Conflict # 60 – The Instigator

I recently received requests for couples counseling from two women, both around 35 to 40 years of age – call them “Tiffany” and “Brittany”.

Tiffany has three children from a previous relationship. She also has a one year-old with her current boyfriend, and is pregnant by him. The reason she called is that her boyfriend is cheating. Not in person, but online. He uses his tablet to video-chat and play sex games with some woman. Also, this is not his first infidelity. Tiffany hopes that couples counseling can help this situation.

Brittany has three children. She describes her husband as mean-spirited, verbally abusive and selfish. She is miserable. He says she is mentally ill. Brittany has no work skills, no education or training. She is completely dependent on her husband. By the way, he is also well connected in his community. Brittany hopes that couples counseling will help.

Early in their adult lives, both of these women decided not to prepare for financial independence. Instead, they became dependent on men. Both men have taken advantage of this, and why not? After all, as they might say, “She can’t leave. Where’s she gonna go?” So, they’re at liberty to do as they please. Obviously, not all men would do the same. But isn’t it interesting that both these women chose men who would hurt them?

Have you ever known someone who regularly picks fights or hurts you in some way? Or, someone who enjoys instigating fights between others?

We can wonder what drives such behavior. Is the instigator just bored? Is he amused by his ability to manipulate people? Curious to see who’ll win a fight? Or is it because he enjoys seeing others suffer? You can spend your life trying to understand what drives these people. Don’t bother; it’s not worth the trouble.

Instead, if you’ve been the victim of an aggressor, take a look at yourself. How do you react, physically and emotionally, when you are faced with aggression? Do you freeze? Do you run? Do you give in? Do you feel capable of fighting back, if necessary? Do you have allies, or are you without support from family or friends?

Have you, like these two women, done anything to make yourself vulnerable and helpless? If so, what could you do to avoid this in the future? And are you ready to get help?

If you’re in a bad situation and feel stuck, please call 219-309-3928 for a free consultation. I’d be honored to talk to you.

Thanks for reading!