Part one: territorial signals:
People live, communicate, having relationships. And under the surface there is a war, a struggle. And the war is a territorial war. Almost every person wants to possess a space I : conversations, communications and interpersonal communication – larger than the one he occupies at any given time, and the larger is the space he occupies (in conversation, and communication – for example) – the more he feels better, more able, more connected to himself, more in control, more alive.
We are used in seeing the territorial aspect in the road; in the hostility between drivers, or in the war between nations and countries. And seems, from studying history, that almost every country which is going to war and wins, and is annexing pieces of land – then its economic and social state is improving as a result as a result of the occupation. Whereas the country that its land were taken from her – will suffer negative implication in the area of its inner function.
We know that countries expand as result of occupying pieces of land, but how does the personal territory of a person in a conversation – expands? Well, if occupying a physical space means an aloneness to expand physically, then in a normal conversation, expansion could happen indirectly, through non direct means, through signals which are not considered to have any meaning in them, but their effectiveness on the life of the conversing partners cannot be disputed.
The territorial space being written about here is an abstract space from the tangible and physical aspect, but is very tangible in the areas of psychic, the ego, the self-value, and the value of interpersonal relations.
There it is not only tangible and real, but its power and influence are like a roller erasing a hill. And our lack of awareness to the signs and signals that activate the ‘roller’ – are not taking anything out their amazing effectiveness.
Part two: how does it feel?
A person that gets less living space – feels less good, he has got less energy. It is like a person who gets half of the oxygen he was used to inhale, or an engine of a car that works on half of ita horse power, or a car that gets the engine of a motor cycle, or that the speed of surfing on the internet becomes slower; the effort increases and the effectiveness decreases. This is what happens when the nonphysical territory of a person gets smaller or limited.
A person who gets less territory, in relationship, from another or other people – feels impotent, limited, blurred, lacking brightness, superficial and unable to connect to his own thoughts, to clear to himself what he wants to say, to be part of the communicative dynamic which is around.
He feels as though he was thrown into a personal dungeon; he does not have the power he would like to have, in order to be expressed, respond, to actualize, communicatively, the full powerful potential which is in him.
He feels like a fish out of the territorial water of his dynamic with himself and others, he feels clumsy and stuck.
In this psychological and emotional level, it is like a person trying to walk with his legs and legs are tied with unseen chains, which allow him a limited freedom of movement, of one centimeter to each direction.
A considerate number of human communication is, to a large extent, is being done by people who use various means to enlarge their personal and intercommunication territory, and it is always done on the expense of the personal territory of others.
The psychological and communicative – is a limited resource. It is not, also, something inborn is a person, that one person has more than others, (by his very nature or his psychological structure) – it is a borrowed resource, or one that could be taken over.
When a person is with other people, his ability to take over control on the resources of space of other people – enlargers his own.
A person cannot enlarge his own space (or to lose some of it) when he is alone. This passage, from a contracted state of inner space – to an expanded one, from strong to weak, from disable to able – happens only through and by, the communication with other people. It could be said that the personal and communicative space of a person is in a stubborn and persistent negotiation, all the time and with every person that one meets. Anyone can take from him parts of his energetic and personal territory, and by that enlarging his own.
In regular and steady relationship with people close to us, usually, the territorial pattern is in the prison of communicative habits, and every new conversation falls to the same territorial patterns of the previous times. And God forbid if the one with a lesser territory will of a sudden will try to enlarge, even by little, the territorial volume in the conversation, the other, who has a larger territory, will respond sharply and even aggressively, (if not put the whole relationship on hold).
Part three: life in the territorial aspect:
In social and day today life, there is a great shortage in communicative living space. The territory in human relations is very crowded, and in them there is a wild and fierce battle on personal living space.
And the one who gets more space – becomes more free, stronger and more able; he can allow himself to manifest and happen, fully.
Expanding the psychological and communicative space – are not perceived or look like it, they usually, they usually hide behind rational reasoning.
There are kind of unwritten rules in this matter, for example, during a meeting or a conversation, a specific person would insist and would not give up his opinion, his view or his approach about a specific issue in the conversation. Apparently, because of very strong and logical reasons, when the real reason lays in his ability to bend the other’s opinion for the benefit of his own opinion, for if he succeeds, his personal space will be enlarged and the other’s space will get smaller.
The territory of the person who would not give up his opinion, will increase, and then he becomes stronger and more able. His dynamic will be more flowing, he would feel recuperated, and that his allowances in the conversation is greater.
People meet from all kind of reasons; personal, professional etic. But what determines the length of the meeting, and the feeling with which they are leaving the meeting, and if there would be another meeting, and how distant it would be.
And one of the reasons why someone wants to increase his rank at work and get a superior position, is that then his territorial domain gets larger, he can decrease the territory of worker bellow his position, and less people can decrease his territory; the cannot tell him what to do, to dispute and what he says. He is more autonomic, he has got a greater are of making mistakes.
It is important to stress again, that the advantage that a person has but expanding his territorial domain – is not in the technical and practical area of being able to do more (or something of that matter), but in that that now he feels that his existence, his being, his ability, his charisma – are growing and getting stronger in a proportional way to the increase of his territorial space.
What kind of life live those people with a large psychological and communicative territory? Well, they have a higher quality interpersonal life. They enjoy more, achieve more, flowing more, they are brighter, win in more arguments, it could also be said that luck is more on their side; things ‘happen to him in a more fortunate way; it is a kind of dynamic. It could be likened to a person in the sea; when his territory is shrunk – he falls under the waves, when his territory is a bit larger – he sweams with the waves, and when it is larger still he floats above them, and when it is even larger – he is surfing on top of them. He is riding and moving with and on top of the power of the sea. He is high above and can reach with it further away. And by ‘further and away’ the meaning is of his personal abilities, his feeling of himself as it is being expressed in relation to others.
There is no reception of a territorial space without a struggle. People will agree to the narrowing of their own territory by another, only if there is no choice, all have learned from life with people to fight on every inch or centimeter.
This subject is designing and influencing in almost every area, this is the most dominant and influential cause on the relations between parents and children, between a couple, between friends etic.
In the end, if a family remains together, if a couple or friends – stay together – it depends on their ability to arrive at a territorial status quo. If a person enlarges his own on the account of the other, he can maintain this superiority by convincing the other that it is worthwhile to him (despite the decrease of his territory) to remain with him. But the moment he would feel that his reward in this relationship is not enough for the territorial concessions he needed to make – he would leave the relationship.
Power struggle and control is more frequent amongst man, rather than woman, woman are not free from it, but in relationship they look more for a common denominator, the sharing and empathy. With it, the need for a territorial living space is an all human requirement. But man will go to a fight over territory more easily then woman, and their fight will be more bitter and total. The difference in this between them is not in the territorial struggle itself, as in the determination, the strength and frequency about it. For most man this issue is uppermost, whereas for woman it is an option.
Part four, characteristics and examples:
In order to be aware of this layer in human relations, there is a need to understand the territorial language, the territorial signals, to understand that the tools for territorial enlargement are: dwarfing of the other, raising the voice above the voice of the other, keeping a longer eye contact then the other, limiting the number of words that the other says (and making sure that you speak longer than the other), facial expressions of dissatisfaction when the other is talking, deviating eye contact (from time to time) when the other is speaking), expanding the body posture more than the other, the sharpness of the disagreement to what the other says, giving lees compliments, feedbacks and confirmation – than those that the other give you.
All of this signals has no relating too in the conversation, at all, but they are very effective subconsciously.
n illustration to this we can get when a person with a large enough territory enters a room; he will receive more space and more aloneness, he will be more allowed all kind of things that the others would not get; if other people will pass a criticism on someone in the room – it will raise an objection, but if he is the one doing that – it is accepted. He is allowed not to know, he is allowes to disagree. It is not that he thinks that he is allowed – it is the others which allow him the freedom in which he can do what he wants (more than those who possess a smaller territory). A boss is becoming a boss (De facto) only if the others are giving him the space in which he can allow himself more.
Another example; a lecturer is lecturing in a class in which there is lack of respect towards him; they argue with him, are buisy in drawing just anything in their copybooks, and look through the window. In the other class the students participate, listening with head nods, writing intensively –what the lecturer says, asking supporting questions. Technically there is no difference between the two class, but in one he gets a restricted space and in the other a greater space. And there is no doubt that in the class where he gets a larger territory he will be bright, engaging, flowing, exact and much more interesting than in the other class.
Another (curious) example is being clumsy, yes, clumsy, the one that could not execute simple actions, he drops things, get stuck in furniture, (he has got what is called: ‘two left hands’), he falls, get stuck in doors ectic. Well the explanation here is that he responds like that because he lives in an impossible narrow space, he doesn’t have the freedom to move freely, he doesn’t have the space to have coordination. And how is this connected? Well having sufficient living space allows inner peace, he is less being put into pressure and stress, and he has got more possibilities. A small space limits and therefore is stressful, and stress distorts his evaluation and his coordination, and from this – the clumsiness.
He is clumsy because when you are in a small territory you are unable to connect to your ability and capability.
Another example; one of the ways to restrict and confine the territory of another is by cutting him verbally in the middle of his sentence, the more times this is being done to him – the more his territorial space is shrinking. Generlly, it seems that the one who stops the other in the midst of a sentence – has something important to say and thus could not wait, but if we examine the patterns of their precious conversations – we would fing that whoever interrupted the other in what he says – before will continue doing that, with no relation at all of the importance of what he has to say and to the subject matter. The reason being, is the need to control, where cutting the other enlarges the territory of the one who is doing that.
Another example is the length of one’s speech; the more a person is taking for himself a longer time of speech and says more words (and also; how long is his speech and how many words he speaks) – so he is enlarging his area of control. The greater are the length of speech and the number of words –said, so the territory of one will get larger and of the other’s will get smaller.
Let’s focus on a common signal for the negation or contracting the territory of the other; criticizing on something or another that he says or does, (this is also depended on hoe extreme and sharp the criticism is) this can cause him to get mixed up, to lose his line of thought and to feel that he speaks nonsense, and this is not at all because the criticizer was right and that he was wrong, but because the signal which is being passed through the criticism is contracting the living space in which he functions.
And if the one who is being criticized is not willing that his territory will shrink – will fight, tooth and nails, to reject the criticism, and not because it is not right but because he refuses to give up his current territorial size.
Also there are other signs; who brings the topics for the conversation, and who’s topics are rejected by the other. Who is signaling that the conversation is over (‘ok. I need to go’), again if we will check the pattern of all the conversations between the two – we would find the all the time it is the same person signaling that the conversation is over. And the more this signal is being done in a sharp and sudden way, so the other’s territory will shrink accordingly.
Another example; two people are talking, and the more one side is expressing lack of tolerance and patience and the other will not express objection with the same strength – thus his territory will shrink according to the power with which those signals are expressed.
And now, sometimes the opposite is true, and what does it mean? All which was written above is valid only in the lower and average levels of status and control. In the higher status level, the person is using opposite signals of territorial superiority. Instead of using the many territorial signals that were mentioned before, he actually using them less than the average person… this is the level of the General in the army, or the senior executive. For example, he will say very little, will have very limited movements, will give very restricted response to what being said to him, will hardly make any eye contact, will speak very quietly. By not feed backing the other – he is decreasing his territorial space, he is making him small by not relation to him. And indeed, avoidance, or lack of relating, are the tools to enlarge one’s territory in the higher levels.
This means, in the general term, that in the passage from level to level it is reversed, instead of overpowering the other by more powerful and dominant signals, it is exactly the lack of response which decreases the other’s territory.
There few states at the end of a territorial struggle:
- One side is enlarging his territory on the account of the other.
- Stalemate, both sides are not giving up and they remain in a state of conflict.
- Each side accepts the end result of the territorial struggle.
In this essay we saw that behind normal relationship, or communication, there is a dark element.
The territorial element is indeed dominant, but behind the curtains, and from there it is the deciding factor about the future of the communication.
From this respect we are not different from animals, only that there the territorial aspect is physical, and exposed on the outside. With us, human beings, the territorial aspect went through various sublimations, and now it is in the area of the abstract; not accessible for the consciousness. It is very easy to live long life, not knowing that is was the territorial aspect that shaped the dynamic behind the relationship that those people lived.
The aspect being dealt with in this essay is indeed the dark side of human relations, but with it, the way to reach a reasonable quality of life with people – is not in ignoring the dark side, for in the end, ignoring something in us leads to its strengthening (out of our monitoring awareness monsters will grow), turning the light towards it, trying to understand its mechanism, trying to be aware to its existence we can harness it to our relationship, to channel it. Again, its denial only strengthen it.
Apparently, we are people of peace, coming to a relationship with open arms, but between us there would be war.
When a relationship are over, is hardly because love ended, it is mostly because the sword had won love.
We are at war with other spaces, the undercurrent of our way of dealings is of a fight for superiority, and this is the real state of affairs between us and whoever we meet. And the highly sensitive persons, and the fine and gentle souls – are the first to suffer from being force to live with a small territorial space.
A relevant essay: