There are two main problems with either form of reactivity:
1. They don't work to get the other person to change. In fact, they generally create the opposite of what you want. Instead of changing, the other person feels controlled or rejected by you and then responds with his or her own overt or covert form of reactivity. This creates a very negative circle where both people feel wronged and are trying to get the other person to see what he or she has done that is causing the problems.
2. Overt and covert negative reactions end up making you feel awful. Anytime you react from your ego wounded self, you will feel badly. Your bad feelings are letting you know that your thoughts and behavior are not in your highest good — not in alignment with your true self. While the wounded self believes you have to teach the other person a lesson and not let them get away with their unloving behavior, responding with your unloving behavior only perpetuates the problem for both of you.
So what to do when someone is treating you badly? When your intent is to take care of yourself rather than control the other person, you can disengage without blame, and without taking anything personally. When you do this, you will feel wonderful, regardless of how the other person is acting, and the other person will be stuck with his or her own bad feelings. The other person will be much more likely to take responsibility for their feelings and behavior when you are taking loving care of yourself.
Practicing non-reactivity brings great rewards. Try it!
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.