Maybe your difficulty making a commitment to someone or something is really a fear of compromising. Maybe, you do not want to have to accept the compromises that are part of all relationships. It is more about perceived loss of freedom and personal integrity than the actual loss. It is also about the loss of control. Many people feel threatened if they cannot control everything completely. It is frightening for them so they avoid it. It can be about the need to win in every situation no matter what is involved or how trivial it may be. Winning and having it their way takes precedence because they have low self-esteem and any compromise is losing to them.
Compromise is a mutual agreement negotiated between individuals to satisfy their opposing or opposite needs and desires. Any negotiation can feel like a loss to some people. In order to reach a compromise everyone involved has to modify their demands and give up some control.
Learn how to negotiate and make small compromises by using a non-threatening technique. Use the number system. Assign a number from one to ten that describes an activity’s importance to you. Ask the other person to also assign a number to the activity. For instance, the question of dinner may arise. The other person may say, “Let’s go out to dinner.” Ask how important that is. The other person may say, “I’m about a 10.” “I need a break.” You can say, “I’m about a five.” “I had a hectic day. Perhaps, we could go someplace casual and come home early.” “Let’s plan on another day for a more formal dinner.” This is a positive, peaceful and productive negotiation. It eliminates the potential for upsets, arguments, resentments or disappointments. It is an open, honest and non-emotional means of communication.
Practice this technique with partners, friends and acquaintances. You will be pleasantly surprised at how satisfying and successful it is. It can be applied to practically every situation.
Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864, 212-308-0309.