Women in relationships are usually rather flexible, which allows for discovering diverse models of behavior. Generally, women can act one way or another depending on the situation, mood, and attitude to the man at this particular point in time. Still, the basic strategy can be traced. Phrases that they say often to men, actions that are peculiar to her - all this reveals the basic model of behavior that is characteristic of the woman.
The case of Maura can also be analyzed from different perspectives. First of all, the wide-spread models will be considered that usually lead to termination of relationships. There are five basic behaviors that initially are wrong: the one of sacrificial “slave”, self-enchanted lady, unhappy prude, caring mother; eternal daughter (Botvinick, 2008). Each of these images is used by women to care about the man, but instead results in negative reactions and sad consequences. Below each of the behavioral models is considered.
Sacrificial “slave”. Very often women have such relationships with men that they are driving themselves almost in the last place in the name of their beloved ones. They forget their dreams, their plans, focusing on the desires and aspirations of their men. At the same time they are doing their best to serve the man, allowing him to behave disrespectful to her and ignoring his bad conduct, fearing to be guilty (Ajzen, 1985).
Sacrificial slave can be characterized in the following way: she forgets about her interests and hobbies; gives up something of hers, if her man doesn’t like it; begins to do just what the man tells her to; stops communicating with those who are not pleasing to her lover; forgets about her dreams; tolerates disrespectful attitudes; is ashamed to express anger and any other negative feelings towards her man; often justifies partner’s actions to herself; sometimes apologizes for him to others, etc.
Self-enchanted lady. Another rather common pattern of behavior is self-charm (Goldiamond, 2002). Very often when woman meets a man, she attributes to him some of her hidden qualities, sometimes just invented, and gets charmed by them. They are all the more charming because she sees them and is fully confident that she will be able to reveal them to others.
When starting a relationship, she starts to work on the man improve him to shine like cut diamonds. But time passes, the man fails to shine, on the contrary, languishes in her eyes, turning into a similarity of male. The situation becomes more acute, there can be frequent scandals, abuse, quarrels, and relationships break down, disappointment comes instead.
Self-enchanted lady is distinguished by the following features: she believes that a man hasn’t reached something just because there was no right woman around, and she, certainly, is such; she is confident that she can make her lover a real man, if he listens to her advice; she selects only unfortunate men who are no longer able to help themselves; or those who have emotional damage and are not able to love and care; they patiently and desperately love their sinking-to-the-bottom men; and constantly give them advice and tips for improvement (Botvinick, 2008).
Unhappy prude. Another common practice is a story of poor prude. These are the women who are ashamed of their achievements, their knowledge, and their awards. Often it is difficult for them to tell their men about a raise at work or in salary, or about some personal achievement. They turn red with compliments and praise; tend to hide their knowledge in any field, let alone show them for their men.
Unhappy prudes usually: are silent about their achievements; underline their mistakes and shortcomings; often refer to themselves in a derogatory tone; are trying to get away from compliments; do not talk to the man about achievements; hesitate to demonstrate their knowledge, talents and skills; belittle their achievements.
Caring mother. Another popular pattern of behavior is a caring mother. Sometimes, women are beginning to overly take care of their lovers, like their mothers. They worry that whether he had dinner, took everything he needed to work, start to control virtually every step of the men. Sometimes they begin to take on the responsibilities of men, trying to express their care of the beloved ones. Ongoing monitoring and lack of opportunity to express themselves sooner or later drives men crazy. As a result, he begins to react to the caring mother somehow not as it was expected be her (Ajzen, 1985). He gets annoyed by once beloved woman, passion fades, and the desire to do anything with the relationship as well.
Caring mothers tend to: correct what their men say or do; remind the men several times everything; express dissatisfaction with the actions of men; refuse from help of men and deal with everything by themselves; control men; always do what men are able to do themselves (for example, prepare his clothes in the evening or collect his bag to work); persistently insist on receiving answers to any questions.
Eternal daughter. The opposite of the previous model is such a common pattern of behavior as eternal daughter. In contrast to the intrusive mothers, men usually have more tender feelings to defenseless daughters (Goldiamond, 2002). Therefore, this model is quite popular among women. When a woman behaves like a little girl, the man next to her is beginning to feel his importance, wisdom and strength. And it's certainly a good thing. But there is another side men do not respect these women. They will not come to them for wise advice or care, will not be with them to solve some important issues. After all, little girls cannot say anything of value, and are in need of care.
Manifestations of eternal girls are the following: they often refer to a partner as "daddy"; when they are afraid to say something, they change voice into childish; instead of anger shoot out lips and show resentment; tend to show their lack of understanding, even if they perfectly understand everything; always consciously or unconsciously create difficult situations in life, from which men can come and save them; upon hearing insulting in their address, they start crying.
In my point of view, Maura could get engaged in some of the models of behavior listed above, and she could not remember the negative events and feelings for some time, because her psyche defended her from the pain that she could feel based on this (Freeman & Dolan, 2001). As she has gone through the same pattern of behavior for many times, this defense mechanism of forgetting the unpleasant events was also necessary for her to start the new relationships and to go through the same pattern again.
1. Aforethought. At this stage, the person has no idea that he has a problem, or doesn’t seriously think about changing behavior. From the point of view of others, the problem may lie in the need to change the behavior of this person. At this stage, the person either simply does not have enough information, or actively resists receiving it. About 50% of people deny the existence of problem, the need for change and cannot openly seek for help. The person who recognizes the problem may experience self-doubt. It is very difficult to recognize the inability to fully control your life.
2. Intention. At this stage, people are beginning to recognize a problem. They are more prone to psychological disorders than people who are in the stage of aforethought, because they understands the need to change behavior. They are trying to understand the problem and begin to control life, starts to seek support from others. A person can start searching for information related to the problem. But often he is still not ready to start changing, because he has doubts in his abilities. At this stage, there comes analysis of the cost and potential benefits in case of change of behavior. Intention stage can take quite a long time.
3. Decision. At this stage, the person already has enough information about the problem. He is aware of the importance of this information to him. The process of understanding the capacity to act is in progress. People start looking for a way out of this situation and make a decision whether they will change the problematic behavior (Freeman & Dolan, 2001).
4. Action. This is the stage at which people change their behavior and the factors influencing it. Solution is implemented in practice. A person begins to feel confident, because he believes in the possibility of implementing the decision. Surrounding people also notice the changes and generally approve of it, which is very important. The stage of action is usually the shortest one, but at the same time the most important one.
5. Maintenance. At this stage the person is trying to consolidate the results achieved and to prevent relapse. He is working to develop and consolidate the gains, that is, his efforts are aimed at achieving an optimal situation. To maintain changes, the position of surrounding people is very important. If close people are helpful and favor actions of the person, the likelihood of recurrence is reduced. At this time, a person may experience fear of a possible relapse. Over time, fear weakens (Prochaska, DiClemente & Norcross, 1992).
6. Relapse. If a person cannot support the changes, relapse is a return to problem behavior. It can have serious negative consequences: people may lose faith in the ability to implement their own solutions, to influence the situation, and to control their lives. However, it is possible that he is able to return to the stage of intention and make another turn on the spiral of change.
This model is cyclic, and each person can leave it at any stage. The stage at which a person is serves as a key indicator of the possible progress: the further people move by the spiral of change, the more possible the emergence of positive results is. Thus, for the person to make a decision to change behavior, the main thing is to create a motive.
The process of formation of motivation can be divided into four main phases: self-confidence, development of which is necessary because without it a person is not ready to receive data; receipt and acceptance of information; a sense of competence; emergence of understanding of the necessary changes.
In order to help Maura achieve the desired changes in behavior, it is necessary to do the following:
- Motivation of change must come from her, not from the outside.
- Aggressive persuasion is not effective for resolution of doubts and contradictions that arise in a person with problematic behavior.
- She has to realize the contradictions of her attitude to the problem ("I would like to but on the other hand ").
- Readiness for change does not occur by itself, but is a product of personal experiences.
- Maura needs a safe environment to resolve her internal conflicts.
Thus, it is possible to solve Maura’s problems if she is ready to do it. For this purpose, it will be a good idea to understand at which stage of behavioral model change she is now and apply the necessary effort to help her move to the next change and at the same time to make sure the possibility of recurrence is as little as possible. It is also necessary to be aware of the possible ethical issues that can arise in the process of help with behavioral change, as the problems related to personal spheres, such as relations with the opposite sex require special care.
Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In J. Kuhl & J. Beckman (Eds.), Action-control: From cognition to behavior (pp. 11–39). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Botvinick, M.M. (2008). Hierarchical models of behavior and prefrontal function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(5), 201–208.
Freeman, A. & Dolan, M. (2001). Revisiting prochaska and DiClemente's stages of change theory: An expansion and specification to aid in treatment planning and outcome evaluation. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 8(3), 224–234.
Goldiamond, I. (2002). Toward a Constructional Approach to Social Problems: Ethical and Constitutional Issues Raised by Applied Behavior Analysis. Behavior and Social Issues, 11, 108-197.
Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change. Applications to addictive behaviours. Am Psychol, 47, 1102.