Ok, you did it again…you said some mean and nasty things to your partner.
Maybe you were rude and used put downs and said some things that were not true. You were just trying to get his/her attention right?
This typical interaction happens often when a partner isn’t being heard over a long period of time. It can lead to some serious relationship problems in the long term.
Your mean and nasty words are way of protesting the loss of connection. The need to be close to and depend on a partner is one of the most basic needs. If your partner does not respond, it sends a danger signal that you are somehow alone. Being alone can trigger you into a sort of panic. If this sounds familiar, don’t get too upset with yourself. Protesting is a natural thing we do when we feel that emotional disconnection. Protesting can look like complaining accusing, blaming, demanding, yelling, judging, controlling, clinging or nagging.
The trouble is your withdrawn partner wants to avoid difficult interactions in order to remain calm or protest the disharmony. That pleasing, defending, distancing and cut off behavior, although not apparent to you during an argument, is a way to minimize the conflict and avoid disappointing you. Withdrawn partners can look paralyzed, distant or even unaffected during a conflict. This is why you might turn up the heat to engage him or her. Withdrawing can look like reasoning, smoothing things over, minimizing, using humor, avoiding, deflecting, dismissing or even counter blaming.
All love relationships go through the steps of reaching–if there is not response, of protesting, turning away, emotional meltdown and then hopefully, repair and reconnection.
Do you see yourself and your partner in this dance?