Tony and Belle have been married for decades. You could sense their love for each other but they didn’t get along—constantly fighting. Most things Tony said or did was perceived as controlling. It was true that Tony was controlling in the past, but worked diligently at not continuing that pattern. When Belle perceived Tony as trying to influence her, she’d blow up. Tony felt he couldn’t do anything right, being perceived as controlling even when he made efforts not to be. Belle felt his control was less overt but continued in more subtle ways.
This was hard to sort out. His stories suggested intentional effort and her stories indicated subtle persistence. Was Belle’s history of being controlled impacting her perception? Were Tony’s efforts falling short despite his good intentions?
They were like skewed lines—lines never intersecting with each other. Fortunately, it’s rare to see this. Despite a good life together, their future was questionable. With perceptions so misaligned, change was unlikely.