Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Physics in human form explained.

"To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."  As best I recall, that is a principle in physics.  I don't think it holds true in human relations.

It seems that an action often spurs an even larger reaction. Tit for tat frequently becomes tit squared.  Retaliation is seldom in equal measure, no matter how much the Old Testament may call for an eye for an eye or the actor may proclaim adherance to a slightly more recent theology. 

Consider the game of the one-upping spouses:  I'll flirt and you'll kiss.  I'll grope and you'll have sex.  I'll disappear for the weekend and you'll get acquainted with the American Legion.  And where does that lead?These are not idle threats, they're actions already taken.  There's no game of chicken here.  And oddest of all, these are people very much engrossed in continuing the relationship, however sick it has become and maybe, because of how sick it has become.

Occasionally I'll consult with these people.  Their unresolved and unrepentant mutually assured destruction in full form, they rarely have any interest in actually ending the bloody battles, rather they seek amunition to one up their partner in a new element of the game.  "I saw a lawyer today and I can take you for everything you've got."  "Oh yeah, well I saw a lawyer today and I gave him pictures of you with that platoon."  And so it goes; and so it goes.

Sometimes the one upmanship game has lead to the floor of the courtroom, each party more vitriolic than the other.  And the conclusion of that phase of the game is the couple's divorce in  an ugly, unremeditated form.  Then, still wholly embroiled in the battle that is their lives, the wars continue, post divorce.

Often the battles are then conducted in text messages, back and forth, each more hateful than the last.  Or they can take the form of literal sabotage such as defacing or destroying property.  Frequently the couple periodically resumes relations as if granting their physical intimacy to their former spouse is the worst cruelty they could render.  Perhaps it is.

This is long past time for an analyst's couch, but I suspect an analyst would be about as much at a loss as the legal profession.  "Just what do you want me to do?  Fix you?  I don't think so."

While I express conduct here in the extreme, many people are on this continuum, just in somewhat milder form.  The battles continue.  The battles escalate, even if the measure is the length of silent hostility in the cold environment called home.  The test of whether the relationship falls into this pattern is whether one is fantasizing or even acting in some variation of "I'm going to get him (or her)."  The thirst for retribution is generally a bad sign in a marriage.

It seems to me that two alternatives are far more wholistic and therefore healthier for human life, contributing to human happiness: wishing the best always for your spouse with you in the picture and wishing the best always for your spouse with you no longer in the picture. 

Time is a beautiful process.  Sometimes a spouse is in the "I'm going to get him" mode, but works through that and evolves to the sentiment of "I wish you well in all your endeavors, without me."  That is a much better place to be.

Of course, there are attorneys for the couple engrossed in retribution.  They call themselves "aggressive" lawyers.  They'll be happy to take your money, all of it, and hand you a few more nuclear bombs in the process.

If that's where you are at, good luck with that.

For me, I'll still look for the laws of physics as they apply to human form, particularly human relationships. For example: a couple in motion tend to remain in motion and a couple at rest tend to remain at rest.  But perhaps that is all just rationalization looking for an orderly universe.  Perhaps it is far more correct to view human relations from the Chaos theory.

Michael Manely

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