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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.