One of the most common reasons someone has addictive behaviors or uncontrollable behaviors is because of an unhappy relationship.
An important point about uncontrollable behavior is it is covering up emotional pain. That’s why it’s uncontrollable because you don’t want to face the pain. Unconsciously, there is something going on that you’re trying to avoid, and this behavior is helping you to avoid it.
Since it is unconscious or not well understood, it’s tricky to get a good understanding and be able to deal with the pain and the behavior.
A common behavior we see with this is a lot of little explanations or little lies we tell ourselves for the reason for the uncontrollable behavior.
A man says he has an unhappy marriage. He explodes a lot with verbal outbursts but he claims it is his wife’s fault. He blamed his wife because he claimed she cried too much. She had a tendency to cry when she got overwhelmed or hurt and to him, this behavior was unacceptable and caused him great rage.
The first step was to help him see that switching wives was not an effective strategy for dealing with his uncontrollable behavior. This happens a lot and this is why while 50% of first marriages fail, 75% of second marriages fail because people think it’s their spouse’s fault, and they fall for it.
Let’s talk about marriage, an unhappy marriage does not mean you have to leave. Everyone has unhappiness in their marriage. In order to face that effectively, you cannot blame or run.
Finding a Solution
The next step was to sit down and find out what was going on with him. It turns out he had a sister who was a crier and he felt she did it on purpose and was manipulative. In fact, when this man was young he thought his mother was giving him attention, then his sister would cry and take the attention away. So he had a great deal of rage at them, but that was mixed with embarrassment over wanting his mother’s attention. Which caused a great conflict.
He would bury it and when his wife unwittingly was a crier, all the feelings got brought back up for him. After discussing this further, we were able to give him a bridge statement to use with his wife. The bridge statement’s purpose was to tell her before the rage came up.
Bridge statement example
“I’m getting upset about this, I need to step away, I’ll be in the garage working for an hour, I’ll come back and check on you and see if we can talk about this calmly.”
By adding in the bridge statement, this changed their whole dynamic and both of their uncontrollable behaviors became a lot calmer and a lot more in their control.
Unhappy relationships do not have to lead to uncontrollable behaviors.
For more resources on marriages or relationships without sex, click here.
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