Aggressive Behavior within Dating Relationships

Published on by CMe



Aggressive Behavior within Dating Relationships 

Recent developments in the application of attachment theory to the study of adult relationships are used to explain the occurrence of aggression in dating relationships. We compared individuals who reported being engaged in reciprocally aggressive dating relationships with individuals who reported being in non-aggressive relationships on measures of attachment patterns and interpersonal problems. To examine the robustness of the attachment-aggression relationship, we also statistically controlled for the effects of interpersonal problems. Using a sample of 85 undergraduate students, we found that, after controlling for relationship satisfaction and length of relationship, those involved in reciprocally aggressive relationships scored higher on the preoccupied and fearful-avoidant attachment styles and reported experiencing more interpersonal problems than did individuals involved in non-aggressive dating relationships. When we controlled for interpersonal problems, however, only the relationship between preoccupied attachment and aggression was observed. Although sex differences were found for attachment style scores and interpersonal problems, no significant sex x type of relationship (non-aggressive vs reciprocally aggressive) effects were observed. The results are discussed in the context of recent findings on attachment, conflict and aggression and recommendations for future research are offered.

Disappointment and Isolation Feelings Created by Your Partner's Passive Aggressive
How often do you look at a happy couple and feel a pang in your chest? You watch them as they gaze into each others' eyes and playfully steal a kiss. A faint smile crosses your lips as you remember the good times you had with your partner and your heart wonders where they went… 

Do you sometimes feel alone when the one you love is beside you? Do you sleep in the same bed, but feel miles apart? Are you afraid of expressing your true feelings for fear your partner will become angry or isolate himself into his shell?

What would you give to reclaim those carefree feelings you had when you first fell in love with your partner, to be able to easily express yourself and have open, honest communication again? What would you do if the fear was gone?

We all know couples who seem to have unlocked the secret of finding and maintaining a loving relationship. And, my guess is you’d like to be one of them... You are not alone! 

Have you ever found yourself in situations like these?

"Every time we got close, he pulled further away. I could SEE it happening. We'd seem to grow closer and closer, which made him feel invaded, so he'd push me away. I'd try to get nearer and he'd back away. It was a vicious cycle. If I complained, he would blame ME, saying it was my 'behavior' that drove him away." 

"I think he loves me somehow and that makes it harder to cut the cord. But, if I keep holding on to the HOPE…the never-ending HOPE that things will improve, I will be in this same emptiness for ever. I need help to let go of him." 

"I realized I could do anything for him but it might not matter, because nothing really changes. He is passive aggressive and I've never knew how to deal with him along those lines. I've always been thrown into the cycle of hurt and abuse, instead.

Sound familiar? If so, you may be in a relationship with a passive aggressive person. A person with passive aggressive behavior might exhibit some of the following characteristics:

  • Your partner will procrastinate, leave work undone, or "forget" to fulfill his share of tasks. 
  • When asked about his problems, this person will make excuses or blame others. 
  • He is often found to omit information or lie; if confronted, his temper easily flares. 
  • He may be more prone to cheating in a long-term relationship or marriage. 
  • He may deny his behavior or claim he has good intentions. 
  • He denies his emotions and has a lack of commitment. 
  • He instigates arguments for any reason. 

If you think you are in a relationship with a passive aggressive person - there is help! You don't have to suffer the pain, humiliation, and sadness one day longer. 

Read the following unsolicited testimony about how Judith and Mary overcome their difficult relationships.

Two Friends Meet For Coffee 
After months, my friend Mary and I met for coffee. We spent hours catching up on each others' lives, talking about jobs, husbands, and kids. It was almost like old times, but something was different in Mary. Finally, she admitted she was depressed. She said she had done everything she could for her husband, but she felt stressed by his unloving behavior and was overwhelmed at the negative turn of their relationship. 

"I’m so confused," she admitted. "I can't talk to him anymore. He blames me for everything that is wrong and I feel guilty all of the time. I’m so alone, Judith. What am I doing wrong?"

I wanted to shout out to her, "It's not your fault! Don’t blame yourself!"

But, she wouldn't have heard me. She continued with her laundry list of negative interactions and expressed guilt at not being able to solve her husband’s problems. Time and time again he blamed her for his misery. He withheld love when he was unhappy or angry, and so she felt very isolated. 

"He tells me he loves me, Judith, and I believe he does. He just doesn't show it," Mary exclaimed. "Last week I spent two hours making his favorite dinner and I bought an expensive wine. I was so excited at the thought of spending a romantic night with him." I saw a tear from in her eye. "He came home from work hours late. He didn't call. When I asked him why he was late, he yelled at me for "hounding him!" I just wanted one night with him, without the kids, so we could reconnect. It didn't work," she gulped.

My mind was racing with suggestions on how she could change her situation. I really wanted to help my friend, and I thought I knew how I could.

"Well," I told her. “You would not believe what has happened in my life since we last talked. Do you remember the problems I had with my boss? They were similar to yours. I never said anything to him either when he lashed out.”

Mary looked up and caught my eye, "Yes, you were in the same situation.”

She looked SO SAD. I felt my heart breaking for her. She sighed, "Did you do anything about it?"

I reached across the table and took her hand as I told her, “I made a decision that changed my life! It took me a long time, but, I am SO glad I did something!”

I finally had her attention. She looked hopeful. "What did you do?" She asked me.

"I fought back," I told her…"Just not the way he does!" I laughed. “Look, I did some research. I knew I wasn’t the only person out there who had a negative boss, or who had to deal with passive aggressive people. I found this amazing e-book that offers suggestions on how to respond in any situation. Mary, it is such a relief to know that now when he says something to me, I know how to respond!” 

Mary looked shocked. "I grew up learning that to be a good person I had to listen to other people’s problems and let them vent…I never questioned that I could respond any differently!" 

I nodded in agreement. "I know, Mary. But, after years of giving into his ranting, and letting him accuse me or blame me for things I couldn’t control, I was feeling, well…worthless. I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore! I was going to respect myself, and not let him abuse me one more day." 

Mary looked suspicious. "So, how did this e-book help? Didn’t he just get angrier when you tried to defend yourself?" 

"Well, I smiled thinking about my boss’s reaction the first time I said something back to him, "in the beginning, yea! But, I’m not helpless anymore. Now, I know what to say to protect myself. By being silent I was empowering him to continue his abuse, and every day I was feeling more helpless and less in control of myself." 

Mary was not convinced. "Well, what can I do? I love my husband, and I don't want to leave him. Honestly, Judith, I am scared he’ll react even more negatively towards me, and it is bad enough already.”

"I understand why you are afraid, Mary." I told her. What I am learning though, is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. You can be assertive and still be a nice person. It is like you just said, we were taught be nice, to give in to others, to make others want to “like us.” We never learned how to assert ourselves and defend ourselves. It’s no wonder we don’t know how to respond in this kind of passive aggressive situations! 

"And, you learned this?" Mary was getting excited. 

"Incredible, I know." I told her. “This e-book is the single most valuable investment I have ever made in myself. It is prepared by a life coach who offers real-life situations and realistic responses. You can read a section, study the recommended tips, and then when the time comes, apply them to your life. It is reassuring to know I can defend myself without being aggressive myself while denouncing his destructive behavior. I feel more confident and more self-assured,” I told her. “I know it sounds crazy, but I feel safe and secure. I am happier at work because I am not afraid of his reactions anymore. I really wish you’d try it, Mary. I am convinced it would help you just like it helped me!” 

She looked at me and I saw a glimpse of my old friend. “You know, I AM going to try it. Something has to change and if it worked for you…”

“It WILL work for you, too!” I told her.

"So, tell me how I can get my hands on this magical book."

Go Ahead…Break the Rules 
Are you struggling to find some basic peace, trust and happiness in your current relationships? 

Do you crave open, honest communication with your partner? 

Do you think you could have a good amount of respect if you only understood the other person better? 

Do you want to discover happiness and learn the secrets happy couples everywhere have already learned? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions it is time to learn how to control your future and discover the secrets to reclaiming your full love life. If you feel trapped in an unhappy relationship, or if you are tired of useless confrontations with your loved one, it is time to make a change.

No Matter What They Say, It's Not All Your Fault..
As young girls we were taught to put our needs behind the needs of others. We saw our mothers do it, we saw our mothers’ mothers do it. It was selfless and kind, while there were no warranties that you would be happy this way. But now you need the tools to assert yourself while earning respect from other people. 

Do you remember the most common "life rules” that you learned at home?

  • Take care of others before yourself. 
  • Disregard your own feelings to make your family happy. 
  • Don't complain when you are upset. 
  • You can't have your own life – your life is with your family. 
  • Don't be confrontational to your partner or other family members. 
  • Overlook harmful behavior from your partner because he is stressed. 

Does it sound familiar? 

Along my entire life I heard some variation or other of these "Life Rules." And, sadly, for almost four decades, I believed them to be the way to deal with others!

But, they ARE NOT true!!!.

  • YOU are an individual person, and have your own, valid needs. 
  • YOU are worthy of respect and love. 
  • And, YOU have the ability to shape your life – in ANY WAY you choose! 

The 10 Secrets…Revealed 
By tonight YOU will know how to:

  1. Preserve your self-confidence and improve your self-esteem. 
  2. Focus specifically on your needs and desires. 
  3. Manage confrontational situations with poise and assurance. 
  4. Express yourself in an assertive way, without losing credibility or respect. 
  5. Negotiate difficult issues with confidence and ease. 
  6. Maintain and respect your beliefs. 
  7. Validate your anger and frustrations without letting these feelings control you. 
  8. Avoid being the "savior" of destructive personalities. 
  9. Take better care of yourself. 
  10. Strengthen your support system. 

You don't have to feel overwhelmed, confused, or hurt one more day! Now you can have the tools you need to function in a difficult relationship. If a person you love reacts to you in a passive aggressive way, there is help. You can learn how to respond to them, how to react in any situation, and how to enjoy your life again ! 

Instead of lying in bed at night only wishing for him to change – you can be the instrument of change! By knowing what to expect and how to respond, you will have the confidence you need to make life-altering adjustments in your relationships. You will be happier. He will be happier. You will experience more peace and control.

By mastering these skills you will never again be a victim to passive aggressive behavior. You can finally free yourself of the emotional roller coaster ride you've been on; you can learn to trust yourself again, and you can feel, once and for all, truly happy with your life. 

But, only read this eBook if you are ready for a change. Are you prepared to release your own pent-up resentment and anger? Are you ready to stop waiting for him to change, and to take control of your relationship moving it into a whole new direction? If so, this e-book is for you, because there WILL BE change. Your relationship will be different. You will feel secure. You will look forward to a happy future with the person you love. Are you ready for this kind of change? 

Breaking the Passive Aggressive Spell 
Do you often feel like you don't deserve full happiness in your love life? In the midst of an aggressive situation do you find yourself accepting what is being said as the truth? Do you feel guilty after an argument or try to think of what you could have done differently? Have you ever thought, “What if I could only give more attention, more care, more of my time? Then, everything will be ok and he will love me.” 

If you have ever thought this, then you are under the Passive Aggressive Spell. One day you are happy and contently living the relationship of your dreams. You love him, he loves you. You know what to expect in your relationship. Then, one day…BAM! He reacts to you with a lot of hostility, not related to the here and now, and you feel confused and hurt. Maybe things get back to normal for a while, and then it happens again. And, just when you feel you have made progress in your relationship your partner suddenly, and without provocation, withdraws from you and retreats into hostile silence. The cycle continues, with episodes occurring more frequently, until you feel lost and alone. He promises to change, so when he reverts to his old ways you feel dejected, let down, and alone…again and again.

The more frequently you experience the ups and downs of a passive aggressive relationship, the more you accept it. Doubts will seep into your mind about the validity of his words and you will wonder if you -perhaps- deserve this treatment. You will feel guilty because you can't make your partner happy and you will question his love for you.

What is the cost of this emotional tidal wave? 

Your self-esteem takes the toll, and the price is very high! 

Maybe you recall some of the “Life Rules” we mentioned earlier… Put others before yourself, hide or conceal your true feelings for the happiness of others, don't be confrontational, overlook harmful behavior from your partner because he is stressed. 

These are antiquated and old-fashioned ideas, and they do not make you or your partner happier in a relationship. They make you feel inferior, emotionally drained, confused, and manipulated. Every time you give in to passive aggressive behavior you lose a piece of yourself. You forfeit a piece of your confidence and your self-esteem.

Have you tried to have a candid conversation with your partner, only for it backfire or escalate into a full-blown argument? Instead of understanding and compassion you are met with accusations, verbal abuse, or deafening silence. Or, perhaps he seems to understand. He feels regretful for his actions and reaches out to you. You eagerly accept this act of apology because you are starving for the affection and attention you once had in your relationship. You think everything will return to normal. You are once again, hooked by the passive aggressive spell because eventually his loving behavior subsides and you are once again confronted with anger and aggression. You fear confrontation and slowly you become more and more a victim of passive aggressive behavior. 

You are not alone. 

Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at  MetroSexual LA


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