Relationships Fail Because...Part IV
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 III delved into another
example and explored the likely history and dynamics behind the
transference behaviors. In this article, the last of the four in
this series, the aspects of Negative Loops are described.
Please read Parts I, II and III before reading this article.
They should be in this same article directory.
Negative Loops come in three classes or categories, which are
summarized below from another source, also written by this author.
The first category is the negative response loop (expanders,
constrictors, aggressive or passive aggressive). These are behaviors
that most superficially and visibly reflect underlying transference.
Examples include over-reacting, under-reacting, acting out physically
or getting even in an underhanded manner. We usually see these kinds
of behaviors first when examining transference phenomena.
The second category is the negative trait loop (controlling, avoiding,
superior, inferior). These represent more stable aspects or
qualities or patterns of behavior, often developed over time in
response to chronic stressors. These are more subtle and not always
acted out so clearly (directly) as the negative responses.
These aspects usually reflect deeper and more chronic and subtle
attitudes, that creep into behaviors over time. Last, there is the
"negative personality type loop (narcissistic, impulsive, even
antisocial). These are deep-seated, chronic orientations that
reflect the absence of learned behaviors. They are chronic and very
resistant to treatment. When these surface, most people run in the
opposite direction because the consequences of staying around such
people are usually painful, difficult and costly. Examples include
feelings of entitlement, acting without thinking and violating the
rights of others. Moreover, these groupings of behaviors and classes
of transferences are not mutually exclusive. There can be elements
of any, or all at play. Sometimes Negative Loops are hard to see and
require couples counseling. But one thing is certain, repeating
patterns like these are dead giveaways that transference is lurking,
probably not too far from the surface of awareness.
And to the last point; usually there is a primary Negative Loop.
This is what often drives couples into therapy. It is the most
visible behavior pattern or perhaps the most annoying. But there is
often a secondary loop that is less obvious that surfaces when the
primary loop comes into focus. For example, if one of the
Negative Loop patterns is "Assertiveness vs. Avoidant," there might
be a secondary loop of "I'm rich vs. I'm poor." In this sub-theme,
the assertive person confronts from a position of power whereas the
avoidant one avoids by spending to make up for feelings of
Lastly, almost all Negative Loop problems are couched in the
phrase, "We don't communicate." This is something that is discussed
in depth in the ebook, Why Relationships Fail. There is a
communication technique that exposes Negative Loops and another
refining technique that teases out the transferences, thus allowing
them to be resolved. For more information on this text, go to: