Avoid dysfunctional behaviors; Never ask for help, Stockpile anger, be defensive, Use silence as a weapon, Pretend you don’t hear, Refuse to give information, Use threats, or make a statement in which you
Claim to be the only one interested in the relationship! Repair Relationships rather than Ruin them.
Anger; An outburst of anger is the act of expressing anger, often in an uncontrolled and sudden manner. An anger outburst can be exhibited on a smaller scale, like sarcasm or passive aggressive anger. Or it can be expressed on a larger scale, like yelling, shouting, slamming, throwing, hitting, or breaking things. Outbursts of anger often occur when people feel beyond their threshold of what they can tolerate, where they are “at their wits end” or they have endured their “last straw.” Often the angry person thinks that their partner is deliberately making them unhappy or is trying to hurt them, and they turn it into an issue of justice, fairness, and principle.
The receiving partner usually feels hurt, frighten, and worried. The outbursts can threaten the feeling of safety and security. Displays of anger do not create resolution or repair. Intentionally trying to hurt your partner can be very damaging and even abusive.
If you are prone to getting angry easily or tend to lose your temper, I would highly suggest learning some tools of manage your anger. This involves validating your feelings, learning appropriate expressions of anger, and ways of descalating your reactions. Anger is a healthy human emotion. Anger lets us know when there has been a violation, injustice, or when a boundary has been crossed. Anger can also surface when someone feels provoked, humiliated, or attacked. It is the way someone deals with their anger that makes it constructive or destructive.
By not asking for help you prohibit inter-dependency in the relationship. Inter-dependency is the mutual giving and receiving that increasing bonding and attachment between people. Over-developed independence makes emotional intimacy impossible. Avoid these behaviors that hurt relationships. Stockpiling anger is like going through daily life carrying a bomb. Think about keeping a short “list”…honestly take care of any anger is a respectful way on a daily basis. If negative emotions are held in, they stockpile and eventually blow up like a volcano.
The silent treatment can be a weapon. It is a very passive-aggressive behavior. If you engage in silent treatment you are with-holding love from your partner. You can say you are not ready to talk, and specify when (reasonable) you will be. You can state you are thinking the situation through and have nothing to say YET. This is honest, and brings the situation into relationship. The silent treatment ruptures relationship.
Giving someone the silent treatment involves shutting down, ignoring them, avoiding, and/or refusing to respond to your partner’s comments or questions. It can also be neglecting to talk or discuss certain topics that your partner might bring up. The silent treatment generally creates more hurt and pain. The partner being ignored often feels rejected and disrespected. Using the silent treatment does not contribute to any resolution. Sometimes partners use the silent treatment as a way to express disapproval or punishment, which contributes to the negative cycle.
If you are too angry or hurt to talk, tactfully communicate that you are not ready to talk. To go one step further, you could suggest a time as to when you might be ready to check-in.
Pretending you do not hear is something a small child will do. Choose not to engage in this behavior as an adult. End the conversation, suggest resuming it later, or remove yourself from the situation.
Being defensive; people are defensive when they feel on guard. They feel as though they are being attacked and/or are expecting to be criticised. When feeling defensive, people will deny any responsibility, avoid any wrongdoing, and are unwilling to look at their part. They are more focused on defending or protecting themselves then they are listening objectively and openly. When one partner is really defensive, their partner usually does not feel listened to or understood. Issues will go unaddressed and unresolved, and the conflict will continue to grow.
Being defensive takes many forms, but mainly it is the act of trying to dispute or refute your partner’s perspective. This can be done by contradicting or taking the counterargument. Playing “devils advocate,” pointing out mistakes, or providing evidence to debunk call all be ways of being defensive. Basically, it is taking an oppositional stance and deflecting what your partner is to saying or doing about a particular point or circumstance.
If you are able, really listen to your partner. When you feel defensive, stay with you partner’s perspective, even if you disagree. Try and understand what it is like to be them. Put yourself in their shoes.