Condescending Attitude In Romantic Relationships

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A condescending attitude in romantic relationships seeks to instill a power imbalance, an irrational hierarchy, which necessarily chips away at the sense of community that’s vital to mental health and happiness. Of course it hurts in the moment to feel minimized, but at the psychological level it’s the subtle trading of community for irrational hierarchy that causes lasting problems in the relationship.

The condescending attitude seeks to resolve conflict not through the normal give and take found in a communal mentality where everyone has a more or less equal voice and equal right to air grievances but rather seeks to resolve conflict through suppressing the very right to air grievances. These grievances are made to seem ‘illogical’, ‘childish’, ‘stupid’, etc.

The important point to grasp for those who recur to condescension as a way to resolve conflict is that they’re actually creating more profound and lasting conflict, although the hostility, anger, and resentment are likely to go underground, where they’ll fester and build until various moments arise for their safe release. Condescension might appear to win the battle but it makes a war of attrition inevitable. The person condescended towards will not stand for the subtle implementation of an unequal power relationship and will start fighting back in ways big and small and will find many ways to punish their partner in order to try to even the score.