1 Vacillator’s Tension Builds
The Vacillator’s anxiety/tension builds up due to:
- Idealization, which leads to disappointment
- Preoccupation with relational closeness/distance; ruminating on desired outcomes and past hurts
- Feeling abandoned when others differ or separate
- Addressing problems with complaints rather than requests
- Arrivals/departures, or waiting for the spouse to engage
2 Vacillator Vents
The Vacillator vents or protests to lower anxiety, then moves from idealizing to devaluing. The Vacillator is likely to assume their partner’s motives are to hurt intentionally.
3 Avoider Stunned
The Vacillator’s vent catches the Avoider off-guard. They may ask “What just happened?” The avoider reacts defensively, minimizing the issue; they believe the Vacillator is too emotional and has trouble empathizing with them. Likewise, the Avoider is dismissive of feelings, pain, or new idealistic ideas or crusades.
4 Vacillator is Hurt
The Vacillator feels dismissed, invisible, and/or misunderstood. Angry and flooded with emotion, they react, escalating the situation.
5 Avoider Overwhelmed
The Avoider is overwhelmed by the Vacillator’s emotional display and sees them as unreasonable. The Avoider will often feel a fight or flight response.
6 Vacillator: Triggered
The Vacillator feels abandoned, which intensifies their feelings. Strong language might be used, they may threaten to leave or divorce. Internally, they begin to devalue their partner and, over time, may feel contempt and disgust for them.
7 Avoider: Triggered
The Avoider reacts by shutting down and/or retreating. They may make themselves busy with tasks, or simply leave.
8 Vacillator Reflects
Ultimately, the Vacillator’s anxiety is relieved through anger. They may express their displeasure by pouting or sulking. Privately, however, they will review the event and assign motives and intentions to the Avoider’s actions. Eventually, they may privately feel shame over their anger and/or words, and may feel unloveable.
9 Avoider Waits it Out
The Avoider simply waits for Vacillator to “get over it” – there is no real resolution. When the Vacillator re-engages, the family complies, acting like nothing happened.
Eventually, this cycle starts all over again or destroys the relationship.
Breaking the Cycle
If you are ready to break this destructive cycle, consider taking a look at the following offerings.
Core Patterns: Vacillator + Avoider (MP3 Download)$29.99
This one hour download provides an in-depth look at Vacillator–Avoider Core Pattern. It includes a downloadable PDF, which includes a circular diagram of this Core Pattern, explanations and all applicable interventions to exit this destructive dance. See product descriptions for more details.
Core Pattern: Vacillator+Avoider (Audio CD)$39.99
Your core pattern is the enemy, not your spouse! This one hour CD provides an in-depth look at Vacillator–Avoider Core Pattern . It includes the downloadable PDF, which includes a circular diagram of this Core Pattern, explanations and all applicable interventions to exit this reactive, destructive dance.
How We Love (Book)$11.99
NEW EXPANDED EDITION released July 15, 2017
In How We Love, relationship experts Milan and Kay Yerkovich draw on the powerful tool of attachment theory to show how your early life experiences created an “intimacy imprint”–an underlying blueprint that shapes your behavior, beliefs, and expectations of all relationships, especially your marriage.
How We Love Workbook$11.99
Make your How We Love journey easier with the How We Love Workbook. This book is a helpful companion to the new 2017 edition of the How We Love book provides practical, solution-focused tools for building a stronger, more passionate marriage, including guidance, plans, and assessments geared towards healing and improving your relationship.