Many times during my counseling I see that the real issue is twofold. Part one is communication, and part two is need to be right, or have the upper hand. When combined they are deadly.
The most recent is a client who continually tells her husband things she really doesn't mean at all, sometimes it controls him into a certain action or inaction. This past week it went sideways.
He is always reluctant to agree with her to do anything, because he knows he isn't always told the truth about what she wants or feels. There is always an ulterior motive. The poor man is always in a place of not knowing what is real, or true or not. This past week he didn't want to do something, and it suddenly went to her saying, "fine then we will get a divorce". A divorce is the last thing she wants. She wants him to comply, but she played the biggest card she had, the "D" card. He doesn't want a divorce, but does want an end to all this game playing, harsh words and fighting. He said, "If that is what you want, OK".
She was floored. Now what to do ? How do we backtrack from this? After months of me counseling to make sure there is no more game playing , no more words said that people do not mean, here we have gone to the biggest and most permanent step of all. Now there are pleas for help for me to save it.
The more amazing part of all this is, that another couple did the exact same thing this past weekend.
When you use threats, fear, harsh hurtful words that you do not mean, just to cause a reaction, you are not only causing much unnecessary harm to the relationship, but you may just get what you play for. This is childish, mean, spiteful behavior. It is wrong, it is nonspiritual, and it is not "doing unto others". It is NOT doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Never play games with a person's emotions. When you don't want to be there anymore, say so, then see what the response is. It may be, let's work at it, let's get counseling, let's part temporarily, or let's end it. But make sure that you voice the words you really want to impart.
My husband and I never have a moment when we need to try to tweek each other. I know people live their lives like that, but eventually the powder keg that is the relationship, blows up. It is more of a "when" , then an "if". I have written before on never giving ultimatums that you do not want to hear one of the replies to. You have to be ready to comply. When you say something, you need to honestly mean it, and know that you can carry it out. This goes for any situation from business to friendship to relationship.
Don't play games. In one of the above cases, the best thing is for the man to walk away, he is not being treated well. No matter what he does or says, it is not good enough and games are constantly being played with his emotions. When you torture someone for years then tease them with divorce, they just may grab at it like a lifeline!
Divorce is not a trump card to be played. It is an expensive emotional, mental, and financial journey. Sometimes it is the best solution, but not if you come to it in a fight of one upmanship.
Make sure you clearly say what you mean, and make sure that you know what you mean in the first place. No games, no hurtful words. Be kind to each other. Mention things early. This way you aren't in a position of not having room to make change. When you have been mad at a person and living with them for 10 years, it is hard to fix 10 years of hurt in a week or month.
Know what you want, say what you want. Be fair, be honest. Do unto others, and as I always say....Do the right thing for the right reasons.
(C)2012 Dr R M Wolf, may not be used, copied , or reproduced without prior written permission