Are You Experiencing Relationship Issues?
Relationship issues often take the form of a repeating pattern of interaction which is distressing to both partners and prevents emotional closeness and security in the relationship. The most commonly seen pattern is ‘pursue – withdraw’, where one partner often expresses emotions like anger and anxiety as a protest at the feeling that their partner is emotionally shut off from them. Other patterns are also possible.
Some key warning signs that a relationship is in distress are:
- Criticism – attacking your partner’s character, trying to make yourself right and them wrong.
- Defensiveness – seeing yourself as the victim, making excuses, not listening etc.
- Expressions of contempt – attacking the other through sarcasm, abuse, body language such as sneering or rolling the eyes.
- Stonewalling – withdrawing through silence, monosyllabic answers or moving away.
When these are present, the relationship has become stuck in a negative, rigid interaction cycle, where both partners experience high levels of negative emotion and both are unwilling to shift from their positions and accept influence from the other.