This is the one thing in my marriage I ruminated on the most that I could not deal with and begged the husband to change. I realize now that this is what he thrived on and kept him going since it kept the drama alive, reminding him of his childhood. Although children of dysfunctional homes will tell you they want to escape it; this is what feels comfortable to them, this is what they know, and unless they actively change what they know, they seek what is comfortable to them, they create patterns of familiarity.
We would be going on; being happy, then he would begin to pull away from me emotionally. He would refuse to call me from work. Then he would be late coming home without a phone call. Then he would refuse to spend time with me and the kids after dinner. Then he would refuse to go to bed until after I was already asleep. This pattern would repeat itself until I would do something; try and talk to him, complain, write him a letter, cry. Then he would tell me I was too emotional, too needy, too something; I was the one expecting too much.
This was the game; the push-me pull-you game. Push-me away, pull you closer once you create some sort of drama about it. He would then do something to placate me, but only temporarily. There would be peace in our relationship for a time, and then the cycle would repeat itself. The cycle of him pushing away emotionally became longer and longer.
It is a game a person plays who tries to manipulate the emotions of others. The game a person plays that is emotionally abusive. The game a person plays who doesn’t know how to take responsibility for their own behavior.