April 17, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Strengthening Your Relationship and Reducing Conflict

By Matthew Verdun M.S.

When you and your significant other have arguments does it feel like the problems don’t get resolved, or you come out still feeling upset and not heard? What about disagreements that end up with one of you not texting, calling, or even looking for the other if they leave? This is a pattern called pursue/withdraw and is a frequent pattern in relationships with conflict. This becomes a problem that is so ingrained neither person knows how to stop it. This article will give you some tips that may help identify and stop that pattern.

The pursue/withdraw pattern is an attempt by each person to cope with negative feelings brought on by unmet attachment needs. The reaction is not only to something your partner did or said but to an underlying need being triggered. When you become triggered you react, which causes your partner to be triggered.

Some things you can do to stop your pursue/withdraw cycle.

When not fighting, think about arguments you have had and ask yourself what your significant other did or said that made you upset? Why did it make you upset? What were the emotions you felt? There is almost always more than one emotion. Is there some need that is not being met?

Thinking about that situation, how did you respond (what did you say or do)? What was the intent of your response? Were you trying to communicate a surface item, for example ‘you never take out the trash when I ask’? There are usually deeper needs underlying this communication, for example, ‘I’m afraid that you don’t care about me when you forget to do the things I ask.’ If you both reach for the deeper needs, you will be better able to express what you need from each other.

Slow down your arguments. Make agreements about how you will communicate in advance. When having a disagreement, keep statements to one point. Don’t interrupt each other. If one of you veers into several points have an agreement about how to inform the other person and stop it. Before you react to what is said, consider what emotional or attachment need is being triggered that is causing you to feel angry or hurt. These reduce the likelihood that one of you will feel overwhelmed and withdraw and prevent the other from needing to pursue.

Talk about your underlying need, hopefully identified through considering needs or when slowing the argument down. Remind yourself that you know causing you to hurt is not what they intend. At the same time, honor your feelings and let them know how you are feeling. Validate their feelings and find ways to soothe their negative emotions. This takes practice, and someone must be willing to make the first move, but it will be worth it.

If you find it difficult to begin the process you can also check out Dr. Sue Johnson’s book, Hold Me Tight. You may also want to seek out a therapist trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

If this does not sound like the right approach for your relationship, fear not! This column will provide regular updates with ideas to improve relationships, decrease stress and anxiety, and take better care of your mental health.

If you are in a violent relationship you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 online at https://www.thehotline.org/, if you are in Los Angeles County you can contact the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services at (800) 978-3600 for shelters.

This article is intended for informational and educational purposes, please consult a professional regarding your specific situation.

Matthew Verdun M.S.
Matthewverdunmft.com
CA BBS License Number: LMFT 85437
(424) 254-0900

Related Posts

Edify TV: Helping Local Cultural, Religious and LGBTQ+ Centers

April 11, 2021

April 11, 2021

Westside cultural, religious and LGBTQ+ centers stand to benefit from a new fund the City of Los Angeles has created...

L.A. Stage Alliance To Cease Operations After Several Companies Exit

April 9, 2021

April 9, 2021

The Los Angeles Stage Alliance (LASA) announced that it would “cease all operations” following the departure of more than 25...

Gender Neutral Potato Head- E.P.I.C Pride Show, April 7th, 2021

April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture.  – Gender Neutral Potato Head  –...

James Charles Admits Messaging 16 Year Old Boys

April 4, 2021

April 4, 2021

YouTube star, makeup artist and Los Angeles resident James Charles issued an apology video entitled “Holding Myself Accountable” admitting to...

Pride Poets’ Corner: Double Dutch Nymph By Féi Hernandez

March 28, 2021

March 28, 2021

The Pride LA and West Hollywood Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace would like to introduce Féi Hernandez featuring their latest work...

Los Angeles Becomes First No-Kill City For Animal Shelters

March 28, 2021

March 28, 2021

The City of Los Angeles has become a no-kill city for animal shelters for the first time, thanks to the...

Bisexual Men Have Higher Chance Of Developing Eating Disorders

March 28, 2021

March 28, 2021

March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month and according to a study done by the University of California San Francisco bisexual...

Candlelit Vigil Held For Rayanna Pardo

March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021

A candlelit vigil was held on March 20th for Rayanna Pardo, a trans woman of color who died three days...

Miss Great Britain Comes Out As Bisexual – E.P.I.C Pride Show, March 17th, 2021

March 17, 2021

March 17, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. ⁃ Miss Great Britain Is Bisexual...

New Harry Potter Video Game Will Feature Trans Witches & Wizards

March 14, 2021

March 14, 2021

The newest Harry Potter video game titled Hogwarts Legacy will allow players to create trans characters.  The game will allow...

FDA First Injectable HIV Vaccine- E.P.I.C Pride Show, March 10th, 2021

March 10, 2021

March 10, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture.⁃ FDA First Injectable HIV vaccine ⁃...

New Poll Shows 5.6% Of Adults Identify As LGBTQ

March 6, 2021

March 6, 2021

A new survey by Gallup shows that more adults are identifying as LGBTQ than ever before — an increase driven...

Free COVID-19 Testing Sites Including WeHo

March 6, 2021

March 6, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that Los Angeles County has announced that it is expanding...

Gaga Confirms She Will Pay Dog Walkers Medical Bills

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

Lady Gaga has confirmed that she will pay all of her dog walkers medical bills which amount to almost $100,000. ...

Dancer JoJo Siwa Comes Out – E.P.I.C Pride Show, March 3rd, 2021

March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. ⁃ JoJo Siwa comes Out ⁃...