06 October 2019

Tampo! Filipino way of NOT fixing problems!

One of my pet hates, I have to say. The dreaded Tampo. And just learned a new word the other day which is "Sumpong", which seems much the same. Maybe some difference, but still fairly dreadful and inexcusable from any adult and certainly from a loving spouse.

tampo sumpong and sulking in Philippines with Filipinas
A junior tampo!

Tampo - What is it?

Most who understand something about Filipino culture understand that it's a fairly non-confrontational culture as a rule. Maintaining amor propio (self-respect) and not forcing another person to lose hiya (face) mean more than facing up to some unpleasant truths. In short, no one confronts anybody about their faults or offensive behaviour. They just let it go rather than risk embarrassing them. Tampo performances are no exception.

It's behaviour more common in women than men. It's seen as a bit unmanly for a man to have tampo. They are more likely to lash out at others under similar circumstances and have been known to pick up a gun when stressed! Another poor way of dealing with issues that could/should have been talked through.

Western equivalents are sulking and having a tantrum, although more acceptable in children and teenagers than in adults! More intelligently this can be referred to as passive-aggressive behaviour, where a person lacks the courage or the willingness to confront a person as to what upsets them and will hide behind pseudo-passive actions. But then, the Australian passive-aggressive usually has things to say whereas the tampo princess does not. It's the silent-treatment all the way.

Typical behaviour

  • Silent treatment
  • Locking themselves in rooms
  • Disappearing and hiding somewhere or maybe running away
  • Refusing to make eye-contact
  • Refusing to eat
  • Withdrawing from groups of friends, family etc
  • Resisting all affection and attempts to make things right

It is passive-aggressive in that it's most definitely meant to punish the offending party, and can be very cruel. Don't kid yourself into thinking that the tampo perpetrator is somehow a victim. It's meant to cause suffering and not to bring about a peaceful resolution. This becomes obvious if, say, the phone rings in the middle of a tampo and the tampo princess is able to have a normal conversation and then return to their "performance" straight after. If it was something the perpetrator couldn't stop, they could never muster up instant self-control under such circumstances to have a normal phone conversation, could they?

So if you have the misfortune to encounter such behaviour, you can expect it to last anything from 1/2 a day to several days. And when it's over, you can expect the princess to act as though nothing happened in the first place and they will expect you to do the same. Woe betide the husband who says "Let's discuss this so it won't happen again"!

Poor advice

The usual advice given revolves around non-confrontation, of course. Either suffer in silence and let them have their misery moment, or even worse is to be very sweet and malambing. Sweet gestures, and even going so far as to apologise profusely for absolutely everything even if you did nothing. Basically this means to reward her for awful behaviour and never confront her ever for fear of it happening again.

Sorry, but this is an offensive and barely-disguised act of aggression from someone who has done nothing practical to solve a problem. To punish someone who you claim to love by withholding/withdrawing love from them? What sort of $#!+ is that? Certainly not something that should be rewarded by malambing and undeserved apologies!

I know men who are probably a bit harder-hearted than someone like me, and they will say they don't mind tampo at all. Wife ignores them, so they get time to go fishing or something similar. Couldn't do it myself, but I have more understanding about that than to see a man take the coward's way out!

Communication in Marriage

I did an article on my business BLOG page about communication in relationships earlier this year. Haven't read it? Please do. CLICK HERE. One of my better articles, I don't mind saying.

If you're having issues with tampos and similar passive-aggressive behaviour, then you and your wife definitely need to read this. Very very different to the "Filipino way", which centers around non-confrontation because of fragile egos and "onion-skin". The method I describe?  Nothing I've invented or could lay claim to. I'm sure I learned about it under "conflict resolution" during university management studies. And it's largely win-win commonsense stuff that most people should be able to work out for themselves if they care about each other.

No one should bully anyone in a relationship! Not the loud-mouth aggressor, and not the sulking passive-aggressive. If you want to force your own way onto your spouse through fear, then shame on you! Utter shame on you! Trying to make your spouse suffer through loud aggression OR by painful silence and a withholding of love.....this isn't love! This is cruelty!

Adults should have self-control and self-discipline. Decent adults don't tolerate toxic behaviour from themselves which hurts the ones they love. Decent adults are tougher on themselves than anyone else ever would be. Decent adults will welcome and encourage their spouse to share their feelings and to tell them when their behaviour is causing hurt, and will do everything they can to change their ways!

The secret to a happy marriage isn't rocket-science! Just love each other! Express your thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, and encourage your spouse to do the same. And try to do more listening than talking. And try to concentrate on making your spouse happy rather than making demands on them to change. You will end up happier than you could ever dream!