Start Dating relationships and the demand withdraw pattern of communication

Dating relationships and the demand withdraw pattern of communication

Securely attached people who are emotionally confident, accustomed to being both loved and valued, and who believe in their own worthiness tend not to engage in the pattern.

In that context, the child plays the demand role, usually to no avail.

This latter point strikes me as very important too, since the individual’s attitude toward discussing marital difficulties is central, and whether he or she sees airing problems as potentially useful or just a battleground in the making.

Certain marital behaviors are those transmitted by our experiences in our families of origin; someone who has grown up in a household in which all discussions were fractious or, alternatively, one in which there were never any discussions about problems or crises may find even the idea of a discussion threatening. Mark Cummings, that asked married couples to keep a diary of their conflicts and to code them, revealed new insights into the pattern.

Of all the troubling relational patterns, Demand/Withdraw is truly worthy of Haz Mat status.

Some individuals are far more likely to find themselves in this kind of conflict than others.

This was true both in conflict situations and in those that required the husband to support and take care of his spouse.

Similarly, avoidantly attached husbands who perceived discussions about solving problems in marriage as potentially destructive were much more likely to withdraw and disengage.

(The marital literature calls these “intergenerational transmission effects.”) Regardless of one’s original intention—let’s assume it was to have a quiet, reasonable, and civilized talk about a relationship—escalation is built into the DM/W pattern, and the pattern itself effectively straps each member of the couple into a reserved seat on an ever-spinning merry-go-round. As they hypothesized, it was “marital topics”—such as intimacy, communication, commitment, habits and personality—that triggered the demand-withdraw pattern and .) That said, the presence of the pattern in the couples’ interactions lowered their overall ability to resolve conflict constructively.