This is an in-depth look at the Avoider+Avoider and the Pleaser+Pleaser Core Patterns, which are less common combinations. There is one audio file and two PDFs (one for each style). Each PDF contains a circular diagram of the core pattern, explanations, and all applicable interventions to exit the destructive dance.
Nothing seems to ruffle this couple. Conflict will be avoided unless it can be rationally discussed. Affection will be minimal and often a family pet gets more touch than the couple give to one another. Of all the combinations, this one is most likely to not want children. If children do enter the family, the system will be stressed as babies and toddlers are a bundle of feelings and needs. Arguments may ensue over division of labor.
This couple seems to sail along with few problems and no prominent Core Pattern until a crisis hits that breaks the lid off shut down feelings. At this point, one person will start to feel and need support on some level, and their spouse will struggle and feel inadequate to make this shift. This couple rarely comes to therapy unless a crisis has forced tension into the relationship.
This pair takes the risk-free route as much as possible and has difficulty making decisions. They may be overcommitted to activities as both have difficulty saying “No,” and don’t often include self-care as a part of their routine. Since both spouses lack boundaries, minimize problems and avoid conflict, things seem to go along quite smoothly until a crisis hits that forces the acknowledgment of painful realities. Neither is skilled at dealing with difficult emotions or comforting, rather than reassuring. A strong, feisty child can throw this duo into a tailspin, as neither would be good at holding boundaries, and each has an aversion to dealing with strong emotions or protests from a spirited child. Teen years can be difficult on parents who are both Pleasers for the same reasons.
When there is finally a situation or event that forces difficult feelings to surface, often one spouse is ready to face reality, while the other wants to stay in the Pleaser mode. At this point, resentment can build as one person deals with more than their share of the family’s problems.
If you are interested in the complete series, these PDFs are also included as part of the Core Patterns – Complete Series set.