When I was girl only 12 years old, I used to babysit for a family every day after school. However, I found one of the children difficult to handle. She never liked it when I asked her to do something. Even when I had to correct her, she would turn her head away from me and yell, “Don’t look at me.” She would then put her hands over her ears and pretend she couldn’t hear anything I was saying. Frustrating, to say the least!
Yet, after I married William, when we got into an argument, I would react in almost the same manner as the little girl I used to babysit.
I would walk away, shut down, go into another room and wish the argument we were having would just go away. I hated arguing and I hated conflict. Resolving an argument didn’t come naturally to me. I just wanted it to resolve itself. Arguing drained me.
If something was bothering me I had no problem telling William. But then I wanted the conversation to end. When he would tell me something that I’d done, I would close up and stop talking.
Over the years I have had to work really hard at sticking with it to resolve an argument and not walk out of the room or shut down. It’s still not easy for me but I need to put myself on the other end and realize that it isn’t easy for William either when I stop talking. It leaves him wondering what is going through my head and how I’m feeling about what we were just “talking” about.
Over-reacting to a conversation, or shutting down, are both forms of breaking communication and neither one helps you move forward in your relationship.
Regardless of how the lines of communication break, it is both you and your partner’s responsibility to make sure the subject at hand gets resolved. If that means forcing yourself to stay in the room and talk together until it is worked out then that’s what you need to do. Period. End of discussion.