The reason it's so deadly is because it eclipses the purpose of anger, which is to use it constructively to bring about positive change going forward in a relationship," she says.Referred to as the "demand-withdrawal" pattern by researchers, it can occur when one partner "constantly nags, asks questions or makes demands while the other partner responds by withdrawing, avoiding or giving the silent treatment," says Paul Schrodt, communications professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.Patterns usually do not exist from the beginning of a relationship.Additionally, patterns can change into new patterns over time.It happens when one partner pressures the other with requests, criticism or complaints and is met with avoidance or silence."It's the most common pattern of conflict in marriage or any committed, established romantic relationship," says one author.This shift is the result of one or both partners adjusting their reactions or stance in a set of exchanges.
"It's the most common pattern of conflict in marriage or any committed, established romantic relationship," says Paul Schrodt, Ph.
Both partners completed the Relationship Efficacy Measure (Fincham, Harold & Gano-Phillips, 2000) and answered questions on relationship length and satisfaction.
A month later, they completed the Communication Patterns Questionnaire (Christensen & Sullawey, 1984).
"It's easy to think of the silent person as holding the power in the situation, but in reality (she) often feels small and powerless.
She really has no idea what to say or do when hurt, so she withdraws.""Ultimately, it has nothing to do with the argument but needing to feel like you are in control of something when everything else around you is spinning out of control," echoes Mulholland, of Royal Oak, Mich.