Conflict Avoidant Couple

Challenging Communication with your Conflict Avoidant Couples

About two weeks ago late on a Monday afternoon, I sat in my office listening to a couple describe twenty years of conflict avoidance and intimacy avoidance.  Their communication was packed with vague unspecified references and their reported behavior was overflowing with examples of passivity. I thought, “This is going to be a challenging session. Do I have the energy for it? Am I up for the task? Will I be able to have an impact, to make a difference?” Some couples work very hard to avoid any intensity. They seek stability, security, and harmony. I know from experience that they do not change from insight.… Read more...

Conflict avoidance comes in many forms.

  Conflict avoidance comes in many forms. Do you recognize these? 1. Some couples avoid so many issues that you feel enormous tension just sitting in the room with them. For years they have shied away from discussing any issues that are potentially high-conflict. 2. These friendly conflict avoiders are warm, gracious and engaging. They just can’t bring any depth into their conversations. In fact, their shadow side is often completely denied. To avoid shame or humiliation, they won’t acknowledge negative feelings or impulses. 3. Passive-aggressive partners rarely set positive goals and won’t initiate much positive action.… Read more...

Learning to Work With Conflict-Avoidant Couples

This month we will explore some of the dynamics and relevant issues with the conflict-avoidant couple. These couples look deceptively easy when they first present for therapy. They are often friendly and kind, and there is no obvious tension. In fact, that is a primary source of the difficulty. There is no tension! Frequently, they present with the complaint of “no passion.” Conflict avoidant couples often have spent years being superficially nice to one another. They may even be revered by friends and family for “being the perfect couple.” They have been nice for so long that the partners no longer know what they think or feel as individuals.… Read more...

Recognizing Beliefs that Foster Marital Disillusionment

  Partners meet. They fall in love and everything is wonderful – until within a year or two when they get mugged by the realities of daily life. Then comes the inevitable disillusionment. The partners don't conform to each others' fantasies and their flaws become more visible. This disillusionment phase is ripe for wrenching growth and for productive movement into the stage of differentiation. However, instead of growing in ways that are required to manage this painful disillusionment, many partners never progress. Instead of making the transition beyond symbiosis, they get entrenched in circular nonproductive patterns.… Read more...
Menu