By David Joel Miller.
How many of these relationship destroying skills do you practice?
Couples slip into patterns of behavior over time. Some of these repetitive behaviors make their relationship stronger, other relationship habits destroy your togetherness. What one partner does the other tends to copy. Over time using these relationship destroying skills becomes a habit.
Do you and your partner practice relationship destruction on a regular basis?
Attacking your partner devastates the relationship.
You want one thing and your partner wants another. It is easy to slip from disagreement to seeing your partner as the obstacle to getting what you want. Many couples start out with a conflict about a simple thing, household chores for example, but this conflict quickly escalates to an all-out attack on the partner.
Moving from complaining that you partner does not clean up after themselves in the kitchen to an all out global condemnation of them as a filthy, dirty slob is sure to damage your relationship.
Focus on the blame and make each other wrong.
Life can be hard. Bad things happen even to good people. When those inevitable difficulties come do you focus on making things better, what needs to be done, or do you slip into the blame game telling your partner it is all their fault.
Even if you partner has made a serious mistake, staying stuck on the blaming part keeps you two from working together to figure out how you will get past this.
Control your partner for a one person relationship.
Many couples’ disagreements are not about the facts but about who gets to decide, who will be in control. Happy couples work together to make joint decisions. Generally they delegate some things to each person. If one of you is better at organization and scheduling let them set the schedule. If one person handles money better, then they may be the one to manage the finances.
Avoid arguments about who is in control of what and try to negotiate this. When someone is a “control freak” this often comes from a place of anxiety and fear. Help them to see that they can relax and let you do things and their world will still be fine.
Stop looking at control conflicts as who wins and who loses. Look for solutions where you both win and no one has to be the loser.
Insisting on total control in the relationship is a formula for a dysfunctional, unhappy relationship. If one person in the relationship has “control issues” consider getting professional help to work through this.
If you can’t win the argument enjoy the martyrdom. Placating and the victim stance.
Placating, giving in and taking on the victim role may work for a while. In the long run being the constant victim is a damaging part to play. Couples that adapt the winner and the loser way of communicating are less happy in their interactions. Playing the victim may take some of the sting out of not getting your way, but it undermines the relationship over the long haul.
Build walls to keep your partner out.
Relationships, primary sexual ones and even friendships, open you up to emotions. Wall building, cutting parts of who you are off from others can feel protective at the time. Over time the person who puts up the walls becomes progressively more isolated.
Put up enough walls and you end up living a lonely isolated life even in the midst of a relationship.
Avoiding the problems any way you can, destroys relationships.
There are innumerable ways to avoid problems. Some people turn to drugs and alcohol to avoid painful feelings, others bounce from relationship to relationship. Affairs are a common way of avoiding dealing with the core issues a couple is experiencing.
When you use these negative coping strategies to avoid dealing with the problems you dig the hole deeper. Learning problem solving skills requires practice. If you don’t deal with an issue now you will need to deal with it later after it has grown to humongous proportions.
Resentments will keep you warm at night.
Resentments are a sorry companion. The feeling that it is someone else’s fault, refusing to let go of past hurts, will make you feel justified in staying stuck. Resentments can prevent any healing from taking place.
Holding onto resentments, large and small can isolate you and eventually Mr. or Miss Resentment becomes your primary friendship. It takes courage to let go of resentments but hanging on to them is a sure relationship destroyer.
Ready to let go of the resentment destroyers?
If you see that these relationship destroyers have taken up residence in your relationship, now is the time to start working on them. If possible talk with your partner about these issues and see if you can work through them. Pick a time when you are both calm and receptive.
If your relationship has been so badly damaged that fixing it is no longer a “do it yourself project” look for professional help, a Marriage or Couples Therapist, before the whole relationship gets condemned and torn down.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books