What kind of love enemy are you?

In a passive aggressive relationship, it’s easy to define what makes a bad enemy: hidden anger, sabotage, the cold shoulder, and so on.

However, is it possible that there is also such a thing as a “good” enemy? If so, can a bad enemy be turned into a good one?

Let’s remember what a marriage is. It’s a process, an agreement. Both sides agree to develop as individuals while also connecting with each other. In this way, each grow as separate human beings, but they grow (or at least try to) at the same pace and they grow in the same relationship. However, we know this isn’t always how it works out: often, the rate of growth becomes uneven, and both partners try to manage their differences in opinion, understanding, and perception (individual growth) without challenging the union that they’re trying to uphold.

That’s where the fights and arguments come in; they come with the territory of any relationship. Not only are they caused by different patterns of growth and understanding, conflicts are also essential to that growth itself. However, some relationships quickly fall into trouble if one or neither of the partners is at the point where they can handle that conflict in the right way. You need to learn how to be a good enemy, so you can confront yourself and your partner with the truth of your own reality, emotions and needs.

Thus, we can say that passive aggression is the “bad” enemy approach to conflict and growth. Passive aggression demands a reaction to conflict that deals with denial, retreat and sabotage. Being a “good” enemy demands a reaction to conflict that learns and creates growth.

So what behaviors does a “good” enemy have? Yes, you’re right in thinking, “Whatever the opposite of passive aggression is!” But let’s be a little more specific and break it down.

Do you avoid confrontation, escape from legitimate arguments or outright reject you partner’s arguments? That’s being a bad enemy.

If you fight your battles looking only at your self-interest, forgetting that you are part of a couple, and answering fire with fire, or all you care about is your self-defense, or if you are too proud or stubborn to admit your share of the troubles, that also makes you a bad enemy.

On the other hand, a good enemy does not avoid any arguments, but listens and makes an effort to understand the conflicting situation from the other side’s perspective. If you have strength of character and abundance of patience, you will be able to listen carefully and with enough respect as to make your partner deeply understood.

If you are able to tolerate the voices, the cries or the attacks, and keep asking for the causes of the anger, then you are able to determine what your partner is crying out for, perhaps because there is a felt need for contact or because the loneliness is expressing itself…

Signs of being a good enemy to your partner:

- You always remember how important is for your partner to feel good about himself each day;

- You are able to offer an apology and thus break communication barriers;

- You praise your partner whenever contributing positive ideas;

- You recognize and accept your shortcomings and think of ways for you to becoming a better partner;

- You treat your partner with respect and dignity at all times, even when you are raging mad at him/her.

 

The skills of a good enemy are:

- Never escalate the anger and the screaming;

- Deal with the problems in an easy, calm and self-empowered manner;

- Focus and remember the positive aspects that enhance the relationship;

- Be able to control situations, know when to stop and to say enough;

- Be able to make solid decisions, and sacrifice your self-interest.

You must also understand that in your relationship, to have it surviving and growing you should always work through your problems and settle your differences in a cooperative way. We said before that this does require patience and practice, and if you feel that your skills in this “good” enemy arena are not up to par, we can help!

 

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today.We can begin by you having  a conflict coach session, with a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!

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