Does your partner make you feel crazy sometimes?
You're not alone.
In fact it's more the norm than it is the exception, we just don't talk about it much because then you have "issues".
It's okay to argue, that doesn't mean there's something terribly wrong with you, your relationship or your partner.
Misunderstandings are normal, but arguments don't have to be.
Here's a common scenario I see in love relationships (the gender roles are interchangeable):
He says something and she takes it the wrong way.
He tries to explain where he's coming from. The sentiment is, "If you could just see things my way, then you wouldn't feel the way you feel."
He thinks there's a problem to be solved. So, with good intentions, he tries to make her feel better by explaining his point of view.
That only makes matters worse.
She might understand his point of view but that doesn't help.
She feels judged thinking, "I shouldn't feel this way. Is there something wrong with me? Am I crazy?"
They both reiterate their perspectives, but neither is really listening so voices get louder and things escalate.
One person wants to keep talking and the other wants to take space.
This scenario happens so many times that they both start withholding all of the little things that upset them each day because they doesn't want to start a fight or "complain" all the time.
It's just not worth it.
One day, he does it again. He says or does something that is a trigger for her.
She explodes because she's held so much in.
He's baffled and thinks she's making a big deal out of nothing.
He's angry because she should know he didn't mean to hurt her. Isn't it obvious?
He thinks, " Why does she keep complaining all the time? If she could just see things my way we wouldn't have this problem."
She thinks, "It wasn't just what he said but how he said it. Plus, he never really listens anyways, so what's the point of talking about it?"
He feels bad for constantly being the source of her pain and is simultaneously angry at himself and at her.
Underneath it all, they both feel hurt, blamed, defensive, insecure, and vulnerable.
The cycle of anger, hurt and exhaustion continues as they try the same thing over and over again, unsure of a way out.
But it's not a matter of effort or the amount of communication that will solve the problem.
Childhood dynamics are always at play in adult relationships. When we gain self-awareness of our conditioned childhood patterns we're empowered to engage with the human being underneath the pattern and choose new behaviour.
We have to learn what causes conflict in the first place. From there we need to adopt a new mindset and practice new communication tools.
On top of that, see and understanding our polarizing patterns can allow us to come into a dynamic equilibrium, to return to wholeness, resolve childhood wounds and balance the tendencies we see that are amplified in conflict below:
If HE is the MAXIMIZER in the relationship
(The one who tends to react with a fight survival response). He's angry because it feels like he can't win; no matter what he says or how hard he tries he can't make things better. He's adamant that if she could just see things his way, she'd feel better. He likely equates not being able to handle problems in the relationship as inadequacy, a vulnerability compensates for or avoids by insisting he knows what's right. His core childhood wound was likely neglect (not getting what he needed when he needed it) so he learned the best way to get attention was to assert himself. He's unconsciously inviting the minimizer in her to stand up for herself.
If SHE is the MINIMIZER in the relationship
(The one who tends to avoid conflict and react with a freeze or flee response). She questions and doubts herself. She feels stupid or crazy, wondering if something is wrong with her. She likely equates expressing upset with being a bad person or too needy, so she resigns and gives him the benefit of the doubt. Her core childhood wound was likely intrusion (having her boundaries crossed without her permission). She likely tried to keep the peace in her household and took on responsibility for managing the needs of others while neglecting her own needs and desires. She believes her needs, desires and emotions would be a burden on him so withholds them as much as possible which exacerbates the problem. She is unconsciously inviting the maximizer in him to humble himself, listen, be present and put the needs of another before his own.
If SHE is the MAXIMIZER in the relationship
(The one who tends to react with a fight survival response). She blames him for not knowing what to do or not taking charge. Deep down, she judges herself as inadequate which is why she projects her own insecurity onto him to make things "his fault." She's unconsciously inviting the passive minimizer in him to step up and be a man, to assert himself and come into his power. She wants to surrender to him but doesn't know how so she's angry at him and angry with herself.
HE is the MINIMIZER in the relationship
(The one who tends to avoid conflict and react with a freeze or flee response). He shuts down and becomes passive in conflict. He might believe raising his voice to a woman or asserting his perspective with confidence is wrong or bad. He might have had a loud, over-bearing or aggressive parent as a child (especially a dad that was overbearing or abusive towards his wife) so he overcompensates by resigning in the relationship because he doesn't want to hurt his wife like his dad hurt his mom. His passion/anger is shut down and he doesn't know how to powerfully and respectfully take the lead in the relationship.
If you'd like to learn more about how to eliminate judgement, or arguments from your relationship, or how to shift from unconscious to conscious relationship, click the links.