James and Dawn were in a bad place. They had made progress in couples counseling, but then had a setback that they never recovered from. James said he couldn’t continue the way things were, since he and Dawn were completely avoiding each other. So despite his being temperamental, James worked on being kinder, and consequently Dawn avoided him less. James says he is putting in the work, e.g., realigning expectations and being less reactive. He called it a paradigm shift.
This gives Dawn hope that the changes are more sustainable. The couple processed their setback in couples counseling. Dawn said she shuts down to negativity and criticism, which made him more angry. Dawn said she needed to be more vocal when something was bothering her, since she tended to avoid conflict. James will work harder on listening and respond more effectively, e.g., apologize when he criticizes. Hearing about James’ work on himself—his paradigm shift—gave Dawn more hope that the changes were sustainable.