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Negative Reciprocation

couple fighting

Negative reciprocation is sending back the hurt received. It may be active-aggressive: raised voices, hurtful remarks, digging up past sins, angry accusations not fully meant, over statements (“you always do/say ‘x’” when the truth is less clear) or passive-aggressive: denial, silence or distancing/ignoring, refusal to engage constructively.

Breaking a cycle of negative reciprocation is critical if emotional growth is to occur, if a relationship is going to flourish. Caring for someone means we are vulnerable to them and unless we are centered and grounded, this openness to the possibility of pain can trigger dysfunctional defensive reactions that undermine the very relationship we need to nourish in order to be happy and content.

No relationship is problemless, that is just life. We all bring in our personal wounds, scripts and programing from our past of which we are usually not fully aware. The problem isn’t that there are problems, the problem is that we unrealistically want there to not be problems and we try to magically wish (ignore?) them away, hoping to avoid the work of diligently working through them, constructively communicating toward a resolution.

Stay in the calm zone, take time out’s as necessary, be willing to “go to the balcony” and dispassionately observe yourself, agree to “fight fair” (good books exist on the topic), avoid hitting below the belt or using your intimate knowledge of your partner’s vulnerability to inflict pain, stick to the real issues (often what triggers a flare up is merely the fuse to a deeper issue that has been building energy beneath the surface), avoid “you statements”, instead talk in terms of your feelings, being careful not to project your worst fears (i.e. express concerns constructively), take time to remember/emphasize the things you have in common.

Closing Quotes:

“What others do/say is their karma, how you react is yours.” – Proverb

“Forgiveness offers me all that I want; all that I give to others I give to myself.” – ACIM

“We are not punished for our anger, but by our anger.” – Proverb

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

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