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Repetitive arguments that never get resolved?

(39 Posts)
shey02 Thu 08-May-14 23:17:37

Does anyone in a long term relationship, have a subject or subjects that are sensitive for some reason... that when they get raised by either party, it all goes tits up, WW3, sulking and never gets resolved?

What do you do then? This happens in my relationship every couple of months and I feel like I never want to mention the issues ever again for the sake of our relationship. BUT, then... that itself seems to create a distance between us. So it's like either we have distance cos I think my dp is not there for me and I cannot talk to him or I take a risk and discuss it with him and it's WW3. How can I deal with poor conflict resolution? Or do I just say nothing and vent on Mumsnet...?

Lucelulu Thu 08-May-14 23:20:05

Absolutely the same.
No solution sorry but sharing the pain

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 08-May-14 23:23:07

Once a relationship starts to get no go areas for conversation I think it's got big problems and there's a risk of bullying being present. Sensitivity and consideration, fair enough, but you have to be able to do and say anything within reason and not avoid issues for fear of 'WW3'... Who is it doing the sulking, yelling and other intimidation tactics? Bet it's not you...

IFoughtTheLaw Thu 08-May-14 23:23:15

Raising the issues in an I emotive way long after the argument helped us

IFoughtTheLaw Thu 08-May-14 23:23:32

Sorry "in an unemotive way"

badbaldingballerina123 Fri 09-May-14 14:47:01

I think there's not much that can't be resolved if both parties are willing. In my experience when these repetitive arguments start to occur , it's not because there's no way of resolving it , but that one person is being controlling and deliberately refusing to see the other persons point of view.

I've had a similar experience and naively thought we had an issue about x . In fact there was a on going controlling issue occurring. Often they can resolve its, easily so. They just don't want to.

neiljames77 Fri 09-May-14 15:05:39

Yes. Snap. It was like fucking groundhog day.

badbaldingballerina123 Fri 09-May-14 15:39:52

Agree with groundhog day. I don't miss it.

I also think it depends what the issues are. For example I had toxic in laws and he enabled them. I spent far too much time trying to get him to see my point of view and understand how I felt. Each time he would get defensive and I'd be punished by either being raged at or sulked at. On and on it went , not because he didn't understand , but because he wanted to win. In his eyes if there was a dispute someone had to win and someone had to lose. And it wasn't going to be him. Like you I thought twice about raising it.

Eventually I simply snapped and said , I'm not arguing about it , next time x happens y will occur. X did happen and I did do y like I said I would. It didn't happen again. I think there's a time to give up on talking about it and start enforcing boundrys , and making sure that there are consequences when those boundrys are crossed.

Some people are like defiant toddlers. They don't respond to logical reasoning , or pleas to see your perspective . They only respond to harsh consequences and people taking matters into their own hands.

I think you are being bullied. You should never feel that you can't raise something or feel that you have to stuff your feelings down your throat . When this starts to occur a person is walking on eggshells. Why should you ? I bet he freely voices his feelings and your expected to listen.

shey02 Fri 09-May-14 23:32:26

Groundhog day lol! True, you guys speak alot sense and have said what I haven't really wanted to think about. A few people have referred to him as 'controlling', even he has made mention of it and sometimes admits to having anxieties and insecurites that make him act somehow irrationally. He likes to win, he likes to be right. He rarely apologises.

What could be resolved with a quick but genuine sorry, or in this case all I wanted was to vent a bit, share my burden, a shoulder to cry on if you will. Just for him to say 'that's really shit, you don't deserve that, I love you' and give me a hug or kiss or something. What could have been over in a minute becomes days of hostility from him, me feeling really low. Then he will be dismissive and I will try to engage him, then he'll bring the thing up again, I'll be low again then he'll be more annoyed because I put off seeing him. So I've already swallowed my pain, said sorry to him and he's still beating on! I give in because I love him and it's the easiest thing, the quickest, to get things back on track. But I'm developing a deep sadness about it I think. Sad because my original problem, has gone unnoticed, unresolved and then I'm the one who pushes it under the carpet for a quiet life. The original issue, my issue is gone, it's all about me attacking him. It's very difficult. It seems like he deflects a problem and completely turns me on my head (not literally!smile ) Trouble is you lose trust in someone if they do this to you too often. You don't 'trust' that you can confide them, because it becomes all about them, not you.

Re reading all your replies... think the problem is, I'm too weak. I guess I am enabling this, I need a different tactic.

badbaldingballerina123 Sat 10-May-14 00:00:48

Does any of this ring a bell ?

PeaceLillyDoge Sat 10-May-14 04:31:46

They sound like hard work. What is it that makes you want to stay with someone who makes you feel like that?

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 06:00:44

Hi shey my observation .. It sounds very (too) complicated, at least how you describe it, and Im wondering if you could pre-empt the conversation with something along the lines of "Im really frustrated and I just want a rant about x, y, z" then you could have your vent. Then when you've had the moan about whatever it is that is bugging you, you can end it by asking your DP for a hug and say thanks for listening and for supporting etc etc

In other words you are containing the issue within set boundaries, topping and tailing it so it doesn't spill over into other things.

What you describe here sounds like "paralysis by analysis"

So it's like either we have distance cos I think my dp is not there for me and I cannot talk to him or I take a risk and discuss it with him and it's WW3

Its really important to show your DP positive intent so that when you confide in him about what is going on inside your head. He doesn't sound like he's bullying you, more like he's confused and doesn't know how to handle your behaviour (not a criticism of you, shey, just that what you describe sounds like me in the past, before I learned to be more open and honest)

Does any of that make sense or help you any?

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 06:12:39

Rereading your PPs it seems that when you have your rant, its something that your DP is doing wrong, that you are annoyed about. Is that right?

If so, then yes you do need a different technique which is to be a lot more calm in your delivery of the message. Still topping the convo by saying you are frustrated etc, but keep it factual not ranty... And tailing it by saying you love him and you want to sort it out together etc

Another technique is mirroring, for example "Im not saying you never help around the house. What I am saying is I need you to do the washing up without me having to keep asking".

It entirely depends on your own communication style of course, you dont want it to seem like you are reading off a script but sometimes a few "set pieces" can be helpful if you need to keep it on track.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-May-14 07:00:54

I don't think you're ever going to get a bully to understand your point of view. Not if that point of view involves the bully having done something wrong or being expected to behave in a particular way. You've already been intimidated into bottling things up or caving rather than expressing yourself. That is very unhealthy and it's going to smash your confidence and make you ill

Suggest you say what needs to be said in future and then stand back and observe the reaction in as detached manner as you can manage. Then ask yourself how you'd respond if anyone else in your life.... workmates, family, stranger in the street.... spoke to you the same way.

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 07:30:06

Cog, it can be all too easy, and not always very realistic, to take the default view of laying all the blame on the man, call him a bully, controlling, "its all down to his behaviour". I also feel uneasy at how often the term Narcissism gets bandied around on MN these days, I saw the blog post from the link above and it sounds like a lot of psychobabble to me. . It seems to be the immediate response to everything nowadays, I dont think that does anyone any favours by putting everyone into those neat little boxes.

I think it is sure equally valid for the other half of the relationship to be honest with themselves and ask if they are in any way contributing to the situation and modifying their approach. It takes two to tango.

Sometimes, not always, the start of a crucial conversation can set the tone for the duration. If its just one big rant, then the message gets lost, the other person closes down and, as the OP has described, the situation does not get resolves.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got, as they say. Maybe worth the OP trying something different and also bringing her DP into it, not just the rant itself but explaining what she really wants to see if it unlocks their situation.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-May-14 07:36:44

'It takes two to tango' .... when it's very clear from the description that the OP is being shut down, shut out and expected to shut up is sheer victim blaming and it's dangerous. I believe women in this situation (in fact anyone faced with a bully) should be assertive, not trying to 'unlock the situation'. hmm

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-May-14 07:37:57

Even the OP's friends call him 'controlling'. Quote... 'He likes to win, he likes to be right. He rarely apologises. ' What's that if not a bully?

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 08:11:34

I beg to differ. I think bullying is a very over-used word on MN and it can be disempowering to women. Like we havent got a tongue in our heads to talk to our partner and sort things out. Just because someone likes to be right doesnt just turn them into a bully!

Actually you are turning the OP into a victim when I think she is not a victim at all. She has asked how she could change things which I think is empowering and good for her.

Relationships need patience and negotiation at times not just putting things down to the man being the bad one and the woman being the poor little victim

FabULouse Sat 10-May-14 08:20:08

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-May-14 08:20:17

I'm recommending the OP should be assertive in the face of this bully. I would never insult anyone by calling them a 'poor little victim'. hmm

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 08:21:25

Unlocking the situation is the alternative to just having a rant. I mean talk assertively, so probably we are in agreement, just using different words!

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 08:30:59

Ok I give up, I have tried to be constructive and explain my points but obviously not making any progress on this at all. i am trying to say the OP is not a victim and to encourage her to communicate. Thats all, but obviously it isnt coming across like that. Sorry, i am not helping.

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 08:38:18

fab ok so what do you suggest the OP does, Id be interested in your ideas.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-May-14 08:43:49

My ideas? I'd refer you to an earlier post.

Suggest you say what needs to be said in future and then stand back and observe the reaction in as detached manner as you can manage. Then ask yourself how you'd respond if anyone else in your life.... workmates, family, stranger in the street.... spoke to you the same way.

i.e. change the paradigm. See the behaviour for what it is and judge accordingly. Resist the temptation to make allowances because he's a partner or get sidetracked by woolly ideas of 'love'.

daisychain01 Sat 10-May-14 08:57:50

Sorry cog, I was actually talking to the poster called fabuLouse She was having a go at me for not reading the posts, when I did at least attempt to give some sort of input and suggestions. It isnt easy with some posts, there is probably a lot of back history, trying to work asynchronously isnt easy!

i do respect your opinions and knowledge by the way.

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