A huge part of my new beginning has been self help and introspection. Trying to figure out 'my part' of the divorce. Via several years of CBT, some EMDR, and regular IC I have hit on most of the topics and feel very good about myself and well healed - in general. Lately, through a significant post divorce relationship that ended and recent interactions with my exW I have realized that a big part of my behavior in my marriage was passive aggressive/conflict avoidant. I've known I avoid conflict and am a people pleaser and have been addressing those things. It may be that the PA stuff is very related and I am doing better but I really let it out in my last relationship.
I do this thing where I avoid conflict, don't get my needs met, bottle it up, and resent the other person. The classic codependency triangle. Again, have been much better in my regular life but, apparently, it's still a fall back in relationships. With last SO I started to need some space, felt she was kind of smothering me but feared if I said anything it would end the relationship. So I kept quiet. Until I couldn't any more. Then I kind of exploded on her. To her, it came across that my explosion was how I really felt and I had been dishonest and inauthentic with her prior. So she ended it.
In my marriage, my exW knew all my buttons, never recognized my needs as being important, and I wonder if I eventually developed the PA behavior to keep the peace. She is also very PA and knows how to get her way by making people feel bad. Whereas I am a conflict avoider, she was much more of the PA where people want you to figure out what they want. When I googled PA most of what I read described her but I had to dig to find the PA stuff that fit me.
I am learning to be more assertive but, damn, these old behaviors are so ingrained they are hard to avoid. ESPECIALLY during the tough times. With friends and people I interact with I have drastically improved. I make sure I assert my needs but I still use language that is more PA than assertive. A dear friend explained to me about 'I statements' and how language greatly influences what people hear and I am trying to take the time to make sure I present myself in that light when asserting my needs.
I guess I am feeling that I have backslid and keep asking myself if I'll ever change. Will I always fall back to conflict avoidance, PA, and the codependency triangle in relationships. More specifically, I'm considering contacting exSO to discuss these issues because I'm wondering if they aren't permanent and can be addressed maybe it's not a reason enough to end a relationship. Or maybe I am so horrible at dealing with conflict that I am undateable. Ugh.
In over 3 years I have come so far just to be broadsided again by the same shit.
Thoughts? Similar experiences? Advice?