In 2014, I asked my then-girlfriend about the reason for her behaviour. I didn’t trust her initial answer and kept probing her. Her fifth answer was devastating and probably the closest to the truth. Until today, I still wonder if I should have asked my next question. I didn’t really expect her to agree. To some extent, my question was reverse psychology (my blogs). I aimed for the exact opposite of her answer.
Relationships often end in an ever-escalating verbal fight. De-escalation attempts may infuriate the other. When the dust settles, some dreams are shattered beyond repair. A reconciliation isn’t easy as this requires walking a thin line of seeking attention (one) versus healing (other). Time is a crucial factor though because out of sight is out of mind. Last but certainly not least, a reconciliation may display weakness rather than strength.
My then-girlfriend is hurt now because some vicious words have been said during a fight with her husband. She asked me if these words carried some truth. I don’t know as I haven’t seen her in 7 years. However, his vicious words seemed like reverse psychology to me: these words related to himself but were projected onto her. Her subsequent story confirmed my assumption.
A verbal fight can be functional as it allows both to say the things that were on their mind anyway. Such a functional fight requires that you know when to stop that fight and start de-escalation. In the absence of de-escalation, someone will get deeply hurt during that fight, and quite often beyond repair. In such situations, containing the fall-out of a fight is almost impossible.
Why do we express these infamous last words in a relationship?
Perhaps, it’s as simple as winning or losing a “debate”. Essentially, a verbal fight is an angry emotional debate. The arguments expressed become increasingly hostile and increasingly personal. The debate starts as a zero-sum game but ends in a fight. Fights only have winners and losers; there’s no tie.
Once a debate gets hostile and personal, one or both parties may allow themselves to introduce reverse psychology as a weapon. This will involve a flurry of weird accusations that are aimed to hurt the other one but actually relate to the person who expresses these accusations (eg, “You stink……”).
Once you cross the thin line between love and hate, there’s no returning to any (new) “normal”. It’s over.
“Every girl has three guys in her life. The one she loves, the one she hates, and the one she can’t live without. And in the end, they are all the same guy.” Unknown
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.