Why go back to old childhood patterns?

In the movie, when the volume of conversation slowly but surely increases, doors close and, in the worst case, paintings fly, these are usually scenes of a love affair. But why do we continue to show ourselves from the worst side in front of our better half, when respectful cooperation plays such a large role in partnership? And why do patterns of bad behavior prevail for years, even though the will to stop the vicious cycle is so great?

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On the other hand, a long-running shared culture of conflict doesn’t mean that what comes out in the end is some kind of productive, sophisticated communication, as couples therapist and sexologist Anne Marilyn Henning explains: Bad behavior patterns manifest themselves, conflicts run into circles and continue to ferment. Sooner or later, this will put a strain on your relationship and love life.

On the other hand, such structures often lead to trigger-controlled behavior: with the “correct” stimulus, even trifles mean at least a raging verbal battle, according to Henning. Chances of having a face-to-face conversation are slim.

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When the inner child takes over

“Childhood is on,” couples and sex therapist Anne Marilyn Henning calls the condition on the RND podcast “Oh, come on!”. Means: The limbic system takes over all of its bad beliefs and habits. It is also referred to as the “inner child,” because what emerges here are the experiences, emotional reactions, and behavioral patterns that the brain has stored as it developed. “If difficulties arise here, for example due to a lack of attention, justice and love, then this often manifests itself in conflicts,” explains Henning. Because the inner child does not know the past or the future, only “now.” If an “emergency” appears, there is an instinctive reaction, and access to the cause is blocked. The other person becomes a red cloth through certain stimuli.

The result is accusations and criticism. Those affected emotionally distanced themselves, acted hysterically or remained silent. “Your job level is much lower than usual,” Henning explains. “This is the perfect way to avoid getting what you want.” However, if you know your triggers, you will be able to work on the behavior of your argument.

Types of Ineffective Arguments: Four Common Behaviors

Behavioral patterns vary, and the causes of communication difficulties are complex. However, from the expert’s point of view, four common non-productive types of conflict in partnerships can be identified:

The first group includes all those who, in conflict situations, usually subconsciously, take everything badly and negatively. “Here, troubleshooting starts on its own, but at the same time ensures that people quickly feel under the attack,” Henning says. Because they underestimated themselves when troubleshooting and reflected that of their partner. A typical example: “You must be in a relationship!”

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The second group consists of those who behave in another way, that is, they value themselves and devalue others. According to Henning, anyone who ascribes bad qualities to a peer will often resort to sentences that begin with “You’ve always been…” and “You never could…”. The ‘blame’ is passed on to the other person as quickly as possible.

According to Henning, anyone who pours more fuel on a fire in the midst of a conflict and deliberately provokes it belongs to the third group of people. Whether it’s a bad comment about sex or an inappropriate comment about a parent, the other person’s stimuli are intentionally used. The upshot: Neither side can calm down, as debate flares up over and over again.

The fourth group includes mainly men, who often learned this behavior from their parents in childhood, for example through sayings such as “Men do not show their feelings”: they are silent, “muffled” and also tell their partner that there is no opportunity to speak in conflict situations. “These people don’t answer, for example, they left the room and ran,” explains Henning. “They clarify – in any way – if they are not interested in a conversation.” Ending a conversation when it gets hot is not a bad thing in itself. But those leaving should also be sure to discuss the situation afterwards.

“Human biology doesn’t allow for a conversation with a heart rate higher than 95”

Christian Thiel, counselor for couples and couples, argues that in some conflicts it is better to end a conversation than to turn around in a vicious circle with sharp words: he even advises escaping when in doubt – also on the condition that problems are discussed: “Human biology does not allow a meaningful conversation if it is Someone’s heart rate is above 95.”

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In addition, there are often situations in which one of the parties, out of their own insecurities, tries to force their counterpart to speak – an approach that, from the point of view of the expert, does not bode well: “No one has to continue talking if he or she does not Want it “.

Work on Your Debate Culture: These Behaviors are Productive

However, Anne Marilyn Henning says, “The brain tends to hate new patterns and prefer reverting to old patterns, even if the effects are worse.” Therefore, breaking the bad behavior habit is a long process that takes place in several stages.

The good thing: reading this article is the first step. Because if you know what drives us to deal with conflicts a certain way, according to Henning, you get to the root of the problem. The next step is to recognize the individual’s position, that is, his own parts of the inner child. It’s very important here to listen to your partner, not hold him back, and then “push a little goodwill and admit he might be right after all,” says Henning.

Before such a productive conversation can take place, a longer preparatory process is usually necessary, during which the problematic behavior of the individual is acknowledged. On the other hand, this means regularly thinking about conflict patterns. On the other hand, it is about looking for more productive ways out in conflict situations. “It also means: My partner can tell me if I’m acting like this again,” Henning confirms. Ultimately, it’s also about “giving your inner child what he needs,” she says. This means listening to basic needs, such as a lack of care or attention. And: Talk to your partner about your own wishes, and pass on something like instructions for use.

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If you want a long-term change in your debate culture, you have to not only work on yourself, but also show interest and openness to other people’s opinions. The question is: How do you see it and why? “If it doesn’t matter to us, but just annoys us, it’s going to be hard,” Thiel says. “It’s easier for us when we’re courting each other when we’re curious as to why we have different points of view.”

Bad Argument Patterns: The Solution Is Knowing Each Other Well

For these ideas, an adult ego that knows the stimuli of the child’s parts is needed: here comes the question “Why do I always react so unpleasantly to certain characteristics of my partner?” turn.

Ultimately, according to Henning, it’s about finding a new, more conscious vision of yourself and seeing the partnership as a “community that grows.” Because the adaptation of an individual and his behavior to another is always a joint process and is associated with ups and downs. According to the expert, it must be overcome. “And even if the result is a breakup, that realization is also more likely to come in the adult self.”

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