Ever had a fight in a relationship and almost completely not know what it was about? Or, have you ever been in a relationship where you don't quite understand it, but you are fighting all the time? Ever been confused by the almost rhythmic flow of aggression that certain couplings can produce in you? Of course you have! And I am now your therapist. I have never trusted therapy. I didn't need Foucault to discuss the problems of speech producing problems in order for me to sense a sort of obsessiveness about the therapy pyramid scheme. In fact, I often tend to truly trust the ever enviable belief that you can simply forget things into oblivion. Forgetting, the anti-christ of therapy, is probably the best medicine. Out of site out of mind is not an adage to be taken lightly! Therapy tends to attract the narcisstic and the last thing they should be advised to do is to talk about themselves. Alas!
Nonetheless, here is some advice to all you wayward lovers out there. As a caveat, I must say that this epiphane was not inspired by Miranda whom I get along with quite splendidly. No, this epiphane was the result of a collective assortment of past cantankerous relationships that baffled me to no end. So, lets call this thought: the bicker board game.
I think that many of the cranky moments in couplings happen as people tend to get to know their partner more than their language skills can compensate for. That is: just like a drive home, or learning to drive a car, as you get to know something/someone, your brain learns more and more about them. And as your sly brain learns about things, it tends to know things faster than it can process that knowledge into language. Such that, it can read passive aggressive behavior faster than you can know it is happening. This means that you can read when the other person is already being resentful toward you faster than your language skills can cognate that that is what is actually happening. In the inertia between your brain reading the other person's signals of disdain and you reacting to them, while at the same time your conversation is only about the taste of this bad linguini, you are thrown headfirst into a vertigo of aggressive subtlety to which you have no command. You are outgunned. Outgunned by the lopsided nature of your brain!
Passive aggressive behavoir is bad news. It is a skill of the most cunning, but often what happens to people is that parts of their brain are more cunning then they are. That is, they are able to emit signals without fully knowing that is what they are doing. The same goes for reading them. Duplicity isn't just a technique, it can lead to a tactical schizophrenia. BEWARE!
What to do about this malady, o-my-patient... ? Well, I think knowing this useful bit of information can lead to a certain sense of sobriety in the heated moments of couple bickerdom. Another good piece of advice... if you fight with someone a lot, get out of that relationship. I have been in many and well, I think the ones I hated most were the bickering ones. Oh, the agony of living. That moment of public yelling at each other or being in a public place with someone yelling at you on a cell phone. The horror! The easy going ones are the best and often the reason we fight with people is not because there is something inately cranky about them, but that the dynamic between us results in bad mojo.. Our secret brains deceive us. We are passive aggressive in our dance moves!
This will probably be my only blog of therapy and with that sense of assurance, I hope that it has profoundly cured you in most of your travails of love!
-March 27, 2006