’s not coming from a place
of fear or of going, “I don’t know what else to do, so I’m just pulling
away.” It can come from a place of trying to punish and that crosses over
into retaliation. Right? So all of us do some of these things. We all do.
When we can understand and just buy into, “This thing that I’m doing, it’s
not going to get me what I want. It’s a losing strategy.”

When we can buy into that, what we can learn is what actually works. Do I
want to keep doing this thing because it feels good in the moment or do I
actually want more connection? Do I actually want to really understand
what’s going on here? Now, one really important point is that often the
person that we need to keep the connection with is ourselves. When we
withdraw, it doesn’t feel good for us.

When we have to be so rigid in our stance on something where, “I’m right,
you’re wrong,” it doesn’t feel good. It might be temporarily like a little
hit of, “Ha, look at me.” Right? Seeing somebody else squirm, it can feel
good maybe in a moment, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t feel good and
it’s not going to get you what you want.

You will likely end up disconnecting from yourself because there’s going to
be a part of you that knows that that’s not who you want to be. We can
recognize that, connect with ourself and go, “I understand that you’re just
trying to self preserve. Thank you for trying to keep me safe. Ultimately,
it’s not accomplishing what we want, so let’s try something different.” The
more you understand your losing strategies, the more you can speak to them
and go, “This is not working. It’s time to try something else.”

Okay? All right. That is what I’ve got for you today. I invite you to look
at your losing strategies. Where do you go to and is it getting you what
you want? And later on in other episodes, I’ll talk about strategies that
are more effective. Okay? Back to my program, Get Your Life Back After
Infidelity, in my program, something that happens all the time is that
people will come and ask for coaching and they’ll be in a situation and
they’ll play out for me.

They’ll tell me kind of what happens in these situations where they’re
butting heads or where they’re feeling stuck or not making any progress,
and I can spot where they’re getting in their own way, what they’re doing,
what they’re losing strategy is, what they’re doing that’s keeping them
from what they want. A question I ask a lot is, “Is it sustainable? What
happens if that does not change?” And they can see it. “Oh, nothing good.”
Right?

This is the kind of work we do inside my coaching program. I then help them
to find strategies that are going to get them what they want, that are
going to be winners, and then they go practice those things and they have
these huge wins where they’re creating more safety for themselves, more
connection, more safety in the relationship. The things that they actually
want, it’s hard to spot when you’re in the moment, and that’s what coaching
is for.

It’s my job to help you see it. It’s my job to go, “I don’t know that
that’s going to get you what you want. Let’s try this instead.” Right? Come
get yourself in this program. People are changing their own lives and
changing their lives quickly. This is for people who are ready to stop
being passive in their healing and in their fixing their relationship if
you’re wanting to stay instead of going, “Well, he did this, so he needs to
fix it.”

This program is for you if you want to be more proactive in getting what
you want, getting what you want, creating what you want, co-creating what
you want. And some of you will use this program to learn that you actually
don’t want to be with the person that you’re with, and some of you will be
able to find peace in, “Yes, this is what I want, and now I’ve got the
tools and the skills to back up my decision so I don’t have to keep
questioning myself.” Come join us. Come join us. All right, thank you so
much. So good to be with you, and I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.

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Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.

Why was I not enough?

Does this question torment you? It did me too until I learned that the actions of my spouse had nothing to do with me, my worth, or my lovability. Click on the link below for a free guide that will teach you the 3 biggest lies about infidelity and why they are keeping you stuck.

Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.