@jerry There's a concept in interpersonal dynamics called "punctuation". If you have a dynamic like this:
- You do A, so I respond with B
- You do B, so I respond with A
then it can be represented as
but one person may "punctuate" it as [A->B]->[A->B] ("it started with A, I'm just reacting to that") and the other as [B->A]->[B->A] ("it started with B, I'm just reacting to *that*").
But it doesn't actually matter, it's just a vicious cycle, and while both reactions might be understandable it's incumbent upon the pair to recognize the cycle and figure out how to break it, one way or another.
@jerry But breaking out of patterns like that (and other problematic dynamics) takes humility, a feeling of psychological safety, effort, and even just the time required to talk these things through (and maybe the money to pay a couple's counselor). For a variety of reasons, not everyone has all those things.
One thing that strikes me about all of those comics is the extent to which the conflicts are traditional male/female role inequalities, driven by a combination of biology and culture. It's embarrassing and a bit upsetting when I see it in my own relationship, especially since we've actively worked on countering it. I think this is going to be one of the root causes you'll find in relationship conflicts in general.
(I suspect that also means there's a decent chance that switching to a different partner won't help, unless you filter for a person who is committed to working on these problems.)
@jerry I'm also not sure that their relationship *is* all that dysfunctional? There's a good chance she's just playing up some of their difficulties for laffs, and they actually work on this stuff.
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