Stop poisoning your relationship

June 24, 2016 0 Comments

Stop poisoning your relationship

Image: Pexels

I found myself balling my eyes out at the doctor's office this week. I went in to get some results, and a question about how I cope with stress made me well up, breakdown and sob. My husband and I had an argument that morning about toast (yep, toast). I won't go into details of who was right or who was wrong but it ended in a great war of words over something seemingly small and pathetic.

Three days later I'm still moping around like a wounded beast. Since my adrenal crash at the start of the year, I can't bounce back from stressful situations like I used to. While the argument has been long resolved, the fatigue, heaviness and sadness I feel for days after made me question why do we fight? By 'we' I mean all couples. It's usually over a difference in opinion, and we argue to preserve the validity of our ways of living and do our best to impose those ways on others.

In my quest to find the answer I found an amazing podcast by Los Angeles psychotherapists Barry Michels and Phil Stutz, authors of the New York Times Bestseller The Tools (a book I have now ordered).

The podcast aptly titled Three Tools to Unpoison Relationships looked at three poisons that harm our relationships, all relationships including your romantic, family and business types. Recognizing these poisons, removing them and replacing them with something better will have a profound effect on the relationships you have with everyone around you.

Poison #1 - Holding negative judgements against your partner

The human mind is a funny little creation that is wired to always return to the negative. Like dark weeds, negative thoughts left untamed will grow wild in your mind robbing all things of light, love, and life. When you start to negatively criticize your partner you are adding drops of poison to your relationship. Every negative through is poison be it the fact that you can't stand the way they chew, or that they don't dress well, or that they squeeze the toothpaste from the wrong side of the tube. You don't even have to verbally critisise them, even thinking something unpleasant will poison your relationship. Human beings are very sensitive to other people's emotions. You can always tell when someone doesn't like you, so even if you keep your negative judgment to yourself, the damage is already done.

When you realise that you may be poisoning your relationship with judgmental thoughts, you have to label those thoughts as poison. Once you have labeled them as poison, you have to remove them and replace them with something positive. This may be difficult if your poisonous jungle has been left untamed for a while and you can't think of anything positive to appreciate about your partner, if this is that case remember a memory when your partner made you feel a positive emotion. This may be your wedding day, the early days of dating, remember that moment and cultivate the feelings that you felt that day. When judgment creeps in, replace it with a positive thought. 

This is not something that you can just do for one day, you have to commit to this thought process for the rest of your days as a couple because as soon as you fall back to judgment, those weeds will grow and grow quickly.

Image: Pexels

Poison #2 - Failing to feed the validating dog

This one sounds a bit odd but to understand it you need to visualise a channel between you and your partner. At each end of the channel, each of you has a guard dog that needs love, food, water and nourishment. Failing to do so will make the dog bitter, angry and aggressive. Our basic human desire in any relationship is to feel validated, loved and important. If you fail to praise your partner for the good things that they do, you will activate the angry guard dog which will not allow you to pass.

"The winner in a relationship is not the person that receives all the validation, rather the person that gives the most,"- Phil Stutz

Poison #3 - Relationship over-dependency

I'm sure many of us have heard this story before. Boy meets girl, they fall in love. They spend all their time together neglecting friends, family and all things that existed before they got together. All of a sudden one of them withdraws, the relationship becomes tainted and eventually ends.When you get in a new relationship it's important not to fall into the trap of letting your friends go.

This also happens in long term relationships and marriages where one person becomes overdependent on their relationship. This is bad because it puts too much pressure on the other person, causing them to withdraw. Phil Stutz says, "you must exist in a greater world outside your relationships and when you do you will have something greater to give to your partner.

Image: Pexels

This is particularly difficult to recover from and many women find themselves here after they have children and devote themselves to their families. If you find yourself in this position it's important to find something personally meaningful to you be it spiritual, creative or even being of service. Make time for you, and your relationship will only grow stronger.

While this advice may seem very commonsense and obvious, I hope that these words find their way to someone that needs to read them, just like they found me. No matter how bad things get, we always need to remember that at the end of the day there two human beings that need and deserve love, someone has to start the process first.

 

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