How many of you in relationships have been perfectly happy, life is beautiful, as is your relationship? You just feel good Then, out of left field, your partner gets angry at you for something and having a conversation about it is out of the question because he’s either yelling about it or he’s withdrawn and being as cold as he can manage to be, making sure you know they are being cold. And as soon as the happens, no matter how happy you were minutes before then, your heart feels like someone is squeezing it with a strong fist, your anxiety level ratchets up, you’re suddenly miserable. You may choose to fight until both of you retreat to separate couches, solving nothing, or you may decide to lick your wounds in separate parts of the house. But didn’t you even look down at your chest and wonder how your heart can feel pain that quickly, and how that pain is just devastating. You might do what you know you have to do as far as your obligations, but the entire time you’re miserable. Then, after the blowup where both of you get it all out and some, not in a good way, you makeup until the next time. Or, you snipe at each other until one up the ante by trying to make sure that their partner is really hurting because, at that point, at least one person wants to hurt the other. It’s not true that all fights are equal. One person is usually picked on, demeaned, or disrespected but soon the other will “bite” and the fight is on, and both are guilty of dirty fighting. How to stop it:

  1. You can’t prevent it from happening. You’re not doing anything wrong. If it doesn’t stop happening on its own, wearing itself out by virtue of the length of the relationship, then telling the demeaning partner you’re not going to engage in pleasant activities with them until they are enrolled in counseling more than once a month, and stick to it or it will be for nothing.
  1. You can usually see warning signs, facial expressions, tone of voice. Take that time to do something else being pleasant, so much so, the partner isn’t aware of what you’re doing but you’re diverting, going by yourself or with your partner to a different topic, place in the house, or activity.
  1. Get yourself into individual counseling. Couples’ counseling comes later. It’s too soon for that. You need a road map and some support. You need to examine your feelings before sparring in front of a marriage counselor, who won’t let you spar but can’t get you to talk about what you think if you don’t even know what you think or want yet. It’s also critical that you learn how to handle that “abandonment complex” when it begins because that’s what it is. An intense fear that the other person doesn’t love us, will leave us, will ignore us forever while they go on feeling perfectly fine.

With some work and patience you can learn to tame or at least control the choices you make around your complex, and perhaps even have a happier relationship if you can comfortably stay disengaged from what is negative from the beginning for reasons that are not the identified reasons. It’s just that sometimes people feel good being bullies. It gives them a burst of adrenalin, makes them feel strong. So your perception that they don’t care is really true at the moment. The more you’re able to walk away and truly busy yourself with something else until it blows over, the more times you will have stopped dancing with negative, toxic, energy.