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Attitudes, Early Childhood Experiences, And Nueral Reinforcement Contribution to Combative Spouse Syndrome
Published on August 4, 2005 By jesseledesma In Health & Medicine
Fighting for control. Well are you a mature person who can contribute to a healthy marriage?

Why do people fight for control? The invisible emotional issues that make people fight for control were acquired during the developmental process.

Okay let me define the issue. On this article, I am addressing people who spend their time needling their mate over petty issues.

Both men and women suffer from this problem. In addition, it causes a lot of strife and turmoil.

The autonomic nervous system is the one that controls the heart, lungs, digestion and other bodily functions associated for flight or fight.

When we are confronted with environmental stimuli, sometimes we have to decided if we are going to run to safety or fight the threat.

Increase heart, breathing, blood flow, and retardation of the digestive system help when we are going to put a fight.

I would say that when a person spends his or her time fighting with his or her mate he or she has prolonged exposure to the effects of an activated autonomic response system.

These effects are high stomach acid, high blood pressure, and rapid breathing. These are unhealthy and endanger the person to physical illness.

The neural center of the brain associated with fighting is also active for a longer period than they should be.

There are neural regions of the brain that interpret threats and prepare for action.

Having an elevated level of a particular neural transmitter that leads to a fight response, means that a fight response must happen.

Therefore, the person starts to pick on something small. Than they keep making provoking statements.

During the escalation that neural transmitters for a fight response are increasing.

Before you know it, both people in the relationship are displaying their fight responses.

The point here in the previous statements on neural processes is that behavior reinforces behavior.

The next point is on response to being attacked.
Some people withdraw when they are attacked others fight back.

The instigator can attack verbally and sometimes physically.

Does this sound like a dysfunctional and abusive relationship? Well it is.

One reason people tolerate it is because they have no behavioral script about what to do. In their romantic ideal fantasy, being married to a verbally abusive spouse was never imagined.

When we are young, we are suppose to have our different needs met in a healthy manner.

When they are not met in a healthy manner, many peculiar behaviors are possible.

What we have come to know as childish, immature and violent aggressive behaviors are the result of not having our psychological needs met.

Adults, who behave like children by insulting, taking with out permission, and hitting, learned their behaviors as children in response to the emotional turmoil they acquired during their developmental experience.

You see them as adults. However, they are psychological children with abusive behavioral practices.

If you are a spouse of such a person, you have the option of getting out and/or requesting that the person get professional counseling.

You, the reader, would be amazed how many times abusive personalities find other abusive personalities to have romantic relationships with.

Lets take it for granted that the case is a non-combative spouse and a combative spouse. I am calling a combative spouse the spouse that nit-picks to initiate and escalate a fight.

It is essential to make both people feel as if they both have value. People in turmoil feel self-conscious and vulnerable. People have to validate themselves so you can only give the appearance of value.

Professionals should not judge or persecute.

Let us being with the verbally expressive psychological abusive spouse. I am a fan of mental health stasis evaluation at the beginning of a case.

I want to know if the person is sleeping and eating. I also want to know about the person’s stressors. Do they have something interesting things in life to be involved in during the day. Is there work related stress? Are there any health issues? Have there been any recent tragedies. In addition, how are the person’s interpersonal relationships?

If the person’s life is psychologically toxic, I prescribe stress reduction therapy. I have already written an article on this subject that is posted on this blog.

If there are no life stressor making life psychological toxic, I begin to challenge the combative spouse’s thought processes by balancing positive attitudes against the negative attitudes of picking fights and abusing their spouse.

Eventually, I am going to want to get to know how the individual developed their emotional hang-ups. I know that it happened during the early years of life.

However, I need to know how their parents parented and what tragedies the person encountered as a child to know what the person is fighting against.

I would say that it is hard to work with a person when they are in daily struggle to survive. The combative spouse needs to be stopped as soon as possible. If a person’s hang-ups are not dealt with, the same behavior or other behaviors may surface.

The same pattern of service would be provided to the victim of the abuse.

Of course, the difference would be challenging the negative attitudes associated with the victim identity. This would involve self-reinforcement of value and positive and healthy assertiveness training.


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