Monday, August 17, 2009
Responding to a Silent Partner
When there is something that irritates your partner, you don't get any inking of his/her disgust. What you get is more silence than before...
Have you already learned to interpret more silence as anger?
You'd better do...your loved one is swallowing his feelings, ignoring and denying that there is a conflict to be resolved, and and in general withdrawing cooperation from daily life.
Perhaps you can see yourself excluded from some projects, no notice given, or find that there is no follow-through to previous projects...This is the time to ask yourself: could it be that he is angry as hell, and can't show it?
Scary as it can be, it's true that some angry reaction is brewing, and that is your task to bring it up to a level where it can be confronted and resolved. NOTHING will happen, but more hidden anger, if you don't step up to the plate and do something.
First, the self-care help: don't feel invalidated or criticized; maintain your self-esteem and think of the situation as produced by his non-existent skills at conflict resolution. It's not your fault, OK?
Refuse to match the denial and begin your talk about "our present concern" in terms of a shared responsibility. Offer a supportive mood: "we'll talk about it as soon as you feel ready" and keep being clear about the issue: "we both need to have a shared decision on this issue, because it's important to both of us."
And clarify your expectations: if this person has a way to discuss things with you, and this is a momentary situation, be encouraged and keep supporting. If he has not the disposition or habit to discuss things with you, and focus only on his hurt feelings, you can have a steeper battle in front of you.
Marriage is a shared endeavor, and we need talk to share opinions, ask questions, and decide issues. As much as your silent partner bails out from this task, and leaves you alone deciding things for the two of them, you don't have a husband but a dependent child. It's now the time for you to make that distinction?