The Vacillator grew up with a parent who connects in sporadic and unpredictable ways or more blatantly connects then abandons the child by leaving the family. It’s more about the parents needs than the child’s needs. These kids get enough connection to make them desire more so the longing for connection is kindled, but they end up waiting and wondering when the parent might show them some attention again. By the time parents are in the mood to connect, the child is tired of waiting and may be too angry to receive.
As adults, vacillators are on a quest to find gratifying, consistent connection they missed as kids. They idealize new relationships thinking—I have found it! As soon as real life sets in and they have to wait for their spouse to be available, vacillators become angry and critical and focus on the problems in their spouse. Vacillators don’t recognize their childhood pain is a big part of their current reactivity. People married to vacillators say, “I feel like I’m walking on egg shells and getting a mixed message….come here…..go away. I can’t do enough to make my spouse happy.”