Relationships Fail Because...Part II
In my capacity as an outpatient psychologist, I see problems
with personal relationships every day. In Part I of this series
of articles, I described some of the dynamics of these relationships,
focusing on the "deep stuff," the buried material that surfaces after
a critical time in relationships. One example of the dynamics was
given to illustrate the process. In this article, there is a
discussion of Negative Loops, plus more details of the previous
example are provided. Please read Part I before reading this article.
It should be in this same article directory.
"Deep stuff" is acted out most commonly in what I call
"Negative Loops." In my ebook, I describe it as:
"... what couples "automatically" (read, unconsciously) do
to each other that makes the other person worse, not better,
and is tied to unconscious expectations and assumptions
(transference). Here is a simpler explanation. These
transference ideas or unconscious basic assumptions dictate
our adaptive behaviors. They drive how we interact with
our partners. They are responsible for the patterns of
behaviors that we have manifested, usually for a long time.
Remember, in relationships, as we go through the stages,
transference phenomena gradually surface. They
increasingly color our interactions. If we have adaptive
ways of behaving, good basic assumptions, etc., the loops
we form with our (also healthy?) partner are reciprocally
supportive. If one of the partners has one or more negative
transferences, the relationship manifests this and the
relationship at least partially degrades. If two of the
partners have such negative patterns, the relationship might
When the patterns are mutually exclusive; that is, play off
one another to actually make what the other partner does
worse, then we have a Negative Loop."
In the previous article, an example of a negative loop was given.
To expand, "she" was raised in a "spoiling" environment and got most
of what she wanted with little effort when growing up. "He" was
raised with few material things and had to work hard to get the things
he had. Fast forward in time. Both are adults and these
"basic assumptions" now lie dormant. They meet, date and do not see
the deep stuff because of the whirlwind of their superficial
experiences during the beginning (stage one) of their relationship.
Then, as the rush of the relationship dies down, each sees more and
more of the real person, which includes, not coincidentally, the deep
stuff that now begins to emerge. She begins to hint that it would be
nice if she could have such and such, while he thinks, OK, maybe just
this one time. But it happens again, then again and she begins to
feel neglected because he isn't just jumping to get her what she wants.
She may get mad because he does not think to initiate getting her
things, even when she does not ask. Her underlying deep stuff is
transferring onto her partner, more or less automatically
(read: unconsciously). He, on the other hand, feels increasingly put
upon, assuming from his early history that "things" aren't really
necessary, so why should he or would he think of them so often, much
less give her some. Bottom line? He begins to resent her for being
spoiled, and she begins to resent him for being Spartan.
Both build resentment and over time because the basic assumptions
are increasingly thwarted when expressed. They mutually collide
because they each assume an opposite value or experience to be true.
Resentment continues until the frustration is palpable. Then one of
them acts out, usually with considerable anger.
More on the eight most common Negative Loops can be found in
my ebook, Why Relationships Fail. Part III will discuss another
example and classify the kinds of Negative Loops.