Suzanne Says

Questions & Answers

May 2006

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Question: Sometimes in my day-to-day interactions with my partner we reach points of disagreement. Thankfully, I have been learning to 'let go and let God' with such matters so that I am not much emotionally tied into the outcome of my point of view. However, he does not embrace the same philosophy of life where he thinks to 'trust'. His automatic reaction is to get angry with me. If I do not agree with his viewpoint then he speaks out lots of irrational and typically 'threatening' comments to me, in an effort to get me to 'change my mind' to what he wants/thinks.

I don't know how to 'manage' this sort of behavior other than to 'turn the other cheek' and say nothing (because 'saying or doing anything' only adds fuel to the fire and extends his anger and 'argument'). However, I feel that managing his behavior in this way is unproductive. He stays stuck in his irrational beliefs about things, and it doesn't feel to me like this contributes to a respectful ongoing relationship.

I have learned to handle some of this by facing my worst fears and trusting God, so that if he should actually go ahead with the threat (which past history shows he would, if pushed!!) I know I'd still be OK. However, yesterday we came to loggerheads about an issue that I'm feeling I may not be able to back down on (let go and trust).

The 'sixty four thousand dollar question' then is, do you have any suggestions as to how one can best respond to irrational arguments 'thrown' in one's direction so that it is used to increase intimacy??

Answer: Your question does not have a simple answer. I am reading between the lines here and what I say may not fit. You may be in a potentially life-threatening dance. When your partner is violent or rageful and could physically harm you, you need to physically leave the scene. There is no reasoning with words when another is emotionally volatile and has been violent in the past when rage erupts.

If this is the case, then you need information about the abusive pattern that can lead to domestic violence. In short, the abusive partner explodes after attempting to hold back his/her anger. Little irritations began building and adding kindling to the fire burning within. Anger and irritation that is not dealt with, either within oneself through such things as meditation or journal writing or by discussion with a partner, friend or counselor, eventually turns into rage. Many people are afraid of anger, their own and other peoples’ so do not address it when felt and therefore repress it and deny it. This is the opposite of what is helpful.

When rage erupts, it is like a volcano, spewing toxic emotions onto others. Rage does not respond to rational communication as anger does. Once the spewing is over, the rageful person feels better and usually feels guilty for having targeted another. Many times he/she becomes over-accommodating, sweet, loving, affectionate, gives gifts and is on his/her best behavior. That is until the irritations begin building again. This is a cycle that is predictable and usually has a certain timeframe, like a week, two weeks or a month between eruptions.

If this is the case you have to ask yourself many questions like: “What do I secretly get out of this situation? How do I contribute to it? How does it fit into my past experiences, maybe from childhood? Do I want to continue in this dance? What do I need to get out or change the dance?” It is so hard to grow when you are in a closed universe and you need something outside of your frame of reference to take you to a level of awareness. Therefore, teachers are necessary! If your partner is not willing to grow, then you need to get help for yourself. Educate yourself. Begin reading, find a counselor, call a crisis hot line for information about domestic violence or visit and take classes from a women’s center or abuse recovery center in your area. Take the added inner time to listen to your inner wisdom. Remember, your happiness is not about whether this relationship lasts or not. It is about you figuring out if this relationship supports your growth and offers mutual support, companionship, caring, etc.

Now you may only be talking about rejection and pouting, in this case you can communicate with your partner. Approach your partner and open communication. Ask opening questions, such as: “I noticed you seem unhappy or upset. What to talk about it? Or, I am feeling like something is bothering you. When you keep it inside I make up things in my mind, so I would really like to hear what you are feeling and thinking.” Now the most important thing in opening communication with a non-expressive person is to keep quiet. Listen, listen, listen.

As an aside, what you are experiencing with your partner is similar to issues in the larger arena of the world. The same dynamics occur within groups that disagree and try to dominate others that have different viewpoints, using war, terror and violence to control others. As you and every other consciously growing individual works on the divisive fractions within his/her life, it adds peace to the world, which is a compilation of all of us co-creating the reality on this planet.





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