Are you in a relationship with an immature resister? You will know if you are, because even the smallest thing can turn into a battle for perceived control!
To explain what I mean, I will give you a few examples of resistant behaviour from my own past:
He insists on taking an alternative route from the one you usually use for shopping or taking the kids to school – even though it is clearly not quicker or more convenient.
He refuses to lift the toilet seat when peeing, because he wants to prove that he is not leaving splashes on the seat (yes, really).
He refuses to speak to you for days on end, following a disagreement… until you become tired of the atmosphere, and attempt to make amends (which he eventually and grudgingly responds to, but with a smug sense of having ‘won’!).
He refuses to let something drop, insisting that “you aren’t listening to me!”, when what he really means is, “you aren’t agreeing with me, and I am not going to shut up until you do” – which is obviously a completely different thing.
He ignores the mess that most obviously requires attention within the home, instead choosing to do something that could definitely be left until another day… and then gets in a huff because you aren’t over the moon with gratitude. For example, heavily pregnant, you return from a day and a night in hospital, exhausted and weak, only to find that the kids are still not dressed, their bath had been run but the water is now cold, the dishes that were in the sink when you left are still there, and the sofa is covered in dog hair – but he is outside cutting the grass – “for you”.
You finally get him to agree to help you with the DIY jobs, and he makes a big show of going to start wall-papering the upstairs hall whilst you are at work; except that, upon returning home, you find an empty house with one long wall sporting a mere three strips of paper… each separated by a one inch gap. Well, he really needed a few pints after that mammoth task – didn’t he?
You try to carefully explain that you don’t really enjoy a particular something where sex is concerned, but you really like this or that… and he doggedly sticks to his old ways, determined to prove you wrong…. somehow.
He criticises the way you handle the finances, even though his only interest up to that point has been in what is coming in, rather than what is going out – and makes a big deal about stepping in and sorting it out, properly – only to change his mind the moment the first threatening letter drops through the letter-box (“well, as it was you who created this mess, you should be the one to sort it out”).
He starts moaning again about Christmas, somewhere around October, stating that the kids will have to do without this year because they are old enough now to accept that there isn’t enough money for that kind of stuff. Only to, come Christmas day, when you have worked really hard, running from pillar to post, stretching every penny (even buying decent second-hand toys), and managed to produce a good dinner with a little bit to drink – enjoy it all without a single acknowledgement or thank-you. And then, come October, start the whole shebang off again…
Wow, I have to say, reading through that list, I can almost taste the bitterness running through my own words! And I also have to say that I drew those examples from two relationships, not one… and that, given enough time, I could probably come up with a zillion other examples! And although I have been saying ‘he’, an immature resister could just as easily be a she!
So, is it actually possible to be a mature resister, rather than an immature one?
Well, we all resist, to one degree or another, whilst in a relationship – and the resisting is a natural part of the growth. You have two individual souls, with their individual baggage, and their individual perceptions, hopes, and dreams, trying to mesh it all together, make it work, and still be heard and seen, in their own individual ways! I have no idea why so many people have hugely idealistic expectations of love and emotionally intimate relationships… after all, they require an almost endless amount of awareness, understanding and patience! However, the good news is that it must be do-able, otherwise billions of people wouldn’t have managed to grow old together! But, back to the question, I would say that resisting is an unavoidable part of a developing relationship, as it encourages compromise – and compromise requires maturity. However, when resistance is consistently used as a form of avoidance of compromise, it becomes juvenile and selfish!
It’s all about control!
Immature resisting is generally about control, and the resister is likely to accuse their partner of being the controlling one, every time they fail to get their own way. “Stop controlling me!” is an order that will be spat out in almost every argument, and is designed to make you feel bad about yourself, and to force you to back down. If the resister is frequently allowed to get away with this, it will become their go-to mantra, their default setting… and, like an impenetrable wall of thorns, there will be no way of cutting through it.
The question has to be, is it possible to be able to develop a healthy, mutually supportive, long-term relationship with an immature resister? Sadly, I have to say that I don’t believe so. Of course, it is possible to have a long-term relationship with this type of personality, but not one that is genuinely loving, and not one that allows for mutual growth. You see, the resister’s biggest fear is compromise and change, and is entirely rooted in the ego. If the immature resister has to concede in any way, in his or her eyes that makes them appear to be wrong… and being wrong is something they just cannot stomach. They don’t have the emotional wisdom to recognise that considered compromise is a loving act, and emanates from a place of strength.
Is it two-way traffic?
Of course, it takes two to tango, and it is possible for both partners to create a monster in their own relationship. If both are consistently resisting, and entering into tit-for-tat games, they become a pain in the rear to each other and everyone around them! This couple tend not to keep it all behind closed doors, and their dramas are often made public, with their friends and family members regularly being updated about every little misdemeanour!
What can you do, if you recognise that you are in a relationship with an immature resister? Well, you could put up with it, cross your fingers, and hope that the idiot eventually grows up a bit; or, you could consistently stand your ground, whilst developing an incredibly thick skin that neatly deflects accusations of controlling behaviour; or, you could ask yourself if the relationship is really worth all of the effort and strain… if you are really willing to sacrifice your own healthy emotional growth. The problem is, even the most seasoned resister will have some positive characteristics, and, every now and then, will do just enough to redeem themselves. And in my experience, this is often all it takes for the worn-down partner to be reeled back in again.
If your relationship is struggling under the weight of tit-for-tat and power-plays, double check that you aren’t the guilty party, or, at the very least, playing an equal role! And if you are, don’t wait for your partner to change before you do (we can only ever answer for ourselves, and only ever change ourselves) – start making improvements right now, and then take it from there. If, however, you are hanging onto a relationship with a seasoned, immature resister, understand that, over time, the price you pay will be huge – the exact value, in fact, of your own mental, emotional, and spiritual growth – unless, of course, you learn how to effectively stand your ground!