She says, “You are an idiot”! He retorts back,”You are impossible, I can never do enough to please you”. The conflict goes back and forth with each of you accusing the other of “men/women acting badly”. Who’s really to blame? Who is right and who is wrong? The answer is neither and both.
When couples are locked into a battle, both of you are responding according to what your brains are telling you to do. Protecting yourself from danger is a natural physiological response to the threat of harm. The “fight or flight” mechanism is a hard wired and natural reaction to the belief that another person is about to hurt me.
The reality is that neither is the problem, but both are ineffective and will not get you anywhere. As long as you both blame the other, you will be unable to break the cycle. When you can grasp that the real foe is your negative back and forth cycle, then you may have the courage to lay your “verbal weapons” down and cooperate to break the pattern.
When each person tries to change the other, the conflict pattern will become even bitter and more entrenched. The paradoxical truth- “as long as I try to control a person, that person will usually act the opposite from the direction of my intended control”, is as true as ever.
Giving up the blame game is hard! Stopping the habit of pointing the finger at someone you care about is counter intuitive. However, it can be done. Confessing that the negative cycle is the real problem is the first step to breaking the cycle and creating a new more positive communication pattern.