From my experiences and study, I have come to this conclusion;

When we have a fear that we cannot tolerate or accept, it is pushed deep and buried in our unconscious mind, from here it is at it’s most dangerous and mischievous, it has the power to influence our behaviour and perceptions and to influence us to influence others behaviour and perceptions. In essence it seeks to make what we fear happening, happen. To make our fears real. Thus it influences our behaviour and manipulates us and our surroundings in to creating the ideal environment for the fear to become a real threat so that we act upon it.

This is essentially what happens when conflict arises in relationships. A relationship is perceived in many complex ways at once by elements of the human mind. One of those ways is the risk involved, the risk of being hurt, abandoned, rejected. This risk is considered a threat to the self. Early on in relationships, this risk is eclipsed by many other factors but as time goes by, this risk and sense of threat, which has been repressed, grows stronger within it’s non conscious hide away as the other factors weaken.

The defence mechanism influences a lot of the thinking involved, perhaps ‘thinking’ is the wrong word, perceiving and interpreting would be a better description. The inner conflicts undergo the process of projection. What this means is that the inner conflicts need to be ejected from their inner realm and become conflicts in the external realm. The imagined threat that has been buried tries to create an environment where a real threat is experienced in order to get us to act upon the dictate of the defence mechanism. The Fight or Flight programming.

Our system won’t apply it’s fight or flight program to an imagined risk or threat, so it needs to bring about a real risk or threat. This is why conflicts in relationships arise and escalate and this applies to all conflicts in relationships. They are our primitive phylogenetic fight or flight programming and the influences, manipulations and provocations that occur are the attempts to bring an internal conflict in to the external realm and make an imagined threat or risk, a real threat in which we need to act upon.

Once the psychological and emotional defence mechanism is engaged, there is little if nothing that can be done by the opposing partner to break through the defensive attitude. The whole point of it is it is defending against threat or risk and the partner is perceived as the source of that threat or risk, anything the partner attempts is seen as an attack and is met by a counterattack.

Essentially, the rising power of the defence mechanisms ability to influence perceptions causes a growing perception that the one that was once loved is a risk or threat to the person and a greater and greater emotional distance arises between those that once loved each other with abandon. I would say that this effect is common throughout relationships, but where some relationships form a truce, i.e. A safe emotional distance, in some relationships, the only safe emotional distance is completely out of site and out of mind.

The quote “Since love and fear can hardly coexist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved” by Niccolo Machiavelli, clearly alludes to this phenomenon.