It doesn’t seem to make sense: You used to be best friends, but now you can’t go a day without fighting. Your partner says something that triggers you — you feel attacked or devalued — and you react: Maybe you yell, slam the door and walk out, or you shut down and refuse to continue the conversation. Looking back, it may be hard to tell how you even got into the argument in the first place.
It might have been something very subtle that made you see red: a smirk, rolled eyes, a certain body posture, or tone of voice. In a split-second you picked up on a message, and you simply reacted. Unfortunately, your own signature response to the threat you perceive coming from your partner is likely to be the exact thing that drives him or her crazy, whether you say something hurtful, or flee the battlefield and leave your partner feeling abandoned. It’s a vicious cycle.
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