Relationships Fail Because...Part III
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. Part II discussed Negative
Loops and expanded upon the example
provided in Part I.
In this article, there is an even more detailed example of a
Negative Loop, with an explanation of some of the possible
transference dynamics, based upon the underlying family-of-origin
assumptions. Please read Parts I and II before reading this article.
They should be in this same article directory.
Some people have a hard time conceptualizing not just what is
a Negative Loop, but how it manifests. Here's a more in-depth look
at one and a discussion of some of the "deep stuff" that emerges as
transference behavior. (The following is taken from another source
by this same author.)
"Controlling vs. Passive Aggressive. He wants to control things,
what she has, when she goes out, where she goes, whom she socializes
with, or whatever. She resents this because, well, who likes to be
controlled? However, he is more overt in his attempt to control her,
even though he might also be indirect if he resorts to manipulation to
achieve his goal. Either way, she feels the pressure, resents the
intrusion and sabotages the efforts, usually quietly, under the
surface, passively aggressively. He does not recognize her "under
the radar" ploys, but certainly feels frustrated when his attempts
fail to control her. So, he amps up the process, doing more of the
things to control her, thinking, more is better and "this time" it
will work. She is more frustrated because, well, who likes to be
more controlled? Her machinations, again, are off the radar screen;
that is, underhanded, out of sight, indirect. The result is that she
undermined his attempts again, probably retaliating by doing more of
the same things he did not like in the first place that motivated him
to try to control her. The level of intensity has escalated because
the side effect of acted out negative transferences is frustration,
hurt or increased anxiety. These feelings, once ignited, power
escalation. The result is that both experience an increase in
negative feelings because neither got what they wanted. Because
there is no insight into or control over the process, it quickly
gets out of hand. When this dynamic reaches "critical mass" one or
both parties act out in some other way. This can be bad. One might
resort to simple withdrawal. Either might start yelling, or things
could actually degenerate into a physical altercation.
The transferences (acted out deep stuff) are fairly predictable
and might go something like the following. He has gotten used to
controlling others. At some deeper level he expects this to be OK,
the norm, or just the way it is. He may have seen this in his
parent interactions, or he may have been the oldest and is used to
thinking of himself as the boss of younger siblings. He may have a
position of authority at work, and then comes home and unwittingly
treats his wife and/or kids like employees. He got this
control-others idea "somewhere." At this point, we just do not
know from where. In history, he might have gotten his way with
violence. If it works, it is reinforced and the tendency increases
to repeat the experience in the future.
She, on the other hand, has learned to "not make waves," but at
the same time not give up her personal power. She does what she
wants, resisting his controlling ways, only she cannot be
"found out." In her mind, there might be too much risk. She may
have had a controlling father who was critical, or worse, violent.
She may have had sisters that got what they wanted by subtly
competing, but again, "behind the scenes," i.e., manipulating.
She may be narcissistic and not care about what the husband wants.
Narcissism can be severe, as in a personality disorder, or it can
be mild, as in just being spoiled as a child. Again, she learned
this style of interacting with intimates "somewhere" and is acting
it out, more or less automatically, probably unconsciously."
For more a more comprehensive exploration of this topic, see
the ebook (Why Relationships Fail) by this author at: