A Sign of Relation Damages
Withdrawal and avoidance – this is when one partner shows an unwillingness to get into or stay with important discussions. Withdrawal can be as obvious as getting up and leaving the room or as subtle as “turning off” or “shutting down” during an argument. Avoidance reflects the same reluctance to participate in certain discussions, with more emphasis on preventing the conversation from happening in the first place.
Invalidation is a pattern in which one partner subtly or directly puts down the thoughts, feelings or character of the other. Sometimes such comments, intentionally or unintentionally, lower the self-esteem of the targeted person. Invalidation can take many forms. One partner says to the other that their feelings (for example: sadness and frustration) are inappropriate. Invalidation hurts. It leads naturally to covering up who you are and what you think, because it becomes just too risky to do otherwise. People naturally cover up their innermost feelings when they believe that they will be “put down.
One party wants to be “in charge” of every aspect, thought and action of the other. One party makes plans for the other without discussing it. One party attempts to control the other’s values, ideas, friends, and nearly everything in life. Usually they us “degrading” and “invalidating” comments to maintain their control.
Negative interpretations occur when one partner consistently believes that the motives of the other are more negative than is really the case. The actions of one partner are interpreted negatively and unfairly. Research tells us that people tend to see what they expect to see in others and in situations. In distressed relationships, the partners tend to discount the positive things they see, attributing to causes such as chance rather than to any positive characteristics of the partner.
Escalation occurs when partners negatively respond back and forth to each other, continually upping the ante so conditions get worse and worse. Partners tend to say things that threaten the very lifeblood of their relationship. Partners often try to hurt each other by hurling verbal (and sometimes physical) weapons…or in other ways, such as degrading one’s favorite pet, or making foul comments about one’s parents.
Chronic distortions (and lying) about important issues someone in the relationship cannot seem to tell the truth very often. No matter what the facts show, one partner fabricates a story about nearly any event or issue in the relationship.
The bad news is that the presence of these behaviors in a relationship can indicate that it is in danger. You should probably make some changes.
Try the Relationship Dynamics Scale to find out how you’re doing with these warning signs…then learn what you can do about it with the following