Sometimes couples can get just plain stuck. It seems like the same arguments keep coming up over and over again and nothing gets fixed. As time goes on the resentment builds, couples are more easily triggered but more importantly, serious damage and be done to the relationship. Very simply what gets couples stuck is when they are no longer listening to what each other is saying, and no longer understanding what each other needs. As things escalate they are actualy no longer capable of hearing and understanding. They are in "fight or flight". This is when logical and rational thinking is gone. This is why crazy things that ordinarily would never be said are said with the intent to hurt. When people are hurting they hurt back(fight), or they leave (flight). What's going on ironically is they both need the same thing, to be understood, and to be taken care of by their partner. What we need to do with this kind of conflict, the "ugly" conflict, is find a way to depersonalize the situation as best we can; to stop the blaming and the criticizing, and to ask the question: "If nobody is to blame, what is the problem". Step one is recognizing personal triggers and manage emotions, step two is healthy communication (no blaming, put-downs, bringing up the past to hit someone over the head with), using empathy and compassion and validating each others hurt and needs, and then work together to problem solve about "THE PROBLEM" as a "WE", together. Working as a "WE" means there's more of a chance that there's a coming together that is safe, loving and satisfying and bringing resolution to the situation. Maybe easier said then done but then that's why there's counsellors.