When people react adversely to small issues and problems and turn these events into major disagreements and arguments, it could indicate there is a much bigger underlying problem. Being able to recognize this in your spouse or teenager is essential to addressing the underlying issues before the issues start to manifest and result in destructive behaviours, as well as preventing a breakdown in marital and parent-child relationships.
For instance, you make a parenting decision without input from your spouse and inform your spouse of the decision you made. They might have feelings of resentment because they were left out of the decision making process or not agree with your decision. Rather than discuss it with you, they let it fester and build up.
Their outward behaviour, since they are bothered by this, results in making derogatory statements in regards to how you did their laundry, cleaned, or prepared their food. When you attempt to discuss the matter with them, they automatically become defensive and argumentative. This leads into an argument about the minor issue or develops into an argument about other less relevant issues, but never really gets to what is truly bothering them.
Let’s consider a situation where you notice your teenager is constantly distancing himself or herself from the rest of the family. They stay locked away in their bedroom whenever they are at home and the only time you see them is when they leave their room briefly to use the bathroom or get something to eat. You inquire whether they are alright and if something is wrong. In return, your teen gets upset and defencive when they respond.
They might be feeling you are to blame for their problem or lack confidence in your ability to help resolve the problem, simply because you are a grownup and do not understand what they are going through. Rather than discovering what is bothering them, you end up arguing about the amount of time they are spending in their room and not spending with the family.
Keep in mind these are just a few examples of situations where small problems or changes in behaviour can quickly turn into major disagreements. It is important to remember the relationships between your teenagers or spouse are unique and vary from one family to another. What truly is eating away at them may not seem like a major problem to another person in a completely different situation.
However, that does not mean you should ignore erratic outbursts and behaviours. Hiding your head in the sand, so to speak, is not going to resolve the problems, only allow them to become bigger and continue to grow. Eventually, the problems could be so big, that there is little that can be done to reconcile differences in opinions and salvage the relationship. Additionally, if the person is feeling depressed, it could lead to thoughts of suicide or making the actual attempt to end their life.
If you are having a difficult time communicating with your spouse or your teenager, you should consider seeking relationship counselling from a professional therapist. Counselling can be conducted one-on-one, as a couple, or as parent-teen. For more information about counselling or to schedule an appointment in the Greater Toronto Area, call Bayridge Counselling Centre at 905-319-1488 now.