What is behind the silence of a passive aggressive husband? anger or sadness?
Why does it happen that good contact gets replaced by stubborn silence? and we just get silent treatment and sexless nights instead of the love we imagined? Is it work-pressure, lack of time or another love failure to account for this sad situation? Or is there another deeper reason?
The main factor to explain here is the hidden pact between the parties.As we are not educated in the ways of sharing our feelings and thoughts, there is complete inability to express oneself. We prefer to act out through walking out, compulsive activities, and refusing the contact that we imagine will bother us...
It has to do with the lessons of the past. Sometimes we imagine that growing up we can forget the pains of childhood, and turn the page and imagine the perfect life for us. It never happens, because our unconscious needs keep pushing and pushing for some level of satisfaction...Primal hurts caused by abandonment, rejection and lack of love fester for ever demanding we do something to heal.
Instead, modern couples hope in silence that their past wounds will be healed by marriage, while they don't know clearly how deep this hurt is, neither have they known how to express this repair need to each other. Is like two blind people dealing with each other without recognizing that they need obvious help first seeing and then communicating with each other.
Childhood experiences are usually packaged into a concept: what kind of attachment style did your experiences provided you? What I call childhood wounds, is more or less the condensed story of a failed attachment that left the person mostly resentful because left alone, or mistrusting people's intentions because he was lied to, or expecting the worst from the world and each other, because this is the only result that child abandonment recognizes. We rationalize those ideas as being "prudent," "realistic," or simply "being normal," when they are, in reality, condensed versions of bad, hurtful childhood experiences.
One very important point of our relational frame is that all the behavior prompted by the attachment model is unconscious. After so many years in which we tell ourselves that we have left our childhood behind, we tend to forget completely the experiences that made us as adults. So, we never deal with our hidden needs, because they are forever buried and ignored and when we want to face them, even the language we use comes short....
Even if both members of the couple would be ready to share their unconscious wishes coming from past frustration of their childhood needs, they can't, because they can't access the unconscious well of their primary experiences. The subconscious expectation behind the marital contract is that this other person will finally heal our pain. We don't remember this pain, but we expect our new love to guess and satisfy it...by magic!
The have forgotten the past, and only have the lessons of it as a vague mindset that prescribes for them how relationships "have to be" to make them "happy." They never realize this mindset is a strict cage where few options are allowed and fear covers the unknown dimensions.
Just for the sake of it:
Le's imagine we can make explicit this unconscious "real agreement" at the wedding:
I would be something like:
"Okay, Sally. I take you to be my lawfully wedded bride, to have and to hold, as long as you prove to be safe and never have emotional expectations from me. You have to manage my emotions in such a way that I feel happy and supported. If I don't feel always appreciated, I will blame you and be angry and never ask for anything from you, but be silent and rancorous for years"
"David, I take you as my husband so that you can give me what my mother never gave me: approval, acceptance and a sense of importance. Recognition wouldn't be bad either. By the way, I promise never to tell you what I need since I hide that from myself...if you are not able to guess, I will be full of frustration at everything ..."
And their marriage goes on and on around hidden needs, never solved.
Without knowing the weight of our hidden expectations from each other, we can easily feel again frustrated, left behind, and even rejected by the partner who is not delivering the expected relief to our childhood wounds. If only we ourselves knew how to express them!
We are all children having imperfect attachments. More insight into what are our childhood wounds, and what kind of balsam we need to heal, is necessary.
Imagine that you could be so brave as to explain to your partner what were the main areas you felt deprived of (was it recognition, encouragement, appreciation?)
Or perhaps you can look at the reverse: what were you given little of: (impossibly high expectations, but never a bit of appreciation; lots of nagging and never a thank you, etc.)?
Then, you could be so brave as to tell your partner: "For me, for this marriage to succeed, I need to hear frequently (daily?) that I'm valuable to you. Don't ever think that we can get away with no praise or recognition... because you will be depriving me of the nutrition I crave most. So, please, give me a kind word for each thing I do for you... up until my inner child feels secure and appreciated.
If this suggestion feels right to you, are you daring to act? Just now? If you do, you are a brave woman, and deserve more happiness!
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