No Gender Has the Lock on Emotional Issues

I get a lot of comments on this blog, mainly in response to my posts about the silent treatment and ultimatums in relationships. It seems that some people believe that one gender tends to be more prone toward emotionally dysfunctional behavior.  For example, many readers believe that the silent treatment is a guy thing.  I originally wrote about it because I was receiving the silent treatment from a female acquaintance whom I’d inadvertently offended, but I don’t feel that any gender is more prone to using it.  I have also received comments that I choose not to publish, such as “all men suck,” or “typical female behavior.”

I make it a point to write my posts with no particular gender or sexual orientation in mind, because these behaviors apply to everyone.  Dysfunctional behavior develops in childhood as a survival tool in a dysfunctional family environment.  It was not necessarily healthy behavior, but it was the best a child could come up with in a confusing environment.  Dysfunctional behavior continues to live into adulthood when it continues to work for that person in his or her relationships.  For example, if the silent treatment is the dysfunctional behavior, it keeps working if the person giving it gets their desired goal: attention, energy, even begging from their partner, friend, child, parent, etc.

If you are in a relationship with someone who is behaving dysfunctionally, you do yourself a disservice by blaming your partner’s gender.  The only way to fix this problem is to look within, and see just how you fit into the dynamic.  This does  not mean that your partner’s behavior is your fault.  It does mean that you respond to the dysfunctional behavior in a way that satisfies the dysfunction, that you fit into a dynamic in the same way two puzzle pieces fit together.   You can’t change your partner, but you can change yourself.  It’s the only thing you have control over.

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