Is married life not how you imagined it would be?
You used to be in love, but now you’re just constantly fighting?
I want you to know that you are O.K! It is most likely the ‘down’ part of your journey together. So- first thing- don’t panic. Second- you can come out of it and move on to the ‘up’ parts of your journey together. Now let’s see how…
To answer this, we will start by understanding what is a fight?
A fight is when person A triggers a bodily memory within person B. When that bodily memory is triggered – if it’s a positive and emotionally safe one then person B will most likely respond in a positive way which will make the interaction continue in a way that feels good and safe. But what happens when it triggers a negative bodily memory? Then person B might feel unsafe (bodily memory of an unsafe situation from the past), so the body ensures this person is safe, most likely by the fight or flight mode. This will most likely trigger an unsafe feeling back at person A, and so the cycle of the fight continues.
Now those triggers are very subtle and we are mostly unaware of them. And similar to the chicken and the egg riddle- we don’t know who ‘started’, even when it is so clear to you that your partner is the one that ‘started’. In therapy we understand those triggers and see how they work together like a very well-organized orchestra conducted by the two bodies in the room, entailing billions of neurons that contain information of bodily memory from the time you were born, from what has been passed on to you by your parents and up to basic human triggers that are there just due to the fact that you are human (like fear of abandonment that our mind perceives as physically dangerous, a reminiscent from our days in the jungle where we were totally dependent on our connection to significant fellow humans). These fights are an outer expression of the healing of humanity itself, through, well…, us humans, by our biological neuronal system – on the collective and the individual level.
According to EFT couples therapy – couples will fight the same fight again and again, so even when it seems that you are fighting about so many different things, it will most likely get down to a root cause, and when that is understood- it means you brought a sense of healing and relief to that area of your being, and now… you can continue on with life itself. In a safe and loving way together (up to the next healing that is required…, but hey- practice makes perfect and it becomes easier with experience). So, the first step is to notice the cycle. Bringing it to awareness and being mindful is a great start!
At the end of the day, we all have a yearning to be seen, to be accepted as we are, to be loved, to be cared for, to be nurtured, to be heard, and to feel that we have a meaningful shared experience with a person that is important to us.