Crisis and Drama and Arguments, OH MY!

May 22, 2012

in Be a grownup, Change, None of the Above

Mimes romance drama © Dmytro Konstantynov | Dreamstime.com

I have observed couples who seem to need constant turmoil in their marriage. I doubt any of these couples would say they want desire the turmoil, but when you see it happen for months or years, it becomes obvious at least one is doing things to make it happen. Usually the other spouse enables or puts up with the drama. I’ve learned there is not much you can do for a couple like this, and they will drag you into the drama if you let them.

What I don’t understand is why individuals/couples do this. My bride suggests it is all about being the centre of attention – any attention, even negative attention, is better than being ignored. I see kids do that, so it does make sense – but really? Another possibility is the couple uses made up issues to allow them to vent frustrations and anger from relationship issues they are afraid to discuss.

Regardless of why it happens, it never gets anyone what he or she really wants. More often than not, it ends in divorce after many miserable years. Other times it ends in living together as little more than roommates who rarely interact. It can change, and a good marriage can come out of it, but only if one person decides they will no longer play any part in perpetuating the drama.

If your marriage is like this, please know it can change. Determine you will no longer do anything to create drama, crisis, or useless arguments. Decide you will gently and kindly refuse to participate if your bride starts any of those things. Supplement this by looking for ways to give your bride positive attention so she won’t feel the need to create negative attention.

The initial reaction to change is usually negative, even if the change is good, so don’t be surprised if your actions are received with disapproval. Just keep at it – fight for something better.

This post was inspired in part by a post on Seth’s Blog: The endless emergency of politics

 

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8 comments
Fred
Fred

Leslie, We talked last night and she was clear that she wanted to be able to talk to me at least for now. She expressed that one of the reasons she had not wanted to talk in the past or shut down was because she did not feel safe talking to me. I explained that I now see why she did not feel safe then I offered boundaries that she agreed would help her to feel safe. We had a small talk last night and it went good. So I feel we may be off to a good start. Thank you for your suggestions.

Lesli Doares
Lesli Doares

I've learned that couples often aren't fighting about what they think. One or both of the parties is at the issue level. Their values, expectations, fears, etc. have been triggered but they focus on the surface level event. Unless they are willing to go deeper, nothing will ever be resolved. Great post.

Fred
Fred

This post is perfect for the situation that we are in right now. My question is how do I get my DW to open up and start talking about the hurt that she tries to hide? This has been an ongoing battle for us. We’ve tried counseling, but she refused to open up and talk about her hurt. I prey there is a follow up to today’s post.

Fred
Fred

Lesli, you hit the nail on the head for us. It can be the smallest disagreement that can lead into a huge argument that can last days. How do you get the other person to go deeper? My DW even admits what she does, and openly says it is easier to deal with the fights, then it is to deal with the hurt, shame, guilt that she feels when she tries to talk about it.

Lesli Doares
Lesli Doares

Is she willing to talk with someone else about the hurt, shame and guilt? How have you responded in the past to these emotions from her? Is her fear of your judgment real or imagined? Also, she can't fight by herself. You are agreeing to fight, too. What can you do differently when these issues arise? How do you go deeper with your own issues? That's the path that will lead to a lasting solution. It's not an easy path but ultimately is worth it.

Lesli Doares
Lesli Doares

This is really tough. Unfortunately, you can't make her address something she is not ready to address. You can only provide a sense of safety by your behavior. Validating her feelings and managing your reactivity are great places to start. Letting her set the tempo of the conversations is another. Don't push, not matter how concerned you are. Many small conversations are often more productive than a few big ones. Seeing a counselor to help you navigate through this and be a positive support to your wife may be helpful. I wish the best for you.

Fred
Fred

At times I have not responded well when she tries to talk about it. She feels judged easily. Part of that is my fault, and part of it has to do with her issues. Last night I told her that if she felt that everything that I say is in an effort to hurt her or if I have hurt her so bad in the past that she cannot trust me then she should go and talk to someone else at least for right now. She responded by saying that she wanted to talk to me. Then shortly later she told me that she could not talk to me. I thought of trying to talk to her tonight. I want to ask her to please give me the benefit of the doubt if I say something that hurts her feelings. I also want to ask her if it would help if I only ask questions like “How did that make you feel?” or “Do you know why you felt that way?” Kind of like the consoler did. I’m willing to do what I have to for my wife, but we have been through this before. She will start trying to deal with things and when it gets painful she just shuts down and starts stuffing her feeling again. We have gone to counseling twice before, she said she was very comfortable with them but would still not open up about her deepest pain. That why I’m trying to find out what I can do to encourage her. We have been actively trying to deal with this off & on for 7 years. We have been together for 20 years, married for almost 18 years.

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