Between fatigue, stress and life together, daily proximity can leave marks … often indelible because a love story is enriched by happy and difficult moments. To a certain extent, arguments are even the sign of a relationship rich in exchange or even in stimulating confrontation… and therefore a source of attachment.

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Extremes and insidious signs

But when the conflict takes its rights, how to see clearly? There are the extreme positions of psychological violence, such as that of the manipulator (who often pretends to be the victim), the stalker or the pervert “who will take revenge in order to survive”, as the title of a work * by the psychoanalyst indicates. Gérard Bonnet.

But before we get to that, there are fortunately other nuances. To spot them, you have to stand on the side of the limits not to be crossed in the conflict.

In short, the acceptable stage is passed when the chemistry of love, feelings of trust and security begin to dissolve.

Moreover, according to Patrick Estrade, psychologist and psychotherapist but also author of the book Couple Rediscovered, the lack of respect often at the origin of more intense conflict can take two forms. The first, that of passive neglect.

In the other, that of an aggression which often results in unresolved conflicts (with oneself and / or with the other). Hence the multitude of points of tension in the event of something unsaid.

The counterpart of flights … silence

Besides the poignant words, conflict can also emerge muted. Contrary to popular belief, “silence and withdrawal into oneself are not pure marks of silence”, as Isabelle Levert * reminds us in her work “Les violence sournoises dans le couple” **. Hey yes, love and its paradoxes are once again in the game. Thus, “the kiss is the surest way to be silent while saying everything” as Guy de Maupassant wrote. But the same goes for silence.

“To believe that silence is simply non-communication is a serious mistake. On the contrary, it is a communication and it can be particularly violent within a couple ”. Especially when the spiral of silence-stormy discussions or even cries are repeated over time. “This loop (…) is repeated almost identically until the relationship becomes dangerously unbalanced, causing a crisis that is more important (in intensity and duration) than the others. ”

“There is just behind the silence, in its wake, the desire for non-relationship”

Over the course of the episodes, the silence gives way to doubt about feelings, to the feeling of emotional insecurity. But also “to the fantasies that germinate from insignificant facts”, notes Isabelle Levert. As the “crises” progress, the mutic repeats long episodes of “silence, (…) can even leave while we are talking to him” while waiting for an intention. For his part, the other member of the couple “stunned, stunned, is overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts, contradictory, confused, painful, which collide against each other in the head (…). Little by little, the fear [s’insère] at the center of the heart ”.

Then when a form of verbal exchange returns, “the words multiply but they fall on deaf ears. [le mutique]. He does not listen to anything, or rather than himself and therefore does not hear the other. He has positioned himself secretly outside the relationship, in fact disengaged ”. Thus, “behind silence, in its wake, hides the desire for non-relation”. Hence the importance of placing listening and communication at the center of the couple to untangle the knots of the problem (s). According to Isabelle Levert, the moment of apologies when we set limits are also the sign of a balance in the relationship.

* “Perversion: revenge in order to survive”, Gérard Bonnet, PUF. Paperback, April 2008

** Isabelle Levert is also the author of the book “The sly violence of the family – From the transmission of a curse to self-repair”, Editions Robert Laffont.