If you think everything about your partner is irritating or you feel as though everything you do annoys your partner, you may be in what is called “Negative Sentiment Override.”
Negative Sentiment Override is what happens when conflicts and arguments result in a distorted view of interactions with your partner as frustrating, depressing, unpleasant and overall negative. These interactions pile up and very often, the negative feelings don’t even have to do with the current situation and more to do with past frustrations affecting the current situation.
When you find yourself caught in this cycle, it can be a lonely place to be. You chose your partner because you loved being together, you complimented each other, you supported each other, you made them feel great and they made you feel great. Now you find yourself in this zone where you might question, what the heck happened and now what are you supposed to do? Feel stuck, lonely and misunderstood forever?
There are things you can do. Relationship dynamics exist in cycles. If you find yourself in a Negative Sentiment Override cycle, take action to get yourself into a better dynamic cycle.
The #1 thing you can do?
ACCEPT BIDS FOR ATTENTION.
This doesn’t have to be financial, labor or time intensive. It’s simple. Pay attention to them. If they say, “It’s a beautiful day out.” Don’t just keep staring at the tv. Take a moment to look at them, smile or even reply. This shows your partner that they are important and you notice them and <gasp> like them!
A few other things to try:
-Consider their feelings or opinion and where they’re coming from instead of just arguing your point to be right.
-Repair. After an argument, say “I'm sorry. How can we do this better next time?” or “next time we argue, I’m going to do __(something constructive or deescalating)__ instead.”
So why should YOU do this if your partner’s not? Why does it have to be your responsibility? It just has to start somewhere. Once you start the process, it’s very likely that they will respond. That’s how feedback loops work. One positive interaction leads to another and so on and so forth.
Be patient. Negative Sentiment Override can take a while to get out of. Start by trying to create this new positive habit for 30 days.
And as I always mention, sometimes things are beyond what you can handle on your own. If these attempts don’t work, consider calling a professional who is trained to help you navigate through these difficult Negative Sentiment Cycles.