Home Couples & Family Psychology Developmental LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XI. STORMING IN AN ENDURING RELATIONSHIP

LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XI. STORMING IN AN ENDURING RELATIONSHIP

86 min read
0
0
151

Punctuation

Paul Watzlawick and his associates identified a third axiom in all relationships that tends to be essential in initiation, continuation and ultimately resolution of conflicts. This feature, called “punctuation”, refers to the assignment of one-way causality to a sequence of events or behaviors.

Typically, when we are assigning blame we assume that the other person took some action (or didn’t take some action) that caused us to feel a certain way — or act in a certain manner. Our partner in the relationship is likely to identify a different event or behavior that started things off in a conflictual manner and led to our current predicament. What one partner perceives to be their justifiable -response to a stimulus evoked by the other partner, may just as accurately be perceived by the other as a stimulus to their own subsequent response in a spiraling chain of events.

Delores and Bart’s interactions illustrate this phenomenon. Punctuation plays an important role in ongoing conflicts regarding Delores’s dramatic outbursts. Delores and Bart agree that Delores’ personality tends toward the volatile. She is often loud and demonstrative. Her feelings are very much on the surface. By contrast, Bart appears to be more reflective and quiet. His emotions are not so visible. Both attribute their current styles to their early family settings. Delores had more or less adopted her family style, which she sees as loud and exuberant, but at the same time warm and loving. Bart, on the other hand, remembers his family as smoldering with unspoken hostility. When conflict was expressed, it was unleashed in a torrent of rage. In response, Bart places importance on the ability to disagree, but to do so in a reasoned, calm and quiet fashion. Their conflicts often center around these varying styles and how they are interpreted by each partner.

Delores indicates that “when I’m angry, you tend to take it personally and you shouldn’t.” Bart agrees:

Yeah, I do, because like I say, I think it goes back to earlier days when people had those feelings, usually they were expressing feelings they had about one another, and not just a personal conflict. . . I interpret the yelling and the screaming and the slamming of things with not just a casual, “This is how I’m feeling right now. Just leave me alone,” but with more of a deep-seated moodiness . . . anger.

Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Load More Related Articles
Load More By William Bergquist
Load More In Developmental

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

The Intricate and Varied Dances of Friendship I: Turnings and Types

We might learn about sexuality in the back seat of a car, but learn about intimacy in the …