Thursday, July 28, 2016
Does Paradox Work or is More Nagging Better?
Yesterday I told about a couple stuck in a cycle of conflict around a Triangle over drinking or being with the wife and baby. There is so much anxiety in this situation that a serious argument raises the anxiety and make the polarization much worse. Something different needs to happen to relieve the anxiety and cool the situation.
A light hearted Paradoxical Intervention can sometimes break the impasse. The Counselor looked over the interactions, saw the Triangle and realized the couple was stuck. Blame and Shame had been tried over and over and always failed. (Does BS ever work?) So, the Counselor thought that setting up a Paradoxical interaction might break the logjam.
He asked the wife to agree to change the dynamic dramatically. He coached her on how Triangles work and suggested that she could change it if she was real brave. She said she was willing to try anything because the current situation was awful.
He said "Here is a way you can really make a difference. Do you think you can agree to go out drinking with your husband? Be prepared, because he will not agree right away. It will force him to alter his behavior.
She did agree and he did balk. It threw him into a state of almost total confusion. He had that look of a deer in the headlights. He hummed and hawed and argued that she would be very uncomfortable in that place. He said they smoked, and drank, and cussed; all things she hated.
At every point, she smiled sweetly and said, "Dear, I just want to be with you like we were when we dated". He was speechless and powerless. His ploy had failed.
So what happened?
They went to a movie and came home early for romance!
This is a cheery answer to the intervention. They are not all like this, of course, but it sometimes works if we are not too serious.
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