Resolving Arguments – Awakening to the Unconscious Elements in Relating
After years of fighting in explosive arguments in a relationship, which is now, thankfully over, the light has dawned on that pattern as a result of talking through a terrible row that I had with my male friend recently. By talking through the row in a spirit of exploration and healing and not blaming each other, my friend and I have shed a lot of light on old patterns that we both realized had dominated our past relationships.
It was in a pub in Brighton a few weeks ago, when the big row blew up between myself and my friend. He seemed to behave just like a past partner of mine and I behaved, according to my friend, just like one of his past partners from a long time ago.
What we worked out together by talking carefully through the evening, after leaving a weeks gap so we could calm down, was connected with both our patterns of relating and dealing with fear. He felt that I had attacked him for no reason and caused him a lot of upset. But after discussing it, he saw that he had NOT BEEN CONSCIOUS of his behaviour in the build-up to my explosive reaction. Until we talked about it, he had simply not been aware of how he had behaved towards me. Sometimes the use of alcohol etc can be part of keeping these patterns unconscious, but two people being unable to talk things through dispassionately is perhaps the biggest cause. It is notable also that he said that ‘although I might have seemed aggressive to you, I actually felt like a 2-year old’. He also felt that he was ‘annoying’ me by following me around the pub, whereas in actuality I was feeling intimidated and whilst I didn’t feel in immediate physical danger, I was feeling fearful and my body was releasing adrenaline.
We talked and he realised that he had been feeling fearful around performing on stage in the pub that night, but he had thought that his fear was ‘internal’. He realised that he had been dumping on me by being moody and getting angry with me about something unconnected, which wasn’t my ‘fault’ anyway. I ended up feeling shaky, uncomfortable and shocked and then because I was fearful and on edge I had an explosive reaction. Because my friend had not been aware of his part of being moody and angry, he, at the time, felt he was being mistreated by my explosive reaction.
It was such a relief for me that both he and I could understand what had gone and and that he saw his part in the row; because for years I had gone through this kind of interaction with a past partner, knowing that something UNCONSCIOUS was happening but not knowing what exactly…we were too close to examine it, and he perhaps was too substance affected and unwell also. My ex had always said to me..you blew up over nothing…but I see now he wasn’t CONSCIOUS of the hours of moody, aggressive behaviour that I had endured before I ‘over-reacted’ in anger or fear.
For my part, I also saw for the first time the effect that my ‘explosive reaction’ had on people. It had caused my friend upset for several days. I was sorry for this, and even though I knew that I had not begun the situation, and was so relieved that he had seen his part in the situation, however I had caused harm so it is important that I become more aware. Unlike my friend, I knew how I had behaved..ie I was conscious of ‘exploding’ but I realized that I had been UNCONSCIOUS for a split second before I exploded. At this point I lost the choice of how to react. It was probably the moment that I felt most threatened by my friend’s behaviour as the emotional tension/conflict heated up. I then erupted in an old pattern of defence that I used against my family as a teenager. I went into extreme fight or flight mode. Afterwards, my friend had said that I had had the right idea ie to put a stop to the ‘dumping’ by him, but wrong response. I’m lucky to be working and playing with such a wise friend who has the courage to look at himself, and who understands a lot about male/female interaction.
So both of us were able to shed light on our responses to ‘fear’: ie on this occasion in the form of my friends stage fright and my fear around conflict with a man. It was also patterns of relating with the opposite sex in both of our lives. THis is important to work with because if you can’t see it, you are destined to repeat it…if its a pattern. I know it may not be exactly your pattern, but most if not all people have UNCONSCIOUS patterns of relating. What we are unconscious of becomes our fate. We can leave a partner but not the pattern for if we have not become more CONSCIOUS of what is happening, we may well repeat it with the next partner we find. Sound familiar?
At a deeper level, my friend and I had also worked a little on the archetypal interactions between male and female, albeit within the confines of a boundaried ‘friendship’…easier to work with! There is a new story coming out of an old story here: of women asserting their territory in relationships and how to do that in a balanced and CONSCIOUS way using their male energy. And also of men exploring the realms of their feelings; their female side and of becoming more CONSCIOUS of new ways of doing that.
PS Subsequently I found myself more empowered, dealing with my fear and some rather large and potentially aggressive males but in a more balanced way! And hopefully, one day soon, I will attract a new type of relationship with a man as a result of some of this work I am doing with my friend.