Most couples argue from time to time. But did you know that depending upon the form your arguments take, they can also take a toll on your sex life?
Your emotional landscape informs and shapes your sexual reality.
In order to achieve the connection and intimacy you crave, it’s crucial to look at the more problematic moments in your relationship.
This isn’t always easy but it’s so worth it. I invite you to enter a shame-free zone where you don’t judge or criticize yourself or your partner. Doing so will help you get a much clearer view of the dynamics at play in your relationship.
Take a look at this list of all too common ways couples try to control each other and their relationship:
- Fear: Threatening your partner with dire consequences in order to control their behavior might begin with the intention of setting a boundary but it can quickly turn into a form of domestic violence. If your partner lives in fear because of your threats, you are holding them hostage. There are healthy ways to assert boundaries but threatening another person is NOT healthy and it’s not even a boundary. In fact, it is a violation of the other person’s boundaries and autonomy.
- Brainwashing/Destroying Sense of Self-Worth: Frequent put-downs and name-calling are very common in contentious relationships. And yet, few couples understand how destructive it is. It’s also an addictive behavior because it is fueled by low self-esteem and fear. For a moment, the person engaging these harmful tactics actually feels better. They may think they “won” the argument. But like all addictive behaviors, the good feelings don’t persist, so the verbal abuse becomes routine in an effort to feel superior and to avoid feelings of self-hatred.
- Shame: We all make mistakes. But using those missteps as fodder for emotional abuse has a devastating effect on the person who is targeted. Remorse quickly turns into guilt that can morph into shame. The person who is weighed down by shame is less likely to resist their partner’s control. They simply don’t believe they deserve to be treated well anymore.
- Gaslighting: Making another believe that their feelings are unjustified—so that they begin to question their own beliefs and feelings and sanity.
- Cycle of Abuse: The person who is perpetrating may sometimes offer a small kindness or apology after an abusive incident, only to repeat the cycle of abuse over and over again.
- Isolation: If isolation from family and friends, has become part of your relationship landscape, it could be due to a recent move or perhaps an illness. But if you or your partner are enforcing that isolation, it’s a huge red flag for intimate partner violence. While it may feel like an issue of “loyalty” or “privacy,” the end result is that the isolated partner has no support system.
One of the hardest things to do, is to see how we might be inflicting harm on someone we love. Too often, we minimize and excuse our behavior. But that does nothing to reduce or eliminate the harm. In fact, our denial creates more harm.
The many well-meaning couples who come to me for help with their lagging libidos, sexual dysfunctions and romantic disconnects, rarely understand that the way they “argue” impacts the way they make love.
But it does.
When they learn to take the aggression, the abuse and the control out of the way they relate to each other, their sex life almost always improves.
If you relate to even one of the six items on the list above, please consider reaching out for help. All six forms of control constitute something called coercive control which is actually an aspect of intimate partner violence. And without help these forms of abuse will only get worse over time.
There are many resources at your disposal, including my private coaching. Please reach out to me and explore the links below to get the support you deserve. Because make no mistake about it, whether someone is harming you or you are harming someone, you absolutely need and deserve the help to improve your circumstances, heal and live a more abundant, joyful life.
Intimate Partner Violence is a serious issue. In the USA, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Additionally, 16 percent of homicides are perpetrated by a partner. If you want or need help call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.787.3224 or visit the website at www.TheHotline.org
Veronica Monet, ACS is a trained domestic violence counselor, certified sexologist and anger management specialist who works with couples who want to argue less and enjoy better sex! Her Exquisite Partnership Formula™ provides concrete tools for creating curiosity, connection, communication and empathy in the face of those inevitable conflicts.