“And he could not speak to her of what he took to be her unhappiness. When he attempted to do so, she accepted what he said as a reflection upon her adequacy and her self, and she became morosely withdrawn from him as she did when he made love to her. He blamed his clumsiness for her withdrawal and took upon himself the responsibility for what she felt.” - From the novel Stoner, by John Williams.
A beautiful literary description of a couple’s negative dance. The action tendencies (not talking, withdrawing), the meaning making (I am not adequate, I am not meeting her expectations. It illustrates to perfection how actions, thoughts and feelings drive the dance of disconnection…and how we can get stuck in it.
Do you resonate with this pattern? What do you understand about it?